JOIN US IN AN INTERVIEW WITH ISABELLE WALLIN FROM GOTHENBURG, SWEDEN!
Isabelle is a travel blogger who runs the blog ThatSwedishTraveller. With roots in Mauritius, Isabelle is the Stockholmer who decided to shift to the next biggest city in Sweden – Gothenburg and called it home.
Gothenburg, the underdog city of Sweden is the second-largest in the country and the fifth-largest in the Nordic countries. The city is a mix of university learning, sea-based trades and modern industry. It’s known for its Dutch-style canals and leafy boulevards like the Avenyn. Going island-hopping Gothenburg’s archipelago for stunning views, swims and catching rays is a must too.
Gothenburg is the perfect weekend destination, here you’ll find quirky boutiques, a booming nightlife, delicious meals and local beer. Gothenburg is commonly known as “Little London”, as it is the biggest port in Sweden.
When is the best time to visit Gothenburg?
Summer time is definitely the best time to visit Gothenburg. The city comes alive with parties in public parks, outdoor seating at the restaurants and roof top bars. Swedes are generally more happy and outgoing during the summer as well.
The winter is of course also magical with snow and Christmas markets.
Which is the most convenient and favoured transport of Gothenburg?
Gothenburg is known for its trams!
There is no metro in this city because the ground is too soggy to build in. Therefore biking is also a great way to get around town, rental bikes are available everywhere at an affordable price. The best way to get from the airport to the city is the airport bus transfer, its only €10 one way and it takes you to the city centre in 20 min.
What are the top three must visit places in Gothenburg?
Avenyn – This is the biggest and most famous boulevard in Gothenburg. The avenue is actually called Kungsportsavenyn and the street is 860 meters long. It stretches from shopping area Kungsportsplatsen to Götaplatsen in central Gothenburg. The street is filled with restaurants and bars. This is also the number one street for clubs in the city. Try the rooftop bar at Hotel Bellora or eat a great panasian dinner at TOSO, there is something for everyone. Mind that this is one of the touristy areas and prices might be higher than other areas.
Slottsskogen – This is the biggest, oldest and most popular public park in Gothenburg. It’s filled with people all year around and also a zoo that is free of charge. When you visit it you can see Swedish moose, seals and even penguins. You’ll find minigolf, playgrounds and outside gyms here as well. This park is host to the popular music festival Way Out West every summer since 2007. It’s not legal to drink in public areas in Sweden, but parks like Slottsskogen are usually an exception.
Andra lång – This is the best street for pubs in Gothenburg. It’s a 700 m long street filled with micro breweries and small independent pubs. Start at Järntorget and work your way further in all the way to Johannesplatsen. Try different local beers at Jerntorgets Brygghus, go to a stand up comedy show at On stage or just enjoy great company at a underground bar like Down Under. This is the most affordable area for drinks. It’s an area popular for students, hipsters and curious and thirsty tourists.
What are the best day trips for nature, culture and history from Gothenburg?
For a day trip it’s a good idea to visit the archipelago outside of Gothenburg. You can visit both the north and the south archipelago. Catch the ferries to the different southern islands either from Stenpiren Travel Centre or Saltholmen Ferry terminal. To visit the northen archipelago you take the ferry from Lilla Varholmen at Hisingen. Both archipelagos are beautiful, especially in the summer. Visit the southern islands Styrsö, Brännö and Vargö for the best nature experience, swimming spots and cozy cafés. For details on Brännö island, read more here. Visit the northern and larger islands Björkö, Öckerö and Hönö. You can rent bikes to experience the islands by bike.
Another great day trip is to catch the bus or drive to Smögen, about 2 h north of Gothenburg. Here you’ll find the best sea food and authentic Swedish summer vibes. Smögenbryggan (The Smögen dock) is a popular place in the summer to visit cafés like Skäret and eating a great sea food dinner at Gösta’s Fiskekrog. Smögen is a popular destination for both Swedish people and tourists. Many Swedes visit Smögen and the islands nearby by boat, sailing while on vacation is very popular.
If you drive 1 h south of Gothenburg you will find the beautiful castle Tjolöholms Slott. It’s great to visit the castle all year around, but especially in the winter for the big Christmas market. The garden next to the castle is open all year around and in the summer you can watch the outdoor theatre. It’s also popular to eat lunch or dinner here or stay at the castle hotel.
What is the most celebrated holiday/event of the year in Gothenburg?
Gothenburg is famous for its culture festival “Göteborgs Kulturkalas”. Its usually in the end of summer, around august, and the program offers everything from food, art exhibitions, artists performing to great parties. The most visited music festival is called Way Out West and is really popular for both tourists and locals. Gothenburg Pride is also a big event in the end of summer.
What is the most loved local food, savoury and sweet of your city? Is your city a vegetarian friendly city?
The most famous food in Gothenburg is the fish and sea food from the west coast. Try the shrimps and crayfish! Visit Fiskekörka to buy it fresh off the fishermen.
For sweets you better try a “fika”- eat a bun, usually cinnamon rolls, and drink black coffee.
Gothenburg is definitely a vegetarian friendly city and almost every restaurant offers a vegetarian option.
Where to head for shopping in your city?
Most common is the shopping centre called Nordstan in the city centre, but Frölunda Torg and Mölndal galleria is also popular.
Lindholmen street food market is a food and design market which is very popular all year round (weekend events). Housed in a cool old factory like building, it serves the tastiest food from all corners of the world. For more on this market visit their official site here.
At Auktionsverket Kulturarena on Tredje Lång there is always something going on – a sneakers market, a vintage market or local designs fair.
Which are the best streets of Gothenburg worthy of taking a stroll on?
Avenyn for food and nightclubs, Linnégatan for both cozy boutiques and food and Haga Nygata for the best “fika” (Swedish cinnamon rolls and coffee).
What Södermalm is to Stockholm, Haga is to Gothenburg. Haga is one of the oldest neighbourhoods in Gothenburg and the street Haga Nygata” is the most interesting in Haga. Get stunned by the historic architecture, relaxed atmosphere, car-free street with cafés, cobbled streets, antiques and various other shopping options there.
Which is the local craft or souvenir of your city?
Beer! Gothenburg is one of Europe’s hottest hubs for craft beer. This is a city that takes it beer seriously. Go to the bar street Andra Lång and try local beers from different micro breweries such as Poppels, Dugges or Stigbergets. For a local beer guide in Gothenburg click here.
Can you suggest a place from where one can get the best view of the city?
There are several places with great views in Gothenburg! Here are a few – Ramberget, the bar Heaven 23 at the hotel Gothia Towers, Skansen Kronan, Masthuggskyrkan.
Would you suggest any shows in Gothenburg to drama, music or art lovers? Where can one spot street art in your city?
For art you should go to Göteborgs Konstmuseum, which received the award “Museum of the Year” in 2018 from Swedish Museums Association and Swedish ICOM (International Council of Museums). Or Röda sten, which is a unique place for contemporary art, located in an old boiler central right beneath the Älvsborgs Bridge.
Stora Teatern for drama. Experience everything from modern circus to Swedish and international performances in Storan.
Pustervik for concerts has been a part of the entertainment and culture scene in Gothenburg since the early 20th century. It also has an on-site cafe/bar & restaurant.
Street art is everywhere, especially around the city centre near Kungsportsplatsen and Domkyrkan.
Would you recommend any local apps for food, transport or hidden gems in your city?
Västtrafik To Go – for the local transport. Västtrafik makes it easier than ever to buy tickets on your smartphone. Buy your ticket wherever and whenever you like with the Västtrafik To Go app.
Cykelstaden – for rental bikes.
Gothenburg Guides – official visitor guide to Gothenburg.
Take Haunted Gothenburg Tour for the city’s most haunted places. Take an entertaining walk or bicycle ride if you’re brave enough.
Highlights in Gothenburg to explore the gems of Gothenburg.
Gothenburg – Along the river will take you along both river banks and a journey through the history of Gothenburg. Also, a quick ferry trip across the river.
Do you want to give any suggestion to tourists coming to Gothenburg?
Visit the Garden Society of Gothenburg (Trädgårdsföreningen and Palmhuset) and the botanical garden just outside the city centre (Botaniska trädgården).
Food tip – Gothenburg is all about eating out and drinking, so when looking for great restaurants make sure to make reservations once you find a good place!