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Whether you’re an outdoorsy, sporty traveler, a partying tourist, a foodie, or a culture vulture – or a mixture of them all – Sweden’s third largest city, Malmö, is the ideal place to place to spend a whirlwind 24 hours. The best thing about Malmö is that it’s extremely walkable, so while the public transport is comprehensive you can pretty much hoof it the entire way. Here’s how to do it right.
Start things off in Möllan, the heart of multiculti Malmö. In Sweden it’s pretty much obligatory you start your day with coffee (and then stop regularly for more) and a great place to down your first cup of joe is Kaffebaren på Möllan. The atmosphere is true laid-back Malmö, where locals go to get coffee made from high quality beans. Kaffebaren also serves a good breakfast so if you can find a spot to sit, dig in and line your stomach for the day.
Once you’ve filled your basic needs, head out into the square, Möllevångstorget, and start exploring. The square itself has a fantastic daily fruit and veg market and is a great place to pick up something to tuck in your bag in case you get peckish between now and lunch. Once you’ve grabbed an apple or banana – or maybe one of the more exotic fruits on offer – head over to Folkets Park, where you can rent a bike or take a refreshing stroll or run.
Now it’s time for some sightseeing. There are plenty of things to do, such as Malmö Museer, which is the region’s largest museum and is actually a collection of museums – including the Nordic region’s oldest surviving Renaissance Castle, a proper submarine ready to be explored, an aquarium, and much more. The setting is in a beautiful park and the castle itself is surrounded by a moat.
If that’s not quite your thing try a walking tour of Malmö’s public art, which includes the legendary Knotted Gun (or Non-Violence) statue. As you discover the different art works you’ll eventually find yourself in either Stortorget or Lilla Torg, which are connected by a small street. No matter which area you are in – it’s time for lunch. You may have already taken the time to tour Malmö Town Hall so while you’re there stop by Rådhuskällaren. The restaurant in the cellar serves up a fish, meat, and pasta dish daily, with a salad buffet along with soup, soft drinks and coffee, all for the reasonable price of 110 SEK. If you come after 1pm, the price is reduced to 100 SEK – an absolute bargain in pricey Sweden. Another good option is Två Krögare, which is truly authentically Swedish and serves excellent beer, which you might need at this point.
You’ve had lunch (and maybe a beer) and now it’s time for some shopping. As far as the best place to shop, it really depends on what you’re into. If it’s vintage or second-hand try Love Street Vintage, which has an excellent selection of hats, shoes, and other accessories, as well as clothes, clothes, clothes. Their motto: Old is Gold, which tells you all you need to know.
If you’re more into the present and the future when it comes to clothes then check out the streets around Stortorget, particularly Södergatan and Södra Förstadsgatan, which are pedestrianised and full of everything from the latest Prada to up-and-coming local designers. And it isn’t just clothes; you can find anything from an antique brooch to a sleek Scandi coffee pot to some out of this world jewellery that you won’t find anywhere else – and be sure to check out the Optimistic Orchestra, one of Malmö’s most fanciful public art installations.
Once you’ve gathered enough carrier bags full of treasure it’s time to see more of the city. Malmö by Bike is the city’s excellent bike hire scheme; you can rent one pretty much anywhere and return it to any designated spot, so rent a bike and get peddling. Ribersborgsparken is the city beach, complete with it’s legendary bathhouse, where you can indulge in a bit of pampering at the spa or have an afternoon snack and cocktail at the bar. If it’s warm, take a dip in the sea and grab some sun on the sandy beach. The city is extremely bike-friendly and quite flat, so taking the time to cycle around is a great way to spend an hour or two.
Now it’s time for some culture. The city has a burgeoning gallery scene, with something to suit every taste. Signal Center for Contemporary Art is an artists collective that leans towards the experimental, while Malmö Konsthall is one of Europe’s largest exhibition halls for contemporary art, and highlights modern international art.
Malmö’s food scene has come into its own in the last decade or so, driven by its diverse population as well as the rise of the New Nordic food manifesto, so you’re spoiled for choice when it comes to dinner. The ever popular Bastard is trendy yet cosy, with an open kitchen in the middle of the dining room serving up classic European with a twist. The signature wooden plank, which offers a selection of cold cuts, is the perfect way to kick off your meal, and is a reflection of a true love of meat.
If you’re not in a carnivore kind of mood try eco-friendly and award-winning Salt & Brygga, which takes inspiration from the Mediterranean. Everything is strictly organic and sourced locally, and the location – just a stone’s throw from the sea – is unbeatable. Vegetarian options are available and the restaurant is so devoted to reducing its impact on the planet that many of the materials used are fully recyclable.
After dinner it’s time for some drinks. Moosehead Bar has a fantastic atmosphere, full of fun and it’s generally packed with lighthearted types always up for a laugh and a chat. Mello Yello is a definite must, with a great outdoor seating area on Lilla Torg, where the stylish hipsters of Malmö love to gather.
You can’t finish your day in Malmö without a bit of late night revelry, so off you go to Slagthuset, Scandinavia’s largest nightclub. The name literally translates to ‘slaughter house’ and this club has three dance floors which attract a very cool crowd, who come to boogie as well as catch some great live acts, both local and international. Located just behind Malmö’s Central Station, it’s the perfect place to trip the light fantastic for a few hours.
For a slightly more laid back ending to your night try the Buddha Lounge, which is part trendy nightclub, part restaurant, and part chilled out bar. You can dance or you can kick back on the sofas and beds that line the three floors – it’s the perfect way to make new friends before you leave the city.
Use this handy map to explore Malmö in 24 hours: