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9 Best Things to Do in Gothenburg

A girl walking towards a large palmhouse made of glass and white steel, a typical 19th century style

9 Best Things to Do in Gothenburg

Gothenburg is the second-largest city in Sweden after the capital city of Stockholm. Located on the west coast, it was officially founded in the early 17th century and prior to that had been used as a Dutch trading colony. The influence of the sea and trade is noticeable around the City. It’s not only the biggest Swedish port but actually the largest port in any of the Nordic countries.

A girl stood on a bridge on the river in Gothenburg in winter clothes

Things To Do In Gothenburg

It’s a cultured place with lots of museums, galleries, parks and attractions. Meaning there are no shortage of things to do in Gothenburg. They also host the largest Film Festival in Scandinavia here. So, for all the Nordic Noir fans out there, why not combine your trip with the festival. It takes place around the end of January and start of February.

9 Best Things To Do In Gothenburg

1. Visit the Palm House

The Palm House is located in the Horticultural Society Gardens (also referred to as ‘The Garden Society of Gothenburg’) near the center of the city. The gardens were founded in the 19th century by King Karl XIV Johan and they remain the best preserved gardens from that period.

The building alone is impressive with it’s grand glass and iron structure. Inside they have a huge variety of exotic plants from across the world. It’s a really well preserved collection and a nice place to wander around at your own pace.

The tropical climate inside is a welcome bonus if you’re thinking of visiting in winter!

2. Liseberg Amusement Park

Liseberg amusement park from the outside featuring a big wheel and a large model dinosaur

Liseberg opens throughout the summer and during December for the Christmas season. It’s a really great theme park that’s almost a century old. One of the main attractions is the wooden rollercoaster named Balder. It was voted the best wooden rollercoaster in the world when it first opened!

As well as the rides, they also have a sculpture/botanical garden and stage shows.

3. Jublileumsparken

A girl stood on the edge of a man-made lake, part of the dock area of Gothenburg. With an industrial looking building on thick stilt like supports

This is a really cool place with a lot of potential! It’s an industrial, port area of the city on the other side of the river.

There is a free outdoor pool here and the best bit is the free sauna. So no matter what the weather, this is a great place to come. The sauna is built on stilts above the water and keeps the industrial aesthetic of the area.

Here’s hoping for more investment and renovation in this area! Over time it’s easy to imagine this place as a buzzing, hipster hangout with cool bars, restaurants, street art and vintage markets.

4. Gothenburg Botanical Garden

The botanical garden in Gothenburg is one of the largest and most diverse botanical gardens in Europe. It was founded in 1923 and covers an area of around 175 hectares (about half the size of Central Park, so pretty big!).

The garden boasts a vast collection of plants from around the world, including various themed sections such as the Rock Garden, Rhododendron Valley, and the Japanese Glade. These sections are designed to showcase different types of plants in their natural habitats.

A selection of succulent plants in a large pot

The garden also features a variety of greenhouses that house different climate zones, allowing for the cultivation of plants from various parts of the world that wouldn’t survive in Sweden’s harsh climate. These greenhouses include the Tropical Greenhouse, Mediterranean Greenhouse, and Succulent House.

Gothenburg Botanical Garden plays an important role in plant conservation efforts. It’s home to several rare and endangered plant species, and it actively participates in various conservation programs to help protect and preserve plant biodiversity.

5. Museum of World Culture

As you may tell from the name, the museum displays works from around the whole globe. They have a varied collection of all sorts of things from ancient artifacts to modern artwork. So there’s something here for everyone to enjoy.

It’s completely free to enter, although you may have to pay to enter some of the temporary exhibitions. It’s all set in a highly modern, glass and concrete building.

6. Gothenburg Museum of Natural History

The Gothenburg Museum of Natural History is located on the North East side of Slottsskogen Park. It houses an incredible collection of animals, casts and models.

One of the highlights here is surely the blue whale (known as Malm Whale after the museum’s curator). It’s the largest species that has ever lived (yes, including every dinosaur that walked the earth!) and this is the only one you can see in a museum anywhere in the world.

7. Slottsskogen Park

A park in winter, with bare trees and a spiral hedge maze

Slottsskogen Park is right next to the Natural History Museum so it’s a good place to go next.

There’s a lot to do here, you could easily spend days just in this park! There’s mini golf, a maze, outdoor gyms, playgrounds and large open spaces as well as some areas of forest.

There really is something for everyone here so it’s your choice whether to bring a picnic and relax or get some activity time in.

8. Indulge at Mr. Cake

When you’re in need of a coffee and cake, this is the place to go. They have some amazing creations and even have a few vegan cakes.

You also do savoury lunch like pastries, salads and sandwiches, but make sure to leave room for dessert!

9. End the Night at Steampunk Bar

The Steampunk bar is a great way to end the evening. They feature over 100 beers on their menu including some local micro breweries like Poppels and Dugges.

So kick back with a nice IPA or sour beer and enjoy the amazing decor!

Still Looking for More?

If you still find yourself with more time and are looking for more things to do in Gothenburg then Haga looks like a beautfiul area. It’s a quaint little area with old wooden buildings and cobbled streets, as well as the impressive fort of Skansen Kronan. We didn’t have enough time to spare, but Haga was recommended to us a few times by locals. It’s a perfect place if you love a walking tour with a bit of history.

A stone fort on top of a hill in Sweden with a stone bridge in front of it

There are also more museums to visit like the City Museum (which is housed in the old East India Company building), Universeum (science), Aeroseum (aviation), and even a Volvo Museum. The opera house is also worth seeing and you can take a nice walk along the river to get there.

If you’re planning a longer trip and love the outdoors, then the Gothenburg Archipelago is worth looking into. It’s a series of inhabited islands off the coast to the west and it’s possible to do some island hopping around. There’s plenty of outdoor activities and it’s certainly on our list for the next time we visit.

Where To Stay in Gothenburg

Mid-range

Radisson Blu Riverside Hotel is on the other side of the river from the main Gothenburg city area. You can get a ferry across, the stopping isn’t far from the hotel and runs regularly. They have a really nice rooftop spa area with jacuzzis and saunas. You get a great view out over the river and city from there.

A girl in a jacuzzi on the rooftop of a hotel looking out at the sun rising over Gothenburg

High-end

Upper House, which is the 5-star part of Gothia Towers also boasts great views over the city. The really cool thing with this hotel is the “protruding” pool, which hangs out from the building and is visibile from the street below. You get free access to the spa and pool area while staying in Upper House.

A large mirrored glass hotel with the name Gothia Towers above the entrance and several flags

You can also stay at the 4-star Gothia Towers, which is more mid-range but you have to pay extra to use the pool and spa.

Getting Around

A long exposure shot of a tram moving through the streets of Gothenburg at night with long streaks of white and red light

The best way to get around Gothenburg is to buy day passes to use the buses, trams and trains.

You can buy the tickets on the Västtrafik app or Västtrafik website.

You will probably only need zone A tickets as that covers the city and surrounding areas. A 24-hour ticket costs 110SEK (around $13), and a 72-hour ticket costs 220SEK (around $25). So if you’re here for more than a day it makes sense to go for the 3 day ticket.

Vegan Eats

Göteburgare Vegan have an amazing choice of vegan burgers and good beers on tap.

Ramen Ya is an authentic Japanese Ramen restaurant. They have a choice of 4 delicious vegan Ramen dishes! If you like a bit of heat, then we’d recommend the Chili Vegan Ramen. They also serve vegeterian and meat Ramen bowls as well.

9 Best Things To Do In Gothenburg

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