Looking for some great things to do in Gothenburg? Then this guide is for you. As you may know, I love travelling to Sweden (as it’s right next door), and have previously covered my favourite restaurants in Gothenburg. With this guest post, you’ll get some ideas for things to do in Gothenburg – so you’ll be good to go!
The Kingdom of Sweden is the largest of Nordic countries and therefore, it attracts millions of tourists annually. Visitors can choose from numerous locations, from deer evergreen forests and lakes in the north of the country to urban settlements located predominantly in the south of Sweden.
Add the Viking heritage, a vibrant pop music scene (remember ABBA?), the hype about the Nobel Prize, and the memorabilia related to the Swedish Empire from the 17th century and you get the perfect tourist destination in Northern Europe.
When it comes to concrete locations to visit, the country’s second-largest city of Gothenburg (Göteborg in Swedish) offers the average visitor just as much as the capital of Stockholm. The city was founded by a royal decree in 1621 on Sweden’s west coast where it sits today. Today, Gothenburg is the country’s biggest port and an industrial hub, with plenty of unique sites to visit. Keep reading for several great and unique things to do in Gothenburg, Sweden!
9 Unique things to do in Gothenburg
The list below contains 9 fun things to do in Gothenburg, that are suitable whether you are travelling with friends, children or as a couple (or even solo).
Side note: with the Gothenburg Pass you’ll get free access to the city’s public transport, in addition to free and discounted entry to a bunch of attractions in Gothenburg (including some mentioned below). Book it in advance here!
#1 Visit the Volvo Museum
Apart from being a port city and a university center, Gothenburg is known across the planet (and in Europe definitely) for being the hometown of Volvo, the lauded Swedish car manufacturer. In fact, they have a museum in the city where you can see past and present Volvo models. Apart from a time machine of passenger vehicles, the Volvo Museum has agricultural machinery on display as well.
#2 Go on a ride at Liseberg
The most visited amusement park in Scandinavia, Liseberg opened its gates back in 1923. It covers the area of 17 acres and offers a total of 37 rides, 6 of which are roller coasters. The most famous of these is a wooden roller coaster called Balder.
Liseberg is so good that the Forbes Magazine voted it the best amusement park several times. No wonder then that Liseberg amusement park is the number one attraction in all of Sweden when compared by the total number of visitors. Even the airport shuttle bus makes its first stop near the park.
#3 Day trip to Bohus Fortress
Bohus fortress is located just north of Gothenburg and it is over 700 years old. However, its history is everything but uneventful as Swedish, Danish, and Norwegian forces, have respectively tried to overtake it at least 14 times but every siege failed.
The fortification lies at the old Swedish-Norwegian border in Kungälv. Here, some 20 kilometers north of Gothenburg, the Göta river bifurcates into two branches. Bohus fortress dominates the surrounding landscape since it is located atop a 40-meer cliff.
The 14th-century fortress is the ideal destination for a day trip from Gothenburg. There are plenty of resting places, inns, and restaurants along the way. Staying overnight is also possible, as the locals are rather friendly and many are into tourism. You can reach the fortress by bus as well and there is even a jetty nearby where you can dock a boat.
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#4 Visit the Feskekörka Fish Marked (“The Fish Church”)
Since Sweden is a Nordic country, one of the pillars of its economy (or at least it was so a century ago) is the fishing industry. Connoisseurs of fresh fish and seafood gather at the city’s main fish market, the Feskekörka. The marker’s name translated as “the fish church,” and the structure does resemble a Gothic cathedral.
Apart from fishmongers’ stands, you will find high-class restaurants here, as well as an odd food tasting festival. Located at Fisktorget 4, the fish market offers to-go fish meals at comparatively low prices. Don’t forget to taste the fish soup before you leave the market!
#5 Try indoor climbing
If you’re not a fan of the outdoors but still enjoy an adrenaline rush, then indoor climbing g is just the sport for you. Luckily, you will find the Klätterdomen in Kvibeg, Gothenburg’s largest indoor climbing center.
The artificial rock faces are suitable both for experienced climbers, as well as beginners, including children. In fact, entire families often visit the Klätterdomen for a Sunday full of fun and physical activity.
The instructors at the center will teach you everything, from how to tie different climbing knots to how to swing from one rock face to another. Due to large interest, you should pre-book online a trial session with a personal instructor.
#6 A day trip to the Gothenburg Archipelago
Just outside the city, there is a cluster of easily reachable islands called the Gothenburg Archipelago (originally, Göteborgs skärgård). The seven islands offer plenty of opportunities for hiking, swimming, organizing a picnic, or simply enjoying the scenery.
Three of the biggest islands, Dönsö, Brännö, and Styrsö, have a restaurant and a supermarket but they are open only on workdays. Be sure to bring your own food when if you are coming for a picnic. Otherwise, you will either be greeted by a closed supermarket door or prices exceeding the ones on the mainland.
You can reach the island by taking the number 9 or 11 tram to Saltholmen where you can hop on a ferry to the island of your choice (Styrsö ferries run most often). You can look up the ferries’ timetables online before you set on the journey. These ferries run all year because of the resident population but they are not accessible to cars (you can fit a bike for free if there is room enough).
#7 Stroll through a rainforest at the Universeum
Just south of the city center, you will find the Universeum, a public science center, and a museum. It opened in 2001, giving visitors a chance to walk through a real-life rainforest. Apart from the science center and the museum, Universeum has a zoo and an aquarium.
There are six sections in total, each housing a collection of reptiles, fish, and insects. The most popular sites inside the Universeum are the River Temple, the Canyon, Sloth Mountain, and the Kapok tree. Be advised that inside this model of a South American tropical rainforest temperatures are 25 degrees Celsius but humidity levels are off the charts (c. 90%), as if you were in Amazonia.
#8 Go fishing at one of the fishing spots near Gothenburg
We’ve mentioned earlier that you can purchase fresh fish at the Feskekörka fish market but what if you wanted to catch the fish yourself? Luckily, both sea fishing and lake fishing are available in and near Gothenburg.
One of the most popular fishing tours is lobster safari. It allows you to hunt for the black gold of the ocean from late September until late November, as this is the length of the lobster season. There are several fishing vessels that offer tourists a chance to experience firsthand how lobsters are caught.
Apart from catching lobster, you can book a sea fishing tour that includes mackerel fishing; the locals’ favorite pastime. The best periods to sail out the west coast of Sweden near Gothenburg is in spring (mainly April and May) and in fall (from September until November). There are numerous shipwrecks, especially near Skagerrak, that serve as scenic fishing spots.
#9 Attend a hockey match
If the Scandinavian countries had to pick one common sport, then it would likely be ice hockey. Swedes are crazy about the chasing puck as well, as Frölunda Indians call Gothenburg their home. While you’re visiting the town, don’t miss the opportunity to watch them play at the Scandinavium, a huge indoor stadium located in the city center, making it easily accessible. The Swedish hockey season starts at the end of the summer and lasts to mid-March.
More things to do in Gothenburg, Sweden
It might seem odd that a Nordic city has a rainforest but that’s just a small part of Gothenburg’s magical appeal. From eating out in fish restaurants to climbing artificial rocks, you will never get bored on Sweden’s west coast. No wonder they call Gothenburg the “Marseille of the North.”
Find more things to do in Gothenburg here:
- A guide to Varberg, Sweden (a short train ride from Gothenburg)
- 13 Fun and Unique things to do in Småland, Sweden
- Love this hotel: Wallby Säteri
- Love this hotel: Slottsholmen
About the guest author: Mark Anderson is a tech geek, blogger, and writer in his free time. He likes any kind of outdoor activities like camping, fishing, skiing, hiking, surfing. Read about his adventures on Vogatech.com.