How to spend a perfect weekend in Gothenburg

Updated on 16 August 2019 | 0 Comments

Stylish, sustainable and easy to explore – why it’s time to visit this Swedish spot.

Sweden’s second city is often overshadowed by Stockholm, the country’s capital, but growing numbers of visitors are making a beeline for Gothenburg, drawn by its historic neighbourhoods, gorgeous hotels and innovative approach to sustainability. Here’s how to spend 48 hours in the city.


Check into: the Clarion Hotel Post, a sprawling brick building facing onto the Drottningtorget, the city's main square. A former post office, this beautiful, 5-star spot also comes up trumps in the sustainability stakes – it’s been awarded a special accreditation given to hotels going above and beyond when it comes to waste, energy consumption and water use.

If you’re in need of some downtime, there’s a swanky rooftop pool and one of the city's largest spas. Marcus Samuelsson, who grew up in Gothenburg and is now an acclaimed chef in the US, helped create the menus at the two restaurants, Norda and vRÅ.

Clarion Hotel PostClarion Hotel Post/

Get your bearings: by using the city's bike share scheme, Styr & Ställ. There are 60 stations dotted throughout Gothenburg and rental periods of under 30 minutes are free. Not a fan of pedal power? There are station-less electric scooters to rent too.

READ MORE: 48-hour city breaks in Europe to banish the winter blues

Whatever your mode of transport, we suggest starting with a lap of the city centre, encircled by a ring of bike and walking path-lined canals. It's a great way to get a feel for the city and you'll pass some of its most important landmarks, such as the former headquarters of the Swedish East India Company and the Sjömanstornet, a towering pillar topped with the statue of a fisherman's wife.  

Gothenburg tramsAlicia G. Monedero/Shutterstock

Explore: Haga Nygata, a pedestrianised street in the historic Haga district. Look closely and you'll notice many of the buildings have stone ground floors and wooden upper ones.

In the 1700s a series of fires (this particular neighbourhood was filled with wooden mansions built by wealthy traders) prompted the government to decree that houses here must be made of wood. However, residents bypassed these restrictions by constructing one-storey stone houses, then adding wooden upper storeys.

Haga districtPaul2015/Shutterstock

Enjoy fika (the coffee and cake break beloved by the Swedes) at: the beautiful Café Husaren where the homemade cinnamon buns come as big as dinner plates.

Spend the evening: at Kafé Magasinet, a plant-filled, chilled-out restaurant and bar in the city centre. Nab a spot in the greenhouse-like seating area adjacent to the main bar if possible.

Look closely and you'll spot a glowing image of an ear, its shape picked out with LED lights, on the wall. This ingenious device remains green when noise levels are low to medium, but turns red when they go beyond a certain volume – a rather lovely reminder to guests that the restaurant is in a residential area. The most popular items on the menu are the bagels and pizzas, and there's a great range of cocktails and craft ales on offer.


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Get an adrenaline rush at: Liseberg, the city's theme park and reportedly the only one in the world with a vegetarian restaurant (the Green Room) on site.

The most popular ride, Loke, is a seriously scary pendulum-style swing ride which generates electricity though deceleration, then feeds this energy back into the grid.

Other rides to scare yourself silly on include Valkyria (Europe's longest dive coaster with a drop of 164ft/50m); Helix, during which you'll experience forces of 4G and speeds of up to 62mph/100kmph; and, for the traditionalists, Balder, a wooden coaster which reads speeds of 56mph/90kmph.

Liseberg roller coasterJanice Carlson/Shutterstock

Grab a bite to eat at: local hangout Lindholmen Street Food Market. You'll find it on an industrial estate just beyond the city centre. Every Saturday dozens of chefs set up shop inside a lovingly restored warehouse, serving up everything from quesadillas to curries.

But it's not just food on sale here – you'll also find a pop-up tattoo parlour, quirky boutiques and a beautiful open-air bar.

Walk off your indulgences at: Gothenburg's Botanical Garden on the city’s outskirts (get there via bus or bike). This sprawling, plant-filled paradise has got great eco-credentials. Pigs (instead of machines) are used to clear unwanted roots and there are beehives dotted throughout the grounds.

Gothenburg Botanical GardenGöteborgs botaniska trädgård/Facebook

Don't miss the Japanese garden – there’s a staggering collection of Asian plants, including a Chinese handkerchief tree. Its koi carp-filled pond is a great place to take some time out. Equally spectacular are the greenhouses, which contain Sweden's largest collection of orchids.

READ MORE: What to see and do in Stockholm

Spend the evening in: Linnéstan, one of Gothenburg's hippest neighbourhoods. If the weather's warm, start with a drink at Hagabion & Kino, an indie cinema which has a huge outdoor beer garden when the weather’s fine.

If the skies have opened, hop over to nearby Omnipollos Gothenburg, famous for its selection of hard-to-find beers. Soak up the alcohol with dinner at Made in China, known for its delicious dim sum.


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Chill out with: a session at what might just be the world's coolest sauna. The Frihamnen sauna is free to use (slots can be booked online) and was built as part of a city-wide spruce-up prior to Gothenburg's 400th anniversary celebrations in 2021.

READ MORE: 6 reasons to spend summer in southern Sweden

The outside might look unusual – the exterior is made from scrap metal and it hovers over the Göta Älv river, metres away from a tangle of dockyard cranes – but inside it's everything a sauna should be. After a visit to the fragrant, steamy, wood-panelled retreat, do as the Swedes do and brave a blast of cold water in the sauna's shower block, made from 12,000 glass bottles.

Gothenburg saunaJonas Tufvesson/Shutterstock

Get in touch with your wild side at: Universeum, the city’s science museum. The star of the show is its indoor rainforest which covers 18,000 cubic metres and is home to a jaw-dropping range of tropical plants, along with monkeys, macaws and sloths.

There’s also a huge aquarium with species from all over the world, including ones from Scandinavia’s chilly waters. There’s lots to see so when hunger strikes, head to the museum’s rooftop restaurant before continuing your exploration.


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Enjoy a last supper at: KPH Matbar for fresh Scandinavian flavours in a beautiful setting. With its long wooden tables and antique chandeliers, this gorgeous restaurant feels like a chic fisherman's hut. On the menu is plenty of seafood (we recommend the skagen, prawns on toast), seasonal ingredients and delicious desserts, such as the legendary waffles with raspberries, vanilla ice cream and butter.

Lead image: anderm/Shutterstock



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