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.
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.
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!
In 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.
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.
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!
© 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.
A typical street house in Ystad.
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.
Lentils wrapped in sliced courgette with hummus and topped with petals.
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.
So now I have to ask…