City Guide – Gothenburg / Göteborg, Sweden

Coming back to my home city of Gothenburg in Sweden last month, I decided to see the city from a new point of view: The tourist perspective.

It made me really appreciate Gothenburg and realize what a great city it is for tourists. Sweden is in general often overlooked as it is off the typical ‘beaten track’ of most backpackers’ Europe trip, which is a shame.

Quick Facts

Location: Sweden, west coast
Language: Swedish
Currency: Swedish Krona / SEK
Short History: After many failed attempts Gothenburg was finally successfully founded in 1621. It had been difficult to found since the place was a total swamp, but with help from Dutch city planners (who had the skills for that) it was possible. That’s why it looks so similar to Amsterdam.

City Guide – Gothenburg / Göteborg, Sweden

Overview / History

Gothenburg is known as the event city of Sweden or the city of culture, hosting heaps of music festivals and other cultural events every year (mostly in summer time).

The city is set right by the ocean on the west coast of Sweden.

It is the second largest city in Sweden, but it still doesn’t feel like a big city. There are practically no high rise buildings in the city center, and there are big parks and green alleys all over town, with a big canal flowing through the city.

The best park to visit for younger people is Slottskogen.  This is where the festival Way Out West takes place, and where the people go to hang out on nice days for picnics, outdoor games and sports or just sunbathing. The area is big and people also tend to stay around til late at night drinking and hanging out being social.

There are many nice walks there and the park is like an outside Zoo, but free of course. There you can find all from penguins and seals to typical Swedish animals like Moose.

If you’re more interested in flowers and plants, the Botanic garden (just across the road from Slottskogen) is a nice place to go.

If you’d like to get out of the city there are many places to go. There are quite a few lakes to go swimming in or just go for nice walks, and you can also take a bus or tram to go swimming in the sea or from the islands.

There are a few beaches but people in Gothenburg are quite fond of rocks… most people like to sunbathe on the rocks and jump off from them into the sea.

You can also go island hopping between the pretty islands right outside Gothenburg. There are two areas to choose between. One is only half an hour away with the tram nr 11, and from there you can explore the small islands and the idyllic life by the sea.

The main street in Gothenburg is the Avenue. It’s a long, wide street that reaches from the museum and concert hall all the way down past the shopping area down to the harbor and the Opera house.

Best time to visit is definitely in spring and summertime. I’d actually recommend you to avoid going there in Autumn/winter, the weather can be horrible.

Shopping

Shopping is easy and fun in Gothenburg. You don’t have to travel far distances between the shopping areas, they’re all really close to each other.

The most beautiful areas to go shopping is on Vasagatan and in Haga. Haga is the city’s old quarter, renowned for its well preserved and picturesque wooden houses, 19th century-atmosphere and cafés.

Shopping in the unique little boutiques along the cobbled stoned streets you will find handicraft, second hand shops, fashion, design and antique shops. There are often markets held here that are well worth a visit.

Vasagatan has even more Cafés and restaurants, but also plenty of small  boutiques. You walk along the road in a green alley, with the trees stretching over your head.

The houses in these two areas are renovated but kept in their 19th century style, which gives it all a nice touch.

As I hate shopping in malls and prefer each shop by itself so you can get some fresh air before entering the next shop, I won’t bother telling you about Nordstan and NK, the two shopping malls we have.

A better choice is shopping on Kungsgatan and the area around there, which is right next to the malls.

Where To Eat

Nearly every restaurant and Café have lunch offers, and the deals are pretty good.

I would really recommend eating at the Greek  Soup Kitchen in Saluhallen. The food is delicious and the price is cheap. My favorite Greek Lentil Soup costs 40 SEK.

Saluhallen is a nice place to visit, it’s like a big indoor market where restaurants, fruit stalls, butchers and chocolate factories all share the same roof.

My second favorite lunch place is the Indian restaurant ‘Tre Indier‘. It’s the best Indian restaurant in town but you can’t tell by their lunch offer prices at all. (lunch costs 65 SEK, and it’s a hearty meal, you can probably skip dinner after that if you want)

Pretty much all Sushi places have good lunch offers. The best Sushi I’d say is Chop Stix on a side street of the Avenue. 8 pieces for 50 SEK, including qreat service ;)

It’s actually harder to find typical Swedish cuisine than most other cuisines. Restaurants serving Swedish food are usually quite fancy and expensive. The cheapest choice would be the “Sausage Stalls”. Sausage in bread with mashed potatoes is for Swedes what the hamburgers are for Americans.

If lunch time is over and you’re looking for some dinner, don’t hang around in the Central area looking for a cheap restaurant.

The best and cheaper restaurants are actually found closer to Järntorget. Indian and Thai restaurants usually serve cheaper food, but Pizzerias and Kebab places will always beat their prices.

If you walk along Linnégatan and the streets around there there will be heaps of restaurants to choose from.

Cafe & Fika Time

Cafés are extremely important for Swedish people, they’re part of the Swedish culture.

Swedish people love their cafés, they go for something called ‘fika’ almost every day. At home they have ‘fika’ a few times per day, it’s like Tea time in England I guess.

However, there are cafés around every corner here, but the best ones are definitely around the older parts of town like Haga, Linnégatan and Vasagatan.

These are my favorites:

If you’d like to see more Cafés in Gothenburg, there is a café map over the whole city. Click here to get there.

Events

There are always events going on in Gothenburg, but summertime is probably the peak with weeks of ongoing partying.

Way Out West, Metal Town and the Jazz festival are the three biggest music festivals during he year, where big artists from all over the world come to preform.
You can read more about these festivals at their websites:

www.wayoutwest.se
www.metaltown.se
www.gothenburgjazzfestival.com

There are just too many events to even write them all down, but here is an event calendar with all upcoming events this year:

http://www.goteborg.com – Event Calendar

Most Popular Attractions

1. Liseberg - Scandinavia’s biggest amusement park, is actually a lot of fun.
2. Gothenburg’s Botanical Garden – A nice park to stroll around in and have a picnic, or just look at some of the 16,000 species that grow here outdoors.
3. Universeum - The national science discovery center with rain forest, aquatics and such things.
4. Trädgårdsföreningen - One of he best preserved 19th century parks in Europe, right in the center of the city.
5. Världskulturmuseet (Museum of World Culture)
6. Gothenburg’s Art Museum
7. Göteborgs Stadsmusem
8. Paddan boat Tour – City Sightseeing from a waterside perspective
9. Maritime Museum
10. Göteborgs Naturhistoriska Museum

Getting Around

There are trams and buses going everywhere, and the same ticket is used for both. You can’t buy tickets from the driver, instead you have to buy your ticket from newsagents such as Pressbyrån, 7-Eleven or anywhere displaying the Västtrafik sign.

You can also buy tickets by text message (if you have a Swedish mobile phone operator).

These tickets are valid for 90 minutes, and you can travel as much as you like in any direction within that time.

If you are going to be doing a lot of travelling, then buying a short-term top-up card is the best option. This card enables you to travel wherever you want within specified areas, and as much as you want, within one or three 24-hour periods.

They are valid on all Västtrafik vehicles, including all trains except the X2000. On their website (check out the link), you can read more and check out the timetable.

How To Get There

There are two airports, Säve and Landvetter.

Säve is a tiny little airport where budget airlines such as Ryan Air flies. It takes about half an hour with the Airport bus to Gothenburg center. A ticket costs 110 return and 60 one-way.

Landvetter takes about the same time with Airport bus, and tickets cost 150 return and 80 one-way.

There is also a big harbor where Ferry’s go between Norway, Denmark, UK and Germany.

Stena Line is the major company that runs between the countries.

Where To Stay

GöteborgsVandrarhem – Most centrally located hostel in town, free wi-fi and a sauna (65 SEK for Breakfast buffet)
Kville Hotell Bed and Breakfast – Free breakfast, Free linen and Free internet.
SlottskogensVandrarhem – Right by Slottsskogen park, close to bars, cafés and shopping. They have free wi-fi, movie nights every night and access to sauna, pool table and … sunbed… (65 SEK for breakfast buffet)

Lastly, we will be living here for the next 5 months (before we travel again), so if this blog has inspired you to come visit Sweden, we would be more than willing to meet up and show you around – just send us an email!

5 Responses to City Guide – Gothenburg / Göteborg, Sweden

  1. Neilyoung February 2, 2011 at 8:04 am #

    Great guide! Thank you!

  2. Vicky August 2, 2012 at 6:46 pm #

    Wow really comprehensive guide, thanks! I’ve bookmarked it for when I hopefully go to Sweden next year :)

    • Sofia August 3, 2012 at 6:05 am #

      Thanks! Great to hear you’re planning to visit Sweden, Gothenburg is a lovely city not to be missed. If you have any questions about Sweden or Gothenburg just ask :)

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