As host of the 2013 Eurovision Song Contest, the Swedish city of Malmö made waves in the international community. Located in the Skåne region at the southern tip of Sweden, just a short drive or train ride over the Oresund Bridge from Copenhagen, Malmö is a friendly, yet cosmopolitan, destination for travellers to Scandinavia who are looking for a taste of authentic Swedish ‘hygge’ (or cosiness).
For a small city, Malmö is home to a number of museums, is full of charming architecture, and has shopping and dining opportunities galore. Visitors to Malmö should definitely check out Malmöhus Slot, a moat-encircled castle which was built in 1937 but has a history much older than that. The site was originally home to a fortress built in 1436, which was destroyed and rebuilt many times over the centuries. Today, the castle is home to a number of museums, including the Malmö City Museum, which is devoted to the history of Malmö, the Malmö Konstmuseum (art museum) which is home to a large collection of 20th century Nordic art, and the Museum of Natural History. The Malmö Science and Maritime Museum is also worth a visit for those who are interested in seeing a U3 submarine and exploring the world of science. Malmö Konsthall, located at Sankt Johannesgatan, with its unique use of light and space, is a gorgeous backdrop for the modern art it houses.
Malmö offers visitors a great shopping experience, whether they be in search of Swedish design, art, souvenirs or fashion. Like many European cities, Malmö has a pedestrian shopping street filled with a variety of boutiques for visitors to stroll along. The quaint 16th century market square, Lilla Torg, is home to a number of art galleries and shops selling crafts and Swedish design. For a more modern shopping experience, malls such as Triangelin and Hansa offer a number of shops and boutiques in a cosmopolitan setting. Malmö also hosts a very popular flea market and during December, the streets of the city centre turn into a giant Christmas Market, filled with holiday cheer in the form of Christmas-themed arts and crafts, tasty hot treats and traditional glögg (spiced wine).
If you are feeling peckish after a long day of museum visiting or shopping, feel free to stop at any of the many cafes and restaurants in the city centre. The Swedes love their coffee and you will find a variety of coffee houses for that needed caffeine fix. Expresso House is the most popular coffee chain in the city, appearing with the same frequency as Starbucks in the US, but there are many other independent coffee shops to choose from, such as Lilla Kafferosteriet, Café Slottsträdgården. All offer that famous Swedish hygge (cosiness) as well as outdoor seating all year round (with blankets and heat lamps for the winter months). If you are looking for something a bit more substantial than coffee, Malmö has a number of restaurants to suit your mood. In keeping with its eco-friendly image, many restaurants offer locally sourced produce on the menu. The interestingly named Bastard is the up and coming restaurant in the city, offering fine Swedish cuisine in a sophisticated, yet unpretentious, atmosphere. There are plenty of other bistros and restaurants to choose from, however, if fine dining is not your thing. Lilla Torg, as well as being a shopping mecca for tourists, is home to a number of restaurants and bars. If you like street food, try some traditional Swedish cuisine in the form of the natives’ favourite fast food, the hot dog, at one of Malmö’s traditional korvkiosks (or sausage kiosks).
If you are planning your trip to Malmö in late August, you are in luck. The Malmöfestivalen takes during this time and is not to be missed. The festival features lives music, dance, street performances and, of course, plenty of food tents. There are also activities for children and sporting events. The Malmöfestivalen is an exciting event for the whole family when everyone in the city comes out to party. This year’s festival takes place during 16-23 August, 2013.
If you are visiting Malmö, you might want to consider purchasing a Malmö City Card which offers discounts on attractions, goods, services and parking. The card is available at the Malmö Tourism Centre. You can plan your trip to Malmö on the Malmötown website, which also has useful information on public transport in the city.
Malmö may be a relatively small city, but has much to offer visitors. Whether you are interested in museums, history, shopping or dining, Malmö has something for everyone.