Malmö, Sweden | A Sustainable Modern Scandinavian City

Slide Across the Øresund Bridge for a day out in Southern Sweden
Meet Sweden’s little sister Malmö

Modern and historic sit side by side in Sweden’s third largest city. Located at the southern end of the country in beautiful Skåne, sustainable city planning has turned this town around. Come to Malmö, she said. You heard me correctly. Today, we’re going to Sweden. Directly across the Baltic Sea from Copenhagen, it is the easiest spot to get a Scandinavian double card punch when visiting the region. Turns out, it’s super easy to see it sustainably and the city has lots of green tourism options to keep your travel full of positive impact for you and the environment. Win. And win. And nobody will feel like they had to sacrifice to enjoy all that southern Sweden has to offer. It’s all about choices. And Malmö has many!

I’ll admit straight out before we begin that it has taken me four and a half years to spend any meaningful time in Copenhagen’s nearest Scandinavian neighbor city Malmö. Before now, I’ve driven through it. Ridden a train through it. Bussed through it and otherwise only previously seen it as a stop on a route to somewhere else. Other Swedish stops like Stockholm, Lund, Torekov, Fjällbacka, Karlstad or Ystad on our way to the Danish island of Bornholm. But previously, we’ve just sailed right past Malmö. Until recently.

To be honest, I hadn’t heard much about Sweden’s third largest city that made me want to stop. I knew it was fairly big. And industrial. But not that worthy of a visit. Sorry Malmö, it definitely wasn’t you. It was me. And now I see. Come to Sweden, she said.

Explore Scandinavia Sustainably | Reasons to make your way to Malmö, Sweden's Third Largest City | Oregon Girl Around the World

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Malmö is a Modern Swedish City

Step off the train at Malmö Central Station and head towards the canal. You can instantly see how old and new work hand in hand here. A port town, Malmö – is surrounded by water. Walk along the canals and take a look. Or jump on a bike. Two automated bike sharing services to help you see the city on two wheels. Check out Donkey Republic, an easy to use on-demand bike rental app. Download before you go and locate available bikes, unlock with your app and away you ride. Prices depend on how long you need them and scale down the longer you keep it. For whole day rental options, check out Malmö By Bike, with fixed stations around the city. Set up your account online before you visit and borrow a bike for 24 hours for only 80 SEK (about $8.50).


Stop for Swedish Fika at Malmö Saluhall Food Market

Less than a 10-minute walk from Central Station set amidst silos and retro colored parking garages is the slick and stylish Malmö Saluhall. With plenty of places to sit outside when the weather is nice, indoors you’ll find a curated selection of raw and prepared food stalls offering fresh fish, local cheeses, hand made chocolates and artisan breads to take away. When the weather isn’t so wonderful, find a table in one of the cozy nooks inside and sample a selection of crisp wood-fired pizza, slurpable noodles, healthy green bowls, muffuletta and more.

Or just come for the fika. That oh so Swedish of rituals that everyone around the world should adopt. Stat. At it’s simplest, it’s a cozy and communal coffee break with family or friends. Swedes use fika as a noun AND a verb. Let’s fika. My favorite part of fika? Besides the regularity and ritual of it? The sweets. Lots of coffee plus a cinnamon bun, but really any pastry will do. Me? I was beelining for one of the best cardamom buns in Sweden. I first found Sankt Jakobs Stenugnsbageri in Lund and knew they had an outpost in Malmö. My husband had the coffee and I tried the golden milk latté, a warm Indian spiced blend of cinnamon, cardamom, ginger and turmeric in frothy almond milk. Perfect and pretty.

Malmö SaluhalL FOod Market

Gibraltargatan 6, 211 18 Malmö, Sweden
OPEN :
Mon – Thu | 10.00 – 19.00
Fri | 10.00 – 21.00
Sat | 10.00 – 17.00
Sun | 11.00 – 16.00

Stroll through Gamla Staden | The Old Town

From Malmö Saluhall, stroll across the canal towards the quaint old part of town. Meander down Jakob Nilsgatan or Jöns Filsgatan and the like to get your fill of old Swedish city charm. Fall out onto the Stortorget, or “great square” and see the historic city hall that was built in the mid-1500s when Malmö was one of the most successful cities in Scandinavia. From here, find the start of the pedestrian shopping street Södergatan marked by the public sculpture “Optimistorkester.” The optimist orchestra. Or step inside the coolest pharmacy around. Pick up your prescription or a tube of lip balm inside the Apoteket Lejonet, a gorgeous art nouveau building with glass tile ceilings and brilliant gilt details.

Score Second Hand and Vintage Finds in Davidshall Neighborhood

Skip the big corporate fast fashion stores along Södergatan and cross the Davidshallbron bridge for some sustainable shopping in the darling Davidshall neighborhood. Old is like gold in this hood. Who knew I’d be scouring racks for mom jeans with my teen.

Love Street Vintage

Kärleksgatan 5, 211 45 Malmö, Sweden
OPEN:
Tue – Fri | 12.00 – 18.00
Sat | 12.00 – 16.00

Pop Boutique

Davidshallsgatan 9, 211 45 Malmö, Sweden
OPEN:
Mon – Sat | 11.00 – 18.00

Savor good food along Sankt Knuts Torg

A little further afield, but worth the wander you’ll find Sankt Knuts Torg, an open square surrounded by fab places to find fika and a delicious lunch. We loved Spoonery with it’s Scandi minimalist interior and slow-cooked delicious dishes. Try the köttbullar, the Swedish meatballs, potatoes with tart lingonberries and pickled cucumber. Or the fish soup, a little spicy and full of salmon, shrimp and vegetables. House baked bread to soak it all up. Local kombucha, beers and cold wine available to wash it all down. Just want to fika? Find a colorful lounger and soak up the sun and the scene with delicious coffee from Uggla Kaffebar across the street. Or Söderberg & Sara’s.

Spoonery

Sankt Knuts väg 7, 211 58 Malmö, Sweden
OPEN:
Daily | 11.30 – 21.00 daily

“Food that takes a long time to cook, but quickly served. Soups, pots, homemade bread, desserts & cakes.”
– Spoonery

 

UGGLA KAFFEBAR

Sankt Knuts Torg 16, 211 57 Malmö, Sweden
OPEN | Mon – Fri 9.00 – 18.00
Sat – Sun 10.00 – 16.00

Söderberg & Sara

Mäster Danielsgatan 3, 211 58 Malmö, Sweden
OPEN | Mon – Sat 7.30 – 18.00
Sun 8.00-15.00

Pedal a Paddle Boat on the Canal

Time to pedal off your pastries. Because it’s all about balance. The Swedes call it lagom. Not too much, not too little. Just enough. And while it may sound a little like Goldilocks seeking our her perfect porridge, I like the sentiment. Although I’m also a big fan of Julia Child’s “everything in moderation, including moderation” mantra. So a bit of time in a paddle boat on the canal on a sunny day would be just about right. Rent one for yourself from Raoul Wallenbergs Park near the Admiralbron Bridge. Open weather permitting starting in April through October.

City Boats | Trampbåtarna

Raoul Wallenbergs Park
Lilla Nygatan 1, 211 38 Malmö, Sweden

All days the weather allows
Apr (18-22, 27-28) | 12.00 – 18.00
May | 12.00 – 18.00
Jun – Aug | 11.00 – 19.00
Sep | weekends 12.00 – 18.00

Price per boat (max 4 people per boat)
30 min: 120 SEK
60 min: 180 SEK
90 min: 240 SEK
120 min: 300 SEK

How to get to Malmö
REMEMBER PASSPORTS

Please note that for all means of arrival, you should bring your passport as official identification. There are still border checks between Denmark and Sweden. You will not be required to show identification on the return back to Denmark.

BY TRAIN

Take the Øresundstag regional train from Copenhagen central station. Prices vary, but expect about 250 DKK for a round trip adult ticket to and from Copenhagen to Malmo Central. Check the website for times and tickets. Travel time about 40 minutes between Copenhagen and Malmö.

BY ELECTRIC CAR

Book an electric car on demand with Drive Now. Sign up online before your trip (proof of license and identification required) and use the app to find and book a BWM i8 that can seat up to 4 passengers. Pricing is per minute, but they offer hourly and daily rates. We took a 6-hour package for our day out and to be honest – it wasn’t enough. We ended up almost 90 minutes over with what we wanted to see and explore. And while I love the convenience of the car and just the experience of driving over the Øresund Bridge, Malmö is extremely walkable or bikable and we could have done exactly the same things if we’d arrived by train.

BY CAR

Drive Now also rents Mini Cooper 3 and 5 doors or BMW 1 Series if finding electric charging stations stresses you out. (It’s not that hard, there’s an app for that. *wink, wink.) Or if you have your own car it is easy to drive and takes about the same about of time as the train. You’ll drive under the sound and out onto the stunning Øresund Bridge (of Scandi noir crime series fame – yes, it’s THAT bridge from Broen.)

NOTE: Bridge Toll | 385 DKK for a car up to 6 meters. Save money by booking online or enrolling in the bridge pass, which will save money from first round trip.

BY AIR

With Copenhagen International Airport right across the bridge, it may be surprising to know that Malmö has its own airport with several carriers offering direct flights to southern Sweden from several points in Europe. Always try to book direct flights, and keep your luggage to a carry-on. For more green flying tips, read here. 

Here’s where we went, have a favorite spot in Malmö I’ve missed? Please feel free to share. I can see a return visit on my radar soon.

Want to learn even more about sustainable city planning in Malmö? Take a GreenBike Tour and learn all about what this Swedish city is doing to bring green buildings, energy and economies to the forefront of development here.

Explore more about Southern Sweden and the lovely Skåne region with these posts:

Celebrate Sweden’s Obsession with Cinnamon Buns
EXPLORE SKÅNE WITH ALLEMANSRÄTTEN | EVERY MAN’S RIGHT TO ROAM
Tiny Torekov in Southern Sweden

And further afield, more Sweden to love:

Find your way to Fjällbacka, Sweden
Spend Three Days in Stunning Stockholm Sweden

Oregon Girl Around the World

34 thoughts on “Malmö, Sweden | A Sustainable Modern Scandinavian City

  1. Oh, I absolutely adored Malmö when I visited. The atmosphere was really great and I loved the laidback feel. They didn’t have the food market back then…. oooh, I simply must get back and visit!
    #FarawayFiles

    1. oregongirlaroundtheworld

      I can’t believe it has taken me so long to spend time here, it gets a bad rap in the region sometimes and I should have decided for myself!

  2. Clare Thomson

    I do love the thought of visiting both Denmark AND Sweden on the same day and I’ve seen Malmo quite often in episodes of The Bridge but they’re not showing it at its best – as you are here. It looks well worth visiting. I like rummaging around vintage clothes and I never say no to coffee and cake. Save a seat for me next time! #FarawayFiles

  3. We went to Malmo on our trip to Copenhagen earlier this month: such an enjoyable city to explore. I loved the Saluhall, great food! I wish we’d seen the boats for hire though: our kids walked miles that day! Great idea renting out electric cars, I hope this spreads to the U.K.

    1. oregongirlaroundtheworld

      Yes – I think especially for the kids – see a little of the city from the water – you can also rent electric picnic boats near the Central Train station which is really a nice rest for the legs! Cheers.

  4. I’m always keen to pop over the border when staying somewhere near another country (like near me you can do 3 countries in one day, Monaco, Italy and France.) Malmö looks like it has a very cool vibe and I like that. You sell it well!! #farawayfiles

  5. One of my friends moved to Lund last year so I might pop over and see her – and possibly Malmo too. Will keep your blog handy. Her husband works in Copenhagen so makes a daily journey in the opposite direction! #farawayfiles

    1. oregongirlaroundtheworld

      You should Christine! Lund is super cute as well, smaller and cozier perhaps that Malmö, but with a beautiful Botanical Garden and the same tasty cardemom buns!

  6. I like how old cities re-invent themselves using what they have, or, go with the flow and keep a pulse on what is fashionable. I would love to do the GreenBike Tour and see how the city keeps itself eco-friendly.

    1. oregongirlaroundtheworld

      We took one of the Green Bike tours of Copenhagen and it was very cool, I thought I knew a lot about Scandinavia’s effort to be carbon neutral, but I definitely learned a ton!

  7. I think I would love to visit Malmo. It certainly has a very laid back look and with its pretty buildings. Second hand and Vintage finds sounds fun and Fika makes Malmo even more inviting .Thank you so much for this post.#farawarfile

    1. oregongirlaroundtheworld

      Fika is fabulous and I love that it is kind of required (I mean recommended) to do it with friends or family!

    1. oregongirlaroundtheworld

      You would love the Saluhall – very well done inside and so many yummy choices and cozy places to enjoy it!

  8. Malmö is next on my list 🙂 Was considering it last time I visited Sweden, but it was too far away from Oslo for the few days I had at my disposal – didn’t wanna travel via Copenhagen. So hopefully next time! #farawayfiles

    1. oregongirlaroundtheworld

      Yes – probably a little too far for a day trip from Oslo, but Malmö and the whole Skåne region in Southern Sweden is definitely worth a visit!

  9. I only really know Malmö from the TV show The Bridge, but it looks very cool. Love how old cities are getting into the modern age and that food looks sensation. Brings back memories of my time in Sweden seeing those red berries (whatever they are) on every dish!

  10. You really do find some interesting spots, don’t you? Like you (until recently) I have only passed Malmo by en-route to more “glamorous” places, but any city with massive silos in the middle of it is definitely worth a closer look in my opinion! Thanks for educating me on #farawayfiles

    1. oregongirlaroundtheworld

      Haha! There was something very graphic and compelling about those perfect peach silos – seriously. Cheers from Scandiland.

  11. Beth

    Good on you for making the effort to experience a city like Malmö – sounded a little like England’s Dover – the pass-through points of entry. But I chuckled at “scouring racks for mom jeans with my teen” as I was doing that with my 16 year old on Saturday… seriously though, mom jeans?? haha

    Love the idea of fika, too. Great share, Erin. Cheers from London. #FarawayFiles

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