Holidays in Sweden – Gothenburg

Gothenburg

Gothenburg is the second largest city in Sweden. It sits on the banks of the Gothe-Elv River, facing the North Sea and overlooking the northern tip of Denmark. The city was planned by Dutch engineers in the 17th century. At that time, Gothenburg was a major trading port, where the Swedish branch of the West India Company was based. Heavy industry developed in the late XIX – early XX centuries, although due to economic and social problems, it gradually fell into decline. Now Gothenburg is a city of cutting-edge technology and tourism, which is what makes it prosper.

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Video: Gothenburg

Highlights

Nowadays, little remains of the original settlement built of wood. The only two fortresses that remain are Skansen kronan in the center, which today houses a military museum, and Elfsborg Fort on an island near the shore. Tourists always flock there. In the city you can see the magnificent merchant houses of the XVIII century, lined with canals, including the building of the West India Company (now the Museum of Gothenburg). In the nineteenth century, construction began on Landshof Dingehusen, unique to Gothenburg. These are three-storey houses, the first floor of which is brick, and the other two are wooden (the first of these buildings was destroyed in 1975). Construction of such houses continued, reflecting the growing prosperity of the townspeople.

At the same time Gothenburg, like many cities in Scandinavia, in the twentieth century was filled with the creations of modern architecture, often by remodeling old buildings. It is this combination of architectural styles that gives Gothenburg its unique look.

Gothenburg sights

Old Town

At first the direction of the city’s central streets – as in many Dutch cities – was determined by a system of canals. Today almost all the canals have been filled in, and new streets such as Ostra Hamngatan and Vastra Hamngatan have been laid in their place. Only the Stora Hamnkanal canal and the moat in front of the rampart – the southern boundary of the Old City – remain.

Gustav Adolf Square

On the northern bank of the Stora Hamnkanal the large quadrangular Gustav Adolfs Torg square forms the very impressive core of the old city. To the north the square is bounded by the majestic building of the Stock Exchange. On the west is the town hall, built in 1672 by Nicodemus Tessin the Elder with a charming courtyard.

Gothenburg Museum

On Norra Hamngatan 12 the magnificent palace-like building of the former Swedish East India Company (1750) still stands. Today, the sumptuous halls are home to the Gothenburg City Museum, where you can learn about the history (including archaeology) and culture of Gothenburg. In one of the rooms you can see the wreckage of a Viking drakkar, the only one found in Sweden. (Opening time: May-Aug. daily 10.00-17.00, closed on Fridays; Wednesdays until 20.00).

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Kroonhus

North of the city museum – on Kronhusgatan – is the oldest preserved building of the city of Kronhus (Kronhus, 1643-1653). In the remarkable Reichhaus the five-year-old Charles XI was proclaimed king in 1660. Kronhus is surrounded by little houses, today’s craft shops, where handicrafts are sold.

Maritime center

If you walk from the Krunkhus to the Göta, you can already see the Maritime Center from afar, where the submarine “Nordkaparen”, a gunboat and several other vessels are on display. There is also a ship moored here, in which there is a youth hostel (Opening hours: May-Aug. every day, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. March. 10.00-18.00, March, April, September, October till 16.00, November Friday-Aprs. 10.00-16.00).

Opera

Continuing along the coast to the north and soon the Opera House (1994) is in front of us. The architect Jan Itskovic was inspired by the proximity of the sea and he has managed to combine the building with the surrounding landscape. In the evening the building with its shimmering lights is reflected in the water. Opening hours: Mon-Sat. Noon to 6 p.m. (or until performances).

The Utkiken Skyscraper

The promenade by the Opera House offers a beautiful view of the red and white Utkiken Skyscraper. At 86 meters high, it has an observation deck that puts the entire city in the palm of your hand. In front of the skyscraper, the four-masted barque Viking is anchored on the water.

Along the Kungsportsvenue

Cungsportsplats Square

Kungsportsplats with its equestrian statue of Charles IX is a busy hub for bus and boat tours, and Kungsportsvenue is Göteborgs’ favourite promenade mile – a beautiful promenade of beautiful houses and many cafés, restaurants and bars, open until late at night.

Tredgårdsförningens Park

The Tradgardsforeningens Park was laid out in 1842 as a green oasis in the center of Gothenburg. Be sure to visit the palm orangery, butterfly house and rose garden (opening hours: May-Aug. 7.00-21.00, March, April, September, October until 19.30, other times until 18.00).

Design Museum

Röhssk Design Museum, named after the founders, the Röhss brothers, is located in the central part of Kungsportsaveneu. It is Sweden’s most comprehensive permanent exhibition of Swedish design and applied art from the 17th century to the present day. The museum often hosts no less interesting temporary exhibitions (opening times: Wednesdays 12-17 p.m., Tuesdays until 9 p.m.).

Poseidon Fountain

Kungsportsavenu overlooks Gotaplats Square, the center of which is Carl Milles’ enormous Poseidon Fountain (1931), another symbol of modern Gothenburg. The square is adorned by the Concert House, art museum and state theater.

Art Museum

The famous art museum (Konstmuseet) has an impressive collection of paintings. It includes works by Scandinavian artists (Edvard Munch, Lidere Zorn, Carl Larsson) from the 15th century to the present. There are also paintings by great artists – Rembrandt, Rubens, Van Gogh, Cezanne, Picasso, Chagall and many others. The museum also has the world-famous Hasselblad Center, which has numerous exhibitions of photography and temporary exhibitions of art (opening hours: Tue, Thu 11 am – 6 pm, Wed until 9 pm, Fri – Sat until 5 pm).

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Center: East

Liseberg Park

Park Liseberg is the largest amusement park in Scandinavia, a kind of mix of fair and cultural center. On a huge area – a lot of attractions, theaters, open-air stages, cafes and restaurants. The Liseberg Tower, 146 meters high, towers over the park, offering a breathtaking view of the city (Opening hours: May-Aug. daily).

“Universeum

At the Universeum you can watch exotic animals such as stingrays and sharks, explore galaxies (and even discover a new star), sit in a “working” moonwalker or just experiment (Sodra Vagen 50) (Opening hours: late June-Aug. 10.00-19.00; May, June, November Mon-Fri. Mon-Fri 10.00-18.00, Wed to 8.00 pm, Sat from 11.00 am, Tues-Sun Tues. 11 a.m.-6 p.m., Wed. till 8 p.m.).

Museum of World Culture

The Varldskulturmuseet (2004) offers a varied cultural program from all over the world and its splendid building was designed by Cecil Brizack & Edgar Gonzalez of London (opening hours: Tue, Sat, Wed 12.00 to 20.00, Wed to 9.00 p.m.).

Nearest Neighborhoods.

Park Slottskog.

Linnegatan is Gothenburg’s second street (west of the old town) where there are just as many restaurants, cafes and small stores. Follow the Linnegatan from Jarntorg south to Linneplats and you’re in Slottskog, the largest park in Gothenburg and a favorite hangout for locals.

Botanical Gardens

A sort of continuation of Slottskog is the largest botanical garden in Sweden, Botaniska Tradgard, which has 16 thousand species of plants: it was founded in 1923, and in 2003 it was declared the most beautiful park in the country. – (Opening hours: every day from 9 a.m. to sundown).

Museums

West of Jarntorg you’ll find the Sjofartsmuseet and the Akvariet (Seamen’s Museum) on the banks of the Gota. The first is dedicated to the history of Swedish seafaring from the 16th century to the present. The Aquarium shows all the sea inhabitants of Scandinavian coastal waters (opening times: May-Aug. every day, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.). 10.00-17.00, Wednesdays Tue, Thu. 9.00-16.00, Wed. to 20.00).

“Fish Church”.

Next to the Maritime Museum is a fish market with such a strange name – its premises look like a church (1874). At 7:00 a.m. the famous fish auctions start here. And in local restaurants you can always enjoy perfectly cooked fish (opening times: 7 a.m.-6 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday, also on Mondays in summer).

Surroundings of Gothenburg

Skerries

Gothenburg has about a hundred islands, some of them large, like Ockero, and a lot of smaller ones. It is a paradise for lovers of boat trips. In summer, excursions to the islands start from the piers Lilla Bommen, Stenpiren and Packhuskajen. Navigation does not stop throughout the year. Schedule – in each travel agency.

Choleholm Castle

Near Kungsbacka (Kungsbacka, E 6, exit to Fjaras) you can visit Tjoloholm Castle. The massive red granite building (1898-1904) was built in the English Tudor style. At the base of the castle hill is the steward’s house, carriage museum and cafeteria (Opening times: mid-June to late August, daily. 11.00-16.00, other times Sat, Sat. 11.00-16.00).

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Buros

The center of textile and clothing industry in Buros (Boris) is located 65 km east of Gothenburg on both sides of Viskan. After the railroad and the delivery of looms, the city became a major trading center. The Parkstaden district to the west is Ramnapark with an open-air ethnographic museum of Buros: The historic wooden houses and the Ramna Church (1690) with paintings of the 18th century on the ceiling (Opening hours: May-September, Fri. 10-16.00, Sat. and Sun. 12.00).

Textile Museum

In the cotton spinning mill (1900) there is now a textile museum with spinning and weaving looms. The store of the museum sells products made on the museum’s own looms (Druveforsvagen 8) (Opening hours: Tue, Thu. 10.00-20.00, Wed, Fri until 16.00, Sat 12.00-16.00).

Special offers on hotels

Goteborg Pass

Goteborg Pass holders receive free or heavily discounted admission to public transport, sightseeing tours and boat trips in and around Goteborg. Goteborg Pass is sold at travel agencies, information centers, hotels and newsstands.

Tickets for 24 hours: SEK 225 for adults, SEK 160 for children; ticket for 48 hours: SEK 10 and SEK 225, respectively.

Sightseeing tours

City tours

Sightseeing tour of the city by bus. Start at the Stora Teatern. Duration: 1 hour. May-September every day at 10.30, 12.00, 13.45, 15.15, 16.45. You can buy tickets on the bus.

Trips to the port

Guided tours of the port and canals (50 min.) on pleasure boats. Start at Kungsportsplats (May-Sept. 10.00-21.00; Goteborg Pass holders from 15.00 are free).

Shopping

“Nordstan”.

Sweden’s largest shopping center Nordstan; 150 stores; close to Central Station.

Kungsportsaveny

Kungsportsaveny and the small side streets adjacent to it have an unimaginable number of stores and art galleries.

Kungsgatan

Kungsgatan, or Korsgatan, is 3 kilometres of retail space. Another address for those who want to prolong the pleasure of shopping is Linnegatan and the nearby lanes.

Antiques

“Antikhallarna on Vastra Hamngatan: Art and antiques on three floors.

Haga Nygata

Haga Nygata is a pedestrian zone. Old, beautifully restored houses with numerous cafes and antique stores.

When to visit

The city has a mild maritime climate, but it is not advisable to go there in winter.

Interesting fact

Dutch drawings for the laying of city canals in Gothenburg in the 17th century were later used for a similar project in Jakarta, Indonesia.

Gothenburg. Another Sweden…

Gothenburg is the second largest city in Sweden, cultural capital, a port, which opened a shortcut to overseas goods and beauty, sandwiched between the Norwegian Oslo and Danish Copenhagen, a kind of Swedish St. Petersburg. And if Stockholm is a place of pilgrimage for all tourists, Goteborg is just a starting point for those who are going to see another Sweden and make their way to the deserted and very picturesque archipelago, where so much nature and so few people.

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Gothenburg is similar and not unlike Stockholm. Here, too, there are many bridges, spires and towers stretching to the sky, around the islands turn channels and everywhere everywhere everywhere are slender and tall blond Swedes, but after a closer look, you realize that everything is different here: the weather, sky, smells, wind, houses, sidewalks, sea. Another Sweden, other shores, other everything…

A day in Gothenburg is both a lot and a little. A lot – because the list of things I wanted to see was not too long. Little – because one day is always a little bit missing, and whether you will come back, no one knows in advance.

Our route was not too difficult, it allowed us to walk leisurely, but there was a small problem connected with the large-scale repair in the Haga district, so just in case it was necessary to change the plans on the fly.

I’m not going to lie to you, Gothenburg is not the kind of city you fall in love with at first sight. And the second one won’t change the situation much either. There is no antiquity usual to tourists here: quite modern buildings on straight and clean streets, through which numerous streetcars rush, from those that boldly claim to be “retro” to those that are more modern than the most modern.

Some peculiar rhythm of life, which can hardly be called businesslike or fast-paced, makes you also slow down, and the seductive aromas of coffee and cinnamon remind you of fika, pause for coffee and canelbulla, cinnamon bun. You can’t learn the science of fika in one day, but watching the Swedes themselves act sacred over a cup of coffee, you give yourself the promise to learn how to pause and enjoy it.

And experiencing at first surprise and rejection, then interest and amazement, suddenly you catch yourself thinking that the city is not so bad as it seemed at first. And the green grass of endless parks, and ancient trees admiring their reflections in the dark water of canals, and unhurriedly flying leaves playing catch-up with the wind, and imposing gulls gracefully perching on the heads of greened monuments, suddenly you start to like it, leaving in your soul if not love, then at least affection to the place where you could spend an interesting day and discover so much new…

The history of Gothenburg is much more interesting than today’s calm and measured day. And even if the days of the wild, rough and heroic are long gone, the past is still something to be proud of here.

Few cities can boast being founded twice, and almost in the same place. The first Gothenburg was founded by King Charles the Ninth Vasa (17th century), in the Kattegat strait, seeking Sweden’s access to the North Sea. Gothenburg was squeezed between Norway and Denmark, the Danes were at constant war with the Swedes at the time, and a fortress in a strategically important place was needed like air. Denmark could not tolerate such self-law of the Swedes, and burned the new fortress to the ground six years after its construction, proving who was stronger and more important here.

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Carl’s heir, the young king Gustav II Adolf, moved the city to a better defensive and offensive location on the banks of the Geta Elwha river, and built a new Goteborg, first freeing the citizens from taxes and giving them the right to free trade. The Danes were a little pissed off, but after getting to know better who was now ruling Sweden, they decided to bury the hatchet, giving up their claims for a long time, almost forever.

The grateful Swedes erected monuments to both the founders of Gothenburg, Charles the Ninth and Gustavus Adolphus. But as I noticed, they loved Gustavus Adolphus much more for his wisdom, desperate courage, kindness and struggle for peace. Gustavus Adolphus did much good for Gothenburg, and died, as a fearless Viking should, in battle, leading his cavalry in an attack. The “Snow King” was the name given to him by Ferdinand II after the thirty years of unsuccessful war which stopped the Habsburgs from establishing themselves in Scandinavia. Isn’t a king like that a hero?

The introduction to Gothenburg we began at Gustav Adolf Square, located in the Old Town, having disembarked from the shuttle at the monument to the “Snow King”, dashing and courageous even in the form of a monument, green with time…

In former times, the square was a noisy and bustling place where artisans sold their goods. Now everything here is laconic Scandinavian and discreet Swedish: the Town Hall does not give away its status, and you can not pay attention to the Stock Exchange (now the municipality), it is so commonplace. From this square starts tourist train with wagons, promising to take everyone to all attractions of the city. We were not able to find out the route, time and price, but we have never seen this train empty, although it was often found on the streets…

The narrow streets to the left of the square lead to the oldest building in Gothenburg, which survived since the 17th century. But first we turned to the German Church (Christina Church), which lured us with its open door and cozy courtyard, buried in greenery. The kirche was consecrated in honor of Gustav Adolf’s daughter, Queen Christina, in the 18th century. The interior is quite restrained, but not without elegance, nothing distracts from the main thing, and the bright sun streaming through the colorful stained glass fills the kirch with homeliness. The service is conducted in German, admission is free, and no one shushed us for our cameras – I’d say I liked the church.

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