Gothenburg, Sweden’s second biggest city, combines vibrant urbanity, a friendly vibe and seaside charm. It also has culinary prowess and a world-class craft beer scene.
Gothenburg was founded in 1621 by Gustav II Adolf, but it was not the first town at the river Göta älv’s outlet. At the end of the 15th century Nya Lödöse was built and became an important trade city for Sweden. Nya Lödöse stood at the site were the district Gamlestaden is today.
King Charles IX (for many people in Gothenburg known as the king on the stallion "Kopparmärra" at Kungsportsplatsen) took the decision to build the city of Gothenburg in 1607 at the current area Färjestaden on the island Hisingen. This town was completely destroyed in 1611 when the Danes burned it to the ground. Fortunately, the Swedes did not give up the idea of a western commercial city, and in 1619 the king Gustavus Adolphus proclaimed “Here, the city shall lie" and pointed to the ground in today's Gothenburg. This alleged occassion is immortalised at the Gustaf Adolf Square by artist Bengt Erland Fogelberg and his famous statue of the king (as seen in top).
Gothenburg is a charming city with something for everybody – a vibrant city of culinary and cultural uniqueness, with a great nightlife and a multitude of things to do and discover. Shopping, antiques, art, opera, theatre, galleries and museums abound in this city by the sea. It is a city that entertains and delights, from beautiful seascapes and quaint nearby fishing villages to manor houses and modern design.
Here are 10 things you must do to get a taste of the city.
Gothenburg has a lot to offer and sometimes it’s hard to choose between all the fun. But don't worry! We have handpicked 10 must-dos that you simply can’t miss out on – even when you’re short on time.
1. Have fun at Liseberg
Head-spinning rides, carousels and concerts are an essential part of summer. In November the park opens its big Christmas market.
2. Visit the splendid Gothenburg Museum of Art
The museum has three stars in Michelin’s Green Guide and houses impressive Nordic collections dating from the 15th century.
3. Go on a day tour of the Gothenburg archipelago
You can get out to craggy coast and picturesque fishing villages in less than an hour.
4. Explore the city using the waterways
Goteborg has in many ways been shaped by its closeness to the sea, and the river and waterways are present throughout the city. They also offer a great view of the squares, parks and buildings, so try exploring the canals in a kayak, on a stand up paddle-board or with the sightseeing tours Ocean Bus and Paddan.
5. Try out the local craft beer
Check out the craft breweries that have popped up around town and try some of the local brews.
6. Coffee in Haga
This charming quarter has a wonderful selection of cafés and small shops. You might like to try a giant cinnamon bun on Haga Nygata.
7. Explore the rainforest at Universeum
At Universeum you can find a rainforest, a huge aquarium and a variety of exotic animals and plants – all under one roof.
8. Shop for Gothenburg designs
Local clothing brands, second-hand items and interior furnishing are just some of the many treasures you can find while exploring the city.
Visit one of Gothenburg’s restaurants. Fish and shellfish is a real speciality in the port city of Gothenburg. Shrimp sandwiches, newly caught fish in classic and modern dishes, clams and oysters – the selction is huge
10. Delve into a green oasis
Just a stone’s throw from the city centre is the Garden Society of Gothenburg (Trädgårdsföreningen) – one of the best preserved nineteenth-century parks in Europe.
Travelling in Goteborg
By foot or bike or electric scooter
Almost everything is found withing walking distance. Explore the city by foot or rent a bike or electric scooter.
The bike rental system Styr & Ställ makes it easy to rent a bike in Gothenburg.
With the app Voi, you can locate and rent electric scooters in the city. The starting fee is 10 SEK and after that it costs you 3 SEK per minute. When you’ve located a scooter, you scan the QR code to unlock it and then you kickstart it to activate the throttle. Remember to ride in bike lanes or close to the side curb and always wear a helmet.
All tickets and travelling cards can be purchased at any of the public transport operator Västtrafik’s sales outlets, or in the app To Go
A single ticket is available from 30 SEK and can be purchased at any of the Västtrafik sales outlet or on board most times. If you do want to buy your ticket on board the following applies:
– On the trams: Buy your ticket on board from the ticket machine, only card payment available.
– On the city buses: You can’t buy tickets on board. In other words, please pre-purchase your ticket.
– On the southern archipelago boats (boats from the stop Saltholmen and Stenpiren): Pay in cash or by card to the staff on board.
– On the river boats: Pay the staff on board. They only accept cards, not cash.
If you want to get around Gothenburg in a taxi, there are several options available to you. Either call and book your taxi, hail one on the street or grab one from one of the designated taxi stops around the city. Approved taxis always carry yellow number plates.