Malmo, Sweden: A 1 Day Itinerary

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This is a guest post from Billy Read.

Nestled along the southern coast of Sweden, Malmo is an underrated gem just waiting to be explored. Though small in size, it packs a serious punch with its cobblestone squares, cutting-edge architecture, multicultural food scene, and trendy boutiques. Malmo makes for the perfect quick getaway, with a local and laidback vibe, and is an ideal day trip from Copenhagen.

Malmo can easily be seen in a day, so here is the ultimate one day itinerary to help you make the most of your limited time in this charming city. Read on for the can’t-miss sights, activities, eats, and hidden corners of Malmo.

Morning: Sightseeing In The Old Town

Begin your day by wandering around Gamla Stan, or Old Town, which is located on the Western side of the city centre. Built in the 16th century, it’s the oldest part of Malmo and arguably the most charming district with its medieval architecture and cobbled streets. Exploring this area is easily one of the most enjoyable things to do in Malmo.

Start your stroll at the main square, Lilla Torg, which is lined with outdoor cafes perfect for people watching. Pop into the Lilla Torg Apotek, a 500-year-old half-timbered pharmacy, to browse the antique medicines and tonics. The Malmo Museum is on the same square, with interesting exhibits on the city’s history and development.

The ornate red brick building of Malmo's town hall
Stortorget (photo copyright Billy Read)

Next, amble down the lively pedestrian walkway Sodergatan, which cuts through the heart of Gamla Stan, and browse the small shops and art galleries as you go. Stop at Malmo Chokladfabrik for mouthwatering handmade chocolates and fudge. Then be sure to weave your way over to Stortorget, another picturesque square, home to Malmo’s dramatic 16th century Rathaus, and admire the ornate step-gabled red brick building. If you’re up for a climb, you can pay a small fee to ascend the Rathaus’ spiral staircase for the panoramic views from the top of the tower.

Don’t miss the striking St. Peter’s Church just around the corner. Marvel at its whimsical roofline with four different styles of spires. This is considered one of the most beautiful churches in the region. Step inside to view the medieval interior, ancient tombs, and elaborately carved pulpit. Before leaving Gamla Stan, pop into cozy Johan K Coffee, tucked away on Katrinetorp. Order a cappuccino and freshly baked cinnamon roll to fuel up for more sightseeing. The eclectic local vibe makes it a great spot for a brief break.

Afternoon: Modern Architecture And Museums

After fuelling up on coffee and pastries, make your way across the canal to explore Malmo’s more modern and cutting-edge side. A stroll across the Turning Torso Bridge will bring you face-to-face with the city’s most futuristic structure – the twisting 190-meter skyscraper called Turning Torso. Acting almost like a gateway, the bridge and building symbolise your transition into Western Malmo and its contemporary architectural icons.

The white skyscraper of Turning Torso beside the water
Turning Torso (photo copyright Billy Read)

Next up is the striking Malmohus Castle, a formidable 16th century fortress overlooking the harbour. Marvel at the sheer size and dramatic presence of this Renaissance stronghold with its rounded corner towers. Here’s a little-known fact: Malmohus Castle is the oldest preserved Renaissance castle in Scandinavia. If you’re eager to learn more fascinating facts about Sweden while exploring, be sure to chat with one of the knowledgeable museum guides.

Now make your way over to Malmo’s burgeoning harbour district. Here you’ll find the Kockums Crane, the largest crane in Sweden, which reaches up to a whopping 97 meters high. It served for decades loading massive ships built at the Kockums Shipyard, but today is an impressive modern sculpture along Malmo’s revitalized harbourfront.

After getting your fill of modern architecture, spend some time diving into Malmo’s fantastic museums. And stroll down Jakob Nilsgatan Street, Malmo’s trendy creative artery lined with galleries, studios, shops, and street art. Duck into whichever boutiques and exhibit spaces strike your fancy to get a taste of the vibrant art scene.

You could climb to the top of the 19th century Malmo Lighthouse for sweeping views over the harbour and sound. Inside you’ll find an exhibit on the importance of lighthouses for navigation and trade in Malmo’s history. Or visit the Malmo Museum of Migration, showcasing thought-provoking exhibits on Swedish emigration and immigration over the past centuries. And don’t miss Sweden’s largest relic collection spanning 7,000 years at the Malmo Museum.

Evening: Dinner And Nightlife In Lilla Torg

As the sun begins to set, make your way back to the Lilla Torg area for dinner and nightlife. The square really comes alive in the evenings as locals flock here to dine al fresco, sip on cocktails, and enjoy live music. For a quintessentially Swedish dinner, try Den Gamle Port. Sit outside and feast on classic dishes like meatballs, herring, and seasonal specialties. Or check out Johan P for a more upscale Scandinavian meal presented with flair.

Three pieces of smørrebrød, topped with a mixture of vegetables and herbs
Swedish smørrebrød (photo copyright Billy Read)

In the mood for something more exotic? Try Syrian flavours at Babylon GBG or savour Indian curries at India Tadka. There are tons of international options surrounding Lilla Torg to sate any craving.

After dinner, grab drinks along the square at laidback bars like The Bishop’s Arms or Olsen Olsen. Soak up the lively atmosphere over beers, wine, or creative cocktails as locals fill the outdoor patios.

Stick around for live music! Tempo Bar & Kök has a basement venue hosting DJs and intimate concerts nightly across genres like jazz, funk, soul. Or sing along to piano tunes at the Moosehead Bar. With such amazing nightlife, you’ll be tempted to extend your Malmo day trip into the evening!

Extend Your Stay In Malmo

If you find yourself charmed by Malmo and wanting more, there are plenty of ways to extend your one day itinerary into a longer trip:

  • Take an evening stroll through Pildammsparken, a huge peaceful park perfect for picnicking and paddle boating during the day.
  • Wander through Ribersborg Beach and try beach bathing at the 1930s classic sandy beach along the sound.
  • Tour Malmo Castle, a Renaissance castle with a disturbing history as a prison that has now been converted into a museum.
  • Check out more neighbourhoods like the funky Möllan district or the posh area of Ribersborg.
  • Make a quick trip across the Öresund Straight to Copenhagen via train or car.
  • Take a day trip to medieval Lund to see its striking 12th century cathedral and university history.
  • Visit in December when Lilla Torg Square sparkles with Christmas lights and markets.
Large imposing fortress with red walls, with its reflection visible in the water around it.
Malmohus Castle (photo copyright Billy Read)

How to Get To Malmo

Malmo is easily accessible by plane, train, ferry, or car:

  • Fly directly to Malmo Airport from destinations across Europe on SAS and Ryanair. The airport is less than 10 km from the city centre.
  • Take the train from cities across Denmark and Sweden on SJ or Oresund trains. Malmo is just a 35 minute ride from Copenhagen central station.
  • The ferry from Copenhagen to Malmo Harbour on the Oresund Line takes around 20 minutes.
  • Drive over the Oresund Bridge from Copenhagen in 40 minutes or via the E20 highway from other cities in Sweden.

Conclusion

With its blend of medieval charm, cutting-edge culture, diverse dining, and trendy nightlife stuffed into a compact area, it is easy to have an amazing day in this dynamic city. Following this one day itinerary highlights the very best of Malmo, so you can make the most of your limited time here. From the historic cobbled lanes of Gamla Stan to the futuristic architecture along the harbour, Malmo seamlessly blends old and new.

The city offers a little something for every traveller whether you’re an art lover, museum buff, foodie, or nightlife seeker. Its multicultural influences infuse Malmo with a vibrant, youthful energy lacking in some other Swedish cities.

In the old town of Malmo, a square surrounded by large and imposing historic buildings
Gamla Stadet (photo copyright Billy Read)

Don’t let Malmo’s small size fool you – this city packs a serious punch. Its compact layout makes it the perfect destination for a quick trip that can easily be done in just 24 hours. By focusing your limited time on the highlights in this itinerary, you’re guaranteed to leave charmed by Malmo’s cozy character, cutting-edge culture, and culinary creativity.

With an efficient one day game plan in place, get ready to fall in love with this dynamic, underrated city!

Malmo FAQs

  • What is the best time of year to visit Malmo? Late spring and early autumn are ideal times to visit Malmo, with pleasant weather perfect for outdoor sightseeing and activities. Summer draws more crowds, while shoulder season offers mild weather with fewer tourists.
  • How many days do you need in Malmo? One day is sufficient to see the highlights of Malmo. For a more relaxed pace, 2-3 days would allow you to dive deeper into museums, day trips, Malmo’s food scene, and nightlife.
  • What is the best way to get from Copenhagen to Malmo? The quickest and most scenic way to reach Malmo from Copenhagen is via the Oresund train crossing the Oresund Bridge. This only takes about 35 minutes.
  • Is Malmo safe for tourists? Yes, Malmo is very safe for tourists. Violent crime is rare and the city centre is very walkable day or night. Basic precautions for travel still apply.
  • What is there to do in Malmo at night? At night, locals and tourists alike flock to Lilla Torg square for al fresco dining, cocktails at bars, and live music in the many venues around the square.
  • What is the best way to get around Malmo? As a compact city, Malmo is very walkable. Bikes can be rented, or use buses and trains for longer distances. Cabs are affordable, as is ridesharing.

Author bio: Billy is a deaf travel blogger from Birmingham, UK. Through his blog BRB Gone Somewhere Epic, Billy dismantles the myth that travel is too expensive and shows that you can enjoy hidden gems even in popular tourist destinations.

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