From gourmet shopping malls to quirky museums, here are seven secrets you need to know to discover a new side of Malmö.
With its charming Old Town, striking, modern waterfront and meandering canal, Malmö is a cosmopolitan city of contrasts that is full of surprises. Mostly flat and walkable, it has both an imposing castle and a futuristic twisted skyscraper, cobbled streets and a serene beach, yet a gritty, urban feel. With cutting-edge galleries, fantastic independent shopping and a booming culinary scene, Malmö has lots to see and do on a city break, with plenty of hidden corners if you want to explore away from the crowds. Here are some of the best-kept secrets in Sweden’s third-largest city.
The rest of Sweden might love hotdogs, but in Malmö, its residents love falafel. Originally introduced by Israeli and Lebanese refugees, there are now falafel restaurants all over Malmö, serving fried chickpea balls with salad in a roll. It may not look like much from the outside, but the city’s student population knows that Badrans Super Falafel makes some of the best. Look for the yellow kiosk on the canal opposite the city’s library and order a cheap, filling lunch to take away. There’s outdoor seating nearby, or visit Slottsparken to find a spot on the grass.
Best avoided by anyone of a delicate disposition, this curious museum exhibits 80 of the world’s most disgusting foods while exploring cultural differences and the fundamental human emotion of disgust. The Disgusting Food Museum looks to challenge our ideas of what is and isn’t edible, speculating on whether changing our perception of this could help us eat more sustainably in the future. Delicacies on offer include maggot-infested cheese from Sardinia, aged shark from Iceland and pungent bean curd from China. The bravest visitors can smell or even taste a selection – if they dare.
Cocktail connoisseurs will adore Care/of, a bar next to the canal opened by mixologists and devoted to the art of the cocktail. The darkest bar in Malmö, Care/of combines bare brick, concrete fixtures and wooden picnic tables with one of the most thorough cocktail menus you will ever see. Every drink lists the ingredients and garnish required, the type of glass it comes in, tasting notes and even the method of mixing used. However, bartenders also encourage guests to tell them their favourite flavours and let them create a bespoke cocktail. They’ll also happily whip up tasty non-alcoholic mocktails or swap egg whites for chickpeas to make all drinks vegan.
If you really want to feel at home in Malmö, book dinner through A Slice of Swedish Hospitality. It has several hosts across the city who will invite you into their home for a seasonal two-course Swedish meal where you can ask questions about Scandinavian culture, chat about everyday life or even gather insider tips on where to go when you’re in town. Some offer lunch or fika, while others will welcome you to a traditional crayfish party in August where Swedes tuck into a banquet of seafood while wearing party hats.
With the long sandy beach of Ribersborgsstranden close to Malmö’s centre, few visitors need to venture beyond the city for a day on the sand. But for a quieter beach that only Malmö’s residents know about, head 15 minutes north to Lomma-Bjärred, with its fine white sand and shallow, child-friendly water. Make sure to walk to the end of the 600m (1,969ft) pier, Långa Bryggan, to visit the open-air seawater pools, sauna and restaurant or jump straight into the sea below.
The best no-frills night out in Malmö might seem a little intimidating from the outside, but stick with it. Head through the metal gate of the car park at Monbijougatan, and take the lift to enter the deserted brick building. Biljardhuset Malmö is on the third floor; it’s a large industrial space filled with 11 pool tables and 14 shuffleboards. Book a table and bring a group of friends and your competitive spirit for an entertaining evening over a few beers. The hall is open every day and until 3am on Fridays and Saturdays, making for a fun alternative to clubbing.
Food courts in shopping centres aren’t traditionally known for their great food, but there are no greasy burgers or uninspiring baguettes in the food hall at Mitt Möllan, located in the old worker’s neighbourhood Möllevången. From the outside, the mall may look suitably uninspiring, but its food options inside are anything but – and won’t break the bank in this expensive city. Try freshly made Vietnamese dishes cooked from scratch at Lilla Vietnam, delicious Italian sourdough pizzas at Pizza Dal Sud or Indian and Pakistani flavours at the Masala Box, which also offers cooking classes. Be sure to save room for the city’s best ice cream from Köld, where unusual flavours include vanilla and beetroot juice, earl grey tea and rhubarb, and vegan dark chocolate, coffee and coconut.
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