A local's guide to Malmö: Why this up-and-coming city should be on your travel wish list

By Elias Gröndahl

Photo: Werner Nystrand/Folio/

It often gets outshone by its hyper-cool neighbour Copenhagen, but the Swedish city actually has lots to offer

While Stockholm often gets the lion’s share of attention, another charming Swedish city can be found in the very south of the country: Malmö. As the third-largest city in Sweden, it has an ideal mix of metropolitan and small-town vibes. The seaside settlement offers a mishmash of old and modern architecture, endless canals and waterways, plus a beach within walking distance of the city’s centre. Reachable from Copenhagen by a mere 30-minute train ride across the Öresund Strait, it’s a trip easily combined with a whistle-stop tour of the Danish capital too.


From restaurants and hotels full with glitz and glam to relaxed cafes and second-hand shops, we’ve listed something for every taste, so you can really make the most of your visit.

Where to eat and drink

Boasting a wide array of stylish restaurants, bars and cafes, Malmö deserves praise for its cuisine and here you’ll find everything from lavish fine dining to modest everyday spots.

One of our favourite bars comes with a tongue-twisting name: Bar Cuccurucucù. Forget the austere palette of Scandinavian minimalism; Bar Cuccurucucù offers a fun, joy-filled environment within its pastel interiors. The objects designed by interior designer Gustaf Westman, acclaimed for his playful work in sorbet colours, this is a mecca for home style enthusiasts. Enjoy a cocktail made with locally sourced ingredients or fruit pet-nát from their own winery, Fruktstereo.

Bar Cuccurucucù's Gustaf Westman-designed pastel interior

Bar Cuccurucucù's Gustaf Westman-designed pastel interior.

In the Slottstaden area of Malmö, you’ll discover Atrium, a cafe neatly decorated with plants. The ambience is comfy and relaxed; a wonderful space to work or read. Or if you’re in a chatty mood, head to Lilla Kafferosteriet, located in the heart of the city. With a lovely outdoor seating area, and a warm, welcoming atmosphere, it's the perfect place on brighter days for a coffee and cinnamon bun with friends under the trees.

Atrium cafe in Malmo

Atrium cafe in Malmö boasts a beautiful outdoor seating area.

If you fancy luxurious surroundings and food bursting with flavour, we recommend Quan. The restaurant delivers a twist on the traditional Asian kitchen by fusing it with tastes from Continental Europe. There are no gimmicks here, just fantastic dishes paired with unique and delicious cocktails – try the Jade sour, it's delicious.

Photo of a cocktail at Quan in Malmo

Cocktails and culinary creations draw on Asian and European influences at Quan. Photo: Magnus Andersson

Where to go

For carefully selected designer garments and curated coffee table books try Très Bien. They’re responsible for influencing the way many of the city's fashion enthusiasts dress in Malmö. But if you gravitate towards vintage and pre-loved pieces, fret not. You’ll find second-hand shops such as Humana, Beyond Retro and Stadsmissionen sprinkled all over town. An additional noteworthy mention is Rad Susie, a second-hand shop filled with pristine leather jackets and '70s garbs.

Tres Bien Store in Malmo

Menswear store Très Bien is a Malmö must-visit.

If you're after a little more mindful fresh air, nature lovers should visit Slottsparken and Kungsparken. The two beautiful parks are connected to one another and are set near the centre of the city, making them great post-shopping spots.

And just because the colder months are here, doesn't mean you need to skip on that ocean dip. We suggest that you head to Västra Hamnen, a popular area with several places to go for a swim. Here, you’ll also come across the tallest skyscraper in the Nordic countries, the Turning Torso.

Although the city is home to numerous cultural institutions, the art gallery Malmö Konsthall is really the one you will want to make a beeline for. Founded in 1975, the gallery showcased the famous works of Edvard Munch – 'The Scream', 'Madonna' and 'Anxiety' – in their first exhibition. Today, they're presenting a whopping 50 different local artists across different generations and expressions, a must-see.

Where to stay

Situated in the middle of town with a magnificent indoor courtyard filled with lush greenery, a high glass ceiling and twinkling lanterns, MJ’s is one of the trendiest hotels around. Its Art Deco interiors help to give it an opulent feel, an inner city oasis in the heart of Malmo. And just a stone’s throw away you’ll find Lilla Torg; a buzzy, picturesque square that's perfect for a night cap.

MJ's hotel in Malmo

MJ's features stylish Art Deco interiors.

Seeking a place of serenity, elegance and comfort in central Malmö? The Duxiana is a family-owned boutique hotel with a total of 19 individually decorated rooms. They’re all furnished with pieces from their own brand, DUX, creating a harmonic atmosphere oozing with minimalism. In the rooms, you’ll also find luxe features such as soundsystems by Danish audio brand Bang & Olufsen and picturesque canal-side views