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Urban landscape of Malmo, Sweden
Photograph: Matyas Rehak /

A local’s guide to Malmö, Eurovision 2024’s host city

Minutes away from Copenhagen, Sweden’s southernmost city is worth a mini-break on its own – and it’s way cheaper than you might think

Written by
Alexandra Pereira

Just over the Öresund Bridge from Copenhagen, Malmö is Sweden’s third-biggest city – and a tempting alternative to the usual Scandi city-break destinations. Here you’ll find a fantastic contemporary art scene, an epic nudist spa, coffee, cinnamon buns, harbourside hotels and farm-to-table restaurants – all at significantly lower prices than Stockholm, Gothenburg or nearby Copenhagen. 

As Malmö prepares to host Eurovision 2024 next month, local writer Alexandra Pereira gives the lowdown on the Swedish city’s best bits, from restaurants and bars to culture, shopping and day trips.

🇸🇪 The best things to do in Sweden

Essential Malmö

If you only do one thing

In true Scandi style, bathe nude in the cold ocean waters at Ribersborgs Kallbadhus. It’s an old-fashioned wooden structure with lots of tiny changing rooms, saunas and gorgeous views over to Copenhagen. You can stay for as long as you like for just 75 SEK (£6, $7), plus there’s a cosy candlelit café for wine and a sandwich after you re-enter the clothed world.

Dine in style

The fruits of the Skåne region, within which Malmö sits, are bounteous. Agriculturally, it’s heaven three seasons of the year, and in winter the berries are harvested to make lingonberry and cloudberry everything. All the finest produce can be found sculpted to perfection on the table at Aster, the Michelin-starred cocktail bistro of foodie dreams.


Eat on the cheap

Saltimporten Canteen is the breezy, open-plan, industrial-chic place to drop by for something hearty, veg-heavy and affordable – sometimes it’s a beef and root veg stew with kale, sometimes a robust rainbow salad. Clock the fresh juices and lovely light. For dinner, head into the city for crispy duck and pak choi over rice at hip little red-lit Chinese spot Lu, or some of Scandinavia’s best curries at Indian resto Kontrast.

Get cultural

With a collection robust enough to rival Stockholm’s original, Malmö’s Moderna Museet (est 2009) is a magnificent space well worth an afternoon’s perusal. Its permanent and temporary exhibitions span ideas, movements and works from 1900 onward, with plentiful insights into the mostly Swedish art on display.


Get yourself something nice

Malmö is all about thrift shopping – the antithesis of Copenhagen’s design-centric fashionista magnets. Look long and hard enough and you’re bound to pick up something great at AB Småland or Pop Boutique. Japanese workwear is the speciality at boutique store Meadow, and at Grandpa everything is locally sourced or handcrafted.

Hang out in this ’hood

Davidshall is where it’s at, with record shops, small galleries and studios, low-key bars that probably once allowed smoking, and fun places to grab dinner. The parks are also pretty and biking around here is fun.


Drink like a local

Julie has got quite a name for herself: she’s the natural wine spot du jour, though she’s got plenty of rivals in the hipper parts of town. The price of a glass here will be cheaper than anywhere in Copenhagen, with most of the same importers supplying both cities.

Stay the night

For optimum convenience, check in at Story Hotel, right on the harbour and a step from the central train station. Or for something more vibey, there’s MJs Hotel: a boutique city centre spot with cocktails, DJs and karaoke, plus a couple of different restaurants. It’s pretty much the only hotel in the city that’s a cool hangout in its own right.


When in Malmö...

It doesn’t need much more introduction than its name, but pop by the Disgusting Food Museum, won’t you? The only gross dish you won’t find on display here is pineapple pizza.

Get out of town

For bucolic fun in the breadbasket of Sweden, take the 30-minute drive to Weinbergs Hotel: a stunning little country-bumpkin residence with its tongue firmly in its cheek. The reception has a popcorn machine, whilst garish art pops up around every corner; there’s also a music room and an outdoor pool and hot tub. And if you’ve got more time on the road, make sure to check out the national parks and southernmost beaches of Skåne.

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