Visiting Malmo - What to See and Do
(Malmo Airport MMX, Sweden)
It may be located in Sweden
, but the city of Malmo
has close ties to Denmark
as well. It is connected to the Danish capital Copenhagen
by the Oresund Bridge, an impressive piece of design and engineering. This tether has helped make this one of Scandinavia's most popular travel destinations, giving visitors two for one in terms of cultural diversity.
There is a decidedly youthful vibe in Malmo, in spite of the architectural heritage that underlies much of the historic downtown. The surreal Turning Torso skyscraper epitomises this contrast of the modern and the medieval. You'll only need two or three days to fully explore this city on the sea, but they will be fun-filled days.
The Old City dates to the 13th century and offers a convenient base for checking out the attractions of western Skane. A handful of historic sites like the Town Hall, Stortorget and Malmohus Castle are the big sightseeing spots in Malmo, but its modern face is arguably even more interesting. With five shopping hubs in the city centre and a busy nightlife scene, you can easily keep entertained for a day or two. And Copenhagen is just a bridge ride away for an even deeper experience.
Ten things you must do in Malmo
- The Turning Torso is Sweden's tallest building, but it is the audacity of its design that really sets it above all other skyscrapers in Scandinavia. At a mere 190 metres / 623 feet tall, it is no Burj Khalifa, but it is still best viewed from a distance. There is a nice waterfront promenade here for walks and bike rides if you manage to get up close to the Turning Torso.
- Malmo's main historic square is the Stortorget, a traditional market area that dates back to the 1530s. It is a really large space in the core of the Old City and the ideal point to begin exploring the medieval side of the city. Enjoy the fountain, which is one of the most unusual in Scandinavia, and the people-watching that is reliably good during the warm months.
- Many would argue that Malmo's most charming spot is the Lilla Torg, a small historic square that is surrounded by some of the city's best spots for dining and drinking. The cobblestone plaza certainly is photogenic, with its half-timbered houses dating back to the 16th century. It is also one of the key places in Malmo to meet up and go out for the night. A nice market sells crafts by day, while excellent restaurants and bars open up at night.
- Although Malmo does not have its own grand cathedral, it does boast a truly splendid church in Sankt Petri Kyrka. This Gothic beauty was constructed in the 14th century, and while its exterior looks rather gloomy, the interior is surprisingly light and airy. The highlight here is the tradesman's chapel called the Kramarkapellet. Amazingly, its wonderful artwork from the 1400s survived the Reformation, because the building was completely sealed off for centuries.
- The most impressive historic attraction in Malmo has to be its imposing fortress known as the Malmohus Slott. Originally built in the 15th century, it is now part-museum and part-restored monument. In addition to wandering the halls and ramparts of this beautiful fortress, you can browse the artwork and armour inside the three museums onsite.
- Just next-door to Malmo is the province of Skane. This lovely area is home to some of Sweden's most impressive castles, and the crème of the bunch is Svaneholm. Built in 1530, it is a superb example of Renaissance castles and makes a great day trip from the city. The castle's interior is decorated in period furnishings, with paintings hanging on the walls and a nice garden to wander.
- If avant garde art is your thing, you won't want to miss the Malmo Konsthall. This attraction is considered to be one of Europe's biggest and most daring contemporary art centres, with a steady rotation of the world's cutting-edge artists. The museum also keeps a solid collection of modern masterpieces by many of the genre's leading figures.
- The Malmo Symphony Orchestra ranks amongst the most talented groups in all of Europe. They play their performances at the Konserthus when they are in season (usually the autumn). The Konserthus itself is a great piece of architecture and creates just the right ambience for an evening of Beethoven or Bach.
- On weekends, head to the Mollevangstorget square, where a bustling outdoor market lures the city's diverse ethnic population to shop for things without the high prices and hassles of downtown boutiques. The entire neighbourhood surrounding the square is fun to explore as well, because this is where many of the city's ethnic communities live and run their shops.
- During the summer months between May and September, the city's little amusement park, Folkets Park, opens to the public. If you've been to Tivoli you are sure to be underwhelmed. However, it is hard to beat the free admission, and the low-tech amusement rides, food stalls and live performances are certainly fun in their way.