Fun Things To Do In The Swedish City of Gothenburg

Gothenburg, Sweden
Welcome to Gothenburg!
Gothenburg, Sweden

The city of Gothenburg (Göteborg) is my kind of place. Urban creativity and convenience with nature nearby. Here are some fun things to do in Sweden’s 2nd biggest city.

Before I traveled to Sweden, I’d never even heard of Gothenburg. However after spending a few days exploring this important port city I can see why it’s growing in popularity.

Neoclassical architecture makes it pretty. Efficient public transportation makes it easy to get around. Surrounded by islands and forests, nature is only minutes away. The culture here breeds tasty food, cool art, excellent design, and — attractive people. Yeah I said it. Swedes are easy on the eyes!

I was visiting Gothenburg with Katie, an Expert Vagabond reader (and fellow blogger) who won my travel giveaway last spring. Volvo lent us a new car from their factory in Gothenburg for a road trip up the coast of West Sweden.

Here are some cool things to do if you ever find yourself in Gothenburg

Fortress Gothenburg
Skansen Kronan Fortress
Gothenburg
Views Over Gothenburg

Skansen Kronan Lookout

This ancient 17th century stone fortress sits on top of a hill overlooking the city. It has one of the best views of Gothenburg. Located near the trendy Haga neighborhood, the steep staircase will give you a bit of exercise. Looking over the colorful homes & old buildings from above is worth it though.

When you’re done, head back down to one of the oldest neighborhoods in the city and grab a fika, or Swedish coffee break. You’ve earned it!

Gothenburg Fish Market
Feskekôrka Fish Market
Gothenburg Fresh Fish
Fresh Fish Everywhere

The Fish Church

The Feskekôrka (Fish Church) is a large indoor fish market in the heart of the city. The market is housed in what looks like an old gothic church. Swedes are known for their amazingly fresh seafood, and all the best stuff is on display here. Salmon. Brill. Cod. Lobsters. Crayfish. Squid. Caviar. Crabs.

We ordered a few tubs of fresh fish salad and sat outside for lunch, enjoying the summer sunshine. There’s also a restaurant and cafe inside.

Gothenburg submarine
Inside the Nordkaparen Submarine
Gothenburg Maritime Museum
Main Deck of the Destroyer Småland

Martiman Museum

Gothenburg has an awesome City Card for tourists that gives you free entrance for all kinds of activities, like the floating Martiman Museum. This maritime museum has an impressive fleet of 13 different types of ships you can explore. My favorites were the submarine and the destroyer.

Crawling down a dark ladder into the submarine and playing with all the controls made me feel like a little kid. I wanted to re-enact The Hunt For Red October. The destroyer was cool too though, the largest warship in Scandinavia. It once supported a crew of 272 sailors.

Gothenburg Islands
Gothenburg Archipelago
Gothenburg Vrango
Vrångö Island

Island Hopping

Next to the city is an archipelago of 20 islands that are very easy to visit for a day trip or overnight. The ferry system is fast & comfortable. We visited 2 of the islands, Vrångö and Styrsö Skäret. Neither of these islands allow cars. The only way to get around is to walk, travel by bicycle, or jump on a flakmopeder (a moped with flatbed in front).

Vrångö has some cool nature trails and a cafe. We spent the night on Styrsö Skäret at Pensionat Styrsö, a beautiful island guesthouse that provides you with bikes. They cooked some tasty plates of crayfish too, and crayfish are MUCH bigger over here.

Volvo Gothenburg
Visiting the Volvo Factory
Volvo V40
Our Sweet Volvo V40

Volvo Factory Tour

I know what you’re thinking. Because I was thinking it too. How could an automobile factory be any fun? Well, it turns out watching a futuristic army of robots assemble a car from scratch is fascinating. Robots were even driving themselves around the factory, some stopping to let us pass!

I for one welcome our new robot overlords…

Volvo has this awesome program when you order a new car from them, they’ll fly you out to Sweden for a few days to take delivery in person and drive it around before shipping it to your home. How cool is that?

Gothenburg Bike Trails
Mountain Biking in Gothenburg
Gothenburg Mountain Biking
Leo from Hillside Cycling

Mountain Bike Adventure

Gothenburg is unique in that it’s surrounded by large forests and lakes only minutes away from the city center. In a place where the population hovers around half a million, it’s very easy to get outside and enjoy nature. It’s a mountain biking playground.

Hidden in the trees is a vast network of trails covering over 250 miles, everything from easy dirt roads to technical slickrock and root-gnarled singletrack. Leo & Natasja of Hillside Cycling took me out exploring this maze. They rent high-end bikes and lead trips through the forests.

Liseberg Gothenburg
Wooden Roller Coaster at Liseberg

Liseberg Amusement Park

I can’t remember the last time I visited an amusement park. After spending the afternoon at Liseberg, I realize it’s been way too long! Attracting over 3 million visitors a year, the park is huge with tons of rides. We rode rollercoasters, free-fall towers, and a log flume in the rain.

The most famous ride at Liseberg is called Balder, a giant wooden rollercoaster with the honor of Best Wooden Tracked Roller Coaster in the world. I wasn’t expecting much from a wooden rollercoaster, but I was pleasantly surprised, as you can see in the photo above.

Meatballs in Sweden
Swedish Meatballs!
Gothenburg Beer
Swedish Beer with Swedish Friends

Swedish Food & Beer

You can’t leave Sweden without trying their famous Swedish Meatballs. For something a bit more fancy, Barabicu Grill served delicious fish. In the past food trucks were banned in the city, but that’s changed and they’re becoming quite popular.

Hamburgers are a big deal in Gothenburg. So is mayonnaise — I think everything is made with mayonnaise in Sweden. One night local travel blogger Evelina brought us to a good place for burgers called The Barn. The city also has a vibrant craft beer industry. I sampled a lot of beer, but my favorite was a double IPA from Beerbliotek.

West Sweden Road Trip!

Katie and I spent 8 days road tripping around Western Sweden — Gothenburg was just the start. I’ll be sharing more posts from our Swedish adventures in a Volvo over the next few weeks. Hiking pink granite islands, kayaking the coastline, tipi tent camping, hanging out with a moose and more.

Travel Planning Resources For Sweden
Location: GOTHENBURG, SWEDEN

Packing Guide

Check out my travel gear guide to help you start packing for your trip. Pick up a travel backpack, camera gear, and other useful travel accessories.

Book Your Flight

Find cheap flights on Skyscanner. This is my favorite search engine to find deals on airlines. Also make sure to read how I find the cheapest flights.

Rent A Car

Discover Car Hire is a great site for comparing car prices to find the best deal. They search both local & international rental companies.

Book Accommodation

Booking.com is my favorite hotel search engine. Or rent apartments from locals on Airbnb. Read more about how I book cheap hotels online.

Protect Your Trip

Don’t forget travel insurance! I’m a big fan of World Nomads for short-term trips. Protect yourself from possible injury & theft abroad. Read more about why you should always carry travel insurance.

Suggested Reading: Lonely Planet Guide to Sweden

READ NEXT: Whitewater Kayaking In New England

Do you prefer visiting small towns or big cities? Have you been to Gothenburg?

Volvo

Disclosure: Some of the links in this post are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers.

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The city of Gothenburg (Göteborg) is my kind of place. Urban creativity with nature nearby. Here are some fun things to do in Sweden's 2nd biggest city. More at ExpertVagabond.com
The city of Gothenburg (Göteborg) is my kind of place. Urban creativity with nature nearby. Here are some fun things to do in Sweden's 2nd biggest city. More at ExpertVagabond.com

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Hi, I’m Matthew Karsten — I’ve been traveling around the world for the last 9 years as a blogger, photographer, and digital nomad. Adventure travel & photography are my passions. Let me inspire you to travel more with crazy stories, photography, and money-saving travel tips.
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19 thoughts on “Fun Things To Do In The Swedish City of Gothenburg”

  1. Ah, the Fish Church! I lived in Gothenburg for six months and would go almost every Saturday for fried herring and lingonberry, it was sublime. Also, the guy who owns one of the restaurants was is a world champion oyster shucker!

  2. I’m actually going to Gothenburg in September so your post comes at the perfect time! Can’t wait to explore it. I’ve only been to Stockholm and Blekinge so far.

  3. The west coast and the archipelago is definitely one of my favorite places in summer (and ive been to many). Dont forget to take a stroll through haga and visit the cozy cafés. Thanks for the read. :-)

  4. Språkkaféet! This is a coffee shop where you can meet people from different countries. They have flags you can put on the table and people will interact :-)

    This is a good list though! Thank you for sharing!

  5. As a former resident of said city, I just wanna say good coverage. One minor detail, though. The word “flakmopeder” is the plural version. When it’s one, its called “flakmoped”.

  6. You asked if visiting Volvo factory was fun? For me yes and I’m jealous of you for it. V40 is pricey but fuel efficient, its hot. And by the way, great photos man!

  7. From enjoying a relaxing Swedish massage at one of the country’s many spas, to hiking the glorious country of glaciers, meadows, mountains and coastline to dining on fresh seafood in one of the gastronomic centers, visitors to Sweden will find many fun things to do in this very northerly land. Sweden has always been known for its spas, which have a rich tradition of blending spa treatments with scenes of nature and communing with the natural environment.

  8. Great photos and this Fika remind me of festival going to take place in london from this week and an i have to visit there :)

  9. What a great language Swedish is! I want to visit Gothenburg just cos the name is so cool! And who wouldn’t want to have a fika before jumping on a flakmopeder! English pales in comparison… :)

    • Why not enjoy your fika FROM the flatbed of a flakmopeder driving around Vrångö? The best of everything!