I fell in love with Malmö. Which surprised me, because my visit there was almost an afterthought – a tag on to a larger trip that I thought would take precedence. But when I arrived and saw the streets, and ate in the restaurants, and cozied up in my room listening to the rain, I felt something shift as I looked at the city and I realized it was my perception. I wasn’t looking at the city through the eyes of a tourist, checking things off her list, but through the eyes of a woman who already knew she wanted to come back here and stay longer.
Malmöhus Castle / Malmo Castle
First of all, Malmö has a castle – with a moat! Granted, there are castles all over Europe so I suppose it’s to be expected, but as someone who grew up in the U.S. where there aren’t really any castles, these are always fascinating to me. This one is Scandinavia’s oldest surviving Renaissance castle. Built in 1434 and remodeled in the 16th century, it currently houses a museum with a variety of old and new art to enjoy. One of the most interesting things I learned was that the Malmö Museum served as a refugee camp for survivors of World War II. In 1945, over 25,000 survivors of the Nazi concentration camps arrived in Malmö and many of the city’s public spaces were given over to house them, including this museum, who opened its doors and housed almost 2,000 refugees for a few months that spring/summer.
Slottsträdgården / Castle Garden
There is a beautiful garden behind the castle, open to the public year round. The sun shone warmly and everything was blooming when I was there, so I took my time exploring the different gardens. With everything from a perennial to a rose to a Japanese garden, winding pathways, and a windmill, walking thru the garden brought me a sense of peace I don’t often feel when I’m a tourist and rushing furiously to see everything I can in my two days somewhere. But here, I felt like I could slow down, so I did.
Exploring the City
From the moment I stepped outside the train station, I felt both like I was somewhere new and completely at home. I loved the look of the city – the buildings, the water, the street art. Every time I turned a corner I found something stunning to look at! The mix of old and new, side-by-side was inspiring and comforting all at the same time. There was plenty of public transportation, but everywhere I had planned to go was all within walking distance of each other, so with my pedometer on and the gift of amazing weather, I walked my way to over 10,000 steps on both days I was here!
One of the most amazing things in any city is their street art – the statues, the murals, the sculptures put up by the city to reflect who they are and who they have been. It always speaks to the community and tells me a little about the people who live there. Malmö certainly didn’t disappoint me here. The first morning I went out, I turned the corner and unexpectedly found myself at a parking lot facing two large, colorful, gorgeous murals covering the entire sides of multi-storied buildings. The second morning, I deliberately set out to find The Knotted Gun; by Swedish sculptor Carl Fredrik Reuterswärd, this piece was designed in 1980 in reaction to the death of his friend John Lennon. Another favorite was the famous Optimistorkestern, a quirky sculpture of an orchestra marching thru the street, by Malmö’s own born-and-raised artist Yngve Lundell.
The smallest house in Malmö also serves as a historical museum, showcasing what a typical family residence looked like in the early 1900’s. The last owner of the house, Ebba Olsson donated her home to the Malmö Museum when she passed in 1989. They kept it furnished it with all of her own items and opened it as a museum in 1991.
Moderna Museet Malmö / Museum of Modern Art in Malmo
Housed in a former power station, this museum is a branch of the famous Swedish Museum of Modern Art in Stockholm. Although quite small and a little different from my usual taste in art, it was only a few blocks away from Ebbas House, so I thought I would take a quick look in to see what it was. In the end, I preferred to look at the architecture of this 1901 building over the exhibition, but it never hurts to experience something different cause you never know, you might find something new to like!
Food in Malmö
Finally, I have to say I had some great meals here. I thoroughly enjoyed my tomato & hummus smörgås (an open-faced sandwich) lunch with coffee and a delightful heart-shaped cake on the patio of Lilla Kafferosteriet. And, what’s not to like about ice cream and prosecco, where ever you are in the world even a slightly touristy place in the middle of the main square called Moosehead Bar. But the one that really made me sit up and take notice was the melt-in-your-mouth-delicious Corn Fritters Appetizer at the Bastard Restaurant. Yes, that was the name of the restaurant, but don’t focus on that, just hope that if you ever get the chance to go there, you will get a chance to have these amazing bites of parmesan sprinkled deep-fried corn goodness!
My itinerary and budget for my two days in Malmö:
My budget has been translated to USD, based on my final credit card charge or a google conversion where I paid in cash.
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This has left me wanting to know more about the WWII refugees that were housed here after the liberation of the concentration camps and the sculpture The Knotted Gun. What an interesting city!
It was so interesting! There’s a link already for The Knotted Gun, but here’s one to start your search on Sweden and WWII: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sweden_during_World_War_II
I’ve never been to anywhere in Europe, but Sweden is definitely on my bucket list ever since I started watching football. I know Malmo is the city where the Swede football legend Zlatan came from. But I just found out that the city looks so great to stroll around by the time I read your post here. 🙂
Also, a couple of years ago I read a book that totally makes me want to go. Written by a Swede author Jonas Jonasson, The Girl Who Saved the King of Sweden, makes me want to find out more about the history of royal in Sweden and all that.
Hopefully one day when I have enough money and there’s less requirement to travel overseas for an Indonesian passport holder like me. Thanks so much for sharing! 🙂
Oh, I do hope you get to go one day! I really enjoyed every minute I was there. And, thank you for the book recommendation – I’ve added it to my queue at the library.
The gardens and architecture of European countries always just fascinates me. Nothing seems complicated, its just plain, simple beauty which you carry forever.
Yes! It’s very straightforward – but yet, not dull or uninviting.
Wow Malmo looks amazing. I wonder why there are no other tourists seen even in public places like the castle. Is it not frequented by tourists or locals? Thanks for this article as I had not heard about Malmo before.
Ha, no there are definitely other tourists there, but I often will wait until I can get a clean shot without anyone else in it!
That looks so fun. And beautiful. And I find most Swedish people the same way. Cheers!
Yes, everyone I encountered was so lovely!
When we visited Sweden last time we only did a short stop in Gothenburg on the way home and then over to Copenhagen. We passed through Malmo and I really wished we had time to stop and see the city, it looks so beautiful and I had heard great things too about the city. We plan on heading to this region again so hopefully we can visit!
O wow! That house is so cute and tiny. I love visiting museums like that where I can actually see how people lived back then. So cool that she donated it when she passed away. Did they say why she donated it? I always wonder why people donate if they had family. Not sure if she did have any family to pass it down to so was curious 🙂
I really enjoyed this tour of this Swedish city. I’ve been wanting to visit Northern Europe for a while and Sweden is on my list. I especially look forward to the street art there and the food. Thanks for sharing this.
Malmo seems like a nice place to visit. Interesting to learn that the Malmo castle had 2000 refugees from World War 2. I especially loved the street art and the museum of modern art. The smallest house in Sweden looks so cute. I hope to visit someday!
The gardens seem so romantic. I love that hint of wilderness. I’d love to spend hours walking in it! Malmo is a charming city and that little house is so cute! Nice that they have opened it as a museum. Thanks for the itinerary. Exploring a city in Scandinavia for $250 for 2 days is difficult but you have done it wonderfully!
Scandinavia remains the only part of Europe I’ve yet to explore, solely because the prices scare me! It’s great to see that you were able to have a great weekend without breaking the bank, perhaps I’m gonna have to look into visiting sooner rather than later!
Wow, I had no idea Malmo served as a refugee camp. If the weather is nice, I’d head straight to the charming castle garden. It’s good to know that it’s a walkable city but that there’s also great public transportation, thanks for sharing!
People always go on about how Scandinavia is so expensive. You have showcased so many great activities for a reasonable price. This serves as more inspiration to visit Sweden! Thanks for sharing. Keep travel blogging. Adventure is better shared with friends!
It sometimes takes a little effort, but with a little research, you can often find ways to visit most cities on a budget!
Oh, how delightful, cozy, and unexpected! It felt like I was right there with you. You made it sound so fun!
Thank you! I’m glad this made you feel like you were there!