9 Unique Spots in Gothenburg (Göteborg), Sweden
Ainnelise Niyvold Liundbye UPDATED: 18 OCT 2020
9 Spots in Gothenburg (Göteborg), Sweden
Gothenburg has a wealth of intriguing spots to visit – covering centuries of fascinating history: the old amusement park Liseberg, the rainforest science centre Universeum – unique in Sweden, the fabulous art museum Göteborg Kunstmuseum, as well as the local City Museum, the Göteborg Cathedral and a lovely, lush Botanical Garden.
Other points of interest include the innovative approach to an open-air harbour bath, Frihamnen Sauna, as well as Kronhuset, originally serving as an arsenal, used by King Karl X for the parliament in the late 1600s, and much later turned into an inspiring museum and a concert hall.
Where to stay in Göteborg? Hotel Barken Viking (budget) charming hotel set on a ship, Radisson Blu Riverside Hotel (mid-range) with top location and rooftop terrace, Quality Hotel 11 & Eriksbergshallen (top) in a shipyard building with panoramic views.
A maritime floating museum, Maritiman, lies in the middle of the city, presenting 15 exciting heritage vessels in the Göta River.
On the culinary side, the indoor market Saluhallen, dating back to 1850, is with all its various delights an obvious and budget-friendly option for lunch!
Finally, no Gothenburg visit should exclude a tour of the panoramic Gothenburg Archipelago, Göteborgs Skärgård, which is of outstanding scenic beauty on a sunny day!
Below, we describe 9 unique places in Gothenburg that capture the atmosphere, the charm and the culture of the Swedish city.
Despite its name, Feskekôrka (or Feskekörka), the Fish Church, is not a church, but an indoor fish market in Gothenburg. Nevertheless, it has been named as such, since it has a striking resemblance to a neo-Gothic church.
Already back in 1874 the fish market opened in central Gothenburg as an innovative approach to a fish trading place in western Sweden. It is a remarkable construction without interior pillars, designed with the use of elements from Norwegian wooden stave churches and Gothic stone churches.
As one of the oldest markets in Gothenburg, the eye-catching structure was drawn by the architect Victor von Gegerfelt towards the end of the 1800s. It was built to house the fresh market of fish and seafood in the city of Gothenburg.
Today, it is a popular spot which should be included in any Gothenburg visit – both for its interesting history, unique design and seafood delicacies.
However, from September 2020 the fish market is undergoing comprehensive renovations and is unfortunately not planned to reopen until 2023 – but it can still be admired from the outside!
Haga is one of the oldest areas in Gothenburg, today still featuring well-preserved wooden houses in a 19th-century style, as well as significant authentic constructions such as Hagabadet, the ‘Haga Bath’. This is really an iconic classical institution in Gothenburg offering spa treatments, massages, yoga and more.
The unique setting contributes to the neighbourhood being one of the absolutely most outstanding districts of Gothenburg. Major historic sights in Haga include Skansen and Haga Church.
Originally, already in the 1600s, the Haga suburb was established outside the city walls by the Swedish Queen Kristina. The name Haga comes from the Swedish word ‘hage’, meaning enclosed garden. It refers to the idyllic location in the nature, at the time beyond the walls.
In the 1840s new industries were established in Gothenburg, which naturally led to workers settling in this neighbourhood.
The area features numerous houses built in the special landshövdingehus style with a stone ground floor and two wooden floors on top, which should be seen in a historical context. These houses were typically constructed between 1870 and 1940 as workers’ accommodation.
Although for many years a working class neighbourhood, Haga has over the years successfully been transformed into the lively and picturesque suburb that it is today.
One of the top sights is the pedestrian street Haga Nygata, which is easily accessible by tram. It is centrally located, surrounded by charming wooden houses, bohemian cafés, where you can have a fika and a kanelbulla, delectable bakeries, as well as unique craft and antique shops in cobbled streets.
Skansen, situated in the vibrant Haga district on the hill Risåsberget, is home to the 17th-century fortress Skansen Kronan.
Originally, Skansed was erected outside the city walls, but with the subsequent city development and expansion, it soon ended up in the new centre. Today, it provides visitors with the most panoramic views of Gothenburg city!
The fortification was designed by Erik Dahlberg to protect the city against possible Danish attacks, and it stood ready in 1700 with its 4-5-metre thick granite walls and 23 canons. However, the fortress was never attempted attacked by any enemies, and instead it was therefore in the 19th century turned into a prison.
Much later, during the 20th century, Kronan became a military museum, a function it maintained until 2004. Now it is a private facility used for conferences, weddings and on other private occasions. Kronan is literally the scenic ‘crown’ of Gothenburg!
A lovely little surprise and oasis in the heart of the city is the hortocultural garden Trädgårdsföreningen. Here you will find majestic palms, green succulents, 1,900 species of unique roses, impressive Victoria water lilies and abundant other fascinating and rare species of trees, plants and exotic flowers.
The Garden Society of Gothenburg, Trädgårdsföreningen, is an outstanding and well-preserved 19th-century garden in Sweden – actually one of the most remarkable in the whole of Europe.
The park was laid out in 1842 by King Karl XIV Johan, assisted by the amateur botanist Henric Elof von Normann.
The Palm House of glass and cast iron from 1878 is with its large collection of extraordinary plants from Mediterranean latitudes one of the main draws.
The botanic park is the perfect place to come to chill and have a break from the bustling city. Stroll in the rose garden, discover the sculptures, explore the awesome Palm House, have a cup of coffee in one of the cafés and enjoy the astonishing cultural heritage from another century.
Liseberg in Göteborg is the popular amusement park which has existed in Sweden since 1923. Here you will find everything within the genres of adventure and fun – examples are the mighty attractions Atmosfear, Balder and FlumeRide. To complete your experience it is all topped off with tempting restaurant options and occasional thematic events like Halloween and Christmas.
In 2005, Liseberg was picked as one of the world’s top ten amusement parks by the recognised Forbes Magazine, and just a few years later it was Sweden’s most visited site!
To arrive at Liseberg you may take the iconic tram, the Liseberg Line, operated by heritage carriages.
The first tram line in Gothenburg saw the light of day in 1879 – in the beginning meant for freight only. At the time it was a horse-drawn tramway, covering the itinerary from Brunnsparken to Stigbergsliden. Later, around 1900, the lines switched to electrically powered trams, which was the beginning of the extensive tram network in Göteborg. From 1932 the classic trolleys were conveniently remodelled to carry passengers instead.
To reach Liseberg you can take the wooden vintage tram from the Central Station. With all their squeaky sounds it is quite a nostalgic 30-minute ride in the these old carriages built in the beginning of the 20th century.
For any car addict, the Volvo Museum, which opened in 1995, is a must-see. The museum run by Volvo Car Group and Volvo Group aims at making Volvo’s production history and traditional car models known to the visitors.
Volvo has gained worldwide recognition for having the safest cars, which at the same time are renowned to be among the most expensive cars on the globe.
The exhibitions cover the history of Sweden’s world-famous vehicle manufacturer Volvo, right from the development of the first ÖV 4 model to the legendary Volvo 240 and today’s modern cars and trucks equipped with all thinkable electronics and technology.
In case you love cars, a visit to this museum full of classical vehicles and collector’s items is really obvious – whether you have arrived in Göteborg by cruise, plane or have included the city on a road trip through Sweden.
Lilla Bommen is an interesting part of Gothenburg Harbour used by visiting boats and local cruise boats. The port was constructed back in 1860, and it soon developed into being Gothenburg main port with respect to domestic shipping up the Göta Älv through the Göta Canal and across the large lakes Vänern and Vättern to Stockholm and beyond. The location was convenient for both cargo vessels and passenger ships.
Originally, the port was named Lilla Bommen (meaning ‘the small boom’ – in contrast to ‘the large boom’ situated further to the west), since it was here between the two bastions, the Gustavus Primus and the Sanctus Ericus, that government taxes were collected from boats going through the Gothenburg canals.
At the same time the name Lilla Bommen is also the official name of the spectacular building located in this area near the Göteborg Opera building from 1994. Often referred to as Läppstiftet (The Lipstick), Skanskaskrapan (The Skanska Skyscraper) or Legohuset (The Lego House), it is has become a characteristic landmark in the city.
The post-modern tower-like structure was designed by Ralph Erskine and White Arkitekter, and erected by Skanska in the 1980s.
One of the hightlights in Gothenburg is the scenic archipelago surrounding the city. You may well start out with a barge tour of Gothenburg’s canals and harbour area to experience the old shipyards, waterfront architeture and impressive bridges, but you should definitely also consider a tour cruising the picture-postcard archipelago just off the city or around the island Hisingen.
Destinations reachable by boat include Marstrand, Donsö, Styrsö and Brännö, as well as the picturesque small island Vinga in the outer archipelago. Along the way you will explore Gothenburg’s vibrant port, the fascinating coastline and breathtaking seascape. Half a day – or even a full day – around the Gothenburg Archipelago is an awesome and unforgettable experience when visiting this part of Sweden.
Several cruises set sail from Lilla Bommen, the characteristic landmark in central Göteborg.
Located a bit north of Göteborg, in Kungälv, another historically important construction stands atop a bluff, overlooking the surrounding area.
Bohus Fortress (also known as Baahus or Båhus) is outstanding Scandinavian cultural heritage. Danes, Norwegians and Swedes have more or less permanently occupied the fortress during more than 700 years. It is situated along the old Norwegian-Swedish border on a 40-metre (130 ft) high cliff, surrounded by a kind of moat formed by the Göta River.
The medieval construction was initiated in 1308 under King Haakon V Magnusson, who was king of Norway 1299-1319. He was also the king who constructed Akershus Fortress in Norway. At the time Bohus Fortress was seemingly Norway’s strongest fortress, and it was not very accessible to conquer. According to historical sources it was besieged 14 times, but never captured.
In its heyday it was an imposing construction including a continuous 3-metre thick surrounding wall (8.5-13.5 metres high) with four corner towers and a drawbridge. It is believed that it contained the ‘Kings hall’, the castle commander’s residence, a chapel, a guardroom, barracks and of course a kitchen.
During the Northern Seven Years’ War (1563–1570) the Fortress was severely damaged in 1566, when 250 Swedish soldiers managed to storm one of the towers. As a defending manoeuvre the Norwegians then blew up the ammunition stores, hereby defeating the Swedes.
Anyway, a hundred years later, under the terms of the Treaty of Roskilde in 1658, Denmark–Norway finally ceded Bohuslän and Bohus Fortress.
Over the years Bohus has also served as a prison, and quite a few prisoners have been jailed in the Bohus dungeons.
Today, the Fortress is owned by Statens Fastighetsverk, the Swedish National Property Board. Around 40,000 annual visitors come here to see the unique heritage site in Gothenburg, Sweden.
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