Once dismissed as crime-prone and tatty, Sweden’s third-largest city has rebranded itself as progressive and downright cool. It’s no coincidence that two of Stockholm’s hippest icons – rock club Debaser and fashion-forward boutique Tjallamalla – have come to town.
Malmö’s second wind blew in with the opening of the mammoth Öresund bridge and tunnel in 2000 connecting the city to bigger, cooler Copenhagen and creating a dynamic new urban conglomeration. Such a cosmopolitan outcome seems only natural for what is Sweden’s most multicultural metropolis – 150 nationalities make up Malmö’s headcount. Here, exotic Middle Eastern street-stalls, urbane Italian coffee culture and hipster skateboard parks counter the town’s intrinsic Nordic reserve.
Even the city’s lively historic core echoes its multicultural past. The showpiece square of Stortorget evokes Hamburg more than it does Stockholm, while nearby Lilla Torg is a chattering mass of alfresco supping and half-timbered houses that give away the Danish connection.
Gamla Staden (Old Town) is Malmö’s heart, encircled by a canal. There are three principal squares here: Stortorget, Lilla Torg and Gustav Adolfs Torg. The castle, Malmöhus Slott, in its park setting, guards the western end of Gamla Staden. Across the canal on the northern side you’ll find the bus and train stations as well as the redeveloped harbour precinct. South of the city centre is a complex network of up-and-coming streets with most interest focused on the square Möllevångstorget. The Öresund bridge is about 8km west of the city centre and is served by a motorway that passes south and east of the city.