Day Trip: Malmö, Sweden
Spending a total of 18 days in Scandinavia, we wanted to visit as many of the Scandinavian countries as possible. We didn’t make it to Finland, but we did make it to Sweden, even if only for a day! Since we were staying in Copenhagen, it was just a 1-hour train ride from Copenhagen Central Station.
For a funny, "bonus" story about when we were on the way to this Swedish city, check out "The Mid-day train to Malmö."
Without further ado, here's the bullet-point itinerary for those of you who are just scrolling through. Keep on scrolling for the full details of spending a day in Malmö :).
Train from Copenhagen Central to Malmö Central, 11:45-13:00
Walked from train station to the lighthouse. Circled back down the canal towards Slottsparken.
Passed through the Lilla Torg, a market square with several tents selling flowers and other local items.
Strolled through Slottsparken, a public garden and historical cemetery.
Continued through the park to the Malmö stadsbibliotek, the Malmö city library.
Food time: I had heard about the amazing coffee and Swedish treats, but what I wasn’t prepared for the ramen.
Ramen to Bíiru Malmø
Coffee at Kaffebaren på Möllan
Museum Malmö Konsthall, Ceija Stojka exhibit
Stopped at H&M. Sweden being the home of H&M, we had to go into one.
Headed back to Malmö Central for our 19:00 train
Arrived back to Next House Copenhagen around 20:00.
To make a short story long
Since we were staying in Copenhagen, it was just a short train ride across the bay.
Around 11:30, we headed over to Copenhagen Central Station to catch the train to Malmö. This line also continues to Lund, which is a little bigger and has maybe more of a tourist appeal, but it was a great experience to spend a day in a less touristy town. Honestly, it was almost comical and made us laugh a lot how “normal” Malmö is. Even the things that made a lot of bloggers’ “best of” were a lot more mundane than pictured, but it was so fun to see things in real life and take in the culture of this city.
Once we arrived, we headed towards the Malmö Old Light House, or the Inre Hamm light house. About a 10-minute walk from the train station. This was the first part of Malmö that brought smiles to our faces. We had read about the light house on the train over and expected it to be quite tall to give light to the canal. But when we got there, we actually almost missed like a blip on the radar. Situated in between the two canal banks, the light house is about 66 feet tall, and was taken out of service in 1983 after aiding ships in the canal for about 105 years. In fact, we almost missed it. When we looked closer, we saw some locals taking a swim and jumping off the lighthouse and it was in that moment that I understood more profoundly just how much coldness Nordic people can withstand.
Slide for more :)
From the lighthouse, we passed through Lilla Toro on the way to Slottsparken and the Malmö stadbibliotek. Slottsparken is a mix between a public walking garden, park, and cemetery. The walk was beautiful (basic description, I know, but the simplicity but nature-filled and Fall air was like standing in a scene from your favorite book that you didn’t think could come to life even more).
The next stop, the city library was not planned but we stopped in anyway. Malmö is a university town, similar to its more frequently visited neighbour town, Lundt, so the library was full of students studying in the most cozy-looking corners - it made me miss the library at my alma mater and the student status! We wandered around for for the books and the vibes, but also for the central heating as it was way colder than we anticipated.
By this time, we were pretty cold and hungry, which sounds like a terrible combination when you’re travelling but it honestly spurred us along through a part of the city that we wanted to see but didn’t necessarily want to spend a lot of time and let the afternoon slip away. One of the funniest moments of this part of the day was the little Office Depot we came across - who knew (probably a lot of people, hahah) that Sweden has Office Depot!
Our hunger led us to Bíiru Malmø which I might argue is the town’s secret gem. Having been in France for the past month and a half and missing spicy food, the « mild heat » ramen warmed us from the cold and filled the whole in my heart created by France’s non-existent culinary spice levels. We were curious as to why this particular part of Malmö was so diverse, and I found out about a month later upon talking with someone who lives in Sweden that this particular part of the country receives many immigrants creating a very diverse culture especially when it comes to food and commodities around the city. Being from the States where immigration is quite a complex topic, on top of living in Texas a couple hours north of the Mexican border, it was unique to see this part of the European immigration world both through the eyes of the ramen chefs and the non-Swedish Sweden resident I spoke with later. Overall, if you go to Malmö, get the ramen.
Following Ramen, we stopped for a coffee at Kaffebaren på Möllan, a cute shop on the corner of the Möllevångstorget. Möllevångstorget is now a marketplace square where vendors sell fruits and vegetables, but historically commemorates the labor movements in Sweden. While it’s kind of a thing in the USA to know your friends’ coffee orders, one of the surprisingly fun(ny) parts of travelling with new friends for two weeks straight was learning Chloe and Kaitlin’s coffee orders and caffeine needs. Chloe is a straight espresso girl, while Kaitlin is gonna be your latte seeker. One surprising thing I found was that most shops don’t offer flavored lattes like they do in the USA. So, finding a shop that had a latte gave Kaitlin her first « true latte » since moving to France. I don’t really believe coffee orders tell you anything significant about people’s personalities, but learning little things, like coffee preferences, prompted some funny conversations that helped us get to know each other better and feel more connected.
Being three museum-lovers, we had to make at least one museum stop in this city. Because it was off-season, some of the museums had varied hours, so we opted for the Museum Malmö Konsthall. The gallery-style main exhibit area was holding some interesting sensory-stimulating visual pieces including film, cardboard box fortresses with a video of an interpretive dance, and a string model of the city. This museum was a no-photography zone, so check out the website to get an idea of what you’ll see if you put it on your list.
The most interesting part of this museum was a temporary exhibit they had rather tucked away in the upstairs rooms: prints and poetry by Ceija Stojka. Stojka was a survivor of German concentration camps during World War II. She survived three concentration camps along with her mother and sisters. Her Austrian-Romani background, like many other ethnicities, received much persecution and following her escape to Vienna, supported by British rescue troops, her family sold Romani rugs and goods in the city. Her experiences left many scars as is apparent in her work, but perhaps the most captivating was her verbal silence following freedom. After her escape and even the War’s end, the artist and writer refused to speak for several decades, using only art and poetry to express memories and visuals still in her mind. Her art and poetry left me feeling hollow and teary. Learning about her, her story, and seeing her artwork was a powerful reminder of how art and poetry are such human ways to experience something completely removed from our own personal experience, even if we’ve studied it or heard stories from other people or epoques. She is an artist I will definitely be learning more about.
The end of our day finished with a few things a bit lighter than Stojka: a trip to an H&M. While Sweden is the home of H&M. The original name of this now globally-recognised brand is Hennes & Mauritz, hennes meaning « women’s » and Mauritz referring to the already existing men’s clothing and outdoor gear store which merged and expanded to sell women’s clothing, thus creating the brand H&M. We wandered around the clothing and home section before heading to the train station to go back to our hostel and find dinner.
Clocking in at 25,852 steps and 11.38 miles of walking, I would rate Malmö a solid 8/10. The only reason being for -2 is that I feel like what we read about the town gave us an unrealistic expectation, so maybe the 8/10 should be for the bloggers that didn’t really give an accurate picture? Overall conclusion, it was a great experience, so go ahead and give it a try if you’re going to be in Sweden and have time, but don’t forgo a city like Stockholm or Lund if you’re deciding between multiple Swedish cities. Ultimately, this day left me feeling so thankful for the ability, health, and resources to travel and fsweet friends to experience all the new things with.