11 Top-Rated Attractions & Things to Do in Malmö

Written by Andrew Birbeck
Updated Jan 13, 2021

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Malmö, Sweden's third largest city, is a multicultural portal to Europe. Indeed, a short drive from the city will take you to the iconic Oresund Bridge that links Sweden to Denmark. The city's proximity to the continent is reflected in its highly diverse population, and the many ethnic restaurants scattered around town bear testament to this fact – especially around Möllevångstorget, a public square in the melting pot neighborhood of Möllevången south of the city.

A settlement has existed where Malmö lies since the 13th century, and despite offering a modern exterior to the world, it is a city filled with history. Popular things to do include admiring Malmö's mix of architectural styles, wandering through picturesque city parks, dining at diverse restaurants and cafés, and exploring cutting-edge art and other fascinating exhibits at the city's thought-provoking museums.

To learn more about why this vibrant Swedish city is one of the best cities to visit in Scandinavia, be sure to read through our list of the top things to do in Malmö, Sweden.

See also: Where to Stay in Malmö

1. Europe's Longest Road/Rail Bridge: Oresund Bridge

Oresund Bridge
Oresund Bridge

The magnificent Oresund Bridge (Øresundsbroen) lies a 15-minute drive from Malmö city center. Decades in the planning, and famous throughout the world since opening in 1999, this spectacular bridge has gained further infamy as the central focus of the smash hit Danish/Swedish TV drama The Bridge. Those familiar with the series will instantly recognise the magnificent structure that now links Sweden to Denmark and, in turn, the entire European continent.

The bridge is multi-faceted – a road, a railway, and a tunnel. The initial stretch is some eight kilometers in length to the man-made island of Peberholm. From there, it connects to a tunnel of four kilometers, constructed so as not to impact the incoming aircraft to nearby Copenhagen airport. If you get the chance, take a trip across the bridge and through the tunnel to Sweden's neighbour, Denmark. After all, a day or even an hour in Copenhagen is never wasted.

Official site: www.oresundsbron.com/en/node/6738

2. Turning Torso

Turning Torso
Turning Torso

About 2.7 kilometers from Malmö Central Station and easily reached by bus or car stands the most talked about building in southern Sweden. The world's first "twisted skyscraper" and the tallest building in Scandinavia, the striking Turning Torso is 190 meters high and combines residential, office, and conference space.

The skyscraper is based on a sculpture by designer, artist, and architect Santiago Calatrava called the "Twisting Torso," and which featured in the competition brochure for the design and construction of Oresund Bridge. The cutting-edge building took four years to complete. Opened in 2005, it is supplied with locally produced renewable energy.

This eye-catching and iconic structure has put Malmö firmly on the architectural map. The views from the observation deck on the 49th floor are must-sees when in the area (the top floors, 53 and 54, are only open to the public on certain days – check ahead for availability, or ask when you pick up your tickets).

Address: Lilla Varvsgatan 14, 211 15 Malmo

3. Lilla Torg

Lilla Torg
Lilla Torg

Lilla Torg – literally translated as "Little Square" – is one of Malmö's busiest spots, no matter the season. It's able to trace its heritage all the way back to the 1500s with the establishment of a medieval market here. Today it's the best spot in Malmö to enjoy a coffee, relax, and people-watch. Numerous terraced cafés overlooking the town square jostle alongside one another. All serve a range of food, from traditional Swedish to sushi.

If the hustle and bustle gets too much, the restaurant at the Elite Hotel Esplanade offers sedate fine dining. Lilla Torg is also famous for its picturesque merchants' or burghers' houses dating from the 16th, 17th, and 18th centuries.

4. Explore Historic Malmö Castle

Historic Malmöhus Castle
Historic Malmöhus Castle

A must-see for any visitor, Malmö Castle (Malmöhus) houses several of the city's major museums within its historic walls. These include Malmö Museum of Art, the City Museum, the Natural History Museum, a small aquarium, and the Science and Maritime House. Permanent exhibitions here feature topics such as natural history, ocean voyages, and technology, and the museum hosts several temporary exhibitions each year.

The castle itself was originally a minor citadel dating from 1434. Denmark's currency was coined here in the Middle Ages, and during the 19th century, the castle served as a prison. Today, the restored Malmöhus Castle transports visitors back to the 16th century.

Location: Malmöhusvägen, Malmo

5. Take a Stroll in the City Parks: Kungsparken and Slottsträdgården

The old windmill 'Slottsmollan' in the Kungsparken Park
The old windmill 'Slottsmollan' in the Kungsparken Park

Malmö is well-known for its beautiful city parks. In the heart of the city, right by Malmöhus Castle, the 8.4-acre Kungsparken (The King's Park) is Malmö's oldest park. It was originally called King Oscar's Park after it was opened in 1872 by the Swedish monarch and is inspired by English gardens.

Ponds and exotic old trees punctuate this peaceful oasis in the city, and you can relax on the lush lawns, feed the ducks, and explore a vaulted cave. The beautiful cast iron fountain at the center of the park dates from 1882, and was the city's first piece of public artwork.

Across a little bridge from Kungsparken is another beautiful park, Slottsträdgården. Highlights are the castle windmill and seasonal plantings, including vegetables and colorful flowers like tulips, primroses, and sweet peas. Don't miss the sculpture Pegasus by Carl Milles, one of Sweden's most famous sculptors.

About a 20-minute walk away from Kungsparken, Pildammsparken is another city park, with more than 10,000 flowers planted in its "flower alley" and plenty of ducks to feed. It's particularly beautiful in Autumn when the leaves are changing colors.

6. Malmö Art Gallery (Malmö Konsthall)

Malmö Art Gallery
Malmö Art Gallery | Staffan Cederborg / photo modified

Hosting rotating exhibitions of national and international contemporary art, Malmö Art Gallery (Malmö Konsthall) opened in 1975 and has one of Europe's largest exhibition halls. The construction materials are light and simple: concrete, glass, wood, and aluminum. Constructed of 550 domes, the ceiling in the gallery varies in height and incorporates plenty of natural light.

The result is a structure that is almost as interesting as the thought-provoking exhibits it hosts. If visiting on a Sunday, you can enjoy a great brunch (a particular favorite with trendy locals) at Restaurant Smak, which also serves lunch daily. Entry to the museum is free. A bookshop is located on-site.

Address: St. Johannesgatan 7, 20580 Malmö

Official site: www.konsthall.malmo.se/en/valkommen/

7. Experience a Slice of Swedish Hospitality

Swedish hospitality
Swedish hospitality

Meet the Malmö locals with A Slice of Swedish Hospitality. This is your chance to mix with Swedes behind the scenes. Locals share their homes and advise visitors how to enjoy the sights, make the most of shopping, experience authentic Swedish food, and discover the hidden treasures Malmö and the region have to offer.

All are welcome, including single travelers, families, or friends, with a maximum of five people per group. A meal with a local family includes two courses, generally a main followed by dessert, and afterwards a chat or possibly a stroll, weather permitting. A word to the wise: be on time, Swedes are extremely punctual, particularly at meal times.

Official site: www.asliceofswedishhospitality.com/

8. Visit Moderna, the Museum of Modernism

Moderna Museet (Museum of Modernism)
Moderna Museet (Museum of Modernism) | News Oresund / photo modified

An easy eight-minute walk from St. Peter's Cathedral (St. Petri Kyrka), the Museum of Modernism (Moderna Museet Malmö) is known as a little piece of Stockholm in Malmö. The museum opened in 2009 as a branch of state-owned Moderna Museet (Stockholm), and it also runs courses and seminars.

Formerly an electricity plant with a striking new orange-red annex, the building houses modern and contemporary works of art. Installations include film, photography, design, and paintings. Entry is free. After touring the exhibits, you can enjoy coffee or lunch in the café.

Address: Gasverksgatan 22, Malmö

Official site: www.modernamuseet.se/malmo/en/

9. St. Peter's Church (Sankt Petri Kyrka)

Sankt Petri Kyrka (St. Peter's Church)
Sankt Petri Kyrka (St. Peter's Church)

Located near Central Station, St. Peter's Church (Sankt Petri Kyrka) dates from the 14th century and is Malmo's oldest church. This imposing brick Gothic building is known for its impressive wooden retable, the largest such piece in Northern Europe, and its 17th- and 18th-century grave stones.

In the early 20th century, ceiling murals in the Krämare Chapel were restored, providing a glimpse of the intricate art that once adorned the walls and ceilings elsewhere in the church before it was whitewashed in later years. It's worth wandering through this distinctive landmark to soak up some of its rich medieval ambience.

Address: Göran Olsgatan 4, 211 22 Malmö

10. See the Gardens of Katrinetorp Country House

Katrinetorp Country House
Katrinetorp Country House | Maria Eklind / photo modified

Katrinetorp Country House (Katrinetorp Landeri), located on the outskirts of Malmö about a 15-minute easy drive, is one of the best-preserved Empire-style manor houses (Herrgård) in Sweden. Originally built in an idyllic location for one of southern Sweden's richest families, the 19th-century home is surrounded by magnificent landscaped gardens.

Also on-site is a garden café, restaurant, and antique store. During the year, Katrinetorp hosts a harvest fair, a Christmas market, various exhibitions, and evening concerts. Guided tours are available during the summer on select days.

Address: Katrinetorps allé 1, 215 74 Malmö

11. The People's Park (Folkets Park)

Folkets Park (The People's Park)
Folkets Park (The People's Park) | karendesuyo / photo modified

Malmö's People's Park (Folkets Park) is a favorite destination for locals and visitors – especially families with young children. For more than a century, people have come here to unwind. Among other tourist attractions, you'll find a green area with ponds, a popular children's playground, miniature golf, and a half-pipe for skateboarding.

Ice-cream stands and cafés are on hand if you need a snack, and in winter, the wading pool is converted into a small ice rink for skating. The park also serves as a venue for festivals and events.

Address: Amiralsgatan 35, 214 37 Malmö

Where to Stay in Malmö for Sightseeing

If you're visiting Malmö for the first time, the best place to stay is right downtown in the city center. Here, you'll find tourist attractions such as Malmö Castle; the Turning Torso; numerous museums and art galleries; and Lilla Torg, with its lively café culture. Below are some highly rated hotels in this convenient and central location:

Luxury Hotels:

  • The boutique Mayfair Hotel Tunneln, with two fabulous restaurants, features late-Gothic architecture, old photographs, and period decor.
  • In Lilla Torg, near the Oresund Bridge, the pet-friendly Elite Hotel Esplanade offers relatively large, modern rooms.
  • Also pet friendly, the contemporary high-rise Clarion Hotel & Congress Malmo Live is within walking distance of Malmö Castle, and rates include breakfast. All these hotels lie a short walk from Malmö Central Station.

Mid-Range Hotels:

  • Across the road from Malmö Central Station, Comfort Hotel Malmo, near Lilla Torg, offers bright, boldly styled rooms beyond its elegant facade, and the gym includes a boxing ring.
  • Also near Lilla Torg, Clarion Collection Hotel Temperance displays a more traditional style. Rates include breakfast and a light dinner buffet.
  • If you're planning an extended stay or traveling with children, Scandic Malmo City is a handy option, with kitchenettes and clean, modern rooms less than 10 minutes on foot from the Moderna Museet Malmö.

Budget Hotels:

  • Malmö has few budget options in the city center, but if you're looking for good-value accommodation near the Malmö Arena, the new and modern BEST WESTERN Malmo Arena Hotel sits a short walk from Malmö Hyllie station.
  • From here, train service to the city center takes a mere three minutes. Sports fans might enjoy Good Morning+ Malmö, with bright, modern rooms near the football stadium.
  • In the city center, near Triangeln train station, STF Hostel & Hotel Malmo City offers basic hotel rooms and shared hostel rooms near restaurants and shops.

More Exciting Swedish Cities

imageMalmö is not the only Swedish city near Denmark. About 65 kilometers north of Malmö the busy port city of Helsingborg lies a short hop across the Oresund strait from the similarly-named Danish town of Helsingor, home to Hamlet's castle, the majestic Kronborg. More than 200 kilometers to the north of Helsingborg, Gothenburg exudes a laid-back, European vibe. For things to see and do in and around the pretty capital of Sweden, check out our article on Stockholm as well as our page on fun day trips around the city, which includes the medieval university town of Uppsala. Only a 35-minute flight away from Stockholm, the island of Gotland is a hot vacation destination for Swedes and international visitors alike.

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