I’m so excited to share with you today the best things to do in Gothenburg. Fair warning though – there’s a lot of food-related items. You know it’s how I roll 😁.
Gothenburg was the second city I visited on my three-month Europe trip in 2019. I went into my visit with zero expectations and by the first evening I was hooked. It was a beautiful Saturday night in late summer – the weather was warm and everyone seemed to be outside, happily soaking up the sunshine. The atmosphere was intoxicating and Gothenburg continued to blow me away the following two days as well. The people are friendly, the food is awesome and the architecture is very pretty to look at.
After I left Gothenburg, when people would ask me about the best places I’ve been to so far, it was always my first answer. So, now you know how much I love this Swedish city, let me tell you about all the amazing things to do in Gothenburg. I also want to point out that it’s a fantastic city to visit if you’re travelling solo.
Where to stay in Gothenburg
There are only a couple of hostels in Gothenburg. I personally stayed at Backpackers Gӧteborg. It was about a 30-minute walk from the city, but it was very easy to catch a tram from the bus station. I walked everywhere else (as per usual), and it’s conveniently located close to many restaurants and cafes as well. I’d actually paid for a 12-bed female dorm because it was the only option available, but when I arrived I was placed in a four-bed female dorm room instead. What a pleasant surprise! The room itself was quite small, but the mattresses were very comfortable and the lockers were large. I’d definitely stay there again. If you’re looking for one of the top-rated hotels in Gothenburg, check out Hotel Pigalle. That Parisian-inspired decor is 😍.
Here are my top hostelling tips, plus great ways to meet people when travelling solo.
Quick Gothenburg travel tips
Before I start, I just wanted to pass on a couple of Gothenburg travel tips. Firstly, to get to Gothenburg I got a FlixBus from Stockholm. When I left, I got the bus to Malmö. However, there is an international airport (the second largest in Sweden, in fact). Check out Skyscanner to see if you can get cheap flights to Gothenburg.
Secondly, card is 100% king in Sweden. You do not need to get cash out as you will use your card for every transaction. From your tram ticket to getting a snack from the supermarket, locals basically expect you to pay with card. I also found that everyone I talked to spoke English like it was their first language. I mentioned this to a Swedish girl in my hostel dorm and she said she learned English at school and by watching episodes of Friends without subtitles 🤣.
The best things to do in Gothenburg, Sweden
Ok, now we’ve got that out of the way, let’s talk about what to do in Gothenburg.
1. Enjoy a giant cinnamon bun from Cafe Husaren
First things first. You have to try one of the giant cinnamon buns from Cafe Husaren. When they say giant, they mean it. The cinnamon buns are as round as a dinner plate (and cost a pretty penny too). It wasn’t the best cinnamon bun I ate during my time in Sweden, but it’s just one of those novelty things to do in Gothenburg. I ate less than half of mine before I gave up, but I saved the rest for later. Cafe Husaren sells a lot of other delicious looking pastries too.
2. Go for a stroll through Slottsskogen
Behind Backpackers Gӧteborg you’ll find Slottsskogen, Gothenburg’s main park. The massive park is home to lots of walking paths, the Natural History Museum and The Children’s Zoo. I was a bit too early, but I hear it’s also a great place to wander through in autumn, when the leaves change colour. Nearby you’ll find the Gothenburg Botanical Gardens as well, which is one of the largest in Europe. It’s free to visit, but you do have to pay a small fee to enter the greenhouses.
3. Wander around Haga
Cafe Husaren is actually located in Haga. One of Gothenburg’s oldest neighbourhoods, the pedestrian street Haga Nygata is home to many independent shops and cafes. Naturally, I visited on a Sunday when a lot of the businesses were closed. But from what I saw window shopping, there are a lot of cool stores in the area.
4. Spend the day at Liseberg Amusement Park
Liseberg is Scandinavia’s largest amusement park. Visiting the Gothenburg attraction is hands down one of the most popular things to do in Gothenburg. Liseberg first opened in 1923 and operates for three seasons: summer, Halloween and Christmas. There are so many rides available for all ages, like roller coasters, water-based rides and lots that go up in the air. Check out their website for the full list. Liseberg is also home to excellent restaurants and cafes, and hosts concerts and performances too. I think I need to go back to Gothenburg just to visit Liseberg!
5. Enjoy an ice cream at Pinkbär
When I was out and about enjoying myself on that first Saturday night, I walked past Pinkbär on my way back to the hostel. I had a look at the Google reviews and knew I had to make a brief stop to enjoy some ice cream while it was still ice cream weather. The staff at Pinkbär were so friendly, and it has a very cool and colourful interior. They specialise in both gelato and smoothies, and the cookies and cream gelato I had was perfectly creamy.
6. Go to one of Gothenburg’s many museums
There are a few museums in Gothenburg that I didn’t have time to visit. But ducking into a museum is one of the best things to do in Gothenburg on a rainy/cold day. Firstly there’s the Gothenburg Museum of Art, which is known as one of Northern Europe’s finest visual art museums. It displays Western art from the 15th century until today, with a significant collection of Nordic art.
Then there’s the Museum of Gothenburg, which focuses on the city’s history. It’s also home to Sweden’s only exhibited Viking ship, Äskekärrsskeppet. Gothenburg has a Natural History Museum as well, which displays animals from around the world. Finally, you can also visit Maritiman, or the Maritime Museum, during the warmer months. The museum is inside an actual floating ship.
7. Feast on the pizza buffet at King’s Head
As I was walking out of the hostel on Sunday afternoon in search of food, I saw a sign about a cheap all-you-can-eat pizza buffet at King’s Head. Guys, it cost me less than $9 AUD (about $6 USD) for all the pizza slices I wanted and a pint of cider. I was shocked, as this is about what I paid for that one giant cinnamon bun at Cafe Husaren.
Anyway, the wood-fired pizza is so tasty and there are lots of toppings to choose from. Staff constantly refill the table with pizzas straight out of the oven as well. They also do a taco buffet on Saturdays. Highly recommend checking them out, even if you’re just looking for reasonably-priced drinks in Gothenburg. King’s Head is located on Andra Långgatan, a street with lots of pubs and bars. It’s popular with young locals.
8. Visit Universeum
Scandinavia’s largest science centre, Universeum is another one of the best family-friendly things to do in Gothenburg. Over seven floors you can stroll through a tropical rainforest, get up close to underwater life in the huge aquariums, learn more about dinosaurs and have a hands-on experience in the Chemistry Lab.
9. Stop for a snack at Stora Saluhallen
Did I mention that most of my recommendations are food related? A lot of Scandinavian cities have a Saluhallen, or market hall. So you can’t visit Gothenburg without checking out its Saluhallen. It has over 40 stores, where you can buy cheese, deli meats, baked goods, health food and so much more. I picked up a delectable brownie from Brogyllen, which I enjoyed in the park across the river. Don’t miss out!
10. Island hop in the Gothenburg archipelago
There are over 20 islands in the Gothenburg archipelago that you can access on a day trip from Gothenburg. This is definitely one of the best things to do in Gothenburg when the weather is warm, as many of the islands have beautiful beaches and scenic lookouts. Hönö is one of the most popular islands. It’s home to the Fishing Museum and around Hönö Klåva harbour there’s excellent seafood restaurants. Check out this comprehensive guide on Gothenburg’s official tourism website for all the information you need about getting to and around the Gothenburg archipelago.
11. Do a spot of shopping
I mentioned above that Haga is a good place to shop at local and independent stores. But so is Magasinsgatan, a hip inner city neighbourhood. While you’re in the area, I hear da Matteo is a good spot to stop for a snack or lunch. There’s also Nordstan, a large shopping centre filled with chain stores.
12. Try the world’s greatest shrimp sandwich in Gothenburg
One of the most renowned meals you can have in Gothenburg is the King Size Shrimp Sandwich at Gothia Towers. The iconic open sandwich includes 200 grams of hand-peeled shrimp, alongside mayonnaise, egg and a light salad.
13. Check out the view from Skansen Kronan
Skansen Kronan is an 18th-century fortress located on the hill Risåsberget in Haga. It’s not a long climb to reach the top, where you can take in awesome views across Gothenburg. If you’re looking for free things to do in Gothenburg, check out this viewpoint.
14. Do a tour of Gothenburg
There are a couple of different sightseeing tours you can do in Gothenburg. Firstly, we all know how much I love free walking tours. Gӧteborg Walking Tours does a variety of free walking tours from May to the end of August. I also love taking boat tours in cities and you can do the same in Gothenburg. The Paddan Tour is a 50-minute guided boat tour that takes you under 20 bridges and out to the harbour. That’s a lot of bridges!
15. Pick up a feast at Feskekôrka
One of the most popular Gothenburg attractions, Feskekôrka literally translates to fish church in Sweden. Built in the 19th century, it’s an indoor seafood and fish market. Its name comes from the fact is resembles a neo-gothic church. Besides the stalls selling fresh seafood, you’ll also find two restaurants inside, as well as shops with ready-made meals and takeaway menus.
16. Visit Trädgårdsföreningen
One of the best places to visit in Gothenburg is Trädgårdsföreningen. This inner city park is home to the Palm House, the Rosarium (rose garden) on display at the Garden Society of Gothenburg, and the Alfie Atkins’ Cultural Centre. There’s even a pretty colourful bench (featured above) that you must take a selfie with, if you ask me!
I really hope you enjoy your visit to glorious Gothenburg as much as I did.
If you happen to use any of these tips on your own trip to Gothenburg, please let me know via Facebook or Instagram! If you’re looking for more European content, check out my archive. It’s where you’ll find posts like 24 hours in Stockholm, my autumnal packing list, tips for travelling alone in Europe and the cheapest cities in Europe (yeah, Gothenburg didn’t make the cut).
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