The second largest city in Sweden
A quick trip this time, just go and back in the same day to the second largest city in Sweden, Gothenburg. I know this was way too short time to enjoy such a beautiful city with so much to see and do, but hey! why to stay home if for merely £20 return flights you can get to at least enjoy other culture, other places, some nice food and a first time contact to a city for sure worth the return for longer the next time. After all, sounds crazy that sometimes it’s cheaper to go abroad than staying in London where you will spend certainly more going out for some drinks and dinner with friends. So why not to take the friends with you and travel together then?
This is a very elegant city. Full of tree-lined boulevards and avenues, canals, squares and impressive buildings everywhere, especially these along the canals. But it’s not only the architecture what makes the city special, it is also about the people. So polite, friendly, educated and so well dressed overall! We felt quite out of place as our outfit was definitely more casual.
Walking around and trying to get lost is the best way to explore the city. Since it is not too big you don’t need to worry about “getting lost”. You will always find your way and come to see those not so main streets everyone aims for, avoiding the rest of the usual tourists. Don’t get me wrong here, of course visiting the major thoroughfares is part of the mandatory sightseeing.
A very nice area nowadays is all around the port. The naval museum has lots of ships, cranes, trains and many more out there on display and all for free. You can see it all once walking the promenade by the Göta älv river, and will soon notice too what has become the “lipstick building”. Obviously this is just a nickname, the real name is Skanskaskrapan (goodness gracious!), but you can definitely guess why from its shape and design.
You will find many architectural styles in the city, from plenty of marvellous 17th century wooden houses, to the Landshövdingehus, a type of building unique to Gothenburg where the first floor is made of stone and the upper ones in wood for safer protection in the event of fire. Art-nouveau, art-deco, classic, postmodern. Every style blends perfectly.
With regards to food, well, remember you are in Norway and prices are very high for everything. We did not have in any case too much time to look for something nice and ended up in, yes, McDonald’s, shame on us. It all depends on your budget first, and time second. Both facts were against us on this occasion; but in the other hand, we enjoyed great cakes and coffee. Notice the many bakeries and coffee places everywhere.
For more information about the city visit Wikipedia and Wikitravel sites. Sweden’s currency is the Krona (SEK). Please note that any price reference is true as from when this guide was created, therefore check prices in advance as with the time they change.
What to see and do in Gothenburg
- Central Train Station From 1858 and fully renovated recently, located at the northeast side of the city right outside of what would have been the medieval moats by the city walls; not far south from the Skanskaskrapan building.
- Drottningtorget Along the south side of the train station you have this square at the intersection of the main canal and the former moats canal; home to some of the higher-class hotels.
- Gustav Adolfs Torg The main square in the city where you will find some of the most important sights and the main canal.
-City Hall Occupies what was the stock exchange, opened in 1849.
-Christine Church The German Church, from 1748.
-Law Court In Beaux-Arts style.
-Main Canal Grand and beautiful stone houses were built along the sides in the 18th Century.
-East India House By the main canal, it boasts the City Museum.
- Gothenburg Cathedral From 1815, not far from the main square at just two blocks south, on the parallel street Kyrkogatan.
- Feskekôrka The Fish market, dating from 1874 designed in Gothic style. Located right by the southwestern former moat canal of what was the fortifications.
- Skansen Kronan The Crown Keep, a hilltop fortification dating back to the 17th century. Located right across the moat canal, in the elegant district of Haga.
- Haga District Is a whole neighbourhood made almost entirely in wood. Here you will find beautiful wooden houses everywhere. Don’t stick only to the main street, walk around the side and parallel ones which offer nicer houses and views.
- Masthugg Church In National-Romantic style, built in 1914, it is one of the main sights in the city. Located in the district under the same name, Masthugg, west from the Skansen Kronan along the Prinsgatan Street that links one to another.
- Marina By the Göta älv river, recently redeveloped and expanded, the main attraction are the many ships and cranes from the Naval Museum.
-Naval Museum All along the riverside with plenty of ships, boats and other structures.
-Opera House A world class opera house on impressive glass building, built in 1994.
-Skanskaskrapan Or commonly known by its nickname, the lipstick building. One of the tallest in the city, located at the northern edge of the marina.
- Kungsportsavenyn The main boulevard, created in the 19th Century as part of the new town planning to host the first and middle classes residential district. It crosses from the old town near Gustav Aldolfs Torg towards the southeast terminating at Götaplatsen Square, with outstanding valuable buildings along the way.
-Bältespännarparken The northernmost end of the boulevard, where this ring park is on what used to be the medieval city walls. Here you can find the Stora Theatre, Dicksonska Palace, statues and a major intersection of transit systems.
- Götaplatsen Located on the southern end of Kungsportsavenyn is one of the largest squares and the cultural heart of the city due to the amount of concert halls, theatres and museums on three of the sides, designed all equally in 1921.
-Poseidon Statue Located in the centre of the city, it is the symbol of the city.
-Concert Hall In neo-classical style from 1935.
-City Theatre In streamlined design from 1934.
-Museum of Art Facing the southern side of the square.
Gothenburg Landvetter International Airport is the second largest and busiest in the country, and serves majority of flights especially for the bigger planes. A secondary and smaller, City Airport, serves mostly national routes and across the Nordic countries with smaller jets. From any of the two airports you can take the airport bus Flygbussarna which leave you in the city centre right by the main train station and runs every 20 minutes. If you hold a student card you can benefit of a 50% discount.
Coming overland can be a long journey, however extremely scenic, no matter if by rail or road. There are two main north-south rail lines, one from Lulea, the other from Kiruna, both connecting every major city in the country, especially with Stockholm via Sundvall, Ostersund, Norrkoping and farther south to Malmo, with a spur to Gothenburg.
Within the city there is a good choice of buses and trams, but you don’t really need any public transportation since the best way to explore it is by walking. Distances are not big and you can get everywhere on foot, plus the sights are all over the town near each others.
As this was just a day trip without staying overnight, there is not much I can say nor recommend any place to stay. Something that is sure are the prices, like elsewhere in Sweden or any other Scandinavian country, expect these quite high, so prepare to do a good research and consider a lower quality and I mean with this, a small property or perhaps a family run business, or even an apartment if you are more than 2 in the group as this will save you lots. Some of the airb&b apartments are seriously beautiful. Nevertheless, the usual apply here; a good and reasonable point to start your search is by checking some of our preferred affiliate hotel search engine such as Hotels.com, Booking.com, Expedia, Otel.com, Agoda, Opodo or Ebookers.