This press trip was kindly sponsored by Malmö Tourism, who covered my flights, accommodation and expenses, thank you to Malmö!
Malmö – Sweden’s third largest city – is the cool, under the radar, smaller, coastal cousin to Stockholm and Gothenburg. It’s creative, multi-cultural, laid-back and somewhere where you can live like a local for the weekend. Just a 25 minute train ride from Copenhagen Airport, across the TV-famous Öresund bridge, Malmö is the ideal getaway for a relaxed Scandi city break.
And it’s perfect in the summer, when everything and everyone moves from the cosy indoors to outside, and the city comes to life – cafes spill out onto the pavement, boats meander along the canal and locals flock to the waterside for a swim. Most things are walkable and if they’re not, there’s always bicycles – one of the best ways to see the city.
Hannah (of Copenhagen-based blog Hannah in the House) and I spent a lovely, jam-packed 48 hours in Malmö at the beginning of August and still had plenty of things left on our list that we hadn’t ticked off by the end of the trip. Malmö might be small and a slightly more alternative offering to the popular Nordic destinations but don’t underestimate what it can offer in terms of culture and cuisine.
You might have seen my guide to the best places to enjoy traditional Swedish fika in the city (see the post here), but today I’m sharing my design guide to Malmö – from beach picnics and pedalos to the best Nordic eateries and cultural hotspots. Let’s go!
Things to do
– Exploring the old town
The historical district of Malmö and the heart of the city – Gamla Staden – is the best place to start to get your bearings. It’s encircled by water and bordered on one side by greenery, thanks to the city’s green lung, the Kungsparken. To the west you’ll find Gamla Väster, a series of quaint, postcard-perfect streets lined with traditional Swedish houses in bright yellow tones and ochre hues. Jakob Nilsgatan is one of the prettiest. After a relaxed wander, you can stop at Noir Kaffekultur on Engelbrektsgatan for a little pick-me-up.
Get a unique perspective of the city from the water and hire a pedalo or city boat for a fun jaunt around the canal. With Bookaboat you can even drive your own electrical boat on the water and enjoy a picnic on board. It’s the perfect vantage point to admire the eclectic architecture, where clean, contemporary blocks are sandwiched between neoclassical buildings and low-rise maritime warehouses.
– Arts & Culture
Modern Museet Malmö
You can’t miss Malmö’s museum for modern and contemporary art – it’s bright, luminous orange. Designed by Tham & Videgård Arkitekter (read my interview with the Stockholm-based practice in Blueprint here) and opened in 2009, it combines the spaces of a disused power station with a contemporary painted steel facade. Exhibitions alternate regularly and entry is free of charge.
Modern Museet Malmö, Ola Billgrens plats 2-4, 211 29 Malmö, open 11am to 6pm, closed Mondays
Located in the heart of the city, this cultural centre is a hub for architecture and design. There’s two floors of exhibition space as well as a small cafe and a shop selling local design and Swedish products. When we visited there was an exhibition of handmade pieces by up-and-coming names and a project on sustainability from the Masters students at Lund University. Free entry.
Form/Design Center, Lilla torg 9, 211 34 Malmö, open 11am to 5pm Tuesday – Saturday, 12pm to 4pm on Sundays, closed Mondays
Ribersborg beach is just a 20 minute wander from the city centre, or a 5 minute bike ride. There’s a three kilometre stretch of sand and calm, shallow water that’s just right for swimming – you’ll find the Swedes in there with all the family, even the dog!
On a clear day you can see across to Copenhagen and watch the sunset over the Öresund bridge. While from the shore you can’t miss the ‘Turning Torso’, an eye-catching, 190m-tall tower designed by Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava.
And if you have a hire car and want to explore further afield, the wider area of Skåne has a wealth of beautiful beaches that would make a wonderful road trip.
– Picnic on the beach
On our last evening Hannah and I wanted to do something a little special, so we headed straight to our favourite designs shops in town – H&M Home and Granit (one not to miss!) – to pick up some supplies for a stylish Swedish picnic on the beach. As the sun went down we drank chilled rose and nibbled on open sandwiches with gravlax, prawns and potato salad. Bliss – just watch out for the wasps!
– Ribersborgs Kallbadhus
If you want to experience Malmö like a true Swede you have to be brave and get in the water (this is one of the things we didn’t get round to… but more because there were so many other things to do). Established in 1898, Ribersborgs Kallbadhus is an open-air public bath, where you can swim in the ocean, relax on the sun deck or sauna and have a massage. By the way, it’s nudist!
Ribersborgs Kallbadhus, 217 59 Malmö, open 9am to 9pm daily, 9am to 6pm on Saturdays and Sundays
Places to eat and drink
*Don’t miss my previous post all about the best places to enjoy fika in Malmö – the everyday ritual of taking a pause and sharing a warming cup of coffee and a conversation with a friend.*
One of the reasons we fell in love with Malmö was because of its cafe and restaurant scene, there’s everything from green-filled cafes and bucolic garden terraces to concept stores and intimate neighbourhood spots. Every place is well-designed and welcoming. And you’ll certainly eat and drink well in this city – we enjoyed vegan cardamom buns and healthy salads, open sandwiches piled high with smoked salmon and prawns, as well as contemporary Nordic cuisine and fresh fish.
– Malmö Saluhall
This indoor food market is a must for foodies, whether you want to stop for a coffee, take time over lunch or simply have a browse. Located across from the central station, the space was designed by Wingårdh Arkitektkontor AB in 2016, making use of an old, roofless freight depot on the site. Inside the weathered steel shell you’ll find ice cream masters, cheesemongers, a farm shop, pizza stalls and salad bars. We enjoyed open sandwiches in the stylish setting of Malmstens Fisk (top tip: every Friday after work during oyster season they have oysters and bubbles).
Malmö Saluhall, Gibraltargatan 6, 211 18 Malmö, open daily
– Bord 13
Right in the centre of the city, Bord 13 is a small restaurant with a simple menu. They try to deliver food and (natural) wine with the smallest amount of steps from soil to the table. Bord 13 offers a thoughtful set menu with a focus on seasonal, fresh, local produce – they never serve red-listed fish and shellfish and use food with as few additives as possible. They offer little amuse bouches that delight the senses between courses – we had an incredibly clear cabbage broth and a delicate dish of finely sliced mushrooms on a wafer-thin crisp. Other dishes included trout, followed by roasted globe artichokes, and finally a refreshing cucumber sorbet and meringue.
Bord 13, Engelbrektsgatan 13, 211 33 Malmö, open daily except Sundays and Mondays
Other places that were on our list:
Julie – a small wine bar in the old town
Boulebar – a cool bar housed in an old 19th century riding house where you can play boules
Lyran – an intimate restaurant serving local, Scandinavian fare
Saltimporten – a canteen in the industrial harbour offering two simple dishes a day for lunch
Bastard – a restaurant offering nose-to-tail cooking with a French focus
Johan P. – a smart fish restaurant in the centre of the city
– AB Småland – a cafe and a lifestyle concept store – the owner describes it as a place ‘where the unexpected meets the traditional’, somewhere where you’ll find natural vegan food, plants a plenty, vintage homewares and fashion made from organic or recycled material.
AB Småland, Södra Förstadsgatan 25-27, 211 43 Malmö
– Grandpa – Next door to AB Småland you’ll find this store, curated around the nordic way of life.
Grandpa, Södra Förstadsgatan 25, 211 43 Malmö
– Miloii – a lovely lifestyle boutique with a mix of homeware and fashion from the likes of Ganni.
Miloii, Engelbrektsgatan 17, 211 46 Malmö
Where to stay
– Ohboy Hotel
A stone’s throw from the beach and a quick bus or bicycle ride from the centre, Ohboy Hotel comprises 31 compact, loft-style apartments overlooking a skate park. Each split level room has a small kitchenette, a double bed and two bicycles to explore the city with. Our room had been decorated with a selection of unique objects by local designers and curated by Swedish design studio TypeO. There was a monochrome theme to the space, with display plinths, well-crafted easy chairs and sculptural objects – all of which could be found in the Form/Design Center in town.
Ohboy Hotel, Lilla Varvsgatan 24, 211 19 Malmö
So there we have it – how to spend a stylish weekend in Malmö. Have you visited the city? What did you think and would you go again?
All images Cate St Hill
The post The CSH Travel Guide: 48 hours in Malmö appeared first on cate st hill.