Cafe exterior, Haga District, Gothenburg, Sweden, Scandinavia, Europe
Frank Fell/© Frank Fell
Wander the cobbled streets to soak up the 19th-century atmosphere of Gothenburg’s oldest district. Formerly a working-class neighborhood, Haga’s wooden houses have been repurposed as independent shops and cafés with a cosmopolitan vibe. While the cafés are a little more expensive here than in other parts of the city, the setting makes a stop worthwhile. For unique souvenirs, check out the area’s many antique and thrift shops. Your trip to Haga is easy to combine with a visit to Skansen Kronan fortress (beware the steep steps!) or the Natural History Museum.
The working class neighborhood of Haga is an area of narrow, cobbled streets and low wooden houses. Dating back to the 17th century, it’s one of the oldest parts of Gothenburg, and in the 19th century began housing more of the city’s large working class families in one- and two-story houses. A movement in the ‘70s and ‘80s to redevelop the area was resisted by local residents: Even though the houses were small, with only cold water and old-fashioned outdoor lavatories, the artists, musicians, and young people that lived here appreciated the low rent and central location. The final compromise was to keep all the houses that could be renovated, ensure new houses remained the same height as existing ones, and retain the 19th century street plan. Today Haga is a local residential neighborhood. But visitors can still enjoy a stroll along the main street, Haga Nygata, and have a bowl of soup at Caféva, relax in the outdoor cafés, buy a pair of clogs at Haga Trätoffelfabrik, or browse the cute vintage stores. If you want to get a sense for what life was like here in the 19th century, visit the museum apartment at Haga Nygata 7-9. (Book in advance through the Museum of Gothenburg.)