At first glance Malmö looks like any other industrial city, but look a little closer and you’ll not only find the results of several decades of urban renewal, but also some wonderful structural gems from the past. Here are the 10 most impressive buildings in this rapidly developing city – a mix of cutting edge architecture and formidable history.
This futuristic skyscraper is the tallest building in Scandinavia and was designed by Spaniard Santiago Calatrava, the architect, structural engineer, sculptor and painter, who based this 190m-high marvel (623 ft.) on his earlier sculpture The Twisting Torso. Completed in 2005, the structure consists of nine cubes, totalling 54 stories and because it’s a residential building, the interior is only open to visitors for a few weeks each summer.
Turning Torso, Lilla Varvsgatan 14, Malmö, Sweden
This stunning open-air bath, known locally as either Ribban or Kallis, sprouts out into the sea from Ribersborg beach and dates back to 1898. The bathhouse is open year-round and this being Sweden you’re welcome to swim au naturale. There are separate areas for men and women, with two saunas, as well as a mixed sauna. A café and restaurant complete the offering.
Ribersborgs Kallbadhus, Limhamnsvägen, Brygga 1, Malmö, Sweden, +46 (0)4026 03 66
It’s Scandinavia’s oldest surviving renaissance castle, dating back to 1434, when much of Sweden, Denmark, and Norway were ruled by a single monarch. When the Kalmar Union dissolved, Malmö remained a part of Denmark and after parts of the castle were destroyed in the 1600s, Danish King Kristian III rebuilt it and that is what we see today. Malmöhus Castle, with it’s blood-red canon towers, might be best known as the prison of James Hepburn, Mary Queen of Scots’ third husband.
Malmöhus Castle, Malmöhusvägen 6, Malmö, Sweden, +46 (0)4034 44 00
Sweden ranks eighth on the list of countries that read the most, so it makes sense that libraries around the country are veritable temples to the written word. Malmö’s City Library (Stadsbibliotek) is a great example of how you can create a gorgeous space in which to delve into your favourite novel or get some studying done. The original building, The Castle, dates back to 1901, while the light, airy, glass structure was added 1997. More than one million visitors enjoy the design by Danish architect Henning Larsen.
Stadsbibliotek, Kung Oscars väg 11, Malmö, Sweden, +46 (0) 40-660 85 00
Built in 1546 on what was then the largest city square in Scandinavia (Stortorget), Malmö Rådhus (City Hall) was originally built in the late-gothic style. Damage incurred in the 1800s led to a rebuild, with the facade being transformed into the Dutch renaissance style.
Malmö City Hall, Stortorget
Sankt Petri Kyrka
Construction on this Baltic, gothic-style church began in 1319, using bricks from the region to create what became the largest Danish city church in the world. It boasts a 105m-high tower (344 ft.), as well as several chapel buildings. The church is remarkably well-preserved, thanks to regular conservation work.
Sankt Petri Kyrka, Göran Olsgatan 4, Malmö, Sweden, +46 (0)40 27 90 43
The full name is the Clarion Hotel & Congress Malmö Live and let’s face it, a stunningly modern structure like this deserves a big, heavyweight name. Opened in mid-2015, the hotel is the second tallest building in Malmö, standing 85m (279 ft.) above sea level. It has a massive hall, where events are regularly held in the lap of luxury, but it’s the incredible exterior that is helping to cement Clarion as the most forward thinking of hotel chains when it comes to design and architecture.
Clarion Hotel & Congress Malmö Live, Dag Hammarskjölds torg 2, Malmö, Sweden, +46 (0)40 20 75 00
It’s probably one of the more unique shopping malls in the world and it’s also one of the biggest in Scandinavia. Opened in 2012, the brainchild of architect Gert Wingårdh is a delight of curves and modern design, with soundscapes, a rooftop terrace, and more than 200 shops inside. It’s the size of around four football pitches and gets 25 thousand visitors daily.
Emporia, Hyllie Boulevard 19, Malmö, Sweden, +46 (0)40 36 36 00
This offshoot of Stockholm’s Modern Museum is starkly modern – a square, deep-red box with industrial gates that fold back when open. The structure formerly housed an electrical plant dating back to 1900, with architecture firm Tham & Videgård Arkitekter using the integrity of the building to create something that perfectly reflected the experimental space.
Opened in 2010, Hyllie Railway Station is often called the gateway between Malmö and Copenhagen. Part of the newly built City Tunnel, Hyllie Station looks like something a group of aliens might have dreamed up – the 45m-diameter roof (148 ft.) brings UFOs to mind, is lit from both below and by 52 round, lantern lights which allow daylight to penetrate from above.
Discover the most impressive buildings in Malmö with this handy map: