To Top

Travel: Malmö, Sweden’s newest gay-friendly city

Young tells us about the Swedish city of Malmö, this year’s Eurovision host, and why it’s an up-and-coming gay-friendly travel destination.

esc2013_pop-check_iMalmö is Sweden’s third most populous city and recently made a name for itself when it hosted the Eurovision Song Contest this year for the second time (the first being in 1992). The famous event is known to be very popular amongst LGBT people and in light of its newfound fame, the city has upped its game in welcoming LGBT visitors, establishing itself as must-go travel destination even after the song contest has finished. Sweden as a country has already proven itself to be a popular choice for LGBT travellers with its advanced LGBT rights, including legalised same-sex marriage, same-sex couples adoption, anti-discrimination laws and the right to change legal gender.

Besides the obvious and varied choices of gay and gay-friendly things to do (and weʼve provided a quick list of what’s in for LGBT people visiting the city at the end of this release), Malmö is the perfect citybreak choice for the discerning LGBT visitor because there’s so much more on offer in the heart of the city, let alone it being the gateway to the beautiful Skane region.

Below is a run-down of some of the top things to see and do in Malmö, whether you’re LGBT or not.


If you’re a creative and art fanatic, Malmö has a great selection small art galleries, from local artists to international exhibitions and galleries like Kret, Galleri Rostrum and Makeriet offers something for everyone. However, the big news this summer is contemporary art event Malmö Nordic, the city’s major art initiative for 2013 opened earlier this month and runs until 18 August. Everyone from Malmö’s big art institutions to artist-run private galleries and public workshops are taking part, interpreting the theme and making their own contribution in the spirit of dynamism and diversity.


Mollenvangstorget (affectionally known by locals as ‘Mollan’) is a live open-air market with shops and restaurants in Malmö that caters to every taste from all around the world. One of the city’s most famous restaurants that is certainly worth visiting is the strangely-named Bastard – trendy yet cozy bistro atmosphere with a focus on fresh product and a ‘nose-to-tail’ approach to dining, it’s a meat-lover’s paradise!

Gothenburg’s Bee Kök & Bar opens a second one in Malmö.

Chez Madame is a lovely, gay-friendly eco-cafe in the heart of Malmö with a special focus on vegetarian and vegan cuisine, and Moccasin Mat & Vin is a gay-friendly restaurant that combines simple but good food with luxurious cocktails. In April, Bee Bar & Kok, a gay bar and restaurant that is already well-known in Gothenburg, opened in Malmö’s. Bee Bar & Kok describes itself as a ‘straight-friendly’ venue that is open and welcoming to everyone and is very popular amongst the LGBT community in Gothenburg and should be in Malmö too.


Malmö is well-known across Sweden for its fashion and design culture and there are some great places to check out such as Ohlsson and Gerthel and Formargruppen, while Sweden itself is obviously already world-famous for stores and brands such as H&M, Ikea and Clas Ohlson. In the area around the square Davidhallstorg you’ll find some of the trendiest and chic-est shops, including Tjallamall – a haven for all things vintage, plus some unique, hand-made single-pieces by the city’s up and coming designers. The city also has a number of fleamarkets, the most popular ones being held every Sunday at Drottningtorget.

Taboo on Sadra Farstadsgatan is a sex shop that first opened in 1967. Its staff are friendly and knowledgeable and friendly and it stocks an extensive selection of fetish wear and bondage gear for both men and women, LGBT and straight. There is also Baltatzar, a delightful vintage shop ‘for men of all genders’, which is sometimes also turned into a pop-up gallery showcasing up-and-coming artists in Malmö.

Great value for money

Malmö is a city with an intimate vibe and noted for its similarity to Brighton, with its seafront location, modern architecture and diverse community, but ultimately, it is an affordable and vibrant city offering great value for money; it is not known for a particularly expensive place to visit. You can stay in the city for an average of under £100 a night in some comfortable accommodations, including the Rica Hotel and Master Johan.


Swedish meatballs, anyone?: Wonk is one of Malmö's few but best and largest gay clubs.

Swedish meatballs, anyone?: Wonk is one of Malmö’s few but best and largest gay clubs.

Wonk is one of Malmö’s premier gay clubs while the nationwide famous Cabaret Moulin offers some of the best drag show acts n Sweden, which takes place once a month at the Tango Palace. Other places worthy of note are: Lesbian Heaven (at Level) is, as the name suggests, mainly for girls and is a club night held  Level on the first Friday of every month; Tomboy, Malmö’s only LGBT rock club which celebrates its eighth anniversary this year and takes place at Moriskan in Folkets Park on the second Friday of each month; and SLM is a classic leather and fetish club for men.

For more specific things to do in Malmö and for updated listings of shop, restaurant, art and bar listings, please visit the city’s official tourist website.



More in Travel