gothenburg, sweden

ABBA. Ikea. Swedish meatballs. Many of us think we know Sweden, but there’s a whole lot more to this scenic Nordic country than you think. Head to the west coast, where you’ll find Gothenburg: a huge city with endless opportunities for adventure.

Let Nature Heal You in Gothenburg

In Gothenburg, you’ll find a peaceful openness that’s hard to come by elsewhere. Its many parks and gardens are the perfect setting for leisurely strolls and picnics. The Gothenburg Botanical Garden is home to 16,000 species of plants, and its greenhouses have the largest collection of tropical orchids in Sweden.

gothenburg botanical gardens

If you want to enjoy Gothenburg like a local, make your way to Slottsskogen — Gothenburg’s main park. Aside from dreamy views, you might run into elks, Gotland ponies, Gute sheep, and other friendly creatures at their zoo.

Cap it all off with a visit to Jonsered Gardens, which dates back to the 1800s. It’s green as far as the eye can see, and every photo you snap promises to be 100% Instagram-worthy.

Get Active

Gothenburg is a dream come true for cyclists. Regardless of your fitness level, you’ll love biking through the woods, around the lakes, and along the coast. Stunning country roads line Gothenburg’s beaches and fields. People traveling on foot also love the many trails, paths, and city streets.

gothenburg walking trail

Many locals will tell you that Gothenburg is the place to be for rock climbing, too. Take a boat to the island of Hönö for bouldering or visit the cliffs of Utby for the ultimate experience. If you prefer a more controlled environment, they have plenty of indoor rock climbing, too.

Don’t forget that the archipelago (which is made up of over 20 islands!) affords the best opportunities for unforgettable time spent on the water. Grab a paddle and give canoeing, paddleboarding, or kayaking a try, whether you hit the archipelago, the city canals, or the inland lakes.

If you want to try your hand at reeling in the next big catch, Gothenburg is the place to be — with its lobster safaris and fishing tours.

Eat, Drink, and Be Merry

If you want to kick back and loosen up, Gothenburg has a wide selection of bars to visit. Bar Centro is known for wines made from organically-grown grapes. Somm is another local favorite for dozens of luxurious libations.

You’ll undoubtedly get hungry on your Gothenburg adventure. Start by hitting up some of the city’s most popular breakfast joints. Kafé Magasinet serves sourdough bread from their in-house bakery and freshly ground organic coffee — the makings of a breakfast fit for royalty.

De Matteo is a local coffee shop chain known for their breakfast buffet, carrying bread, cheese, jam, porridge, juice, and coffee.

We’re not drooling. You’re drooling.

Being surrounded by so much water, you can expect the seafood in the city to be unparalleled. Fiskekrogen is where locals go for a delectable seafood platter and fishcakes. If you want a really fancy experience, head to Restaurang vRå, which seats only 40 guests and combines traditional Swedish ingredients with Japanese flavors. The sushi and raw food experience is unlike any other.

Discover More Things to Do

Whether you have kids to entertain or you’re just a big kid yourself, Liseberg (Scandinavia’s biggest amusement park) is a winner. Enjoy its many rides, carousels, and concerts.

Satisfy your inner artist and visit the Gothenburg Museum of Art. Its Nordic collections date back to the 15th century, and you’re guaranteed to experience countless historic works of art.

Do museums pique your interest? Make your way to Universeum and it’s like you’ve stepped into a fairy tale. All under one roof, you can explore a rainforest, enjoy an enormous aquarium, and play witness to its many exotic animals. While it’s certainly family-friendly, any adult can get happily lost here for hours.

No matter what your style is, Gothenburg has something for you. The city’s nightlife is alive and well. Lounge(s) is a local favorite, made up of several rooms and floors, all of which are built to entertain, right up to the rooftop. You’ll never get bored with the club’s variety of decor, music, and bars. It’s like visiting multiple bars without ever needing to leave.

To better immerse yourself in the city’s history, visit Valand. It’s one of Gothenburg’s oldest nightclubs, where people have been cutting loose since the 1900s. Admire the old artwork and dazzling crystal chandeliers.

If you want to step outside the box, Yaki-Da is the place to go. The club is famous for its extravagant coffee bar, which presumably helps keep you awake to hang out on the dance floor longer while taking breaks to enjoy the open-air terrace.

To all nature-lovers, nightclub-goers, foodies, and beyond — Gothenburg will never let you down.

If you want to learn more about the Nordic countries, read our article on Reykjavik, Iceland.