Where The Locals Go In Malmö
If you’re travelling by rail to the Nordic countries from Western Europe, chances are you’re going to be crossing the Öresund Bridge. On one side of the bridge is the Danish island of Zealand where Copenhagen, the country’s capital, is located; and just on the other side, at the gateway to Sweden, lies Malmö.
This international coastal city — Sweden’s third largest city — warrants a visit of its own for its industrial past and recent post-industrial development. Here are some tips by Malmö locals to get you on your way to discovering this hidden gem that’s in the impressive process of reinventing itself.
How to get to Malmö by train: Malmö is easily accessible by train – if you’re travelling from Stockholm, you can get to Malmö in 4.5 hours, and from Gothenburg in about 3 hours. Visit the rest of the region or travel across Europe using a Global Pass or an Interrail Sweden Pass.
The musical pub – a local favourite
Mässingshornet Restaurang & Musikpub is an ideal pick to start or end a pub crawl in Malmö. It really feels as if nothing has changed in this bar since 1981 — and therein lies a big part of its charm, of course. With its free live music and open mic entertainment from Tuesdays through the weekend, not to mention its cheap beer, it’s the perfect place to strike up a conversation with a Swede and experience the nightlife of Sweden like a local.
The breakfast buffet of your dreams
Looking for a place with a hearty breakfast to recover from a late night out? Or are you a freelancer or digital nomad wanting to get some work done in the morning? Coffee Square was made for you. Not only does it have a generous breakfast buffet from 08:00-12:00 for 79 SEK (that’s under 10 euros!), it even has plenty of options you wouldn’t find at your typical hotel breakfast – e.g. hot crispy waffles and their specialty, scrambled eggs with vegetables.
So, if you don’t like paying for expensive hotel breakfasts that finish even before you roll out of bed, check out this local find. Come before 11.30 am to get a second helping before noon, take advantage of the good Wi-Fi and remember — there’s unlimited refills of coffee!
Malmö’s ‘70s “welfare state” district
In the ‘70s, the Swedish Social Democratic party launched the Million Programme by which it pledged to build a million homes for ‘good democratic citizens’. Today, Rosengård is a neighbourhood where you can see the results of this ambitious plan: a large concentration of tower blocks that contain ‘welfare’ residences. These days the houses are mostly occupied by immigrants.
Visit this infamous (for Swedish standards) yet still green neighbourhood with its love-or-hate aesthetic and you’ll get a better understanding of the other side of Malmö, one that is closer to its salt of the earth working-class past.
It’s also a good opportunity to catch bus number 5 and go on a completely alternative tour of the city that will give a bird’s eye view of the socio-economic differences of Malmö, spread out across its different neighbourhoods.
Play the night away
Had a couple drinks and wondering what to do next? Or are you a teetotaller but still want to enjoy a night out with your friends? You’re not alone, and Interpool, a sports bar in the city centre, has you more than covered. Here, you can enjoy a game of pool, billiards, or darts with new or existing friends. Or you can go all out at their vintage arcade where you can play pinball, the 1987 edition of Pac-Mania, and even Out Run.
The highlight of the bar is the table shuffleboard, a popular Scandinavian game in which players shoot metal discs across to the opposite end of the board into the scoring area. So forget beer pong and test your dexterity and aim by trying out a round on the shuffleboard – you might have just found your new favourite game!
Take a dip in the Sound
The Öresund strait is known as “the Sound” in English. And now that Malmö is past its formerly industrial self, the strait’s waters are excellent for a swim.
There are a couple of locations you can enjoy taking a dip at. First: Scania Badet in Västra Hamnen, close to the old harbour. It has a wooden porch that juts out into the sea where you can soak in the sun. Here, the water is deep and cold (just how the Swedes like it!). Extra points for a spectacular view over the bridge itself and the impressive Turning Torso, Sweden’s highest building.
You can also opt for Ribersborgs Strand, a bit to the south and closer to the bridge, which is a proper beach and has plenty of older facilities that create a scene that could easily make it into the next Wes Anderson flick. So hop on over and make use of the perfect cinematic addition to your Instagram feed.
A Swedish weekday lunch
Saltimportens Canteen serves great lunch from a set menu and is very popular with hungry locals. They have one dish every day and a weekly vegetarian and vegan alternative, so it is an easy choice for anyone looking to grab a bite. Isn’t it nice when deciding what to have for lunch is simple for a change?
The canteen is at the old harbour, so you can combine it with a walk, and take in the industrial vibes. We recommend eating there at least once while you’re in town. Just remember: it’s closed on weekends!
Best live music venue in town
Former basement and DIY venue Plan B has fought against law enforcement for its very existence since forever (concerning alcohol restrictions and safety regulations). Lucky for us, it seems to have figured out how to not be shut down and now looks greater than ever in its current iteration as a cocktail bar. Its brand-new patio makes it worth coming over to chill for a drink or a vegan hotdog, and there’s a good show almost every night. If you can appreciate their DIY spin, make this your plan A when in Malmö!
The hills are alive with the sound of music
What you can find at Ljudkullar, or “The Sound Hills”, is exactly like it sounds: these hills have big speakers fitted inside the ground itself, and every day in the afternoon you can hear one of about a dozen daily-changing playlists by various artists — you can check them out on the sign at the entrance of the area (don't worry; you won't find Julie Andrews on the playlist!). These secret “hills” in Västra Hamnen are quite easy to miss, even for locals. But now you know: arm yourself with a blanket and some food, and enjoy the music together with a picnic!
For more local favorites across Europe, check out Spotted by Locals.
Edited by Sukriti Kapoor, Eurail.
Header image by Jorge Franganillo
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