Where is Malmo?
Have you ever heard of Malmo? Not? Well, I won't hold it against you because it is not the most likely city to think of when planning to travel to Sweden. In this article, I will try to name a few legit reasons why you should prefer Malmo to Stockholm when travelling to the birthplace of IKEA and hygge. This vibrant and hip city might just be the next best destination for your vacation off the mainstream path. Malmo vs Stockholm? Let's find out!
Even if Malmo is the third-largest city in Sweden and sixth in Scandinavia, it is still quite small. It is home to just about 340 000 inhabitants, and it totally shows. In the cityscape, in the rhythm of life and the distances. That is probably the most obvious difference you might want to consider against choosing Stockholm - in Malmo; you can even get everywhere on foot! Although Stockholm is supposedly pedestrian-friendly, you would have to get the metro to move to those popular landmarks or other parts of the city. But it is quite the opposite in Malmo. The main sights like the Malmo Castle, Kungsparken, Pildammsparken, the Turning Torso, and Ribersborg Beach are just a short and pretty walk away from the charming old town. One might even say that one of the favourite things to do in Malmo by the locals is just walking around the city and nature. So...pack your comfy shoes if you decide to travel to Malmo!
Due to the size and socio-cultural background, the city also comes with a much calmer pace. On the streets, in public places, and in the attitude of the locals. Smaller city - fewer cars - fewer people - less noise - happier you. That is, of course, if you are looking for a less-hyped holiday and generally prefer the less crowded places. Stockholm is a capital, after all, and as it happens to be, it just comes with that aura of slight rush and getting things done. Besides that, Malmo is also considered very green with several municipal parks, lakes, and seaside. Undoubtedly, finding your Zen moment will not be too complicated here!
Besides the fact that public transportation in Sweden is extremely efficient and well developed, Malmo has a great advantage of being located in Southern Sweden, right across the channel from Copenhagen. Well almost. At least, that is how it feels since 2000 when the almost 8km long Oresund Bridge was built. Since then, it has developed this super convenient dynamic for the locals living on one or the other end of the magnificent architectural structure. Copenhagen is quite crowded and much more expensive, but a short 30 minute ride away, there lies the much less pretentious Malmo and the affordable living. No wonder that so many people live in Malmo but travel to Denmark (that is - Copenhagen) for work. Why do you need to know this? Instead of going to Stockholm, travel to Malmo, and you will be in the great advantage of visiting two countries within the same trip!
And yes, one might not think of the Swedes as the happiest people. But the truth is - it is somewhat typical for the northern nations to be a tat more reserved, which might be translated as sadness. But that does not mean you will not find a glimmer of happiness and joy in your trip at all. In 2016 Malmo was named the happiest city in Sweden, not without reason. It is vibrant, very multicultural, and brimming with life. Some might even say that it is where the friendliest people in Sweden live. This statement is not to be taken lightly - you will have to put your best smile on and join them to make sure it is not just a statement but an integral part of this city's social scene!
Don't ditch the possible connection between beach and Sweden, even if the title of this point does not sound like an actual word to describe the best beach qualities of a place. To be honest, Sweden would not even be the most likely beach destination, but the truth is - Stockholm is even less likely so. Even in Malmo weather conditions are not always stunning, but it is situated in a Southern region called Skane, which has the best odds at warmer beach-appropriate weather compared to any other part of Sweden. And the fact that the gorgeous sandy Ribersborgs Strand (the local beach) is an easy walk away from the city centre is just another bonus point. Try visiting the historic bathing house situated on a little pier - it is supposed to be one of the most popular things to do in Malmo when the sun comes out.
Another association one might not put together in the same sentence with anything Swedish is falafel. And surprisingly (or maybe not so much), even the proudest patriots of other cities admit that the best falafel in Sweden, if not the world, is to be found exactly in Malmo. It might not seem logical in the first place, but the dots connected in my mind, too, hearing this important bit of the background. Malmo is just super diverse! The statistics speak for themselves: circa 43% of the population has a foreign background, 31% was born abroad, and another 11% was Swedish-born, with foreign-born parents. It just becomes even more obvious the moment you realize the number of different cuisines you can choose from in the restaurant scene over there. So the star of the show, falafel, is just a reflection of the very prominent Middle Eastern cuisine there. But don't get sad if that is not really your cup of tea. Malmo will happily treat you also with traditional Swedish delicacies, new Nordic cuisine, as well as beers in pubs and cakes in the cutest little cafes. I can assure you that anyone will find a way to make the tastebuds happy. Even if you are aiming at some higher class, they have Vollmers - a 2* Michelin restaurant for you!
7. YoungMalmo vs Stockholm
? Malmo has a young and vibrant feel compared to a more seasoned one you might get in Stockholm. And here are just a few reasons that will help to paint a picture as to why this is arguably the hippest and young city in Sweden. First, the inspiring architecture and the creative neighbourhoods are just so evident and obvious part of Malmo's identity. Just head to the Mollevangen area to check it yourself - the best second-hand stores and street food stalls add to this image instantly. The second reason is the young and creative population that partly comes from the University of Malmo. Actually, half the population is under 35 years of age, and you can definitely feel it in the air. I tell you, Malmo is really, really cool!
The city has transformed a lot since the beginning of the 20th century. It was an industrial town rooted in shipbuilding and textiles, but these industries collapsed during the economic crisis. It was a great push towards a gradual re-defining of the city as the "city of knowledge" through establishing the University of Malmo and developing an innovation-friendly entrepreneurial environment. Would Malmo weather the recess without this smart shift? Who knows, but as a result, currently, it has become a modern hub of science, business, and innovation. If you are an entrepreneur looking for more than just a good downtime, then Malmo will be a very productive destination to explore!
Malmo actually reached 4th place on Forbes list of the most inventive cities in the world, based on the number of patent applications per 10,000 residents. It also is home to the Medicon Valley - the leading life science cluster in the Nordics, as well as a range of other leading global companies of IT and mobile technologies. Ok, I will stop dropping those smart facts, but there is a point to all of this. If you are looking for new ideas - for business, arts or science, then this is definitely a city to keep an eye on!
Last but definitely not least. Malmo is surely a perfect budget destination for a trip to Scandinavia. Besides the fact that this part of Europe itself is rather expensive, as a rule, capitals are more expensive than other cities in the same country. You can surely apply this principle also in this friendly rivalry between Stockholm and Malmo. Since Malmo is less touristy, it just gets the benefits of cheaper accommodation, food, and other necessities. Believe me, your wallet will be way happier! And if you can't imagine a trip without a visit to the capital, just plan a day in Copenhagen and conveniently reach it travelling over the famous bridge. 1:0 in favour of Malmo! Lots of vibrancy, nature, and positive vibes are what characterizes this city very well. And even if this wasn't on your go-to list so far, now there is no reason to leave it out! Are you packing your bags already? I hope so! And I promise, even if it does not meet your expectations during your travel to Sweden, you can get on a train from Malmo to Stockholm right away. Deal? See you there!