What to See in Gothenburg
Sweden’s second largest town is a buzzing city with a small town feel. It’s the center of the Swedish craft beer scene, a great place for fresh seafood and a top cultural scene with opera, art museums and lovely botanical gardens. The compact city center and warm, easygoing ambiance makes Gothenburg a favorite for visitors of all kinds.
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.)
Trädgårdsgatan 6, 411 08 Göteborg, Sweden
So where are we now? Could this be Vienna in central Europe in the early 20th century? Or maybe Paris in the same era? No, this is a small Gothenburg hotel, restaurant, and bar that fulfills the dreams of owner Thomas Peterson. Coming from a well-renowned family in the restaurant business, Peterson wanted to create his personal vision of an extraordinary restaurant and hotel that paid homage to childhood memories of his grandfather hosting celebrities and artists at home and in his restaurant. Try the afternoon tea, or have a drink on the roof terrace. No matter what you eat or drink, the ambiance is a large part of the experience.
Soup kitchen by day, rock club by night: Pustervik is the former theater that has become the heart of the Gothenburg music scene. Local bands as well as international acts like Drive By Truckers, Future Island, and Billy Bragg fill the stage. And sometimes there are club nights with names like the Ping-Pong club. Yes, that means you can play table tennis while drinking your beer.
Archipelago of Gothenburg, Gothenburg, Sweden
The sea has always played a big part in the lives of the people of Gothenburg. When you want to relax from city life this is where you go. A tram ticket will take you all the way out into the southern archipelago to enjoy the harsh beauty of the gray granite cliffs. Pack your swim gear and a book and head to an island such as Vrångö, Brännö, Styrsö, or Vargö. Take a walk to find your own private cliff or bay and then dive into the sea. It might be cold, but the cliffs are perfect for warming up against with their smooth, round shapes and ability to keep the heat from the sun. For a Swede, the combination of sea, cliffs, and solitude is bliss. Hungry? Bring a picnic or visit a restaurant like Brännö Värdshus or Vrångö Värdshus.
The impressive Palmhuset greenhouse in the middle of Trädgårdsföreningen park hosts a large number of tropical plants and butterflies. It was built in 1878 with the famous Crystal Palace in London as its inspiration. It’s named after the middle area of the building, where palm trees (the tallest one is 14 meters!) and ferns grow.