48 Hours In: Malmo

view gallery VIEW GALLERY

This southern Swedish city hosts the Eurovision Song Contest final tomorrow. Steve Vickers sings its praises

Why go now?

Sweden's third-largest city is best explored at the start of summer, when golden sunlight stretches through the leafy parks and squares, keeping locals outside until late in the evening.

Tomorrow night, Malmo hosts the final of the Eurovision Song Contest, so residents will have an extra reason to stay up, with free outdoor celebrations taking place at Gustav Adolfs Torg (1).

Visit next month and you'll be able to help Swedes celebrate Midsummer's eve (21 June), when maypole dances and singalongs give a special glow to the longest day.

Touch down

Malmo airport is 28km south-east of the city centre and is served by Ryanair from Stansted (0871 246 0000; ryanair.com). Flygbussarna airport coaches (00 46 7715 15252; flygbussarna.se) depart at least eight times daily (8.20am-7.40pm), arriving at Malmo Central station (2), the city's main rail hub, 40 minutes later. Returns cost SEK199 (£20).

Copenhagen airport, 34km west across the Oresund Bridge, which links Denmark with Sweden, is well served by airlines from the UK. Norwegian (020-8099 7254; norwegian.com) flies there from Gatwick, Liverpool and Edinburgh; easyJet (0905 821 9000; easyJet.com) from Gatwick, Stansted, Manchester, Edinburgh and Bristol; SAS (0871 226 7760; flysas.com) from Heathrow, Aberdeen, Birmingham, Newcastle and Manchester; BA (0844 493 0787; ba.com) from Heathrow; and BMI Regional (0844 4172 600; bmiregional.com) from Edinburgh and Glasgow.

Tickets for the 20-minute Oresundstag train service (00 46 7717 77711; oresundstag.se) to Malmo station (2) cost SEK107 (£11; departures every 10 to 20 minutes from 5.30am to midnight).

Buses operated by Swebus (00 46 771 218 218; swebus.se) and Nettbuss (00 46 771 151 515; nettbuss.se) cost from SEK49 (£5), but journeys are slower and much less frequent, each offering two to five Malmo-bound services a day. Taxis leave from Terminal 3, charging around SEK750 (£79).

Get your bearings

Skirting the coastline in a fertile stretch of southern Sweden that was once controlled by the Danes, Malmo is far closer to Copenhagen than it is to Stockholm. More than 350 years have passed since the Swedes forced their neighbours to leave, but the city retains a distinctly Danish feel, with broad, café-edged streets stretching out from a medieval centre with its own moat-ringed Renaissance castle (3).

South of the historic centre is Mollevang storget (4), the market square in the middle of Malmo's old working-class district, which today knots together some of Sweden's most culturally diverse streets.

Midway between the Old Town and the increasingly fashionable harbour area is Malmo station (2). The Skanetrafiken desk here (skanetrafiken.se; weekdays 6am-8pm, Saturday 9am-6pm, Sunday 10am-6pm) sells a 24-hour pass allowing unlimited travel on inner-city bus and train routes for SEK65 (£7). Cash is not accepted on public transport.

The tourist office (5) is at Skeppsbron 2 (00 46 4034 1200; malmotown.se; open weekdays 9am to 5pm, weekends 10am to 2.30pm), just west of the station.

Check in

Hotel Master Johan (6), tucked away in the Old Town at Master Johansgatan 13 (00 46 4066 46400; masterjohan.se) has airy, timber-floored rooms from SEK1,390 (£145), including breakfast.

Moment Hotels (7) has compact rooms that embody Swedish simplicity at Norra Vallgatan 54 (00 46 7256 25970; momenthotels.com). Doubles from SEK950 (£100), with breakfast.

Rising above the cobbles like a fairy-tale castle, Hotell Baltzar (8) at Baltzarsgatan 45 (00 46 4066 55 700; baltzarhotel.se) is a cosy 19th-century relic with doubles from SEK739 (£77), including breakfast.

 

Day One

Take a hike

Start at Stortorget (9), the city's biggest square, taking time to admire the copper-roofed city hall. From here, follow the morning rush of caffeine-hungry Swedes to Lilla Torg (10), Stortorget's smaller sibling, where cafés serve hot black coffee with warm cinnamon buns. The Form/ Design Center (11), reached through a wonky, 16th-century house on the square's southern edge (00 46 4066 45150; formdesigncenter.com; open daily except Monday; free), shows off the latest trends in Swedish photography, furniture and lighting.

Stroll west to pick up Engelbrektsgatan, and then head south until you arrive at Gustav Adolfs Torg (1), with the city's old neoclassical theatre, now home to a branch of H&M (12), on your left. On the southern side of the square is pedestrianised Sodra Tullgatan. Follow it south to the soupy green canal that wraps around the Old Town, then cross the bridge (13) and continue straight on to Regementsgatan, which marks the start of modern Malmo.

Window shopping

Independent clothing boutiques make the area around Davidshallstorg a big hit with fashion-conscious locals. Preppy menswear shop Ljunggren (14) at Davidshallstorg 1 does a good line in British breeches, plaid shirts and pocket watches (00 46 407 9900; mrljunggren.com).

Opened on nearby Karleksgatan at the start of this year, Love Street Vintage (15) is popular with young mums looking for heels, accessories and polka-dot dresses (00 46 7333 92171).

Lunch on the run

Lebanese immigrants brought falafel to Malmo in the late 1980s, and it soon became the city's favourite snack. The most popular place is the simple Falafel No 1 (16) at Bergsgatan 37 (00 46 7082 40266; falafelnr1.se), where a wrap stuffed with falafel and salad with hot sauce is SEK35 (£4).

Take a ride

From Mollevangstorget, around the corner from Falafel No 1 (16), board a bus to Malmo Konserthus or Malmo Centralstation (2), and transfer to bus 32 for the 20-minute ride to Ribersborgs Kallbadhus (17). This open-air bathhouse juts out into the Oresund Sound – the straight separating Denmark from Sweden (00 46 4026 0366; ribersborgskallbadhus.se). Locals have been braving the bracing, salty swims here since 1898, encouraged by claims about the icy water's mood-lifting properties. Adults SEK55 (£6).

An aperitif

Centiliter & Gram (18) at Stortorget 17 (00 46 4012 1812; etagegruppen.se) lures you in with its zingy caipirinhas, sweetened with summer berries at SEK110 (£11) a glass.

Dining with the locals

Bastard (19) is Malmo's daringly named "nose-to-tail" restaurant at Master Johansgatan 11 (00 46 4012 1318; bastardrestaurant.se), with mains from SEK85 (£9).

More traditional is Arstiderna (20), in a red-brick building at Frans Suellsgatan 3 (00 46 4023 0910; arstiderna.se), which dishes up cured salmon with dill-creamed potatoes for SEK175 (£18).

 

Day Two

Sunday morning: go to church

Consecrated at the beginning of the 14th century, St Petri Kyrka (21) at Goran Olsgatan is Malmo's oldest church (svenskakyrkan.se/malmo; free; daily 10am to 6pm). Much of the vibrant art that daubed the cathedral's interiors was chiselled away in the 19th century and replaced with stark stretches of white paint, making the exterior's brick gothic spires the main focus for cameras. Mass starts at 11am on Sundays, and there are free organ recitals at 12.10pm Wednesdays.

Out to brunch

Gustav Adolf (22), with an outdoor seating area facing Gustav Adolfs Torg (00 46 40 611 2272; gustavadolf.com), puts on a good-value brunch buffet between 11am and 4pm every Sunday (sittings at 11am and 1pm). For SEK165 (£17) you can work your way through a seven-metre-long table of hot and cold food, including local dishes and exotic fruit.

A walk in the park

Criss-crossed by canals, duck ponds and meandering cycle paths, the three parks surrounding Malmo castle (3) are a tranquil haven for sunbathing Swedes.

Slottsparken (23), the biggest of the three, was a military training ground until the end of the 19th century. These days it's one of the more serene locations for taking in views of the Turning Torso (24), the twisting white skyscraper that – at 190 metres – is Scandinavia's tallest building.

Cultural afternoon

Danes built the blood-red towers that flank the castle (3), but it was the Swedes who surrounded them with a moat. Dug in the 17th century, the treacherous trench helped scupper Denmark's attempt at recapturing the castle.

The sprawling Renaissance-style complex beyond the moat now houses Malmo Museer (00 46 4034 4437; malmo.se/museer; 10am- 5pm daily), a well-kept collection of museums that includes medieval treasures, archaeological exhibits, an aquarium and science centre. A ticket for all the museums is SEK40 (£4) but under-20s go free.

The Independent travel offers: Discover a world of inspiring destinations

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
people
Life and Style
Upright, everything’s all right (to a point): remaining on one’s feet has its health benefits – though in moderation
HealthIf sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?
News
Kristen Stewart and Rupert Sanders were pictured embracing in 2012
people
News
President Obama, one of the more enthusiastic users of the fist bump
scienceBumping fists rather than shaking hands could reduce the spread of infectious diseases, it is claimed
Sport
Mario Balotelli posed for this selfie during AC Milan's 5-1 defeat to Manchester City
sport
Sport
Laura Trott with her gold
Commonwealth Games
Arts and Entertainment
Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman
arts + ents
Travel
ebookHow to enjoy the perfect short break in 20 great cities
News
Bryan had a bracelet given to him by his late father stolen during the raid
people
Sport
France striker Loic Remy
sportThe QPR striker flew to Boston earlier in the week to complete deal
Extras
indybestSpice up your knife with our selection of delicious toppings
Sport
sport
News
Orville and Keith Harris. He covered up his condition by getting people to read out scripts to him
People
Independent Travel Videos
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Amsterdam
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Giverny
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in St John's
Independent Travel Videos
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Travel

    C++ Software Engineer - Hounslow, West London - C++ - to £60K +

    £40000 - £60000 per annum + Pension, Healthcare : Deerfoot IT Resources Limite...

    VB.NET and C# developer (VB.NET,C#,ASP.NET)

    £30000 - £45000 per annum + Bonus+Benefits+Package: Harrington Starr: VB.NET a...

    Visitor Experience volunteer

    Unpaid voluntary role: Old Royal Naval College: To assist the Visitor Experien...

    Telesales Manager. Paddington, London

    £45-£55k OTE £75k : Charter Selection: Major London International Fashion and ...

    Day In a Page

    A new Russian revolution: Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc

    A new Russian revolution

    Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc
    Eugene de Kock: Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

    Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

    The debate rages in South Africa over whether Eugene de Kock should ever be released from jail
    Standing my ground: If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?

    Standing my ground

    If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?
    Commonwealth Games 2014: Dai Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

    Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

    Welsh hurdler was World, European and Commonwealth champion, but then the injuries crept in
    Israel-Gaza conflict: Secret report helps Israelis to hide facts

    Patrick Cockburn: Secret report helps Israel to hide facts

    The slickness of Israel's spokesmen is rooted in directions set down by pollster Frank Luntz
    The man who dared to go on holiday

    The man who dared to go on holiday

    New York's mayor has taken a vacation - in a nation that has still to enforce paid leave, it caused quite a stir, reports Rupert Cornwell
    Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business, from Sarah Millican to Marcus Brigstocke

    Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business

    For all those wanting to know how stand-ups keep standing, here are some of the best moments
    The Guest List 2014: Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks

    The Guest List 2014

    Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks
    Jokes on Hollywood: 'With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on'

    Jokes on Hollywood

    With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on
    It's the best of British art... but not all is on display

    It's the best of British art... but not all is on display

    Voted for by the British public, the artworks on Art Everywhere posters may be the only place where they can be seen
    Critic claims 'I was the inspiration for Blanche DuBois'

    Critic claims 'I was the inspiration for Blanche DuBois'

    Blanche Marvin reveals how Tennessee Williams used her name and an off-the-cuff remark to create an iconic character
    Sometimes it's hard to be a literary novelist

    Sometimes it's hard to be a literary novelist

    Websites offering your ebooks for nothing is only the latest disrespect the modern writer is subjected to, says DJ Taylor
    Edinburgh Fringe 2014: The comedy highlights, from Bridget Christie to Jack Dee

    Edinburgh Fringe 2014

    The comedy highlights, from Bridget Christie to Jack Dee
    Dame Jenny Abramsky: 'We have to rethink. If not, museums and parks will close'

    Dame Jenny Abramsky: 'We have to rethink. If not, museums and parks will close'

    The woman stepping down as chair of the Heritage Lottery Fund is worried