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Trip Report

Biggest Cities In Sweden: Stockholm, Gothenburg and Malmö

Sweden's three biggest cities are rich in Nordic culture and cuisine. Explore the architecture, art and design, and other facets of these beautiful cities.

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  • Biggest Cities In Sweden: Stockholm, Gothenburg and Malmö
About Me:Madeline Rae Away is a travel and lifestyle blog created by Madeline - A Canadian living in Sweden. read more

EuropeSweden7 days / June - July - August 2020

Highs & Lows

Swedish fika culture

Visiting Sweden is a bit expensive - especially food and drinks

Itinerary Overview

Many people think that Denmark is the capital of cozy, but Sweden is pretty cozy too. Swede's are often coined as being some of the happiest people in the world, and after visiting the three biggest Swedish cities, you'll understand why.

Everything in Sweden is very "lagom" - which is a Swedish term that translates to "not too much, not too little, but just the right amount." These cities are rich in Nordic culture, have beautiful architecture, world-leading design and innovation, and are coffee-obsessed.

In this guide you'll find the best things to do and eat in Sweden's biggest cities: Stockholm, Gothenburg and Malmö. This itinerary is easily done by public transport and I'd recommend spending at least a week to complete this itinerary. 

  • 3 Nights: Stockholm
    Stunning old town, museums, and amazing street art
  • 2 Nights: Gothenburg
    Historic neighbourhoods, waterfront, and great food culture
  • 2 Nights: Malmö
    Canals, waterfront, and beautiful old town
Stockholm - Stunning old town, museums, and amazing street art


Stunning old town, museums, and amazing street art

Stockholm - Stunning old town, museums, and amazing street art - null
Stockholm - Stunning old town, museums, and amazing street art - null
Stockholm - Stunning old town, museums, and amazing street art - null

There are endless things to do in Stockholm, Sweden's capital. The city sits on an archipelago and is surrounded by water, which makes it a great city to visit in the summer. However, Stockholm is exciting to visit at all times of the year!

Here's some of my favourite things to do in Stockholm.

Wander around Gamla Stan: Gamla Stan is Stockholm's famous old town and it is super beautiful. The best thing to do here is wander through the narrow alleyways and stop into shops. It is also a photographer dream!

Visit the trendy Södermalm neighbourhood: Across the water from Gamla Stan, you'll find Södermalm. I often describe this as Stockholm's very own "Brooklyn" because it is trendy and artsy, and home to amazing cafes, shops, and restaurants. It is easily my favourite area in the city.

Fotografiska: This art museum is incredible! The interior is dark and they take photography work and light it up. The effect is amazing.

Other popular museums: If you like museums, Stockholm is full of them! Some popular ones are the ABBA Museum, Skansen open-air museum, Vasa Museum, and Moderna Museet.

Stadbiblioteket (The Stockholm City Library): Easy one of the most beautiful libraries I've ever seen! The main hall of the library is circular in shape, and lined with floor-to-ceiling books.

Explore the Tunnelbana street art: One of the most unique things about Stockholm is that their underground metro system is a massive art exhibit. One of the best things to the city is to ride the subway to various stops and check out the art at each stops. A few of my favourite stops are the Central Station (blue line stop), Stadion, Solna Centrum, Kungsträdgården, and Rådhuset.

Once you're done wandering, you can eat at one of Stockholm's many trendy restaurants. Here's a few of my top choices.

Meatballs for the People: You MUST try Swedish meatballs at least once on your trip, and this is the place to do it!

Cafe Nizza: Fantastic Italian food in Södermalm.

Schmaltz Bar & Delicatessan: A NYC Jewish deli-inspired dinner spot with amazing food.

Kaffe: This Södermalm cafe is a great spot to grab a fika.

Tjoget: The best cocktail bar in the city!

Gothenburg - Historic neighbourhoods, waterfront, and great food culture


Historic neighbourhoods, waterfront, and great food culture

Gothenburg - Historic neighbourhoods, waterfront, and great food culture - null
Gothenburg - Historic neighbourhoods, waterfront, and great food culture - null
Gothenburg - Historic neighbourhoods, waterfront, and great food culture - null

Gothenburg is Sweden's second-largest city and sits on an archipelago on the west coast of the country. Gothenburg is a busy university city with beautiful streets and tons of great restaurants. I recommend spending a couple days to really immerse yourself into this charming city. 

Here's a few of my favourite things to do.

Magasinagatan: This popular courtyard is home to restaurants, cafes, food trucks, and trendy stores. It also has some really beautiful street art! I recommend grabbing bao at Jinx Food Truck for lunch. And if you're craving a coffee, da Matteo has some of the best coffee and sweets in the city!

Trädgårdsföreningen: This is Gothenburg's botanical gardens and they are gorgeous! Stop by an wander through the maze of greenery.

Stroll around the historic Haga district: Haga is Gothenburg's old town, and it is so well maintained! Here you'll find lots of antique shops, restaurants, and patios. While here, you must indulge in the classic Haga treat: the massive cinnamon buns. Seriously, these cinnamon buns are bigger than my face!

Eat some local fish: Being right by the sea, Gothenburg is famous for it's local fish. A great place to have a wonderful seafood lunch or dinner is Sjöbaren in Haga.

Walk along the harbour: Gothenburg's harbour is a great place for a walk to admire the views. 

Visit a fish market called Feskekôrka (aka "Fish Church"): Located in an old church, this is a popular fish market located right in the city.

Climb up Ramberget: At the top of this hill, you'll be greeted with the best views of the city!

Visit Sweden's oldest amusement park, Liseberg: This historic amusement park is so much fun for all ages. It dates back to the early 1900s and is a must-visit.

Have brunch at Kafe Magasinet: Easily the most instagrammable cafe in Gothenburg, this trendy spot has good food and coffee.

Malmö - Canals, waterfront, and beautiful old town


Canals, waterfront, and beautiful old town

Malmö - Canals, waterfront, and beautiful old town - null
Malmö - Canals, waterfront, and beautiful old town - null
Malmö - Canals, waterfront, and beautiful old town - null

Located across the sea from Copenhagen, Malmö is often overlooked on many Scandinavian itineraries, or is treated as just a day trip from Copenhagen. However, Malmö (which just happens to be where I live), has so much to offer!

As a local, I could recommend endless things to do, but here's a few of my top recommendations for first-time visitors.

Wander around Gamla Staden, Malmö's old town: The old town of Malmö is small but super charming. There are plenty of narrow cobblestone streets to roam, but my favourites are Jakob Nilsgatan and Jöns Filsgatan.

Stortorget: Or in English, "big square." This is the main square of the city. It is also home to Apoteket Lejonet, which is a beautiful historic pharmacy.

Västra hamnen: The harbor area of Malmö is quite new and modern, but is home to beautiful walkways and bike paths along the water. In the summer months, there are also plenty of docks to go swimming at. In Västra hamnen, you'll also find Malmö's tallest and most iconic building, The Turning Torso

Explore Malmö by Boat: If you only have a couple days in the city, the best way to see it is by boat. I'd recommend renting a boat with BookABoat and going for a ride through the canals.

Ribersborgs kallbadhus: If you want to take a cold plunge into the sea and then warm up in a sauna like the locals do, this is your place to do it. It is an authentic Scandinavian experience!

Folket's Park: This quirky park in the trendy "hipster" Möllan neighbourhood is great for grabbing a patio drink, playing mini golf, admiring street art, or taking a walk.

Shop in Davidshall: The Davidshall neighbourhood is my favourite for shopping, with trendy Scandinavian design stores like Grandpa and AB Småland. You'll also find lots of vintage shops and trendy micro-boutiques.

Grab lunch at Saluhall: Saluhall is a food market with plenty of different restaurants. My favourite spot is Pink Head Noodle Bar.

Have a fika: Fika is the Swedish tradition of taking a break to have a coffee or sweets with friends. Some of my favourite spots for fika are St. Jakob's, Uggla, Söderberg & Sara, Leve, and Atrium. If you're looking to try a popular Swedish treat, you should opt for a cinnamon bun or a cardamom bun.

After you're done exploring, you can grab food at one of my favourite Malmö restaurants.

Riket: Scandinavian-inspired tasting menu using locally-sourced, seasonal ingredients.

Spoonery: Great for trying Swedish meatballs.

Köld: The best ice cream in town!

LU: Amazing Chinese food with huge portions at an affordable price.

Casual Street Food: Amazing burgers in an American-style diner.

Soi 29: Premium Thai small plates with amazing flavour (and lots of spice).

Q & A

  • How was the food?

    I've included lots of restaurant recommendations in each individual city guide. You'll probably notice food in Sweden can be quite expensive. If you're looking for some cheap eats, grab a falafel or kebab. Sweden is actually very famous for both and they are cheap (normally around 3-4 USD for a wrap).

  • What tips would you give a friend?

    Sweden is an almost cashless country. Most places will not take cash, so don't you don't need to take money from the ATM. Instead, I would just use a debit or credit card to avoid getting stuck with cash that you can't use.

  • Packing tips?

    The weather in Sweden is very unpredictable. While the summer is normally quite mild and sunny, it has also been known to have cold and rainy days. So make sure you bring layers and a rain jacket.

  • Transportation Tips?

    The best way to travel between cities in Sweden is by train. You can book your train tickets using the SJ app. For the most part, these cities are not super big and are therefore very walkable. If you want to get to your destination faster like the locals do, I highly recommend renting a bike in Malmö and Gothenburg - they are both very bike-friendly. All three cities have amazing public transportation systems. In Malmö, you can take the bus. In Gothenburg, the city is connected by a mix of trams and buses. And in Stockholm, you can use buses, trams, or the subway. In order to use public transit, you'll need to download the respective transportation app for each city to buy tickets....Read More

  • Any surprises?

    The liquor laws can be quite shocking for new visitors. If you are looking to save a bit of money and buy alcohol from a store, you'll need to head to the state-owned liquor chain called "Systembolget." But keep in mind, because it is state-owned, the hours are very limited. On Saturdays locations normally close by 3pm, and all locations are closed on Sundays.

  • Booking details?

    Sweden is very tech-friendly, which means virtually everything can be easily booked online or through apps.


  • Collector's Lady Hamilton Hotel is located in the heart of Stockholm's Old Town (Gamla Stan). This quirky boutique hotel has an amazing location and offers an amazing morning breakfast.

  • Gothia Towers is a massive popular hotel and conference centre that is centrally located in Gothenburg, and offers nice rooms at affordable prices.

  • Ohboy Hotell is a trendy, sustainable hotel located in Malmö's harbour. They also offer you bikes to cycle around this bike-friendly city. Other great hotel options are Clarion Malmö Live and MJs Hotel.