Exploring Malmö: The Best Ways to Navigate the City as an International Student

Discover the best ways to navigate Malmö, Sweden's third-largest city. From cycling to public transit, this guide provides comprehensive information on Malmö transportation for international students.

Exploring Malmö: The Best Ways to Navigate the City as an International Student
Photo from Volvo Buses

Malmö, a charming city on Sweden's southern coastline, is a popular destination for international students. With its rich history, thriving cultural scene, and renowned educational institutions, it's no surprise that the city attracts students from around the globe. But how do you get around in Malmö?

Cycling: The Eco-Friendly Choice

Sweden is renowned for its commitment to sustainability, and Malmö is no exception. Whether it's a leisurely ride along the picturesque coast or a quick cycle to your university campus, biking is an excellent way to get around while also reducing your carbon footprint. As an international student, you'll find that the city's infrastructure is very cyclist-friendly, with numerous bike lanes and routes that connect different parts of the city. Here's some key information:

  • Extensive Cycling Network: Malmö boasts an extensive network of well-maintained cycle paths that span over 500 kilometers, making it one of the most bike-friendly cities in the country. These paths are generally separated from motor traffic, ensuring a safer and more enjoyable ride.
  • Bike Rentals & Sharing: There are numerous options for renting or sharing bikes in Malmö. Services like Malmö by Bike offer convenient bike rental with stations spread throughout the city. They offer affordable rates for both short-term and long-term rentals.
  • Cycling Culture: Cycling is deeply ingrained in the culture of Malmö. It's not uncommon to see people of all ages cycling for various purposes, be it commuting to work or university, running errands, or simply enjoying a leisurely ride.
  • Rules and Regulations: As a cyclist, you're expected to follow certain rules and regulations for your safety and the safety of others. For instance, you should always use hand signals when turning and use lights after dark.
  • Bike Shops and Repairs: There are numerous bike shops in Malmö where you can purchase a new or used bike, as well as get repairs. Some students find it cost-effective to buy a used bike for the duration of their stay.
  • Weather Considerations: While Malmö generally has a mild climate, winters can be cold and rainy. However, many residents continue to cycle throughout the year, equipped with appropriate gear.

Students living in shared accommodation found via Hemavi often enjoy cycling together to explore the city, creating a sense of camaraderie while promoting a healthy, active lifestyle. Hemavi prides itself on matching roommates with compatible lifestyles and interests, and if you're a cycling enthusiast, you might find yourself paired with likeminded individuals.

Public Transportation: The Efficient Option

Skånetrafiken, Malmö's public transportation system, is known for its efficiency and reliability. With an extensive network of buses and trains, it connects all corners of the city and even extends to the wider Skåne region. International students can avail discounts on travel cards, making it a cost-effective choice for daily commuting.

  • Services: Skånetrafiken operates an extensive network of buses and trains throughout the Skåne region. In Malmö, the bus network is particularly dense, covering nearly all areas of the city. Trains, on the other hand, provide efficient connections to other towns and cities within the region, as well as to Copenhagen in Denmark.
  • Tickets: Tickets for Skånetrafiken can be purchased via their mobile app, from ticket machines at stations, or at customer service centers. It's important to note that you cannot buy tickets on board the buses or trains. Tickets can be bought for single journeys, or you can purchase a travel card (Jojo card) for unlimited travel within a specified period. Discounts are available for students and young people.
  • Timetables: Skånetrafiken runs regular services throughout the day, with more frequent services during peak hours. Timetables for all routes can be found on the Skånetrafiken website or app.
  • Reliability: Skånetrafiken is generally reliable, with services running on time most often. Delays can happen, especially during bad weather, but they are usually well-communicated via the app and website.
  • Travel Planner: The Skånetrafiken app and website feature a handy journey planner, where you can input your start and end points to find the best public transport options for your journey.

Walking: The Simple Pleasure

With its compact city center, pedestrian-friendly streets, and abundant parks, Malmö is a walker's delight. Walking not only provides an opportunity to explore the city in depth, but it's also a great way to stay fit. The city is renowned for its walkable streets, green parks, and pedestrian-friendly infrastructure. Here's a bit more about walking in Malmö:

  • Compact City: Malmö is a fairly compact city, meaning many of the key attractions, educational institutions, and amenities are within a walkable distance from each other. This makes walking not just a viable option but often the fastest and most convenient mode of transport for many trips.
  • Pedestrian-friendly Design: The city's infrastructure is designed with pedestrians in mind. Wide sidewalks, pedestrian crossings, and traffic calming measures make walking safe and enjoyable.
  • Green Spaces: Malmö boasts many beautiful parks such as Kungsparken, Slottsparken, and Pildammsparken, which provide excellent paths for leisurely strolls or brisk walks.
  • Sights and Attractions: Walking around Malmö is a great way to experience the city's unique charm. Whether it's the historic Gamla Staden, the trendy Möllevången, or the modern Västra Hamnen, you can take in the sights at your own pace.
  • Walking Tours: For newcomers, Malmö offers a variety of walking tours that can be a fun and informative way to get to know the city. These tours often encompass key historical sites, architectural landmarks, and local hotspots.

Car Sharing: The Sustainable Alternative

If you occasionally need the convenience of a car without the costs and responsibilities of owning one, car-sharing services like Sunfleet and Move About are worth considering. They provide an economical and sustainable alternative for those times when public transportation or cycling doesn't quite fit the bill. Car sharing is a model of car rental where people rent cars for short periods, often by the hour. It's convenient, cost-effective, and more environmentally friendly than owning a car. Services in Malmö include both international companies and local alternatives.

Taxis and Ride-Sharing Services: The On-Demand Option

While more expensive than other options, taxis and ride-sharing services like Uber are available for those times when you need a quick, convenient ride. However, given the efficiency of Malmö's public transportation and the accessibility of its bike paths, these services are often unnecessary for daily commuting.

Taxis are abundant in Malmö and can be hailed on the street, booked via phone, or even found at designated taxi stands throughout the city. Notable companies include Taxi Skåne and Taxi Kurir. The fares are metered, and while they are higher than the cost of public transportation, splitting a fare with roommates or friends can make this a cost-effective option for group travel.

Ridesharing services like Uber and Bolt operate in Malmö, providing an easy-to-use, app-based platform for securing a ride. These services are often cheaper than traditional taxis and offer the convenience of cashless transactions, as your ride is paid for directly through the app.

Exploring Beyond Malmö

While Malmö itself is a vibrant city with plenty to see and do, Sweden's efficient public transportation system makes it easy for international students to explore beyond the city's borders as well. Malmö's train services connect to other Swedish cities and even Copenhagen, Denmark, making it easy to explore beyond the city on weekends or holidays.

  • Regional Trains and Buses: Skånetrafiken, the regional public transportation authority, not only operates in Malmö but also connects the city to the rest of the Skåne region. Their service includes both buses and trains. For instance, a train journey to the beautiful city of Lund takes just about 15 minutes.
  • National Trains: For farther journeys, SJ, the Swedish national railway company, offers comfortable and efficient train services connecting Malmö to major cities like Stockholm, Gothenburg, and even a direct line to Copenhagen in Denmark. Remember, Malmö is a part of the dynamic Oresund region, which means Copenhagen is just a quick train ride away across the iconic Oresund Bridge.
  • Ferries: If you want to explore the archipelago or other parts of Scandinavia, several ferry services depart from nearby ports. For example, from the port in Helsingborg, a ferry can take you to Helsingør in Denmark, where you can visit the famous Kronborg Castle, known as Elsinore in Shakespeare's Hamlet.

Final Thoughts

Regardless of where you live in Malmö, rest assured that you'll have multiple ways to get around the city. Hemavi can help you find a suitable shared accommodation in the heart of the city or in the quieter outskirts, always ensuring that public transportation or cycling routes are within easy reach. Understanding that the location of your accommodation is key to an enjoyable stay, Hemavi's focus on compatibility extends to considering your proximity to your university or place of work.

Living with roommates can make exploring Malmö even more fun. Consider setting out on a city tour on bikes or making an event of trying out different bus routes to familiarize yourself with the city. If you are paired with roommates through Hemavi, remember that the service takes into account your lifestyle and interests, making these shared experiences all the more enjoyable.

As you settle into your new life in Malmö, you'll come to appreciate the city's commitment to sustainable transportation. Whether you're cycling along the coast, hopping on a bus to your university, or sharing a car for a weekend getaway, you'll be reducing your carbon footprint while getting the most out of your time in this charming Swedish city.

Navigating a new city can be daunting, but in Malmö, the variety of transportation options makes it easy for international students to find their way around. From the eco-friendly practice of cycling to the efficient public transportation system, Malmö caters to everyone's preferences. Remember, no matter how you choose to navigate Malmö, the journey is as enjoyable as the destination. Happy exploring!