Gothenburg (Göteborg), Sweden’s second biggest city, combines vibrant urbanity, a friendly vibe and seaside charm. It also has culinary prowess and a world-class craft beer scene.
Located on the west coast of Sweden, Gothenburg has a city pulse with nature on its doorstep. It’s known for its friendly locals, and no wonder – living in such a characterful town right by the sea would make anyone cheerful and welcoming.
Gothenburg was founded in 1621 by King Gustav II Adolf and established itself as an important commercial fishing hub. Though the city has modernised over the centuries to focus on other industries – it’s the birthplace of Volvo cars, for example – its proud fishing heritage remains. There’s no better place to get your hands on high-quality seafood than on these shores. You’ll be spoilt for choice thanks to its wide array of restaurants – from fine dining establishments to casual eateries, many of which focus on locally sourced fish and seafood.
So what about the Gothenburg weather? Expect four distinct seasons, each with its particular appeal. Enjoying a southern location, Gothenburg’s climate is fairly mild, and the warmth from the Gulf Stream ensures that average temperatures don’t sink below –3°C in February, with July temperatures averaging +21°C.
As a relatively small city packed with all the highlights of a major international destination – culture, shopping, world-class restaurants and stunning nature – Gothenburg is ideal for either a weekend city break or a longer stay as there’s plenty to see and do in and around town.
Much of Gothenburg can be experienced on foot, something locals take full advantage of (when they’re not travelling by tram or bike). With cobbled streets lined with independent shops and cafés, Haga is an inspiring neighbourhood to explore. Now located in the city centre, Haga was actually Gothenburg’s first suburb when it was originally planned in the mid 17th century. Keep an eye out for the many well-preserved wooden houses built between 1870 and 1940 as workers’ homes.
Also take the opportunity to stop for a fika – the Swedish custom of enjoying a coffee and a nibble with friends – at the classic Café Husaren on Haga Nygata (the area’s main street). This cosy place serves up one of the most famous pastries in town – a dinner plate-sized cinnamon bun known as ‘Hagabullen’. Enjoy some post-fika exercise by climbing Risåsberget hill, with the Skansen Kronan fortification at the top, to take in sweeping views across the city.
Another favourite destination with locals and visitors alike is Slottsskogen park – a sprawling haven of greenery combining cultivated parkland and natural forest. In summer, azaleas come into bloom, adding a burst of colour. Slottsskogen is also known for hosting all manner of events – the music festival Way Out West being an annual August highlight.
Approaching its 100th anniversary, the legendary amusement park Liseberg first swung open its gates in 1923. It's known for its rollercoasters but offers a thrilling range of rides for the whole family. The amusement park also features a summer concert series, Live Liseberg, attracting top musicians from Sweden and abroad. Stars such as Gwen Stefani, Snoop Dogg, the Rolling Stones and of course ABBA have taken the stage in previous years.
The beautiful Bohuslän archipelago – made up of over 8,000 islands, islets and skerries – makes for an ideal day trip. During summer, locals descend on the cliffs of these rocky islands, which serve as perfect sundecks and picnic spots. Active adventurers can enjoy long bike rides, idyllic walks, guided fishing trips or a refreshing swim in the sea.
Known as “black gold”, the lobster found in the waters of the west coast is considered some of the best in the world. Fiskahummer.nu is a well-established lobster safari organiser that also offers oyster, crayfish, mussel and crab fishing adventures. The harvesting season kicks off the first Monday after the 20th of September.
Much of the seasonal, organic produce served up at Gothenburg’s diverse line-up of restaurants is harvested from the nearby sea and land. Fish and seafood lovers have plenty of quality food to choose from, but options cater to meat-eaters, vegans and everyone in between.
When on the hunt for freshly caught seafood, head to the fish market Feskekörka. Within this converted historic church, you’ll find the most diverse offer of fish and seafood in Sweden. Dine on the spot at Restaurang Gabriel, and choose from a menu brimming with oysters, crab, shrimp, crayfish and almost any other type of fish you can imagine. Feskekörka will be closed for renovations after the summer 2020 season. Visit their website for updates on where their new temporary home will be.
Another top choice is Fiskekrogen – a well-established fine dining restaurant known and loved for its shellfish platters.
Natur is another one of Gothenburg’s prime dining options. Offering set three-course menus or the option to order from the a la carte menu, all food is prepared using seasonal produce and ingredients.
Restaurant More is More caters to everyone looking for a delicious plant-based meal, offering a wide selection of vegan burgers and hot dogs with lots of tasty toppings. You’ll find this popular spot in the neighbourhood of Brämaregården on the island of Hisingen – the birthplace of Volvo.
A little further afield in the county of Halland – a couple of hour’s drive from Gothenburg – awaits an experience quite like no other. Stedsans in the Woods is an off-grid retreat offering accommodation as well as the chance to feast on dishes prepared using seasonal produce sourced on the spot in the woods or via local farms and food producers located within an hour’s drive. Guests are even invited to take part in the foraging themselves, learning about Mother Nature’s pantry in the process.
Gothenburg is considered one of the world’s top craft beer hubs, counting numerous names to its growing list of breweries. The city even hosts one of the world’s biggest beer and whisky festivals every spring – GBG Beer Week –inviting you to take part in workshops, tastings and beer launches.
The buoyant beer scene has solid foundations dating back to the mid 17th century. Named after one of the first brewers on these western shores, Johan Casparsson Poppelman, Poppels brewery is one of Gothenburg’s most popular breweries with a wide array of beers, all of which are organic. Dugges, meanwhile, is one of the city’s first micro-breweries. Other notable micro-breweries to look out for are Electric Nurse and Beerbliotek.
With Gothenburg as your base, you’re in for a varied adventure involving characterful city life – complete with unique dining and craft beer experiences – all within striking distance to magnificent nature and the sea.
Source: Visit Sweden
Image: Per Pixel Petersson/imagebank.sweden.se