7 Reasons You Must Add Gothenburg to Your Bucket List
I was recently invited to visit Gothenburg in West Sweden in celebration of Midsummer and to learn more about Volvo’s Overseas Delivery program. Gothenburg is Sweden’s second-largest city, located on Sweden’s west coast just south of Norway, north of Denmark, and a few hours from Stockholm. It is known for being the birthplace of Volvo, founded in Gothenburg in 1927, as well as for it’s gastronomy and for being one of the centers of music, art, and literature in Sweden.
I knew I would love Gothenburg after reviewing the official visitor site and seeing so many different things that I enjoy highlighted, but it was not until I arrived and started exploring in person that I realized how truly wonderful this city is. My trip there was truly one of my favorites to date and I am already looking forward to visiting again soon!
Here are 7 reasons you absolutely must add Gothenburg to your bucket list:
IT’S EASY TO GET TO
From the US, SAS serves more Scandinavian destinations than any other airline, making Gothenburg easy to get to by plane. From San Francisco I flew SAS and had a quick stop over in Copenhagen before continuing on to Gothenburg. Depending on where you are flying from, you may even be able to land a direct flight!
Search and book your flight with SAS here.
You also have the option of arriving by train. From Oslo it will take around 4 hours, from Stockholm around 3, and from Copenhagen around 3.5. Learn more about the different train options here.
While in Gothenburg, I recommend staying at one of the following hotels:
- Gothia Towers - a beautiful, modern hotel located across the street from Liseberg Amusement Park, offering magnificent views of both the park and the city. Also home of one of my favorite spots in Gothenburg, the SPA at Upper House (more on that below).
- Book your stay at Gothia Towers here
- Clarion Hotel Post - a centrally-located hotel in a historic post office building. It’s situated right across from the central station and one of my favorite places in the city, the Garden Society of Gothenburg, making it a great option!
- Book your stay at Clarion Hotel Post here
- Dorsia Hotel - an exclusive boutique hotel with the most unreal design I have ever seen! Unlike the first two hotels, I did not actually stay here but I did visit it and it is remarkable.
- Book your stay at Dorsia Hotel here
IT’S EASY TO GET AROUND IN
Gothenburg has a great bus and tram system which will take you to and from anywhere you need to go. You can purchase single-use tickets, a 1 or 3 day ticket, or my personal recommendation - the Göteborg City Card. The city card includes not only unlimited use of the buses, trams, and boats but also gives you free entrance to a handful of awesome attractions around town (museums, amusement parks, tours, etc.). You can purchase the city card for 24 hours, 48 hours, or 72 hours and the value gets better the longer you purchase it for.
Find out more about the Göteborg City Card and purchase yours here.
THERE IS SO MUCH TO SEE AND DO
While traveling I usually try to see as many cities as possible, so I generally visit each place for around 3 days. However, I spent 5 full days in Gothenburg and still found myself with a long list of things that I wanted to do by the time I had to leave! From sightseeing to shopping, there is a seemingly endless list of things to do in this wonderful Swedish city.
THINGS I RECOMMEND SEEING AND DOING:
A beautiful park and my favorite place in all of Gothenburg! Home to the Rose Gardens with 2,500 roses from 1,200 species and the Palm House.
The Palm House at Garden Society
A giant greenhouse built in 1878. The most Instagrammable spot in all of Gothenburg, in my opinion :)
An amazing spa located inside the Gothia Towers hotel. Go here for a relaxing beauty treatment (I got a facial which was excellent) and make sure to visit the outdoor pool which hangs off the building as well as indoor pools and saunas before or after your treatment. If you are going to treat yourself, this is the place to do it!
One of the oldest neighborhoods in Gothenburg, full of beautiful shops, cafes, and cobblestone streets making it a great place to explore.
Feskekorka (‘fish church’)
A photogenic indoor fish market built in 1874.
The museum is considered to have the world’s finest collection of turn-of-the-century Nordic art. Free with your Göteborg City Card
And of course you cannot visit Sweden without doing some home decor shopping! There are so many to choose from, but here are some of the ones I loved:
THE FOOD IS TO DIE FOR - ESPECIALLY IF YOU LOVE SEAFOOD!
Gothenburg is known to be a gastronomic hotspot and even still I could not believe how amazing the food was. Some of the meals were the best I’ve ever had (ever, seriously) and in addition to being delicious, the venues were almost all Instagram perfection!
Where to eat:
- Toso - an asian fusion restaurant run by well-known chef Stefan Karlsson. One of the best meals I have ever had and my #1 Gothenburg restaurant recommendation! Book well in advance as it fills up early. Try the sharing menu
- Restaurant Atelier - a gorgeous Parisian-style restaurant located on the top floor of Hotel Pigalle. Try the four course menu
- Sjömagasinet - a picturesque Michelin-starred seafood restaurant situated by the river in an old warehouse from 1700s
- Taverna Averna - a trendy bistro in artsy Linnéstaden
- Mr. P - a small brasserie located at the Art Museum. Go for lunch while visiting the museum!
- Kafe Magasinet - a cafe and bar in a to-die-for venue. Instagram heaven!
- Bar Kino - a local brewery. Try their Stigbergets beer which is the best craft beer in Sweden and top ranked in the world
- Storköket - an outdoor restaurant located along the canal near the Garden Society of Gothenburg. A beautiful spot to enjoy some sunshine and drinks
- Levantine - outdoor bar and French bistro in a park
- Rada Gelato - locally produced gelato. Try the “pancakes with bacon and maple syrup” option
- Cafe Kronhuset - a cute cafe located in a very colorful, picturesque area!
- JOS cafe - a healthy (and picturesque) cafe with great salads and fresh squeezed juices
- Forssen & Oberg - a champagne bar with a beautiful outdoor courtyard
- da Matteo - local coffee and pastry chain. Visit the Magasinsgatan location (my favorite!) which shares an outdoor courtyard with Floramora & Krukatos
IT IS BEAUTIFUL (AND INSTAGRAMMABLE!)
Hopefully this is already obvious based on all of the above, but I couldn’t not specifically call out how absolutely gorgeous Gothenburg is. The shops, cafes, restaurants, parks, streets - all absolutely beautiful and a photographer’s dream. I already cannot wait to go back to capture more photos!
Some of my favorite Gothenburg photo spots:
- The Palm House at the Garden Society of Gothenburg (Trädgårdsföreningen)
- Floramora & Krukatos
- Kafe Magasinet
- The SPA at Upper House
- And don’t forget to get a shot of the adorable light blue trams!
IT IS THE GATEWAY TO 8,000 WEST SWEDEN ISLANDS - MAKING IT THE MOST PERFECT ROAD TRIP SPOT!
I truly believe you should not visit Sweden without including a West Sweden road trip, and Gothenburg is the perfect starting point for this adventure! The islands are absolutely beautiful and full of outdoor activity options like kayaking, hiking, biking, and more. The best way to get around is via car so we chose a Volvo XC-60, Volvo's most popular car, for our voyage which we ended up absolutely loving. You can’t visit the birthplace of Volvo without testing out one of their cars, after all!
More on my West Sweden road trip coming soon :)
AS AN AMERICAN, YOU CAN VISIT GOTHENBURG FOR FREE!
…through the Volvo Overseas Delivery program when you purchase a Volvo :) Through the program, the price of your Volvo includes two round-trip tickets to Gothenburg via SAS, one night stay at the Clarion Hotel Post in the heart of Gothenburg, a Volvo Factory tour, and more! You simply place your order from your local dealer, pick up your new Volvo at the Gothenburg Factory Delivery Center, explore Sweden with your new Volvo, then bring it back to any official drop-off location once you are done so they can ship your new Volvo to your local US dealer. Pretty cool, right?
To see more of beautiful Gothenburg, check out my Instagram stories from my trip below!
To learn more about visiting Gothenburg, check out the official visitor site here!