The Best of Malmö

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Historic Malmö in Sweden

Sweden's third biggest city is just twenty minutes by train from Copenhagen airport.

Sweden's southernmost region Skåne has been under Danish rule twice, and remains from battles can be found across the land. Archaeological finds date back 80 million years to when dinosaurs roamed the lands.

Malmö is the regional capital, with a population of around 340,000.

Why visit Malmö?

One of the biggest reasons to visit is that it's so easy to get to from Copenhagen, and the Danish capital is so easy to fly to from much of Norway.

But Malmö offers plenty of interest beyond the convenience: The world-famous Oresund Bridge, crime fiction galore, medieval fortifications, green city parks, the city beach, 16th-century market square, modern architecture, youthful population, its eco-city status… let's dive in!

Outside Malmö train station

The above picture is most people's first impression of Malmö. It's taken right outside the main train station and provides a nice introduction to two of the city's most notable sights: the interesting architecture, and the water.

Water is everywhere in Malmö. The wider urban area is positioned on the Øresund strait with channels sectioning off parts of the city, while the central area is entirely encircled by the above canal.

Speaking of the water, the iconic Øresund Bridge is what most people want to see, whether it's for the history and symbolic meaning of the structure, or for its starring role in the Nordic noir series The Bridge.

Öresund Bridge in Malmö, Sweden

The road and rail bridge (and the Drogden tunnel that completes the crossing to/from Denmark) is a sign of the friendship and cooperation between Sweden and Denmark, putting centuries of conflict behind them.

That said, it still took many decades of political debate to agree on the project. First mooted in 1936, the bridge didn't open until the year 2000.

Top Things to Do in Malmö

First things first, if you're a fan of crime fiction then once you've crossed the bridge you'll want to take the 2.5-hour guided bus tour of locations used in the TV show. While driving between the locations, clips from the show are shown on the bus to add context.

Fans of Inspector Wallander have a little farther to travel however, as his adventures are largely based in the small town of Ystad, a 50-minute train ride away on the southern coastline.

Malmöhus Slott Sweden

The oldest surviving renaissance castle in northern Europe is a short walk from the city centre. Malmöhus Slott has played an important role in the history of not just Sweden, but Denmark too.

Built from 1537 to 1542 on the ruins of a old fort, the castle is the best place to learn more about the region's fascinating history. That's because today it is home to some of the city's museums, including the art gallery and the city's natural history museum.

Before rushing back to the historic centre, don't miss the lovely parks outside the castle's moat, Slottsparken and Kungsparken. Slottsmöllan (The Castle Mill) is the highlight of the former, while the latter is based on English country gardens.

Green park in the centre of Malmö

Back in the central area, the main highlight (beyond restaurants and shopping, of course!) are the city's two main squares.

The grand statue of King Karl X Gustav, who united the region with the Swedish Empire under the 1658 Treaty of Roskilde, stands at the heart of the busy Stortorget.

A few steps away, the romantic Lilla Torg is paved with stone and lined with charming buildings from centuries ago. Many events and markets take place on both squares throughout the year.

Dating from the 14th-century, the Evangelical Lutheran St Petri kyrka (St Peter’s church) is the city's oldest remaining building. The medieval wall paintings in the Merchants Chapel are stunning, while the inside of the Gothic brick building also displays recently discovered sophisticated frescoes.

Slightly farther afield, the tall twisting tower known as the Turning Torso attracts many visitors, although as a residential building of 147 apartments it's not open for visitors aside for a few specific occasions during the year.

Twisting tower of Malmö in Sweden

Designed by Spanish architect, structural engineer, sculptor and painter Santiago Calatrava, the tower's 190-metre-high topmost segment is twisted 90 degrees clockwise with respect to the ground floor.

Also in the neighbourhood are some of the city's popular bathing spots. Scaniabadet is a wooden sun deck and pier, while the open-air public baths and 3km-long sandy beach and green lawns at Ribersborg are a real sun trap during the summer.

How to get to Malmö

The easiest way for most people to get to Malmö from Norway is actually to fly to Denmark!

That's because Malmö is just a 30-minute train ride from Copenhagen airport, an important hub for SAS and Norwegian with huge numbers of direct flights to/from Norwegian airports.

It's the perfect short destination to tag on to a weekend break to Copenhagen, or when you've got a long layover at the airport. Simply grab a ticket (roughly SEK 110) at the station but don't forget your passport, as ID checks are usually carried out when crossing the border.

If you have a rental car then you can of course drive across the Øresund Bridge. There is a one-way toll fee of about DKK 360 for the journey, which takes from 45 minutes to one hour depending on traffic.

Where to stay in Malmö

Top-rated hotels include the centrally-located Duxiana design hotel, and the business-class Clarion Malmö Live hotel including its 25th-floor sky bar.

But of course, it's super easy to get to and from Malmö in a day from Copenhagen, so your choices of accommodation don't have to be limited to the Swedish city. A hotel near Copenhagen Airport could be a great solution if you have an early flight.

Have you been to Malmö? What did you think of the Swedish city? If you're planning to go, why not share your plans on Pinterest? We've got just the pin for you:

The Best of Malmö, Sweden: Travel guide to Sweden's third biggest city that's easy to reach from Copenhagen and Denmark.

About David Nikel

Originally from the UK, David now lives in Trondheim and was the original founder of Life in Norway back in 2011. He now works as a professional writer on all things Scandinavia.

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