18 Best Things to Do in Gothenburg, Sweden

Gothenburg, Sweden
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The second-largest city in Sweden, Gothenburg is slowly attaining popularity.

Since it is a maritime city, it has had several well-maintained and well-planned ports since the beginning of the 17th century, when the Swedish Empire had substantial power.

Today, the city is known for its scenic beaches that offer several water activities, such as sailing, lobster fishing, seal safaris, and a lot more.

It is also a prominent place where food lovers can be sated, as the city offers a plethora of seafood, some unique to Gothenburg.

The journey does not stop at the picturesque beaches and food centers; the city also has numerous museums for visitors who would like to indulge in the past.

Gothenburg offers tourists a welcome from the hustle and bustle of daily life.

Learn more about this city, and you'll find that it's a travel destination worth exploring.

These are the best things to do in Gothenburg, Sweden:

Explore the Fascinating District of Haga

People walking along Haga
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Haga is an ancient district that dates back to the 17th century.

Its cobblestone lanes are lined with a plethora of eccentric boutiques, cafes, shops, and restaurants.

The place is located on the west side of the city and is well known for its well-maintained and well-preserved wooden houses that take visitors on a ride to a different era.

Buildings along Haga
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The air of this neighborhood is always filled with the smell of Swedish coffee.

Haga is famous for its humongous cinnamon bun called the Hagabullen, which is a specialty of the area.

This place is a prominent shopping center for locals and tourists, as all sorts of unique artifacts like traditional Swedish toys and artisanal soaps are available here.

A shop at Haga
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Visit the Magical Gothenburg Museum of Art

Exterior of Gothenburg Museum of Art
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The Gothenburg Museum of Art is a sight to behold with its majestic architecture and impressive collection.

It was first opened in the year 1923, on the official day of Gothenburg's International Exhibition.

The museum is said to be one of the finest in Europe, as its collection includes works of art that date back from the beginning of the 15th century to the present century.

An exhibit in Gothenburg Museum of Art
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The paintings of famous artists such as Monet, Peder Severin Krøyer, Van Gogh, Anders Zorn, Gauguin, Chagall, and Picasso are displayed in the gallery.

Visitors who are enamored with the Baroque and Renaissance periods will fall in love with the contributions of Rubens, van Dyck, Jacob Jordaens, and Rembrandt.

Apart from this, the Gothenburg Museum of Art hosts temporary exhibits, workshops, lectures, family activities, and a lot more.

There is also a shop and a cafe where visitors can grab a bite.

Explore the Stunning Garden Society of Gothenburg

Statue at Garden Society of Gothenburg
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The Garden Society of Gothenburg was built in the 19th century and is one of the finest gardens in northern Europe.

This stunning park has efficiently preserved its charm throughout the years.

The picturesque garden is filled with rows of exotic plants and has a vast collection of roses that make for an extraordinary sight during the blooming season.

Interior of Garden Society of Gothenburg's greenhouse
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The glass and iron-clad palm house in this park has been attracting visitors from all over the world since 1878 and was inspired by London's Crystal Palace.

There is an on-site cafe that dates back to 1874 and ancient buildings with historical significance.

To keep the kids occupied and joyous, the playground has swings, monkey bars, slides, and secret trails to explore.

Live music sessions and concerts are also conducted in the gardens throughout the year.

Flowerbeds at Garden Society of Gothenburg
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Unleash Your Inner Child at Liseberg

Entrance of Liseberg
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Just located on the outskirts of Gothenburg, Liseberg is the perfect place for a family outing as it is surrounded by wilderness and advanced rides that promise the utmost fun.

Regular concerts and a Christmas market are also held on the park's grounds.

Thrilling rollercoaster ride at Liseberg
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The Helix roller coaster is solely made of steel and is responsible for attracting many tourists.

Balder is another rollercoaster, and the main factor of this ride is that the tracks are made of wood, keeping the original form of roller coasters intact.

The park has something for visitors of all ages so that no one misses out on the fun.

Christmas market at Liseberg
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Surround Yourself with Nature at Slottsskogen

Foliage along Slottsskogen
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Slottsskogen brings people closer to nature and its species.

This family place covers an area of 338 acres and has a mini zoo attached to a spectacular park filled with greenery.

Seals, moose, deer, penguins, and elk are abundantly present in the park.

From April to September, visitors also get an opportunity to play with the farm animals.

People ice skating on Slottsskogen's frozen lake
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Apart from this, the tourists can engage in other activities such as biking, jogging, and playing golf on the miniature golf course.

There is also an on-site cafe that caters to the needs of the people.

The open space is often used as a venue for concerts and festivals, which attract tourists and music enthusiasts from all over the globe.

Night scene at Slottsskogen
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Spot the Magnificent Skansen Kronan

Exterior of Skansen Kronan
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Located within walking distance of Haga Street, Skansen Kronan is the pride of the Swedish people.

The fort was built in the year 1679 to defend Sweden from Danish attacks.

Even though the fort was never under attack, it has the capacity to sustain it, which is very well depicted with the presence of massive canons.

The crown on top of Skansen Kronan building
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Skansen Kronan previously served as a prison as well as a museum for the military.

At present, the building houses a restaurant and a conference center.

In the old army barracks, there is a summer cafe that sells delicious homemade cakes, ice cream, and pastries.

Entrance door of Skansen Kronan
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Get Lost in the Fascinating Universeum

Dinosaur statue in front of Universeum
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Universeum encapsulates the animal world and the science world within itself.

The science museum is kid-friendly, as it engages them in several educational activities.

There are exhibits on laser work, forensic science, and criminal science that will keep adults occupied.

Night view of Universeum's exterior
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The indoor tropical rainforest is one of Universeum's main attractions.

Visitors can closely examine different species of insects, birds, lizards, sloths, and monkeys.

The magnificent ocean tank present here shelters different types of sharks, especially sand tiger sharks, eels, rays, and swordfish.

Another of the museum's fun attractions is Job Land, where they get the opportunity to pretend to be grown-ups.

A type of fish in Universeum's aquarium
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Spot Gorgeous Flora in the Gothenburg Botanical Garden

Beautiful flowers of Gothenburg Botanical Garden
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Situated right at the center of the city of Gothenburg, the Gothenburg Botanical Garden covers an area of 432 acres.

A sense of tranquility exudes from the rows of plants and cultivated gardens as it is part of a nature reserve.

The park has more than 16,000 species of plants, including several rare ones and a vast number of orchids.

A waterfall at Gothenburg Botanical Garden
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Inside the Gothenburg Botanical Garden's greenhouse, you'll find the exotic Toromiro or Easter Island Tree, which appeals to tourists as it is no longer available in the wild.

Apart from all the different plant species, the park also houses a waterfall and Rhododendron Valley, which is known for its kaleidoscopic colors and Japanese glade.

During spring and summer, the botanical garden's flowers are in full bloom, which makes it appear like a part of paradise.

Flower and plant beds at Gothenburg Botanical Garden
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Shop for Fresh Seafood at Feskekörka

Fish Market in Feskekörka
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Feskekörka is a market in Gothenburg that solely sells fish.

The structure of the building has a close resemblance to a church, and to make matters more interesting, the word "Feskekörka" directly translates to "fish church."

Gothenburg is a maritime city, which makes it almost mandatory for visitors to taste its seafood.

Exterior of Feskekörka
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The unique feature of Feskekörka is that the building does not have any pillars, and yet it has been intact in the same condition since 1874.

Inside the Gothic structure, there are two high-end restaurants that serve excellent dishes.

If visitors want to take any dishes home, there is also a takeout option.

People dining at Feskekörka's food hall
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Check Out the Gothenburg City Hall and the Kronhusbodarna

City hall of Gothenburg
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The Gothenburg City Hall and the Kronhusbodarna area hold immense historical significance.

The City Hall was constructed in the 17th century.

The Kronhusbodarna's architecture grabs the attention of visitors, as the outer side of the structure is made of red brick.

Its interior tells a different story altogether, as it is constructed with wood, except for the ceiling.

The six-story structure used to be a military base.

The area is filled with similar structures, which makes the place aesthetic enough to conduct a photography session.

The adjacent street houses several cafes and boutiques.

Explore Gothenburg's Villages, Islands, and Surrounding Areas

Exterior of Byn's Bistro
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Gothenburg is a maritime town that has a cluster of islands, and each island provides a picturesque view of the ocean with its ever-changing colors.

There are more than 20 islands scattered around the southern area, where a plethora of water activities are offered, such as seal safari, sea-angling, sailing, boat excursions, and lobster fishing.

The island of the southern part is more scattered and peaceful, as it cannot be accessed by any vehicles.

The northern islands are all connected and can be commuted to by car.

Byn is the oldest village in Gothenburg and dates back to 1752.

It has antique shops, cafes, restaurants, and guesthouses for a night's stay.

Take the Ferry to New Älvsborg Fortress

Daytime view of Älvsborg Fortress
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New Älvsborg Fortress is the glory of Sweden, as it successfully prevented enemies from capturing the land.

The massive fortress was built in the latter part of the 17th century and has been kept in the perfect state since then; repeated attacks were unsuccessful in breaking the massive structure.

Aerial view of Älvsborg Fortress
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From the city center, it takes approximately half an hour to reach the fortress, which is located at the mouth of the Göta älv.

Visitors may join tours of the historical attraction and the island on which it is found.

Tours of New Älvsborg Fortress can only be done in July and August.

Apart from the scenic beauty and the historical-themed tour, the island has a cafe, small shops where visitors can purchase souvenirs, beautiful streets, and restaurants.

Unleash Your Inner Automobile Enthusiast at the Volvo Museum

Vehicles in the Volvo museum
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One of the main attractions of Gothenburg is the Volvo Museum, as such an eccentric museum is not available anywhere else.

The museum is located near the Gothenburg city center and was inaugurated in the year 1927.

Exterior of the Volvo Museum
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It showcases every car crafted by Volvo, be it vintage vehicles or ones from the previous century.

The museum also showcases aero vehicles, different types of trucks, and ocean vehicles.

Another special aspect of the Volvo Museum is that it displays concepts of future cars and gives a detailed account of them.

Cars displayed in Volvo Museum
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Discover the Wonders of Nature at the Gothenburg Natural History Museum

Interior of Gothenburg Natural History Museum
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The Gothenburg Natural History Museum is a paradise for history lovers who enjoy indulging in the past.

Since the museum was established in the 19th century and moved to its current place in the 20th century, it has stuffed animals displayed that give an old-school vibe.

One of the museum's major attractions is the blue whale, which washed up on the shore of Gothenburg in the year 1865.

The massive creature is 50 feet long and weighs about 25 tons.

Exterior of Gothenburg Natural History Museum
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Previously, visitors were allowed to enter the whale through its mouth, but due to some difficulties faced by the authorities, this experience is no longer offered.

Another humongous creature that is proudly displayed in the museum is the elephant from Africa, which weighs around six tons and is at least six meters high.

The museum also has a spacewalk, where all the planets are displayed, and people can walk around the park to view them.

The planet Pluto is strategically placed at the far end corner of the park, which is several kilometers away.

Animal skeletons in Gothenburg Natural History Museum
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Experience Being a Pilot for a Day at the Aeroseum

An aircraft at Aeroseum
Alan Wilson , CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The city of Gothenburg is filled with museums, and the Aeroseum is one that gets a lot of tourists' attention.

After the structure was constructed, it was kept away from the eyes of the public until the year 1990.

Tunnel entrance of Aeroseum
Alan Wilson , CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

In 2005, the space was converted into a museum where military aircraft were put on display.

Inside, you'll find aircraft vehicles that include the Saab 37 Viggen and Swedish-made fighter jets.

When visiting the museum, tourists are given the opportunity to sit in an aircraft's cockpit and take a swipe of the control room.

Robot 28 Falcon at Aeroseum
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Enjoy a Day of Excitement at Universeum

Universeum is a shining beacon of natural exhibits, bringing together education and entertainment in the most magical state possible.

As one of Sweden's great world-changing exhibitions, Universeum presents a vast collection of amazing creatures and some exciting hands-on experiences for its guests to enjoy.

This public science center located in Gothenburg, Sweden opened its doors in 2001.

It's housed on the same property as attractions such as Scandinavium, Ullevi, and the Museum of World Culture—all of which are part of Evenemangsstråket.

Universeum is larger than life and readily accessible to tourists looking for a fun and educational experience, especially during their travels across the country.

Here, you'll find plenty of things to see and do, including an eclectic mix of interesting animals and creepy crawlies, along with hands-on courses related to ecology and conservation conducted by classically-trained experts.

With that in mind, it's easy to see why Universeum continues to be one of the top destinations among students and families traveling across Europe.

Explore the Gothenburg Archipelago

Colorful houses at Gothenburg Archipelago
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The 20 islands of the Gothenburg archipelago are spectacular yet off-the-beaten-path, must-see attractions.

The islands brim with life and natural beauty and lend themselves to countless outdoor pleasures.

Walk around shady trails by the sea, listen to seagulls, and take in picturesque villages.

In the archipelago, there is a southern part and a northern part.

People exploring Gothenburg Archipelago
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It generally takes less time to get to the southern islands than the northern ones.

However, if you are bringing a car, you should aim for the northern ones since none of the islands in that region allow vehicles on their land.

In the winter, you might find the northern islands a bit less calling to tourists than in summer.

The southern islands, however, get crowded in the summertime.

Delve into the Past at Kronhuset

Exterior of Kronhuset
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Kronhuset, formerly known as Giötheborgz Tyghuhs, is one of the oldest buildings in Gothenburg, constructed in a Dutch style and completed in 1654.

While its name translates literally to "the Crown House," it belonged to Gothenburg's Arsenal at the time of construction.

Kronhuset was an arsenal for the Swedish Crown and a storage facility to stockpile food so that it could endure a siege.

Street sign of Kronhuset
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On December 9, 1927, the Gothenburg Municipality gained ownership of this building from Sweden's state.

It was then named a historical landmark on October 24, 1968.

Local legend has it that you can spend a night here and experience time travel.

Final Thoughts

Gothenburg is a beautiful northern city that's, unfortunately, a bit underrated.

Although it's Sweden's second-largest municipality, it doesn't get nearly as many visitors as some other places in the country.

So, if you're thinking about planning a trip here soon, you might want to consider checking this list of fun things to do in Gothenburg for inspiration—it'll make for an unforgettable adventure.

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