Crossing the Bridge from Copenhagen to Malmo – Just Do It!

Street Art in Malmo, South #Sweden

I hear a lot about people going to Copenhagen, but why aren’t those people going to Malmo too? It’s a travesty that this city gets overlooked.

I’m not saying choose Malmo over Copenhagen, what I’m saying is, choose both cities!

Tell me more…

Copenhagen is located in Denmark, whereas Malmo is located in Sweden. It’s not often you can visit two cities in two different countries that are so close to one another.

They’re only 30 minutes apart by train. In London it takes me longer to get from one end of the Northern Line to the other. Actually, it takes double that time. Sometimes it takes me longer to get out of bed in a morning too.

The train crosses the famous Oresund Bridge, which is somewhat of a star attraction in itself, 16 km in length and built to last. This spectacular feat of engineering juts out from the sea like a steel dragon.

Cross the Oresund Bridge between Copenhagen and Malmo

© Visit Sweden

Despite their close proximity, they have very different personalities. Copenhagen feels like the over-achieving classmate, where Malmo is like the cool kid in class who didn’t bother to turn up most of the time. In other words, they’re chalk and cheese yet complement each other like bangers and mash.

I don’t want you to think I’m giving Copenhagen a bashing, I love the city. A lot. But after visiting Malmo, I found myself wondering why I didn’t go the first time round when I was in Copenhagen….. The answer is that nobody was telling or encouraging me to go. So my aim in writing this is to encourage you to go to Malmo, Sweden’s 3rd largest city.

Malmo city centre

Malmo's Old Town

What about the money?

It’s cheaper! Even the Danes appreciate this. It, therefore, comes as no surprise that Danes make up the second largest inhabitants of Malmo; after Swedes. Many people working in Copenhagen actually choose to live in Malmo, the numbers grew significantly after the bridge was built in 2000.

As a visitor you can take heed by staying in Malmo to save money on accommodation. Or to balance things out, divide your time between both cities. Spend a few nights in Malmo and a few nights in Copenhagen to soak up the atmosphere of each city to a fuller capacity.

What can I do in Malmo?

Malmo has a very local vibe; you get the impression that when you’re here, you are walking alongside those who call this place home. But even though it doesn’t feel touristy there’s still an international crowd with over 170 different nationalities from around the world, making it the most multicultural city in Sweden. I’ve heard some people don’t like Malmo for this reason, but this is just one of the many reasons why I like it. I love it when I see cultures coming together in one city. It’s universal progress.

In keeping with many cities in Scandinavia, Malmo has a huge bicycle culture which also probably explains why toned legs are part of the landscape in this neck of the woods!

Bicycle culture in Malmo

Old Town of MalmoIn recent years, the Oresund Bridge and the region that surrounds both cities have been popularized by the success of Nordic Noir TV series, The Bridge. The success of The Bridge has attracted a new wave of visitors to Malmo who perhaps would otherwise have overlooked the city in favour of Stockholm, Gothenburg and its Danish neighbour, Copenhagen.

For those of you who’ve not yet watched the gritty crime drama which has recently begun airing its 3rd series, the first ever episode opens to the discovery of a dead body on the Oresund bridge and the premise of the entire 1st series seeks to discover who did it and why. It’s extremely intelligent and ideal for those who like to get their teeth into meaty plot lines with a political slant. I’m also obsessed with the protagonist, Saga. It’s impossible not to be as far as I’m concerned.

During the summer, holiday goers and locals alike flock to Western Harbour to relax on the boardwalk. Take in the glistening views of the Oresund and more recently, fans of the series arrive to catch a glimpse of the infamous bridge and other nearby areas that make an appearance in the TV drama.

One of the surprising things about Malmo is how picturesque it is. After watching The Bridge it’s easy to imagine the city as an industrial grey chasm of bleakness but that perception couldn’t be further from the truth. A stroll through the old town completely rebuffs this notion as it can charm the socks off anyone with its cobbled streets, colourful houses and leafy parks.

Malmo city

In contrast, Malmo is not without its urban chic, with street art, exhibition centres and pop-up bars throwing a smattering of grit into the mix.

Street art in Malmo #Sweden

Malmo is also home to the iconic Turning Torso Malmo, if you’re an architecture boffin, you’ll probably already know about it. And if you don’t, you won’t forget it when you see it!

Malmo's Western Harbour

© Visit Sweden

As well as Copenhagen, Malmo has many other places of interest all within an hour’s reach of the city by train, including the historical university town of Lund, the beautiful harbour city of Helsingborg, and Ystad, arguably Sweden’s prettiest town.

The picturesque town of Ystad in South Sweden
A typical street house in Ystad.

Ales Stenar (Ale's Stones) in Skane

If you have a car you can explore the whole of South Sweden from Malmo, it’s such a beautiful area and well worth exploring if you have the opportunity. The rock formations known as Ales Stenar are a popular attraction nearby Ystad.

The food, tell me about the food!

As with all great cities, places to enjoy good food are often in abundance. This is, of course, expected from Copenhagen which has its name boldly printed in the foodie hall of fame, but what about Malmo? Well, it certainly surprised me.

For some seriously tasty food I recommend Belle Epoque. The menu is limited, with only two options each for meat, fish and vegetarian. I opted for one vegetarian and one seafood dish. You’ll find that most restaurants that get their supplies seasonally and locally usually have less variety on their menus to avoid waste but each dish is superbly crafted. And with it being extremely fresh, you can taste the difference too.

Belle Epoque restaurant, Malmo

 Lentils wrapped in sliced courgette with hummus and topped with petals.

Belle Epoque Restaurant in Malmo, #Sweden

Cod and Mussels in a very light cream sauce.

More and more cafes and restaurants are cropping up in the city which are redefining the way we think about food and our relationship with it. Proving that Malmo is a force to be reckoned with, is the White Guide that published an edition solely for Skane, the region that encompasses Malmo. If you’re not familiar with the White Guide, this is Sweden’s version of the Michelin Guide.

Malmo city centre
So now I have to ask…

Will you visit Malmo if you go to Copenhagen?



A travel & culture blog specialising in Scandinavia and the Arctic, peppered with the rest of the world in between.


'Crossing the Bridge from Copenhagen to Malmo – Just Do It!' have 28 comments

  1. December 6, 2015 @ 10:50 am Richard

    I went for a day trip cross the bridge in 2002 – I remember the old town, lots of cobbled streets, no Turning Torso and everything being shut (it was a Sunday). I love The Bridge too, so would love to go back and spot locations. I’ve also heard it’s the unofficial falafel capital of Europe!

    Reply

    • December 6, 2015 @ 4:06 pm Van (@snowintromso)

      You should definitely go again! The Turning Torso is great and everything is open on Sundays now too 😉 I’ve been there the last two summers and would absolutely go again next year 😉
      @Shing: Beautiful pictures!! 🙂

      Reply

      • December 6, 2015 @ 7:46 pm Shing Yoong

        Thanks Van! I completely agree with you, Rich should definitely go again! I love the area around Western Harbour, and I also really like the Old Town with all the cobbled streets. Malmo is underrated for sure.

        Reply

    • December 6, 2015 @ 7:43 pm Shing Yoong

      So much has changed since 2002 (as Van pointed out too), I think you’d find the differences really interesting Richard! Ooou I’m glad another Bridge fan has piped up, the 3rd series is just as good as I hoped it would be!

      Haha, well that’s new to me. I’ll make sure to have falafel next time!

      Reply

  2. December 6, 2015 @ 3:20 pm Rianne

    Thanks for the tip! I really like the blogposts where you get some insiders tips! Nobody needs to convince me to go to Copenhagen, but I would never visit Malmo I think, until now haha!

    Reply

    • December 6, 2015 @ 7:50 pm Shing Yoong

      Hi Rianne, I’m glad this post has put Malmo on the map for you, it’s a fabulous addition to any Copenhagen itinerary!

      Reply

  3. December 8, 2015 @ 6:19 am CL (RealGunners)

    I don’t suppose the bridge is only for trains? I’ll totally rent a car and go for it!

    Reply

    • December 9, 2015 @ 10:13 pm Shing Yoong

      The bridge is for cars and trains! The engineering is really innovative in that there’s two layers to the bridge with the cars going along the top and the train underneath! You should totally rent a car!!

      Reply

  4. December 8, 2015 @ 9:03 am Megan

    After reading this I will now have to visit Malmö if I reach as far as Copenhagen on my Europe trip next year!

    Reply

    • December 9, 2015 @ 11:19 pm Shing Yoong

      Glad to hear it Megan! When the time comes, let me know if you have any questions!

      Reply

      • November 6, 2016 @ 11:21 am Jennifer

        I’m visiting Copenhagen jingle January 2017 and wold love some tips on best attractions to see or restaurants to visit.

        Reply

        • November 15, 2016 @ 3:59 pm Shing Yoong

          Hi Jennifer, sorry for the delay in getting back to you. Whilst you’re in Copenhagen I suggest you look at this 10 Top list I put together for more inspiration: http://www.theculturemap.com/10-must-see-do-attractions-copenhagen/

          Also, not on the list but highly recommended if you have more time is Lousiana Sculpture Park, it’s one of the best galleries I’ve ever visited and it’s set in a beautiful location (though might not have the same buoyancy in winter)! It takes approximately 35 minutes to get there from Copenhagen on the train – the station you need to get off at is Humlebæk. https://en.louisiana.dk/exhibition/sculpture-park

          Hopefully Tivoli will still have all its Xmas decorations up by the time you go, you’ll be in for a treat if it does!

          In terms of food, I recommend checking out this comprehensive food map and you can search by area/ rating and cuisine: http://cphpost.dk/foodie-map
          Make sure you don’t miss Torvehallerne food market, and also the Meat Packing district for some great restaurants. If you want to book somewhere for a treat I recommend Geranium, but you need to book in advance! Let me know if you have anymore questions!

          Reply

          • November 23, 2016 @ 11:06 pm Claire

            Hi Shing, I am visiting Copenhagen for new year and would love to visit Malmo aswell. Sadly I only have a 3 night stay in total and my visit to Malmo would have to be New Year’s Day. Would there be enough open on this day. Thanks for your help

  5. December 9, 2015 @ 6:25 am Victoria@ The British Berliner

    This is great Shing! And your photos are marvellous as usual.
    Being that I have a school-aged child, I plan destinations well ahead of time!!! The Easter holiday is booked as we’re going to Spain & Portugal and I was looking for somewhere to go for a week in the summer as we’re booked out with summer camp, grandparents in Northern Germany, etc and I needed somewhere closer to Germany. And now I know where to go – Denmark! I used to go quite a lot as it’s “just around the corner” from Germany lol but it’s been years since I last went to Copenhagen.

    Will I visit Malmo if I go to Copenhagen? Absolutely!

    Reply

    • December 20, 2015 @ 8:32 pm Shing Yoong

      Yey, Denmark is so close to Germany so it would be a perfect short-break getaway for you and your family! Hopefully you’ll see some changes since your last visit, especially if you go across to Malmo!

      Reply

  6. December 9, 2015 @ 9:52 am Mirøslav Hristøff

    It’s funny how sometimes very often, something interesting is so near to us and we don’t see it. Like the case with Malmo and Copenhagen. Thank you for the beautiful urban pictures!

    Reply

    • December 20, 2015 @ 8:41 pm Shing Yoong

      It’s true, we often take what we have for granted when it’s on our doorstep. We should always try to look at things with new eyes, eh Miroslav?

      Reply

  7. January 21, 2016 @ 5:42 pm Helen Moat

    Can you cycle it??

    Reply

  8. May 14, 2016 @ 12:24 am Irvin

    Hi Shing,

    Great post! I’m flying in to Copenhagen with my partner in a few weeks. We will be there for 10 nights, but he’ll be off to a conference near Aarhus midway through the trip. We’re definitely planning on hopping over to Malmo even for just a day trip. But for the 2nd half of the trip when I will be myself, and will have seen much of Copenhagen, I wonder if you have any advice on where else one should go to in Denmark?

    Thanks,

    Irvin

    PS., love your blog!

    Reply

    • May 15, 2016 @ 11:04 am Shing Yoong

      Hey Irvin, great to hear you’ll be heading to Copenhagen for a decent amount of time, and that you’ll be taking a trip to Malmo!

      In the 2nd week you should definitely take a trip to Lousiana Sculpture Park, it’s one of the best galleries I’ve ever visited and it’s set in a beautiful location. It takes approximately 35 minutes to get there from Copenhagen on the train – the station you need to get off at is Humlebæk. https://en.louisiana.dk/exhibition/sculpture-park

      Another day I recommend you take the train to Helsingor, famous for Hamlet’s Castle (approx 55mins from Copenhagen). From this town you can also take the 20-minute ferry across the Oresund to Helsingborg in Sweden and wander around for a few hours. You can visit both as a day trip!

      I hope you have a fabulous time, and if you have any questions don’t hesitate to ask! 🙂

      Reply

  9. May 22, 2016 @ 5:55 pm Jacinth

    Hi Shing,

    Your post really helps to plan my trip! Me and a friend of mine would be visiting Copenhagen in about a month’s time, and we are wondering if staying in Malmo and commuting to visit Copenhagen is a good idea? And of course at the same time, to visit Malmo as well. We’ll be there for about 4 days. Or do you have any suggestions? Any other inside tips are also very welcomed, especially for food both in Malmo and Copenhagen.

    Thank you!
    Jacinth

    Reply

    • May 29, 2016 @ 9:20 am Shing Yoong

      Hi Jacinth, sorry for the late reply. Staying in Malmo and commuting to Copenhagen is a good idea if you’re on a budget as the hotels are better priced. However, there’s a lot more to do in Copenhagen so I would stay in Copenhagen if that was your initial intention. However, you could spend 2 nights in Copenhagen and 2 nights in Malmo… that way you get to see more of south Sweden too. From Malmo, the historical town of Lund is only 20 minutes on the train. And Ystad and Helsingborg are approx 45-55 mins. All places are worth visiting. If the weather is sunny I recommend going to Ystad because it’s a really pretty town and by the sea: http://www.theculturemap.com/ystad-the-wisteria-lane-of-south-sweden/
      However, if the weather isn’t good, I recommend staying in the bigger cities because there are more things to do.
      Let me know if you’ve got anymore questions!

      Reply

  10. February 28, 2017 @ 12:59 pm Paul Hastings

    Hi Shing, I have only just discovered your fantastic blog whilst digging around for some information on Copenhagen which I am visiting for the first time in a couple of weeks. This is a great post and is something that I have discussed with my friend who I am travelling with, the opportunity to visit two countries on a long weekend away sounds too good to pass up.

    I have really enjoyed dipping into Culturemap, what great inspirational places you have visited (and fantastic photos), I think you may have triggered my wanderlust again.

    Best of luck with your studies and keep up the good work.
    Paul

    Reply

  11. May 16, 2017 @ 1:06 pm stephen

    hi doing a bike ride in motala in june , the idea is to
    fly into copehagen and riding up to motala .
    looking to find best way across to malmo , is the bike ferry up and running yet ?
    regards stephen

    Reply

  12. June 18, 2017 @ 7:06 pm Anna

    Lovely post. I am going to Malmo this week and you really made it sound beautiful.
    http://www.postcardsfromtheworld.com

    Reply

  13. August 6, 2017 @ 3:48 pm Trailokya Jena

    Hi Shing,
    I am from New Delhi, India and I have been looking at your posts which are very instructing. I shall be visiting Sweden in mid September as a first time visitor to Scandinavia. I am planning to take a train from Stockholm to Malmo and stay there for sometime. Since I also like to visit Copenhagen, I wonder if one can visit it on a daily basis while staying in Malmo. And is it easy to take a transport, may be a taxi, from Malmo to catch a flight from Copenhagen Airport? If so what can one do to ensure a safe journey from Malmo to the Airport in Copenhagen. Regards.

    Reply


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