If you feel Sweden is too Swedish, you should visit Malmö. Malmö is more like continental Europe, with its traditional corner pubs (where there are no bouncers, even on a Saturday night), honking car horns, dogs that are allowed to roam free (on the northern part of the Ribersborgsstranden), numerous bakeries called “brödbutik” (i.e. bread shops) and bus drivers playing Arabic music on their radios. Some restaurants have a common toilet for men and women, and waiters sometimes put their hands on a guest’s shoulder while serving him/her.
Ideal for cyclists and bathing lovers
Malmö has many large squares, wide streets and fashionable boulevards. There is plenty of space everywhere, even in the city centre. The city is therefore a paradise for cyclists and ranked as one of the ten most bicycle-friendly cities in the world.
In the summer, you should not forget your swimwear as there is a great sandy beach on the Öresund, right in the middle of the city. It’s name is Ribersborgsstranden, but most people usually just call it “Ribban”. For cold water enthusiasts there is a winter swimming facility, sauna, café and restaurant called Ribersborgs Kallbadhus.
Västra Hamnen with the Turning Torso
A very modern and architecturally interesting residential and office district has emerged on a former shipyard area (Kockums). This district has the 190 m high Turning Torso as its landmark. The area is called Västra Hamnen (Western Harbour). A Swedish TV show for kids used to be shot here in the summer. At the end of the show, the guests jumped into the water and read the water temperature on a thermometer floating in the harbour, while the young audience screamed for joy. You could usually see countless sailing and motorboats in the background, a blue summer sky and the bright white facades of the surrounding office buildings – it was a perfect promotion for a summer holiday in Malmö.
In sharp contrast to the highly modern Western Harbour there is Gamla Staden, Malmö’s old town. Here stand many buildings that are hundreds of years old, including Scanian half-timbered houses and Hanseatic-looking houses made of dark red brick. These buildings are often integrated into modern conservatory glass structures.
Old often stands next to new (a good example is the Malmö Central station) and the height of the buildings varies greatly, with three-storey houses often standing next to larger ones of five or six storeys. The mix of styles, colours and height results in a colourful, lively town centre. This pleasing mixture continues even in the extremely varied development found in the Western Harbour.
Unfortunately, whole districts of Malmö disappeared in the demolition craze of 1955 – 1980. Back then it was called “total renovation”. Small houses, where artisans, workers and bohemian Malmö lived, had to make way for gigantic hotels, offices and shopping complexes. This madness only stopped in the eighties. This was partly the result of insight and partly because the city ran out of money due to the shipyard crisis. Fortunately, some of the original buildings of Malmö survived.
City tour with the bus route no. 3
An inexpensive city tour can be done by jumping on bus no. 3 (“ringlinje”), which goes in a circle around downtown Malmö. The ideal place to start the tour is the main railway station (“Centralen”).
Short trip over the Öresund Bridge to Copenhagen
Anyone who spends a few days in Malmö, should take the opportunity to explore Copenhagen, the Danish capital. All the transport you need is just over the Öresund Bridge – by car, bus or train. The bus (line 999) takes about 60 minutes and the train (Öresundstågen) about 35 minutes from Central Station to Central Station.
Malmö belongs to Skåne (Scania), a region with long history, flourishing culture and acclaimed cuisine. It is often noted that Skåne is both Swedish and a little Danish.
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Hotels in Malmö
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Bathing all year round: Ribersborgs Kallbadhus
Here you can take a swim if you are a good swimmer: Scaniabadet
Western Harbour where you also find the Turning Torso (see photo on the top of this page)
Nice café in the Slottsträdgården park
The Malmo food hall
The shopping mall Emporia in Hyllie
From the roof top of the shopping mall you can see the Öresund bridge