Visiting 2 Countries in 1 Day: Taking the Train from Copenhagen to Malmö, Sweden (+Photos)

Copenhagen is one of my favorite European cities. Maybe it’s because I visited solo after a grueling few weeks of work, but this city has an extra special spark that can make anyone believe in the Danish happiness index. And if you don’t know what I’m talking about, Denmark is ranked as the second happiest country in the world.

Two spots below it is Sweden, a neighboring Scandinavian country known for its gorgeous landscapes, innovative architecture and design, and midnight summer sunshine. Putting two and two together, I decided there was no better way to get a real taste of Scandinavia than taking a day trip from Copenhagen to Malmö, the third-largest city in Sweden.

A Quick Snack Before Departure

I chose to visit Malmö mid-morning when I was still buzzing with energy for the day. Before I headed for the train station, I strolled past the food hall at Tivoli Gardens, just across the road from the Central Station, and brought myself a traditional Danish Smørrebrød takeout from Hallernes Smørrebrød. I went for a classic fish cake sandwich, which was out of this world tasty and cost 78 DKK ($11).

Crossing the Øresund Bridge from Denmark to Sweden

Øresund Bridge

Conveniently, I was staying just a short walk from the Copenhagen Central Station (locally known as Kobenhavns Hovedbanegard), so I only had to catch one direct train from one city to the other. If you were to drive the distance over the Øresund Bridge, it would take you under an hour to get there via the E20 highway. The better option is to take the train, which takes only 41 minutes from Copenhagen Central Station to Malmö Central Station.

There are different trains that make this journey, including the high-speed SJ train (which takes just 35 minutes) and the Intercity Øresundstag Train, which is the one I took. It only takes five minutes longer than the high-speed option and costs $31 for an economy seat and $36 for a business class seat.

Malmo Train Station

If you miss your train, don’t worry—another one will likely depart within half an hour. Each day, 77 trains make the 28km journey between Copenhagen and Malmö. Tickets can be bought online or at a vending machine in the station. The machines are easy to navigate and the lines are short.

A Walking Tour Through Malmö


I’ve curated a short walking tour through the city that hits the main landmarks you might be interested in for a short day trip. The tour begins and ends at Malmö Central Station, runs through the Old City, parks, and main attractions, and takes under two hours of straight walking.

Of course, you’ll end up spending a lot more time than that exploring the ins and outs of each location, but the general guide will be useful.

The route:

  • Malmö Central Station
  • Gamla Vaster and Lilla Torg
  • Kungsparken
  • Slottsparken
  • Castle Mill
  • Malmö Castle
  • Malmö Saluhall
  • Ribersborgs Beach
  • Malmö Central Station

Exploring Malmö Old Town

Malmö Old Town

I arrived in an entirely different country a quick hour after leaving my hotel room in Copenhagen. The train ride was quick and painless, and the views from the iconic Øresund Bridge were stunning, spanning hundreds of wind turbines scattering the ocean.

Malmö Old Tow

On arrival, I walked just a short distance across the bridge from the train station towards Stortoget, a big plaza housing the Malmö Radhus and a gorgeous summer flower garden. Since it was the middle of summer, the weather was already close to unbearable by 11 am. So, I grabbed an iced coffee from Espresso House on the corner of the plaza and started my walk.

Malmö Old Tow

You’ll want to explore Gamla Vaster, one of the few remaining neighborhoods of Old Malmö. Part of the town looks exactly as it did in the Middle Ages, with narrow streets and beautifully aging buildings. The district of Gamla Vaster starts around Lilla Torg and continues until the Slottsparken, which was my next destination.

I walked through the square with my coffee in hand, popping into local boutiques along the way. Finally, I reached Lilla Torg, an old square in the heart of the Old Town. I wasn’t able to experience an evening in the square, but I hear it’s a lively hub lined with restaurants, bars, and nightclubs come sundown.

Pro Tip: The best time to visit Malmö is between June and September. The summer months are warm, the days are long, and although there are tourists, crowds are never too unpleasant in this Swedish city.

Kungsparken to Slottsparken

Malmo Canal

From the Old Town, I made my way towards Kungsparken, which translates to Kings Park. The lush urban park is tucked away alongside the Malmö Canal. Even though it’s right in the heart of the city, it offers a peaceful respite from the bustling center of Malmö.

If I had more time to spend here, this park provides the perfect setting for a summer picnic. Plenty of divided lawns and garden sections offer plenty of space and privacy. While the thought of relaxing on the lawn was tempting, I made my way through the park, over different bridges, through forested areas, and past statues and fountains.

A restaurant in Malmo center

Just across the canal is another park called Slottsparken. In my mind, the two parks seemed like an extension of one another. In fact, Kungsparken was known as Slottsparken until 1881, when it became its own entity.

A Glimpse into the Past at Malmö Castle

Malmö Castle

If there is any attraction you’ll want to check out in the park, it’s Malmö Castle. And to be fair, you’ll struggle to miss it. The fortress, which is surrounded by a moat, dates back to 1434. The original structure was damaged in the 16th century, and a new castle was built to replace it with an added defense system. It was once one of the most important strongholds of Denmark (which at the time controlled the area), and is one of the oldest Renaissance forts in Scandinavia.

To visit the castle, you can purchase one ticket to access the entire castle museum, including all the galleries and art exhibitions, the Danish mint, and the historic royal residence. Adults over the age of 20 years old pay 40 SEK, which converts to just less than $4.

The Castle Mill

Another main attraction in the park is Slottsmollan or ‘Castle Mil’l. This historic mill was built in 1851 and was powered by a steam engine. If you have the time, you can visit the mill museum, which shows the living and working quarters and conditions of a 19th-century miller family. If you visit during summer, there is a slight chance your trip could coincide with an open-air concert next to the mill.

Malmö Saluhall for Lunch

The Malmo Saluhall

After walking for what seemed like hours, lunch couldn’t come soon enough. I don’t know about you, but I love a good food market. Especially when traveling with others, markets are a great way to test different foods without committing to one cuisine.

Friends who had visited the city highly recommended the Malmö Saluhall. It’s an industrial-style food hall in a more built-up part of the city, not far from the station.

What used to be an old goods warehouse in 1995 is now a bustling food hall that offers a melting pot of flavors and cuisines. Traders serve unique, high-quality food, from Korean street food to sourdough pizzas and fresh goat yogurt.

The hall is split into two sections. One area is dedicated to fresh produce like cheese, fresh baked goods, fish and meat, and other pantry items. The other side of the hall is more suitable for daytrippers like me, with a range of cafes and restaurants to serve every taste bud.

I had dived head first into the Danish food scene, which consists of a lot of bread and fish. So, for a change of pace, I decided to order a bowl of delicious ramen from Ramen to Biiru. The soup was authentic and tasty, leaving just enough space for dessert at Favvo Glass, one of Sweden’s best ice cream stalls. Few meals will top this one, and my entire meal came to under $20, which seemed like a total steal.

Ribersborgs Beach

Ribersborgs Beach

To level with you, I never actually went to Ribersborgs Beach. I had come to the end of my energy tether and taken the train back to Copenhagen to relax on the brygge (docks) for sunset.

But if you have the time and capacity, do yourself a favor and experience an afternoon on the beach in Sweden. From the Malmö Saluhall, Ribersborg Beach is just a 27-minute walk through the city, the perfect amount of time to walk off your meal.

The beach is said to be stunning, but it’s the open-air bathhouse (called Ribersborgs Kallbadhus) that gains my attention. Built in 1898, destroyed in a storm, and rebuilt in 1902, this Swedish bathhouse is located over the water at the end of a stunning pier that stretches far into the Øresund Strait. The bath is open year-round and has a separate male and female section. Each area has two saunas and a heated tub.

After you have absorbed your dose of Swedish sunshine, the walk back from the beach to the Central Train Station will take about 35 minutes. An hour later, you will be back at your accommodation in Copenhagen, having visited two countries in one day!

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