12 Unique Things to Do in Malmo

by Paul Joseph  |  Published July 1, 2024

Linked with Denmark by a bridge spanning almost eight kilometres, the coastal city of Malmö in southern Sweden makes for a great weekend break with tons of unique things to see and do.

Malmö Castle seen over the moat (Photo: Susanne Nilsson via Flickr / CC BY-SA 2.0)

Lying at the eastern end of the striking Öresund Bridge, the city attracts large numbers of tourists with its eye-catching architecture, alluring food scene and cobblestone square lined with cafes, half-timbered houses and shops selling local handicrafts. If you’re coming to Malmö and want to maximise your stay with an action-packed itinerary, here are some of the most unique ways to spend your time in the city.

Visit a historic castle

When one thinks of Scandinavia’s military history, it is inevitably the fearsome image of sea-faring Vikings that springs most readily to mind. But its capacity for battle can also be seen in a sprinkling of stately castles dotted around the region. With origins dating back to the mid-15th century, Malmö Castle lays claim to being one of Scandinavia’s oldest Renaissance castles, with parts of the original citadel still visible, along with an elegant storehouse with Dutch Renaissance gables that were added in the 17th century. Inside, you’ll also find a museum (see below), featuring exhibits relating to history, nature, technology, shipping and more.

Malmöhusvägen 6 / Fri-Weds 11am-5pm Thurs 11am-7pm Closed Mon

Escape to an urban park

The ideal antidote to the hustle and bustle of the city, Folkets Park is an urban oasis in the centre of Malmö – but it wasn’t always this way. By the early 1990s, the park had become neglected, rundown and in desperate need of a remake. That duly came courtesy of extensive renovations that transformed the park into the picture-postcard public space we see today. As well as its natural beauty, there’s also an array of recreation and entertainment options, including playgrounds, a children’s theatre, a petting farm, miniature golf and an array of eating options. During the summer months, there are also regular open-air festivals, concerts and films, as well as an amusement park offering carousel rides and other family-friendly activities.

Amiralsgatan 35 / Open all hours

The scenic environs of Folkets Park (Photo: Maria Eklind via Flickr / CC BY-SA 2.0)

Take in some culture

Found within Malmö Castle (see above), Malmö Museum packs a remarkable amount into its confines. Home to an impressive collection of exhibits and artefacts, including paintings, women’s clothing, guns, as well as an aquarium and a real-life submarine, the museum chronicles the often tumultuous history of the region. Highlights include galleries dedicated to Nordic art, stuffed animals and instruments of torture, and visitors can also step back in time by looking around the castle’s original prison cells and the King’s Quarters.

Malmöhusvägen 6 / Fri-Weds 11am-5pm Thurs 11am-7pm Closed Mon

For a quirkier museum experience, the Disgusting Food Museum celebrates how food can bridge cultures and connect people. Challenging perceptions of what is edible, the museum showcases 80 of the world’s most unusual food items, shining a light on the allure and fascination of the weird, different, macabre, and disgusting. Visitors will discover how disgust, a universal emotion, varies greatly across cultures, with what is delicious to one person often revolting to another. Highlights include the chance to smell the world’s stinkiest cheese and taste the infamous Swedish fermented herring, Surströmming.

Södra Förstadsgatan 2 / Mon-Sun 11am-5pm

A bull’s penis on display at the Disgusting Food Museum (Photo: Disgusting Food Museum)

Travel across a bridge linking two countries

Connecting Malmö with the Danish capital Copenhagen, the 7,845-metre-long Øresund Bridge can be seen from miles and miles around. But to truly appreciate the engineering ingenuity that went into one of Europe’s longest bridges, you may want to get up close and personal by traversing it yourself. Accessible by car, train, and bus, visitors can cross the bridge independently or as part of a wide choice of guided tours that start either on the Swedish or Danish side. Be sure to take your camera to capture those jaw-dropping bridge vistas.

You can cross Øresund Bridge during a guided tour of Lund and Malmö, bookable via GetYourGuide

Øresund Bridge set against a burning sky (Photo: Maria Eklind via Flickr / CC BY-SA 2.0)

Explore the local art scene

Malmö has a thriving arts scene and at its beating heart is the Moderna Museet. Set in a converted former power station close to the city’s historic centre, the museum houses an internationally renowned collection of modern and contemporary art spanning the entire 20th century. Notable historic names from the art world represented at the museum include Dali, Kandinsky, Matisse and Picasso, while the work of a number of Scandinavian artists can also be found here.

Ola Billgrens plats 2-4 / Tues-Weds & Fri-Sun 11am-5pm Thurs 11am-7pm Closed Mon

An exhibition room at Moderna Museet (Photo: Gordon Anthony McGowan via Flickr / CC BY-SA 2.0)

Another of the city’s major arts institutions is Malmö Konsthall, a prestigious exhibition hall situated just south of the centre. The venue also focuses on contemporary art, with diverse artwork that includes modern classics and experimental pieces all on display across its 2,000 square metres of exhibition space. Previous exhibits have featured an eclectic range of renowned international artists including Edvard Munch, Vincent van Gogh, Louise Bourgeois and Keith Haring.

S:t Johannesgatan 7 / Tues & Thurs-Sun 11am-5pm Weds 11am-7pm Closed Mon

If you prefer to enjoy your art with a breeze in your hair, then you’re in luck thanks to the considerable efforts of ArtScape, a nonprofit organisation set up to promote public art for everyone. Back in 2014, the group initiated Sweden’s first major street art festival in Malmö, kickstarting a transformation of the city into a veritable open-air gallery. Today, numerous murals and sculptures can be seen dotted around its streets, catching the eye of all who pass them. The organisation also created a unique indoor experience at Hangaren, where various urban artists have put their graffiti skills up for appreciation.

Jump aboard a canal boat tour

The network of canals that meander through Malmö are among the city’s most scenic characteristics – and one of the best ways to explore them is by boat. There are a number of tour companies operating in the city offering boat rides aboard open-top vessels that pass along the canals and under bridges, with passengers taking in the sights from the water as they go Along the way, expert guides will provide fascinating facts and stories about the various landmarks on the canal banks and the city as a whole.

You can book a Malmö boat your at GetYourGuide

A boat passes under a Malmö bridge (Photo: Strömma Turism & Sjöfart AB / Courtesy GetYourGuide)

Get a taste of the local food scene

There are few better ways of getting to know a place than by taking in the sights, sounds and – in the case of Möllevångstorget – aromas of a local market. The bustling street food market can be found in the eponymous main square of Möllevången, one of the city’s most fashionable districts, with the array of ethnic fare on sale – ranging from falafel wraps to Korean BBQ – exuding distinctly foodie hipster vibes. Surrounding the square are a number of bars, cafes and restaurants which hum with activity come evening time.

Food stalls at Möllevångstorget (Photo: Jorge Franganillo / Courtesy GetYourGuide)

An integral feature of Sweden’s food culture is ‘fika’, a word used to describe a coffee break, a cherished custom the world over but for Swedes usually accompanied by a cinnamon bun or other cake. The best place to head for fika in Malmö is the Old Town, where its charming cobblestone streets are lined with cafes welcoming you in to enjoy the traditional break that is typically taken between 10am and 3pm. For people-watching, Lilla Torg is a picturesque square and home to several quaint cafes and bustling outdoor terraces.

You can book a self-guided Malmo food tour at GetYourGuide

Head to the beach

During a city sightseeing break, having easy access to a beach can be an unexpected icing on the cake and the perfect way to give those weary legs a break. Situated about three kilometres west of Malmö’s historic centre, Ribersborg Beach is renowned for its striking views of Öresund Bridge (see above), serving up a majestic backdrop for relaxing strolls along the sandy shore. The beach is also home to Ribersborg Kallbadhus, a historic seawater bathhouse set on a pier.