Gothenburg (Göteborg in Swedish), the second largest town of Sweden, has its own aesthetics. The greenery and colourful architectures makes the city a paradise for photographers. Though less traveled, the co-existence of nature, Swedish tradition and modern flamboyance have made this city a “must to visit”.
Halfway between Stockholm and Oslo, the largest non-capital of Nordic lies in a rocky coastline of North Sea. However, the forest of west Sweden is just on the east of this city.
Historically this city played a major role in Swedish economy. Given its position, just up-river from the North Sea, the city was the maritime hub from the seventeenth to twentieth century. Swedish East India Company was founded here. This city houses the Volvo factory. Post world war era, with the decline of the harbor, tourism was slowly developed in this city.
Gothenburg has also been named as the world’s most sustainable city – not only is it close to the forests of west Sweden, but its airport has achieved carbon neutral status, too. A staggering 92% of Gothenburg’s hotels are rated under one sustainability certification or another. In my 2 days trip I saw more trams, buses, cycles than private cars.
According to BBC Travel, Gothenburg is regarded as the Greenest City in this World. Surrounded by thick forests of linden and beech, the city offers a hefty 274 sq m of green space per citizen. Instead of using personal cars, the culture of the city encourages cycling and availing public transports. In fact, the public transport network was designed to make this city tourist friendly. Tram riding in Gothenburg is always a memorable experience.
I (with my friend Rabinder) visited Gothenburg during late summer, 2018. My two days trip, I realised the less travelled city has a lot to offer the travelers willing to visit. Apart from Swedish Opera, drama and there are lot of the architectures, activities and graffiti that anybody can enjoy.
The travel guide might help you to draw your itinerary. Two to three days are enough. However, anybody can stay more to experience the city in detail.
We travelled to Gothenburg by train from Stockholm. Gothenburg Central Station is just beside the harbour. Cheap Airbnb and hotels are available in the heart of the city. Now I will give you a guide key places where one should visit and also some must have experiences that anybody should have in his/her trip.
Strolling in the lanes of Haga:
The quaint neighbourhood is the oldest area of the city. Though once occupied by the working class, nowadays Haga is famous for antique shops and cozy cafes. The city’s ancient flavors can be experienced in this mid 17th century building.
While walking along main street Haga Nygata, I found houses constructed in a typical Swedish traditional style – “landshövdingehus” where one floor was made with brick/stone and the rest of the house is built of wood.
Strolling on the cobbled stone lane, bilanes, the smell of cocoa forced me and my friend Rabinder to have a coffee. There were lots of options, just to choose one, seat back and relax.
Visit the Skansen Kronan:
Skansen Kronan, the iconic structure of Gothenburg or you can say this is the most visited monument of the less travelled city.
Built in the later half of the seventeenth century, the fortress was placed on a small hill top. The fortress’s 4-5 meter thick walls are made of granite, gneiss and diabase. Visiting Skansen I felt like reaching the top of the city.
Further using the spiral staircases we climbed to the top of the fortress and the breathtaking top view of the entire city.
Boat ride to explore Southern Archipelagoes:
This was the most exciting time of my trip. Though I lived in Stockholms and visited archipelagoes (Eastern Archipelagoes) several times but the Western Archipelagoes are completely different. The tiny islands are rocky and most of them are without any tree. They were adding a texture in the landscapes.
Get Line 91, 114 bus or Line 11 tram to reach Långedrag. We opted for the second one. It takes less than half an hour to reach Långedrag. We boarded the tram from Göteborg Järntorget and after a lovely tram journey of 25 minutes we reached Långedrag.
From Långedrag we rode on the ferry 281. Both tram and ferry were free since we had Gothenburg pass. The ferry started sailing on the blue North Sea. Though it was summer, the cold air was chilling us. Rabinder and I somehow managed to be in the deck for photography. The yellow islands on the sea were adding some lovely texture in the photos. It took 30 minutes to reach the final destination Vrångö. If anybody can have a day for this trip, they must deboard to the other stoppage Donsö and Styrsö to explore.
As with all of the larger islands, Donsö, Styrsö and Vrångö are inhabited. There are lots of summer houses in fact some of the people stay in the tiny islands. We checked the return ferry time and went further south to the extreme point where we had to climb a large rock and got a spectacular view of the sea.
Pamper your taste buds at Feskekörka (Fish Church):
A fish market inside a church!!!! This can only be possible in Scandinavia. Being an important port of Nordic country, an exoric sea food hub is expected to be present near the harbour. But the uniqueness of this market is its placement. The market is housed inside a church.
Actually, the building, designed by the city architect Victor von Gegerfelt, resembles a non Gothic church. Feskekörka is nowadays a tourist magnet of Gothenburg. Apart from a fish market, there is also a fish- and seafood restaurant in the building.
When I went there, the market was about to close. I just took away some baked salmon for my dinner.
Enjoy the rides at Liseberg:
The amusement park houses the tallest roller coaster of the Nordic Countries. Do enjoy the thrilling ride. I did the same thrice. Secondly Aero Spin was another ride that I enjoyed. I would always suggest having a complete ride pass. Else the expenses will unnecessarily get increased.
Fika – The most obvious experience:
Fika, the most used Swedish word everybody should hear on the first day in Sweden. No Swedish trip can be complete without Fika. Fika, literally, is coffee together with something sweet such as a cake or a traditional Swedish cinnamon bun (kanelbulle), but it’s also so much more than that.
Fika is an opportunity to slow down, have a chat, take some time out, or just catch up with friends or a blind date.
Cafe Kringlan, Cafe Magasinet are the most popular place for Fika. But the antique cafes of Haga are the best location for” Fika in Gothenburg”.
Get lost into the colours and subjects of Graffiti:
Aesthetics of the city depends on the graffiti drawn on the city walls. Scandinavia is famous for street art. Being a university town, imaginative, colourful, strong and magnificent paintings are found in the city environment. You can get a city map of graffiti here.
I wish if I could visit all of the places marked in the map. I visited only “Kommersen Loppmarknad” (Commercial Flea Market). I like the colour and the subjects of the graffiti.
Tour the Volvo Museum:
The Volvo Museum covers the development of Sweden’s leading vehicle manufacturer Volvo, from the first ÖV 4 to the current cars, trucks, buses and other products. Unfortunately when I went it was closed but I suggest the fellow travelers to visit once when you are in Gothenburg.
Admire the architectural relics:
Unique buildings of Haga (Landshövdingehus) have already been said earlier in this blog. Apart from Haga, the city is decorated with some excellent architecture. Most of them are either Baroque or Gothic.
Fascinating architectures of churches are found in various locations in Gothenburg. One of them is Oscar Fredriks kyrka (Oscar Frederik Church). The brick red church with green domes is a a treat to eyes.
I am adding a few photographs of the other buildings.
Relax and purify your lungs in any park:
The city is famous for its greenery. The city has lots of parks. Choose one of them and relax with a cup of coffee. Your lungs will be delighted with the fresh air.
Tips and Tricks:
- Gothenburg Pass: Get a Gothenburg Pass. This will get the privilege to enter into churches, museums and the public transports will be absolutely free. The card will mostly be needed during the archipelago trip. Plan your trip so that you can do the maximum use of the card.
- Accommodation: Gothenburg is less expensive than other famous Nordic Cities. Choose your accommodation so that the most of the seeing places can be travelled by walking.
- Like the entire Nordic Countries Gothenburg is absolutely safe.
- Clothing: Please keep a windcheater inside your knapsack while you are going for the archipelago trip or boat ride. Even in hot Summer, anytime a cold air might chill you as the city is on the bank of the North Sea.