As the third-largest city in Sweden, Malmo is quickly becoming one of the coolest places in Scandinavia. Considered the design capital of Sweden, you’ll find an array of bars, cafes, restaurants, galleries and boutiques that effortlessly merge art and architecture. While undeniably modern, sustainable and innovative, Malmo still preserves and embraces its historic Gothic architecture.
Even if you only have one day to spare in Scandinavia, you should absolutely make the effort to pop into Malmo and see what it’s all about. Wondering what you can fit in on a day trip? This list is here to provide you with some inspiration for things to do in Malmo, Sweden in one day.
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Malmo Castle and Museum
Built in the mid-1500s atop the ruins of a previous fort, Malmo Castle (or Malmöhus Castle) is the oldest Renaissance fortress in all of Scandinavia. Today, it functions primarily as the Malmo Museum (Malmö Museer) complex.
Located on Malmöhusvägen, the museum’s permanent exhibitions showcase the local history, technology and science of the region. Learn about the castle’s past, the meet some fish, reptiles and spiders at the aquarium. There are always alternating exhibitions too, so you never know what else you’ll have the chance to discover. Entrance costs only 20 Swedish krona, which is less than two euros. Visit between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. on any day.
Malmo Art Museum
Also within Malmo Castle is the Malmo Art Museum, containing over 40,000 contemporary Scandinavian works of art. The museum hosts many important and historic collections from the 16th century until now, including landscape paintings by Carl Fredrik Hill.
One of the main permanent collections uses paintings and sculptures to demonstrate the historical development of Sweden since the Renaissance. There’s also an exhibit showcasing Swedish furniture and handicrafts. Entrance is included with admission to the Malmo Castle.
Behind Malmo Castle is Slottsträdgården (Castle Tree Garden), a tranquil outdoor area covering 12,000 square metres. The ecological space was created in 1997 by the city’s nature lovers. Slottsträdgården is divided up into separate areas, such as a perennial garden, a rose garden, an orchard garden, a Japanese garden and a greenhouse. There’s even a kitchen garden, where a variety of crops are grown and sold.
For both residents and tourists, this is one of the most peaceful places to visit in Malmo. While the garden itself is open to the public year-round, the cafe here only runs from early April until late October.
Malmo Town Hall
The Malmö Rådhus is the city’s impressive town hall in the heart of the Old Town. It was built during the mid-1500s when Malmo was one of Scandinavia’s largest and most thriving cities. The current Dutch Renaissance exterior, however, comes from renovations completed during 1860, and the interior ceilings also have a more modern stucco look.
On the other hand, the Gothic vaulted cellars appear the same as they did in the Middle Ages. This is also the location of Rådhuskällaren, one of Malmo’s top-rated restaurants. At the front of the Malmo city hall are sculptures, a large fountain, and beautifully kept flower beds, making it a wonderful place to stop for some pictures.
One structure that certainly stands out in Malmo is the Turning Torso. At 190 metres high, this twisting skyscraper is the tallest building in Scandinavia. Completed in 2005, it was awarded that year’s Gold Emporis Skyscraper Award for its architectural excellence.
The white neo-futurist building contains 54 stories and 147 residential apartments. While you’re able to see it from anywhere in Malmo, it’s worth going to the Västra Hamnen area for a closer inspection.
The Oresund Bridge connects Malmo to the Danish capital of Copenhagen. If this fascinating bridge looks like it heads right into the sea, your eyes aren’t playing tricks on you.
It spans eight kilometres across the Øresund strait to Peberholm, an artificial island, before turning into the Drogden Tunnel and heading underwater for four more kilometres. Take a drive or catch a train across the bridge during sunset for the most beautiful experience.
Malmo Konsthall is one of Europe’s largest exhibitions of contemporary art. The impressively modern open space is constructed using concrete, glass, wood and aluminum, with natural light entering the hall through the ceiling’s domes. There are typically 10 different international exhibitions held per year, which you can learn about on the English version of the website.
Past exhibitions have included the works of renowned artists like Van Gogh, Joan Miró, Edvard Munch and Louise Bourgeois. The Konsthall is open daily from 11 a.m. until 5 p.m. With free admission, it’s one of the best things to do in Malmo, Sweden.
Kungsparken is the city’s oldest public park, conveniently located to the west of the Town Hall. It was founded in 1872 by King Oscar II on the former grounds of Malmo Castle. The park contains about 130 tree species, several large ponds with playful ducks, and an impressive cast-iron fountain from 1882.
Come by for a leisurely walk in nature, a run, a picnic, or even some birdwatching. If you’re here during autumn, Kungsparken is a wonderful spot to admire the changing of the leaves as they turn from green to vibrant yellow, red and orange.
Malmo’s most charming and romantic square is Lilla Torg (Little Square). This historic cobblestone area was established in 1590 in the middle of Gamla Staden, the city’s Old Town area. It’s bordered by fascinating old houses as well as quaint bars and restaurants with outdoor seating.
Heaters and blankets are even available during the wintertime to make sure you stay warm and cosy as you sip your hot chocolate or glögg (Swedish mulled wine). The outdoor terraces are a favourite spot to people watch and enjoy a cold beer on a summer evening as well.
If you’re in a hurry and don’t have the time to stop and socialise, walking through the square is enough to get a sense of the lively yet laid-back atmosphere.
Created in a courtyard of former half-timbered houses near Lilla Torg, Malmo’s Form/Design Centre is a unique and fascinating venue. The exhibition space includes a cafe on the ground floor, a gallery on the first floor, and a boutique on the top floor.
As a merging of art, architecture and design, this free attraction aims to inspire and educate individuals with an interest in these subjects. It also showcases work by local creatives and promotes sustainable development.
The shop is a great place to purchase some unique, locally-produced crafts, including jewellery, textiles, posters and porcelain. The centre is open from Tuesday to Saturday between 11 a.m. and 5 p.m., as well as 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. on Sundays.
Folkets Park (aka People’s Park) is both a playground and a major venue for Malmo’s open-air concerts and markets. Open since 1893, it’s the oldest amusement park in Sweden. An ideal hangout for all ages during the summer, the park offers carousel rides, a petting zoo, miniature golf, a reptile centre, a half-pipe for skateboarding, and a ton of restaurants and cafes. If you’re travelling with kids, this should be your number one destination in Malmo.
While technically open year-round, some of the attractions are closed during the winter. Admission to the park is free, though you’ll need to pay for some of the rides and activities.
Malmo Adventure Golf
Did you know you can learn about Malmo while playing golf simultaneously? One of Folkets Park’s best all-ages activities is the Malmo Adventure Golf park. This themed miniature golf course includes small replicas of the city’s classic landmarks. The artificial grass used on the courses makes putting a little more challenging than your typical mini golf course as well.
Also at the park is a Ben and Jerry’s ice cream parlour, the first in southern Sweden. There are a variety of creative flavours as well as lactose-free options like mango sorbet.
Malmo Adventure Golf is open according to the time of year and weather, so you might want to call ahead.
St Peter’s Church
Malmo’s main place of worship is St Peter’s Church (Petri Kyrka) in Gamla Staden. Built in the 14th century, it’s the oldest church in the city and the oldest-preserved brick building. The Brick Gothic beauty features a 25-metre-high nave, sophisticated medieval frescoes, and one of the largest altarpieces in the Nordics.
The whitewashed walls and pillars create a bright and airy atmosphere inside the church. The organ is often playing throughout the day, so you can sit and listen if you have the time.
Looking for things to do in Malmo, Sweden in summer? Make your way to the relaxing Ribersborg Beach, only two kilometres from the centre of the city. Ribersborg is a spot for locals and tourists alike to take a refreshing swim, work on their tan, and enjoy a beach picnic into the evening.
There are also separate male and female saunas if you feel like a steam. The long wooden pier stretches out onto the Øresund strait, connecting to the Kallbadhuset open-air baths. Of course, the Turning Torso is visible from the shore.
Disgusting Food Museum
Eager to try something out of the ordinary? The Disgusting Food Museum is easily one of the most unusual things to do in Malmo (or anywhere in the world). The museum’s purpose is, surprisingly, not to gross you out, but to open the public’s eyes to cultural and culinary differences. All of the dishes exhibited are considered delicacies in their country of origin, from Chinese stinky tofu and Peruvian roasted guinea pigs to Sweden’s surströmming fermented herring.
You’ll even see some foods you’re already familiar with, such as licorice and, you guessed it, Vegemite. Those who are willing to taste (or simply smell) any of the 80 dishes available may come to realise that the concept of disgust is subjective and often influenced by our culture growing up. Even musk sticks and Pop-Tarts made the cut, which many northern Europeans find repulsive!
Come and test your taste buds any time between 12 p.m. and 6 p.m. from Wednesday to Sunday. Entrance costs 185 Swedish krona per adult.
Malmo Central Station
When you’ve got a train to catch, allocate some extra time to look around Malmo Central Station. The architecture is an effortless blend of new and old, with preserved brick walls and an ultra-modern terminal constructed with glass and steel. For over 150 years, the station has continuously been upgraded and extended to keep up with the times, all while protecting its heritage.
Outside of the station are a few eclectic twisted sculptures called the Spectral Self Container. It’s a fun and colourful art installation that makes for some interesting touristy pictures.
Moderna Museet Malmö
Moderna Museet is another of Malmo’s incredible modern art spaces. Located in a former electrical power station painted bright orange, the historic setting noticeably contrasts the contemporary visual works on display.
Although state-owned and associated with the Moderna Museet in Stockholm, all of the exhibitions are independently run and often comment on various social issues. The high-quality collections feature abstract paintings, sculptures, photographs, drawings, installations and moving images by international artists since the beginning of the 20th century.
The museum is completely free and open between 11 a.m. and 6 p.m. from Tuesday to Sunday. A few hours looking around here is one of the best things to do in Malmo in winter to escape the cold.
One of Malmo’s most charming attractions is Ebba’s House at Snapperupsgatan 10. The pale yellow residence in the middle of the city was built in the 17th century and is a quaint snapshot of early-1900s interiors.
All of the old houses by the Caroli Church were demolished in the 1960s except for Ebba’s, as she refused to move. In 1984, however, Ebba relocated to a modern flat and donated the house to the city. Even if it’s closed and you can’t enter inside, it’s still cool to see the tiny one-storey structure jammed between two taller buildings.
Katrinetorp Landeri is a heavenly estate eight kilometres from the centre of Malmo. This wonderful former country home is surrounded by a flourishing English garden with blooming roses, an orangery, a Baroque manor garden, and a spot for growing organic produce.
Inside, there’s a free exhibition of miniature dollhouses. The estate is often rented for weddings, conventions and other gatherings, and public events and markets (including the Advent Christmas market) are held here throughout the year.
Katrinetorp is open from 8 a.m. until 8 p.m. daily. While you’re there, indulge in a high-end traditional lunch or a Swedish cinnamon bun (kanelbullar) at the cafe and restaurant.
Technology and Maritime Museum
The Technology and Maritime Museum near Malmo Castle is devoted to transportation, aviation and navigation. The permanent exhibition showcases engines, aircraft and watercraft from the 1850s until now, highlighting their history, industrial development, and impact on the public.
Climb into a real submarine and see horse-drawn carts, old locomotives and vintage vehicles. The small museum is open from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. daily and can easily fill an hour or two.
You can’t leave Sweden without taking part in fika, an essential part of Swedish culture that involves taking a break for coffee and cake. However, it’s more about slowing down, socialising and sharing a moment with friends and loved ones. Fika is so ingrained in daily life for Swedes that it’s considered essential for fostering business relationships with colleagues too.
Lilla Kafferosteriet and Noir Kaffekultur, both in Gamla Väster, are two great places to experience your first fika. If you’re travelling on your own, start up a conversation with some locals and ask what fika means to them.
Recommended tours in Malmo
- Malmö Small Group Walking Tour
- Malmö Small Group Bike Tour
- Guided Food Tour in Malmö (Private)
- Vacation Photographer in Malmo
- Private Half Day Tour to Sweden
- Prison break escape game
- Hop-On Hop-Off Malmö
- Fishing-trip (Öresundsfiske)
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