We found so many reasons to love Gothenburg that we wish we had more time to experience everything this city has to offer. Gothenburg is amazingly easy to get around and manages to combine cosmopolitan luxury and entertainment with open beauty of the Swedish seaside.
After spending 3 amazing days in Copenhagen, we drove all the way to Gothenburg via Helsingor & Helsingborg. ( You can read more about how we spent our weekend in Copenhagen - here ).
The perfect way to cross from Denmark to Sweden or vice versa is by car and passenger ferries in just twenty minutes of time. It operated by Scandlines between Helsingør and Helsingborg. We had an amazing time with beautiful views of ocean and it was a completely different experience in all!
Tips to book your ferry:
Advance online purchase can save you quite a few bucks and are a good option as only the date and no specific crossing time is required for reservation. A weekend-return ticket - out Thursday, Friday, Saturday return Saturday, Sunday or a holiday Monday - is cheaper than a standard return.
Currently, the English website of Scandlines offers reservations for the Helsingør-Helsingborg route only in combination with further crossing to Germany. But as we tried the Danish site (with Google translate, if needed) to buy tickets, we found the Helsingør-to-Helsingborg car ferries route as well, which was exactly what we needed and cheaper than buying at the counter!
Pit stop at Granna in Lake Vattern:
Gränna is an idyllic small town with painted wooden houses, cobbled streets, candy bakeries and a lively harbour area. The town is situated on the south-eastern shores of Lake Vättern, Sweden's second largest lake, with tourism being its main source of income. However, not only do visitors come here for the red-and-white candy canes but also to enjoy the pleasant climate, the feel of a quaint small town and the dramatic landscapes.
Best time to visit Gothenburg:
Traditionally summer months (June-September) are considered the best time to visit.
If exploring is a priority for you, then we'd suggest visiting Denmark during shoulder months (March-May). The weather is just beginning to warm up, prices are low, and there are barely any tourists around.
Top things to do in Gothenburg:
1. Haga / fika
Stroll in the oldest part of Gothenburg, the quaint neighborhood of Haga which is approximately over 350 years old and which continues to lure tourists with its old-world charm. This street has a wonderful selection of cafes and small artisan shops. On weekends during summer, the place gets more lively with the many tiny stalls that line the Haga Nygata street. You might like to try a giant cinnamon bun at this pedestrian-friendly district.
More about Haga.
2. The Paddan Tour
This classic tour with a Paddan canal boat winds around the moat and canals of the city.
Such a trip on a boat is the perfect start to get to know the city and to get an overview. The boats leave several times as day from Kungsportsplatsen and a tour duration is 50 minutes.
You travel through the canals and under bridges, then out onto the river Göta. There you have a wonderful view of the dockyards, the port and a few museum ships. And if the sun is shining and temperatures are warm this can be great to cool off!
More about Paddan.
3. Volvo Museum
Whether its the first manufactured V 4 model or current series of cars belonging to different genres, you are under the same roof of the world famous museum, The Volvo Museum. The museum is known for its exhibits of machines, engines, etc. A journey of Volvos past vintage to modern, to future well-encapsulates here
Have an adventurous time at Liseberg, considered to be Scandinavia's largest amusement park, which has attractions to enthrall kids and adults alike. Enjoy rides such as Helix longest and fastest rollercoaster, Mechanica spinning 360 degrees in air, Atmos Fear and Balder free-fall ride, and others. Apart from exhilarating rides, also enjoy other facilities such as the Liseberg Theatre, Rondo show venue, Stora Scenen concert stage, gardens, games, shops, restaurants, and more here.
5. Botanical Garden
Gothenburg has a lot of park area, so make use of it! The botanical garden is right opposite of Slottskogen. You can settle here for a picnic, take a walk in the woods or marvel at the stunningly crafted flower beds. The stone garden was awarded three stars by the Michelin Guide and is divided into geographical regions - according to the origin of the plants. America, Europe and Asia are represented by 5000 plant species.
6. Goteburg Archipelego
You can get to the characteristic granite cliffs and picturesque fishing villages in less than an hour. The Goteborg Archipelago is divided into two parts, the popular car-free Southern archipelago, reachable by taking a ferry ride and the Northern archipelago, accessible by all modes of transport. With 20 islands to choose from, all located in close proximity of the city, you are simply spoilt for choice at this unique natural abode. Indulge in fishing, kayaking, canoeing, hiking, biking, and various other activities here. Some of the popular islands here are Asper, Saltholmen, Bjrk, Brnn, Dons, and Vinga to name a few. Enjoy the charming vistas, visit the villages, sunbathe any of the picturesque beaches and take a seal safari to heighten this experience.
More about the Gothenburg archipelago and how to get to the islands.
Tip: If you are visiting Stockholm and have more days to spend, I would suggest to experience Stockholm Archipelago as their are around 20,000 islands to choose from! And trust me some of them are totally worth the visit! We visited Voxholm and Sandhamn!
7. Gothenburg Museum of Art
A must visit for every art lover is the Gothenburg Museum of Art, which is known to house one of the finest collections in Northern Europe. Browse through a plethora of art work by famous artists such as Van Gogh, Picasso, Rembrandt, and popular Nordic artists displayed across the three floors of the museum halls. The museum has also earned itself three Michelin Stars because of its vast and varied collection.
8. The Fish Church ("Feskekôrka")
One of the most popular tourist places Feskekôrka is cherished by every seafood lover, and which in English translates to " Fish Church" as addressed by locals. Watch locals shop for a variety of freshly caught fish sold while you savor some delicious seafood delicacy at one of the many restaurants here.
More about Feskekôrka.
9. Swedish ship Gothenburg
Learn about the 18th century Swedish East India Company and listen to tales of the Swedish ship Gtheborgs voyages. Admire the worlds largest wooden sailing ship, a replica of the original ship that sank just outside Gothenburg while returning from its voyage to China.
Take a guided tour of this ship to understand its adventurous voyages, insight into life on board.
Tip: This tour is conducted by guides who have actually sailed on the ship! How amazing is that!
Our Favourite Flight/Hotel Booking sites:
After traveling consistently for over 10 years, we've come to trust and rely on a few websites to help us find the best deals on flights and accommodation.
Flights: Skyscanner is the first place we check when searching for cheap flights. It searches hundreds of sites for the best fare and includes both standard and budget airlines. The price calendar feature shows the cheapest days to fly in your preferred month of travel.
Accommodation: Booking.com offers savings on hotels, apartments, and villas in 80,000 destinations worldwide. You can browse hotel reviews and find the guaranteed best price on hotels for all budgets.