After a few recent trips to Scandinavia I became a real fan of these Northern European countries, the people, the food, the lovely cities and the most beautiful nature.
Although Scandinavian countries are expensive, I just really like them. After my weekend in Stockholm, I became curious to visit Gothenburg, their second-largest city.
Gothenburg is located on the west coast of Sweden and about halfway between the capitals of Denmark and Norway; Copenhagen and Oslo. Volvo, the famous car brand, was founded in Gothenburg in 1927 and are still headquartered here. In this Gothenburg travel blog I bundled all my travel tips to make the most of your weekend break.
World’s most sustainable destination
According to the Global Destination Sustainability Index, Gothenburg is the world’s most sustainable destination. Gothenburg has won the leadership award three years in a row now, 2016, 2017 and 2018.
Sweden is working hard and has made a strong progress in ecological sustainability. Gothenburg Landvetter Airport has the highest level of environmental accreditation. 65% of the public transport in Gothenburg runs on renewable energy. All Gothenburg hotels have environmental diplomas, which makes Gothenburg the greenest city in the world for hotel accommodation. Even more reasons to travel to Gothenburg!
13 Things to know when you travel to Gothenburg
1. From Gothenburg Airport to city center
The city has an international airport which makes it easy to visit Gothenburg city. After arriving at the airport your best option to get to the city are the Flygbussarna. A Swedish company offering comfortable and convenient transfers to and from Sweden’s main airports. I was introduced to them in Stockholm, and didn’t hesitate to take their bus to get from Gothenburg Airport to the city.
Travelling to and from the airport couldn’t be more easy, with busses leaving about every 10 minutes.
It only takes about half an hour to get from the airport to the central station in Gothenburg. The coaches of Flygbussarna offer free wifi and USB outlets to charge your phone while travelling. I would suggest buying tickets online in advance, you get a small discount when buying online. You can get a return ticket for less than 200 Swedish Krona, a little over 20 usd.
2. Gothenburg city pass
The best places to visit in Gothenburg can best be reached by buying the Gothenburg city pass. The Gothenburg pass provides you with free entry to over 30 Gothenburg attractions, from the Liseberg amusement park to the Volvo museum and some peaceful nature cruises through the archipelago. Perfect I decide to spend a weekend in Gothenburg.
Passes are available for 24, 48, 72 or 120 hours, depending on how long you visit Gothenburg. Also included in the Gothenburg Pass is unlimited travel with the Hop On Hop Off busses and boats.
Public transport is not included in the Gothenburg Pass, but if you add a Travelcard you will get access to the local public transport. A 24 hour travelcard is available for 95 Swedish Krona, about $10 usd. Your Gothenburg pass will be activated after the first use at any Gothenburg attraction. You will also receive a free guide book with the pass, this will help you plan your stay and getting around in the city. But after reading this Gothenburg travel guide you won’t need anything else! ;)
Prices for these city passes vary of course, depending on how long you want your pass to last, but you can get them from 375 Swedish Krona which is a about 40 usd.
3. Gothenburg archipelago
If you travel to Gothenburg in summer, then put the Gothenburg archipelago on your list of things to do. I visited Gothenburg in March, which meant it was still a bit cold and trips to the archipelago weren’t running yet.
The archipelago of Gothenburg stretches along the coast, and with over 20 islands there is plenty to discover. Looking for charming villages, stunning nature and beautiful beaches, it’s all located just outside the city center. There are no cars allowed in the southern parts of the archipelago, so this part is your perfect destination for walking, hiking and biking.
4. Titanic Exhibition
Even though this is a temporary exhibition, I can’t not mention this must do in Gothenburg. This impressive exhibition touched base in Gothenburg in September 2018, and would stay until the end of March 2019. However, this exhibition has been extended to late April 2019. Don’t hesitate and be quick to visit this. You’re not allowed to take any pictures inside the exhibition unfortunately, but here you find many stories behind this famous ‘unsinkable’ ship and its passengers. Stories, photographs and private objects guide you in about 90 minutes through the exhibition. Tickets can be bought online and at the entrance, however I strongly suggest you buy your tickets online in advance as this is a very popular and busy thing to do in Gothenburg at the moment.
Scandinavia’s largest amusement park is located in the centre of the city and is called Liseberg. It is one of the best things to do on a weekend in Gothenburg. There is something for everyone at Liseberg, with 41 rides and attractions it is a fun place for kids and grown-ups. Visit this park to experience Scandinavia’s longest and fastest rollercoaster, or try Europe’s largest free-fall attraction.
Unfortunately Liseberg was still closed when I visited late March 2019. So I couldn’t enjoy the thrills of this park. Want to visit Gothenburg and experience this park as well? Make sure you travel to Gothenburg after March! Entrance to this park is included in the Gothenburg City Pass by the way.
6. Volvo Museum
Another attraction listed among the best places to visit in Gothenburg is the Volvo Museum. This place can also be visited with your Gothenburg City Pass. Gothenburg and Volvo go way back, in fact Volvo was founded in Gothenburg. The museum is located just outside of the city, easily accessible by public transport. It is located in a beautiful location, right next to the sea, at the heart of the busy Arendal Industrial park.
This museum shows Volvo’s history, showcasing iconic cars, buses and commercial vehicles. Also exhibitions on the Volvo Ocean Race and the Volvo Golf Experience can be visited here.
7. Haga district
Haga district is one of the oldest neighbourhoods in Gothenburg and one of the travel tips in every Gothenburg travel guide. It was created as the city’s first suburb. Nowadays it’s packed with cafes and shops. The narrow cobblestone streets and the picturesque wooden houses really make you feel like you stepped back in time. Haga is located within walking distance from the city centre. The vibes here are much more relaxed and laidback than in the busy city centre.
8. Skansen Kronan
Skansen Kronan is a 17th century fortress overlooking the city. It’s a bit of a workout to get to the top, but once you’re up there it offers striking views of the city and the Haga district.
When Skansen Kronan was finished, it was fitted with 23 canons, and was ready for battle. However Skansen Kronan was never attacked and the canons on the inside have never even been used.
It was used as a military museum until 2004. Nowadays Skansen Kronan is a private facility for conferences and parties. During the Summer months there is also a café serving home made ice cream, pastries and more. I really loved the views over the city from up there and thinkit is one of the coolest places to visit in Gothenburg.
Located along the river, just a short stroll from the city centre, you find this Feskekôrka. Feskekôrka is a fish market hall, an indoor fish and shellfish market, a true Mecca for seafood lovers. It’s located in between the Haga district and the city centre. The building also hosts a few small restaurants. Feskekôrka was built in 1874 and was an architectural experiment. Architect Victor von Gegerfelt was inspired by the wooden Norwegian stave churches and Gothic stone churches, these ideas and inspirations lead to the Feskekôrka.
Saluhallen is the biggest indoor market in Gothenburg and offers you a wide range of spices, coffee, cheese, fruit and other delicacies from all over our world. Saluhallen is home to around forty shops and places to eat. This food experience has been around since 1888. This place will make your mouth start to water once you enter the building. When you are a foodie this is one of the best Gothenburg travel tips.
11. Nordstan Shopping Centre
Just a few steps from the central Station of Gothenburg you find the Nordstan Shopping Centre. This is Scandinavia’s leading shopping centre, with close to 200 shops offering the latest in all possible areas. Something really convenient is the Tourist Centre which is located right in the middle of the shopping centre. Nordstan is the biggest indoor shopping mall of Scandinavia. The perfect thing to do in Gothenburg when it rains. Don’t let the weather ruin your weekend trip and make the most of it.
The shopping centre is connected to Gothenburg central station and the Nils Ericson Terminal by an underground pedestrian tunnel.
12. Garden Society of Gothenburg
Looking for some peace and quiet while you visit Gothenburg? Make sure you visit the Trädgårdsföreningen, the Garden Society of Gothenburg. This beautiful garden is located in the heart of the city and is one of the best preserved 19th century parks in Europe.
A must visit in Gothenburg are these gardens and the Palm House. You can find the Palm House in the centre of the park, offering exotic plants and tropical warmth. This giant greenhouse was built in 1878.
13. VOI Scooters (Swedish product)
Gothenburg is a small city, with almost everything in walking distance, which makes it a nice city to visit and easy to get around in. Being a sustainable and ‘green’ city they also offer Styr & Ställ, which are rental bikes at more than 60 stations spread around town. The first 30 minutes are always free of charge, no matter how many times you rent a day.
I got more excited about the electric VOI Scooters. On my first day in Gothenburg I saw them everywhere and got curious to the concept. I decided to download their app and check it out.
It happens to be super easy. You download their VOI Scooters app and register. Once you’ve done that, walk around town and find a scooter. Once you found a scooter, unlock it with your phone, and enjoy the ride. This is one of the better Gothenburg travel tips.
It costs 10 Swedish Krona (or 1 Euro) to unlock a scooter, and then 1,5 Swedish Krona per minute to ride, which is 0,15 Euro. Once you scan a scooter it will immediately tell you if it’s locked or available and the percentage battery left. VOI is a Swedish company and you can find their scooters not only in Gothenburg but also in Stockholm, Malmo, Lund, Uppsala, Copenhagen, Helsinki, Malaga, Zaragoza, Madrid, Lisboa, Faro, Lyon and Paris.
Gothenburg travel blog
I really enjoyed my trip to Gothenburg. Even though it was still winter / early spring, and not all attractions were open or running, I don’t feel like I missed out on anything and feel like I have truly experienced the city of Gothenburg.
Looking for more Sweden travel blogs? Check out our website to find travel tips for Stockholm. Or are you more into surviving in nature? Try a self-guided canoe trip through the outdoor wilderness of Sweden.
I can’t finish this Gothenburg travel blog without thanking some people who made this trip possible. A big shout out to Goteborg&CO for providing me with the Gothenburg City pass. Exploring the city with this pass is so easy, it definitely made my stay more fun!
Also a massive thank you to the Titanic Exhibition Gothenburg for putting me on the guestlist and letting me experience this unique and amazing exhibition. Truly a must do, so visit Gothenburg soon, and experience it yourself.
Travel writer Ashley visited Gothenburg on behalf of Traveltomtom and wrote this article with plenty of helpful travel tips.