A Slow Travel Guide to Malmö (Ad)
Malmö surprised me. I didn’t know what to expect from the third largest Swedish city, sitting just across the Øresund Bridge from my favourite European metropolis, Copenhagen. I only spent a short 24 hours in the city, but I quickly got my bearings and started to feel like a local; seeking out hidden vegan eateries and chatting with the owner of an endearing flower shop. A slow pace is inevitable here, making me feel right at home. It’s small size makes Malmö easy to get around by walking or cycling, something that I love when exploring a new city. You see so much more and discover hidden gems by walking around rather than relying on public transport.
Although the weather wasn’t great during my time in Malmö, I enjoyed walking through its parks and the old town, taking photos and admiring the colourful old buildings. Swedish summers can surprise you though. My friend Kym was there the following week and was blessed with balmy temperatures that saw the locals leaping into the water by the harbour for a refreshing dip.
Something that I really loved about Malmö was the abundance of vegan and vegetarian cafes and restaurants. Unlike some other European cities, I was overwhelmed with choice for where to eat breakfast, lunch, dinner and fika. I ate out a lot more than I usually would in such a short time, as I wanted to sample as much as possible! I’ve included plenty of suggestions below for dining out, including a couple of vegan-only eateries.
If you’re planning your own trip to Malmö, read on to discover my top tips for the city, including the perfect places for fika and my all-time favourite shop.
Atrium was a delightful start to our time in Malmö. This light-filled cafe is quite a walk out of the centre, but it’s more than worth it for their delicious brunch options and tasty cakes. There’s plenty of space, with an outdoor patio, window seats and a long communal table all available as options for where to sit and enjoy your meal or fika. We opted for brunch, as we were peckish following our drive into the city, and the lovely staff made me a vegan version of their avocado on toast with pickled red onion and a crispy crumb replacing the egg. This was the kind of cafe where you just want to photograph everything, seemingly set up for Instagram with it’s marble tabletops and counter and the abundance of plants. I particularly fell in love with a large wreath crafted from dried grasses and eucalyptus.
Atrium is conveniently located close to Slottstradgarden, making the leafy park the obvious choice for our next destination. One of the prettiest city parks I’ve stumbled across, there’s plenty to do and see here. We walked around the lake, visited the iconic windmill and spent some time admiring the spring flowers in the gardens. There’s plenty of benches situated around the park, where you can sit and relax while admiring the view. As it was the end of May when we visited, there were plenty of curious ducklings and goslings to fuss over.
Another part of the city that I enjoyed wandering around was the Old Town. Known as Gamla Staden, the area is known for its Dutch Renaissance buildings with their brightly coloured facades. There are several cobbled streets lined with these attractive buildings, covered in greenery and painted in warm tones. If you’re looking for the quaint, traditional side of Malmö, make a beeline for this area to get snap-happy.
Another cute cafe, Noir, is conveniently positioned right around the corner from the Old Town. This is more of a Parisian-style cafe, with a snug little interior and outdoor seating where you can sit and watch the world go by. I enjoyed a delicious chocolate cake under the cover of foliage and umbrellas while we sheltered from the rain.
Normally when I’m visiting the Nordic countries, I wouldn’t go to a wine bar as I’d be scared away by the cost. As this was the last night of our trip, we decided to treat ourselves to a glass of wine before dinner, stumbling upon Gustavino as we made our way to the restaurant we’d chosen for dinner. If you’re looking for a romantic spot to enjoy a reasonably priced glass of wine, I’d highly recommend this place. Lit by candlelight and offering a comprehensive wine list, we could easily have spent more time sampling their wine list.
I loved the food at Mineral, the restaurant we chose for our last meal in Sweden. This small vegan restaurant is a short walk out of the city centre and I’d advise booking a table to avoid disappointment. We sat indoors, but there’s also a fairy-light lit outdoor area for al fresco dining during the summer months. Inside, I completely fell in love with the soft tones of the grey lime-wash paint and blush cushions, admiring how the candlelight and large windows created a wonderful ambiance. We opted for the chef’s special - three small plates to share followed by a large plate and desert each. All the food was delicious, combining interesting flavours for unusual dishes.
The next morning, we walked to Jord for breakfast (although if we’d had time this is also a great spot for fika!) Another cafe filled with light flooding in from large windows, this was a lovely spot to enjoy a lingering meal. We sat in the window while I devoured my avocado toast - after spending longer than usual deliberating over what to eat thanks to their vegan-only menu. Jord also has a small shop in the corner of the cafe selling items such as locally made ceramics, branded tote bags and beautifully wrapped chocolate.
I then spent my last few hours before my flight wandering around some of Malmö’s best independent shops. My first stop was Grandpa, where I admired stationary, plants and coffee table books, trying really hard to avoid temptation and not return home with a pile of new notebooks. This cute shop also has a clothing section at the back and is perfect for shopping for gifts.
Just a few doors down from Grandpa, I finally had the chance to visit a store that I’ve been reading about for years. A.B Smaland was just as good as I expected, and I honestly wanted to purchase the entire shop. Imagine a dream French or Swedish country cottage and you’ll get an idea of the aesthetic of this store. Lots of simple crockery, linen bedsheets, antique furniture and dried flowers. I was in heaven! I spent a good few hours just wandering around the store, sampling the organic skincare products, trying on beautiful garments and picking out my favourite rugs. If only I’d had a spare suitcase to fill! Conveniently, there’s also a cafe in the store, and they were laying on a brunch banquet when I wandered past. I piled my plate high with delicious salads, tasty dips and fresh bread that I quickly devoured.
My last stop in Malmö was one of my favourite discoveries of the trip. I adored this small florist filled with fresh, local flowers and beautiful vases. I’d heard of Florista thanks to a blog post on Lobster and Swan, one of my favourite blogs. Small florists really are the best; not only were the chosen blooms beautiful but I spent some time chatting to the lovely owner and making friends with her adorable dog. I loved how the store was a complete contrast to the light and bright interiors of practically every other place we visited on this trip, The dark walls really succeeded in making the flowers stand out and gave them an almost painterly quality. When I was looking back over my photographs, I loved how they had a look of paintings.