Gothenburg is one of our most favorite cities in Sweden outside of Stockholm, which sometimes is overshadowed by the capital yet shouldn’t be.
Gothenburg’s history dates back thousands of years to the Stone Age, followed by the Middle Ages when it was primarily a trading center and remained so until it was officially established in 1621 by King Gustavus Adolphus II. In the later part of the 17th century, Gothenburg was primarily Dutch, however after the Treaty of Roskilde came into existence, the City grew into a major port and trade center and was the only city that was granted to trade with other nations. In the 18th century, Gothenburg flourished thanks to fishing and trade in the industry. Beginning in the 19th century and onto the 20th century, the City modernized and quickly grew in population. Today, Gothenburg is a wonderful destination offering visitors a plethora of cafes and shops, gorgeous views across the river, botanical gardens and modern architecture mixed in with historical sites that make this a unique city to visit. For those who plan to stop through Gothenburg while touring Sweden or even Europe, here are some off the beaten path places to explore.
There’s a wonderful neighborhood in Gothenburg called Haga, once a slum not too long ago transformed into a charming place with brick buildings and homes that were constructed in the 19th century and continue to stand in perfect condition to this day. Around Haga, you can find various coffee shops, restaurants and stores selling clothing, jewelry, toys, home goods and other items from independent vendors. And if you’re ever in Gothenburg during the holidays, head over to Haga to enjoy the Christmas Market that is set up in this neighborhood each year.
To get a sense of the culture, head to Svettekörkan, a sauna located in Jubileumsparken park made out of recycled materials such as metal and water bottles. The architecture makes this sauna one-of-a-kind. Svettekörkan features three different areas sectioned off by gender, plus one communal one. During the summer, you can go inside without booking in advance, whereas during the winter, you’ll have to reserve your spot and time beforehand.
This may be strange, but it’s actually engrossing to watch a car being assembled by robots. Touring the Volvo Factory will make you feel as though you’ve stepped into the future where robots have taken over. As you walk throughout the factory, you’ll notice that robots are driving cars and even stopping when there’s someone in front of them—it’s fascinating. The guided tours take about one hour and are available in three languages: Swedish, English and Mandarin. The factory tour is available Monday through Friday, and all tours have to be booked ahead of time.
Goteborgs Choklad & Karamellfabrik AB
One of the best gifts you can bring back home for yourself and loved ones are homemade Swedish chocolates. Although there are various chocolate shops making their own chocolate from scratch around Gothenburg, we recommend Goteborgs Choklad & Karamellfabrik AB, which uses Belgian chocolate made with fair trade cocoa beans that are sustainable. The chocolates and sweets are slightly on the higher end of the price spectrum, but they are absolutely declicous—you won’t regret spending a bit more for quality.
Brewers Beer Bar
Finish up your day at Brewers Beer Bar in Magasinsgatan with a fresh pint of beer. This bar offers 14 different beers on tap “with a special focus on Swedish microbreweries”. The bar also serves pizza, kebabs, salads, cold cuts, cheeses, snacks and desserts for you to pair with your beer, and wine is available as well. If you’re a real beer lover, then you may want to sign up for a beer tasting at Brewers Beer Bar, which lasts about 1.5 to 2 hours and costs around $415 per person. The beer tasting includes sampling 8 to 10 different types of beers with one of their tasting experts with the goal to” show you what beer is and what beer can be”.
Sweden’s second-largest city has a lot to offer to travelers who want to experience another part of the country. From Robo-factory and charming neighborhoods to excellent cuisine and plenty of beer bars, we hope this city guide will help you experience the gems of Gothenburg on your upcoming trip.
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