Gothenburg is located in the west of Sweden and is the second largest city in the country. It’s surrounded by phenomenal scenery on all sides, large forests, rocky shores and calm lakes. The city itself is a great blend of modern and historical cultural features, and is easily explored on foot. With flights from all over the continent, Gothenburg is easily accessible due to its two international airports. This bustling Swedish metropolis is often overlooked as a holiday destination in favor of the country’s capital Stockholm. However, it really does have so much to offer, and is certainly a great option for your future Scandinavian adventures. In this post, we will discuss the places to visit in Gothenburg to make the most of your time in this amazing city!
The First of Our Places to Visit in Gothenburg:
Gothenburg Botanical Garden
Gothenburg boasts one of the biggest botanical gardens on the continent.
It was first opened in 1923 to commemorate the 300th anniversary of the city.
The gardens stretch over more than 420 acres of land, and hosts 16,000 species of plants from all across the globe.
This is an excellent location just to walk for hours and admission is completely free! (you can contribute a small donation at the beginning if you wish).
There are many nearby cafes and restaurants so you can really make a full afternoon of your trip to Gothenburg’s Botanical Gardens.
Being just a short tram journey from the city center (public transport here is phenomenal) it is a breeze to get to for tourists.
The Gothenburg Museum of Art
Here’s one for all you art lovers out there! With examples of artworks from all different periods of history, there are pieces for all tastes (70,000 in the collection in total!).
The museum focuses mainly on Scandinavian artists but also has a few pieces from the likes of Picasso and Rembrandt.
Short talks are on offer explaining different exhibits and the stories behind the artwork, from friendly and knowledgeable guides
Spread over six floors, visitors can comfortably spend two hours here, if not more.
The Garden Society
Locally known as Trädgårdsföreningen, this gorgeous park in the heart of Gothenburg features tropical and native species of plants.
In 1992 the Garden Society became the first Swedish park to be awarded listed building status for its significant impact to the culture of the area.
The rose garden is well known as one of the best examples on the continent, and is home to over a thousand different varieties of rose.
The more extraordinary and unusual species are located on the east side of the garden so be sure not to miss them.
Kids will have a blast too with the adventure playground at the end, so there’s something for the whole family!
Avenyn (shopping and dining)
The central pedestrianized street in Gothenburg is called Avenyn and is one of the most exciting areas in all of Gothenburg.
It is often described as the primary artery of the entire city.
You can find the best restaurants, stores, bars and the Museum of Art mentioned above on this boulevard.
It’s a great place to get a real sense of the modern, cool side of the city, attracting tourists and locals alike.
If you’re looking to experience the nightlife of Gothenburg, this is the place for you, with many nightclubs busting into life when the sun drops below the horizon.
The best of the Places to Visit in Gothenburg for Families
Liseberg Amusement Park
Running since the 1920’s, this amusement park in Gothenburg has been enjoyed by generations and continues to excite visitors to this day.
The rides, games, music, food and drink bring people together from all around the world.
Considered by many to be the best park of its kind in northern Europe, not only for its attractions, but also for the park’s cleanliness and upkeep.
My recommendation would be to invest in a fast-track pass to avoid the lines for the rides, although obviously this isn’t essential.
If you get the chance to visit the Liseberg Amusement Park during the Christmas period, you will get so see the amazing displays, market and phenomenal decorations.
In the Älvsborg district of Gothenburg, you will find this magnificent fortress situated in the estuary of the Göta river.
Construction of this fortress was completed in 1907 after 8 years of work.
It was built for the purpose of defending the Gothenburg and its port against sea-based attack.
The Fortress is best accessed from the city via a 1 hour boat ride down the river. This gives visitors great views for the whole trip and is a pleasure in itself, not just transportation.
Upon your arrival to the fortress, you will be greeted by excellent tour guides, fluent in both Swedish and English, who will bring the historical island to life.
The trip in its entirety will last 3-4 hours, so certainly won’t use up a whole day of your holiday.
Overall a great opportunity to learn about local history and see the beautiful surrounding in one go!
My Personal Favorite of the Places to Visit in Gothenburg:
The Gothenburg Natural History Museum
One of the oldest attractions in the city is the Gothenburg Natural History Museum.
This vast building hosts a vast array of exhibits, including impressive taxidermy from all over the world, incredible fossils, insects, sea creatures and birds.
An app is available, providing information in English about each exhibit (for those non-natives).
The lack of entry fee only adds to the appeal of the museum. It is a great way to spend a rainy day in the city.
For those traveling with children, this is a lovely day out as the museum is very family friendly. It’s also a great way to teach the youngsters about nature and the environment.
A Perfect Place to Visit in Gothenburg for the Performing Arts Lovers:
Gothenburg Opera House
This opera house was constructed in a classic architectural style despite it being a relatively recent addition to the city.
Designed to accommodate a wide range of performance categories, including: ballet, contemporary stage musicals and of course, opera – therefore it was necessary to build it larger than standard buildings of this type.
This variety of performance types means that almost anyone can find a performance to suit their tastes.
Its beautiful river-side locale gives it an extra sense of cultural significance to the city and gives a great sense of occasion to each performance.
Aeroseum (aviation museum)
For those with an interest in aircraft and aviation, the Aeroseum will be a great addition to your trip.
It is packed full of exhibits showing off aircraft from the past, but also many smaller sections covering the likes of: interactive flight simulators, the technology used in modern aircraft and the importance of aerodynamics.
The Aeroseum can be found a short drive from Gothenburg (easily accessed via public transport) and actually found underground within an unremarkable looking hillside. This adds to the sense of military secrecy surrounding many of the exhibits.
Much of the exhibit information is in Swedish so the English guidebook is essential to get the most out of the experience (assuming you’re not fluent in the local language).
Gothenburg’s Skansen Kronan
The second fortress on our list is no less impressive than the first.
The construction of Skansen Kronan was finished in 1700 complete with its 23 guns and 4m thick stone walls.
It can be found upon a hill in Haga (a central district of the city) and is visible from much of Gothenburg.
The location affords the fortress some of the best views of the city and a great photo opportunity for anyone willing to make the short climb, particularly at sunrise and sunset.
This museum is a must-see for all you motoring enthusiasts.
Found just outside Gothenburg, the Volvo Museum offers visitors the chance to learn about the legacy of Volvo.
With exhibits of Volvo’s famous vehicles though history, concept cars, movie cars and even colossal trucks and tractors.
All signs and exhibition information is in English as well as Swedish, and tourists are made to feel very welcome.
A Great Place to Visit in Gothenburg with Kids:
Universeum Science Center
For people of all ages who love to learn about science and nature!
The Universeum is packed with animal attractions including an aquarium and reptile, insect and bird exhibits. It also features in impressive, interactive chemistry lab and space demonstrations.
Food and beverages are available in the on-site cafe and restaurant. This can help to help break up the day and absorb everything going on around you.
Located centrally in Gothenburg, so is very easy to get to both on foot and using public transport.
The Final of Our Places to Visit in Gothenburg:
This delightful district of Gothenburg consists of old-fashioned wooden buildings and cobbled avenues.
With old cafes, pubs and restaurant, walking around Haga is like taking a stroll through the past.
Traditional stalls, bakeries, bookshops, arts and crafts shops are all common and contribute to a unique relaxing atmosphere.
Haga is a completely pedestrianized area and is a great location to sit and watch the world go by without the constant traffic noise all cities suffer with.
Overall, Gothenburg is an excellent choice. Particularly for those wanting to visit a city with a great blend of history and trendy modern culture. With interesting places to visit for those wanting to learn, fun places for families and great dining experiences for all.
Give this under-explored Swedish city the chance to blow you away, you’ll certainly not regret it!
For more posts about travel, holiday recommendations and fascinating facts, check out some of the other posts on Place Ranger!