The city of Gothenburg lies half way between Oslo, Norway and Copenhagen, Denmark on the southwest coast of Sweden. Railway tracks connect these three cities with multiple trains running daily, making Gothenburg an easy destination from both of its Scandinavian neighbors. This week, I made the four-hour journey by train from Oslo to Gothenburg for some city sightseeing and Christmas market exploring. Göteborg & Co. kindly provided me with a Göteborg City Card during my stay and I set out to see all that the city of Gothenburg has to offer.
I took the first train from Oslo on Wednesday morning and arrived in Gothenburg just before 11:00. I’m always amazed at just how easy it is to travel by train. No baggage check, no passport security, no takeoff or landing procedures, no transportation to and from the airport – simply walk on in one country and walk off in another. Like magic! My favorite way to explore a new city is by walking, and Gothenburg is just about as walkable (and bikeable) as it gets. I wandered along the canals, down Skånegatan to Liseberg Amusement Park, and up Södra Vägen to Stora Saluhallen.
Stora Saluhallen is a food hall in the heart of Gothenburg with a history that dates back to the late 1800s. Here you will find freshly baked pastries, locally produced meats, quality imported goods, and more. For fish and shellfish you’ll want to walk over to Feskekôrka, the Fish Church. Also built in the late 1800s, this gothic-inspired fish market hall sells seafood caught the same day, a true heaven for seafood lovers. By the time I had satisfied my inner foodie, the daylight had dwindled and the night was creeping in. I hopped on the tram to Götaplatsen to check out the Gothenburg Museum of Art, which stays open late on Wednesdays. The museum’s six floors span from the 15th century to present day, with an emphasis on collections of Nordic art.
I was up early, as I usually am, and used the opportunity to wander the city streets in the quietness of the morning. When the stillness faded and the city came to life, I strolled along the water’s edge to Göteborgs Stadsmuseum, the Göteborg City Museum. Close to one million objects and nearly 12,000 years of history lie inside of this historic East India Company building, telling the story of Gothenburg’s development into the modern industrial city it is today. With a newfound appreciation for the cultural history of Sweden, I continued along the water to Lilla Bommen.
The Lilla Bommen district is known for having the best views of the harbor and the city from the top of Läppstiftet, the Lipstick. This 86-meter high tower gets its name from its distinct red and white construction which closely resembles a tube of lipstick. The elevator to the top runs every half hour (on the hour and the half hour) and well, I think the views speak for themselves.
Afterwards, it was time for the Christmas festivities to begin. I took the tram to Liseberg Amusement Park to explore the largest Christmas market in Sweden, which attracts over half a million people each year. In the weeks leading up to the holidays, Liseberg transforms into a magical winter wonderland with Christmas lights and snowy trees. The walkways are lined with vendors and I browsed the knitwear, tasted all sorts of chocolates, and warmed up with a cup of mulled wine. From Liseberg, I made my way to Götaplatsen for the opening of Christmas City Gothenburg. As I listened to the Lucia choir and watched the lights sparkle, I felt the spirit of Christmas fill the city and its people.
I spent my last morning in Gothenburg at Kafé Magasinet, a paradise for Instagrammers, foodies, and interior designers alike. It’s the perfect spot for people watching, one of my favorite activities, and I enjoyed seeing the locals come and go. As I sat there with my coffee, I began sorting through my photos from the previous two days. When I was caffeinated and ready for the last of my Gothenburg adventures, I made my way to Café Husaren to try one of their famous Hagabullen.
Café Husaren is located in the center of Gothenburg’s old town of Haga, a historic district with traditional buildings and cobbled streets. A variety of charming boutiques, quaint cafes, and one-of-a-kind antique stores come together to create a cozy atmosphere that both locals and tourists can appreciate. As I devoured my Hagabullen, a cinnamon bun that’s big enough for four, I knew there was no better way to wrap up my time in Gothenburg.
A special thank you to Göteborg & Co. for hosting me during my stay in Gothenburg. As always, all opinions are my own.