Gothenburg: 3-Days in Sweden's Second City

Living in a relaxed way and taking time out to pause and socialise is the mantra in which Swedish people spend their days. We spent 72 hours in Gothenburg, which is gearing up to celebrate its 400th anniversary in 2023.


Happy Hotel:

Up and coming trendy district Mölndal is home to one of the newest hotels in town. Quality Hotel, The Weaver is aimed at families including a much played Shuffle Board, loved by all the children staying!

A bumper breakfast featuring Scandinavian treats sets you up for the day and with excellent public transport links, especially the electric buses and old style trams, it is easy to move around the city.

The 21-storey hotel in the former weaving industry area has an onsite gym and bedrooms are spacious, with minimal furniture to maximise the space, while providing all the modern comforts we expect these days. As with 95 per cent of Gothenburg’s hotels, The Weaver is environmentally friendly and sustainable.

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During the spring and summer, mascots Lollo and Bernie are on hand to provide a fun packed programme of attractions for children to enjoy during their stay.

Fun fact: Ice cream and popcorn are the staple diet for delegates using the conference rooms with left overs for the regular guest. For information on rates and rooms, visit Nordic Choice Hotels

Beautiful railway station in Gothenburg. (Photo: Peter Kvarnström)

What to do:

Gothenburg is a compact city and easy to get round on the old style trams and electric buses, with most of the attractions close to each other. There are plenty of things to see and do, from walking in the old district of Haga, with its beautiful cobbled streets and historical buildings dating back to the 18th century and now restored to house trendy coffee shops and restaurants, to visiting the Frihamnen area which has a wonderful free sauna for all to use.

Museums are in abundance and feature the history of the city, art and architecture and the popular and free World Culture Museum which also boasts a star in the Michelin Green Guide. The Universeum Science Centre has seven floors of science and is the biggest museum of its kind in Scandinavia. You can explore through the tropical rainforest, watch the fish go by in the giant aquarium and take part in some fun experiments.

Gothenburg City Museum is the place to follow the history of the city from a fortified town in the 17th century, via the 18th century’s new ideas and the 19th century’s growth into a modern industrial and port city. Here there is also Sweden’s only exhibited Viking ship, Äskekärrsskeppet. Housed in the ancient East Indian property from the 18thcentury, there is also a special children’s museum.

There is fun for all the family at the Liseburg Amusement Park, the largest in Scandinavia and full of forty plus rides from the old fashioned dodgems to the high speed roller coasters.

In the surburbs you will find Gunnebo Manor, a beautiful 18th century house, set in stunning gardens and where midsummer celebrations are held from June 24th to 26th, with traditional maypole dancing, singing, jumping like a frog and eating pickled herrings and new potatoes. Party-goers join in the fun wearing floral head bands and colourful clothes.

Fun fact: Adults can enjoy summer solstice by drinking snaps while playing drinking games.

Out of the city:

A transport card to cover your visit is a worthwhile investment and as well as the buses, trains and trams, it also covers the local ferries and means you can escape from the city for the day and head for the archipelago which stretches along the coast, like a string of pearls.

The most popular to visit and only an hour away from the city are Styrsö, Donsö or Vrångö, with their pretty wooden houses and harbours and lots of secret hideaways to explore as well as taking a dip in the water. You can laze away the day with a light lunch and spot the locals as they go about their business on their quirky electric bikes, fitted with front trailers to carry goods.

Fun fact: The islands are a great way to cool down if the city is too hot for you, with some excellent swimming spots.

Food and drink:

Fika or coffee and cake is a Swedish tradition. It is more of a mindset than a refreshment break. It’s a time to stop and speak to friends and colleagues and have a catch up. Gothenburg is best known for its scrumptious cinnamon bun.

Other city favourites are shrimp sandwich, usually accompanied by caviar, a Halv Special, a hotdog with mashed potato on the top, greshly caught mackerel and from the islands around the city, Hönökaka, a pricked sweet bread made in the shape of a circle. Schapps along with the beer Norrlands Guld Export are the most popular tipples in the city.

Fun fact: People take fika so seriously that even the employees of the mighty Volvo factory down tools when its time for the break.

READ MORE >> 6 Swedish family traditions to adopt for a calmer lifestyle

Anniversary celebrations:

2023 marks the 400th anniversary of Gothenburg. A whole host of activities and celebrations have been planned and there is lots of hotel building and tweaks in the infrastructure to make sure the city looks its best and is ready to greet the large number of visitors it expects. Helpful advice to plan your trip can be found via Goteborg and Goteborg2023

Fun facts: So keen to shout out their love for their city, a competition was held to come up with an anniversary song and the winner by Katarina Hemlin sums this wonderful spot well – “We want to live, we want to die in Gothenburg."


MAIN IMAGE ABOVE: The beautiful island of Donso (Photo: Peter Kvarnstrom)