One Day in Malmö: An Easy Day Trip from Copenhagen
If you have more than a couple of days in Copenhagen, a day trip to Malmö, Sweden is an easy way to get another stamp in your passport, figuratively, at least.
For non-Europeans, it may seem intimidating to head to another country for the day or even just the afternoon, but it is actually quick and easy.
Because of the European Union’s open borders, you won’t even notice that you are entering a different country for a day in Malmö. You won’t go through any type of customs, another reason why this day trip is so easy. On the other hand, that means you won’t get a stamp in your passport, which can disappoint some travelers.
This post will walk you through how to get to Malmö from Copenhagen, how to take the train to Malmö, what to do for one day in Malmö, and then a few other options for longer day trips to Malmö.
One day in Malmö is enough time to get an introduction to the city, but if you are coming during the summer or at Christmas time, I recommend you try to stay overnight to spend more than a day in Malmö and really relax and enjoy.
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Malmö is Sweden’s third largest city. It’s just across the Øresund Straight from Copenhagen, between the Baltic Sea and the North Sea. The population is around 350,000 so it is a very manageable city to visit in a day and you can see most of the city just by walking.
Malmö was founded in the 13th century and was originally a part of Denmark. It became part of Sweden in the 17th century. As a port city, it was very industrial but faced a major economic downturn in the 1980s and 1990s after its industry dried up.
However, since joining the European Union and the construction of the Oresund Bridge, the city has faced a revival. It’s a young and multicultural city, with residents from over 180 countries, and felt very prosperous and liveable when I visited.
Is it worth visiting Malmö?
While Malmö doesn’t have a lot of internationally-known sights, it has a pretty location on the water, unique shopping, and beautiful parks, making it well worth a weekend or at least a one-day trip.
When to Visit Malmö
Malmö is great to visit all year. Because it’s on the sea the weather is quite temperate and it’s not too hot or too cold. If you come at Christmas time you can partake in the festive Christmas markets. Otherwise, I recommend coming from May to September when it is warm enough to enjoy the parks and outdoor activities (although be warned, you may still need a jacket in summer!)
How to Get from Copenhagen to Malmö
The best way to get from Copenhagen to Malmö is by train. Trains leave about every 30 minutes from Copenhagen Central Station, København H. Trains also leave from other stations around Copenhagen like Nørreport. If you go from Central Station you can just show up and buy a ticket from the red machines for the next available train. A round-trip ticket will cost about 180 DKK (Danish Krone) or about $26 USD.
You can also buy your tickets ahead of time on DSB.
It’s possible to drive your car across the bridge, but there are very expensive tolls (like $40 USD one way) to go across. Unless you are continuing on with your car in Sweden it is much easier and less expensive to take the train.
How to get to Malmö from Copenhagen Airport
If you are coming straight from the airport, it’s even easier to get to Malmö. The train station is connected to the airport and the airport is between Copenhagen and Malmö, one of the last stops before crossing the bridge to Sweden. It takes about 20 minutes to go from the airport into Malmö.
Instead of getting off at Malmö’s Central Station, consider hopping off at Triangeln. You’ll be able to explore more of Malmö as you walk Northwest towards the city center and then leave from the Central Station.
Should I Take A Tour to Sweden from Copenhagen?
Taking an organized bus tour from Copenhagen has three advantages: It maximizes your sightseeing time, it reduces your planning time and it gives you a tour guide. The downside is that you have less time to explore than you would if you go by yourself.
Here are three options that go to Malmö. If you want a relaxed day and want to really see Malmö I would suggest going as described above. If you are short on time and want to see as much as possible, consider the tours to Lund and Hamlet’s Castle.
Tour Option 2: 6-Hour tour to Malmö and the university city of Lund
Tour Option 3: 9-Hour tour to Malmö, Lund, and Hamlet’s Castle in Denmark
Orientation in Malmö
Sightseeing in Malmö takes tourists through a number of distinct areas. The shore area north of Central Station is industrial. Just south of Central Station canals surround Gamla Staden, the historical district of Malmo, with cobblestone streets and old brick buildings. The park and castle are just west of here. South of Gamla Staden is the main shopping district, with Södra Förstadsgaten, the pedestrian-only street filled with shops and cafés.
I’ve traveled to Sweden and Denmark multiple times. Check out this video I made about how to do a day trip to Malmö from Copenhagen.
What to see and do in Malmö
Canal Boat Ride
Kick back and relax! You can see the most important and picturesque parts of the city on a boat tour through the canal. This is a great way to start your time in the city, as the audio commentary will give you an overview of the history and geography of Malmö.
You’re sure to spot a tall, twisted building on the edge of Malmö’s skyline. This residential tower is Turning Torso by Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava. When it was built in 2005 was the tallest building in Sweden.
St. Peter’s Church (S:t Petri Kyrka)
Behind the city hall on Stortorget is St. Peter’s Church from the 14th century. The Gothic brick building is the oldest surviving building in the city of Malmö and one of the largest churches in Sweden.
St. Johns Church (S:t Johannes Kyrka)
Built in the 1900s, this Lutheran church has an interesting exterior design with carved roses.
The tourist heart of Malmö is Lilla Torg, which means small square. The area was built as a marketplace over 400 years ago and is a place you’ll definitely want to take pictures of! There are even old Swedish phone booths for a fun photo op.
The largest and oldest square in Malmö is Stortorget. A large statue of King Karl X Gustav on his horse watches over the square. Gustav was the one who conquered the Mälmo region and united it with Sweden in 1658. Fountains and benches make this a great place to relax and people-watch.
Don’t miss seeing the town hall, the Malmö Rådhus. When it was built in the 16th century it was the largest town in Europe. In 1860 it was restored and given a Dutch Renaissance-style facade. Admission is free and there is a restaurant, the Radhuskallaren, in the cellar.
Form Design Center
Sweden is famous for its clean, modern design. If you want to learn more about it, visit the free Form Design Center. Part cafe, part museum, it has rotating exhibits about architecture, design, and crafts.
Digusting Food Museum
The most unique museum in Malmö may be the Disgusting Food Museum. The museum exhibits 80 kinds of “disgusting” food with information about each. Disgusting, of course, is all relative, and North Americans will be surprised to see some of their favorites, like root beer, on display.
Part of the fun is being able to sample some of these foods, that is, if you are brave enough. There are also a number of items for sale to take home. Rocky Mountain oysters, anyone?
There are some nice touches here, like the barf bag ticket you get at the door, but at 220 kr the price is a bit steep considering the size of the museum. Still, if you like traveling or are a foodie, it’s a fun stop.
Next head to Slottsparken, or the castle grounds to enjoy an afternoon stroll. This park has everything you could want from a park, including fountains, boat rental, a windmill, and a rose garden.
Swedes love their boats! Rent apedalboat for 200 SEK (about $18 USD) and you can follow the river through the park.
With its wide, round towers and rectangular form, Malmö Castle isn’t one to have inspired any romantic Disney castles. Nevertheless, its slopping earthwork and history make it an interesting place to visit.
It’s also the oldest preserved Renaissance castle in Scandinavia, with parts of it dating back to 1434. Note that visiting the castle requires navigating stairs. It’s hard to install elevators in those old buildings!
The castle is closed on Monday, so unfortunately I wasn’t able to tour the inside when I visited! A good time to remind you to check the days and hours of the places you want to see before you plan your trip to avoid disappointment.
During the summer (June-October) tourists can hop on an old streetcar to go from museums to the castle and gardens.
Technology and Maritime Affairs Museum
Considering Malmö’s location history, it’s not surprising that they have a museum dedicated to all things maritime. Submarines and ships are some of the things you can see here, plus kids will love the indoor boat playground!
If you want to buy fresh fish or seafood, Fiskehoddorna is the place in Malmö! Fishermen come with the day’s fresh catch and sell from a row of cute red cottages. It’s a great place to grab a casual seafood lunch. Hours are 7:00 am to 1:00 pm Tuesday to Saturday.
What to eat in Malmö
Many people come to Sweden hoping to eat Swedish meatballs. If this is you, try Bullen or Spoonery to indulge your tastebuds.
If you’re looking for something fast or want a lot of options, the food hall Malmö Saluhall is a great choice and is right near the Central Station.
You’ll want to make sure to indulge in the Swedish tradition of “Fika”. Fika always involves coffee and something sweet, but it’s more than just the food, it’s the social tradition of slowing down and socializing. So take the time to order a kanelbulle (cinnamon bun) and a kopp kaffe (cup of coffee) and savor the local flavor.
Where to Stay in Malmö
If you are coming for a day trip you won’t need accommodation, but if you decide to stay a bit longer and spend the time, check out these hotels:
Story Hotel Studio Malmö
This Malmö hotel has a modern, urban feel and is right in the heart of the port, just a five-minute walk from Central Station.
The Mayfair Hotel is for those that love history and elegance! The building dates back to the 14th century and was formerly used by royalty. It’s close to Central Station and Stortorget.
Final Thoughts on a Day in Malmö
If you have the time, a day trip to Malmö is absolutely worth it. One day in Malmö is enough to explore the city and see many of the sights. You’ll get a taste of Sweden and there are enough things to do in Malmö in one day to keep you busy, especially if you go in the summer. Bring a jacket, sunscreen, and your sense of adventure!