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Life in Sweden, Stories from the West

Her Little Guide to Gothenburg

This post is a part of the writing project called Stories from the West that I started with Christa. We’re both currently living on the west coasts (Christa in the US, me in Sweden), hence the name of the project. We both want to share our experiences living as immigrants, and every month we’ll write a post each with the same topic. The topic for this month is ‘travel recommendations for the home city‘ (so that’s Gothenburg for me). Don’t forget to read Christa’s post, Come Visit My City.

I intended to write a short guide to Gothenburg, but it ended up being a bit longer than planned. I just couldn’t leave out my favorite places, and you’ll see there’s a lot of those. Maybe that’s a testament to the wonderful city itself, but it could also be a sign of my growing love to a place that I once struggled to feel comfortable in.

Without further ado, let’s begin!


Nature

Sweden is known for its natural beauty, so I think it’s only apt that I start with this. Even in Gothenburg, the second biggest city in Sweden, you can always find outdoor space to wander around just a short tram/bus ride away, no matter where you live. These are some of my favorite places to enjoy the beauty of Gothenburg and its surroundings.

Masthugget hill

Of all the viewpoints in Gothenburg, this is my favorite. From here, you can see Göthenburg in all its glory; the spires of nearby churches, the beautiful buildings against the surrounding hills, the docks, and the Göta älv. With the view of the city in front of you and the stunning Masthugg church (Masthuggskyrkan) behind, paired with the quaint, tranquil vibe, this is the perfect spot to get away from the hubbub and enjoy the city from a distance.

This is only one side of the view from Masthugget hill.

The archipelago

The Gothenburg archipelago is something that you can’t miss, especially when the weather is good (admittedly, this doesn’t happen very often). The normal Gothenburg Västraffik ticket covers the ferry to the southern archipelago: Brännö, Galterö (my 2 favorites!), Styrsö, Köpstadso, Vrångö, Vargö, and Donsö. You have to pay for the ferry ticket to the northern archipelago, like Hönö, Rörö, Öckerö, etc.

Tranquil Gälterö

Botaniska trädgården

As the name suggests, this is the city’s botanical garden. Come in winter and you’ll feel like entering a Narnia-esque world with a frozen pond and snow-covered land. In the spring, the riot of colors and blooms is just something else. In any other season, it’s just as beautiful.

Spring at the entrance of Botaniska. Walk further ahead and you’ll find much more of this.

Read more: Where to find cherry blossom spots in Gothenburg

Slottskogen

A huge park in the middle of the city with a zoo, ponds, children’s playground, and restaurants, Slottskogen is often dubbed as the ‘Central Park of Gothenburg’. It’s also the venue for many events such as Way Out West, Tough Viking, and various concerts and races. The prime location is fantastic, as you’re in the vicinity of some of the city’s best restaurants for when you’re hungry after the stroll (more on those below!).

Slottskogen. Beware of the birds who might or might not poop on you.

Delsjön

One of the big lakes in the city. The area around it is beautiful, and this place offers a great range of activities – swimming, kayaking, running, hiking, or even barbecue and picnic. Delsjön is a little paradise for anyone who wants to escape the city for a while.

Delsjön, Gothenburg

Ramberget

The name translates to ‘Raven Hill, but this is actually a mountain, situated on the north side of the Göta älv. Go here to see the view of Gothenburg from above, and even better if you do it during the sunset/sunrise time. The Keillers Park here is also a good place to hang out, or even to do your running session.

Sunset at Ramberget, GothenburgSunset at Ramberget


Points of Interest

Haga

Haga is the old town of Gothenburg, with pebbled streets lined with coffee shops, bakeries, and boutiques. Take a stroll and enjoy a fika in one of the cafes, and try some of the Swedish delicacies with your coffee.

Skansen Kronan

While you’re at Haga, spare some time to visit Skansen Kronan, a fortress up the hill nearby. The view from this place is worth the hike, even when it’s cold and windy, or even worse, icy.

The view from Skansen Kronan, GothenburgThe view from Skansen Kronan, when the city was lightly dusted with snow.

Stenpiren

One of Gothenburg many piers, Stenpiren is located close to the city center with a stunning view of Lindholmen, the science park. The best time to visit? Just before the sunset on a clear day, when you can see Gothenburg’s skyline against the most beautiful, other-worldly colors in the background.

Palmhuset

This picturesque greenhouse is located at Trädgårdsföreningen, one of the parks that lies right at the center of Gothenburg. If you have time, take a walk along the canal as well, especially when the weather is nice.

Feskekörka

Feskekörka, the fish church, is an indoor seafood market. As you’d probably guess from the name, going here is like shopping (fish and all) in a church. You can buy fresh seafood or you can choose to dine in one of the restaurants here.

Götaplatsen

One of Gothenburg’s icon is the naked Poseidon statue, which stands proudly at Götaplatsen. If you’re not interested with the statue, come here to visit the cozy city library and Gothenburg’s art museum, from which you can get a beautiful view of the city’s famous avenue (Kungsportsavenyn). In the summer, you can enjoy a drink or two at Kafe Himmel, which has outdoor seatings on the steps of the art museum.

The parents and the mighty Poseidon

Liseberg 

There are only 3 times when Liseberg is fun to visit:

  • During summer when the weather is great
  • Around Halloween – they usually have a different theme every year, and they go all out with the decoration, haunted houses, and scary characters who walk around the ground to ‘engage’ with visitors (or scare them)
  • Around Christmas – this time, the park is transformed into a winter wonderland, with an ice ballet show (included in the entrance ticket) that’s enchanting and mind-blowing.

Restaurants

These are some of the restaurants that I keep coming back to, and they’re personal favorites (so you’ll find a lot of Asian stuff here).

Moon Thai Kitchen

A little piece of Thailand in the heart of Gothenburg, Moon Thai definitely goes all out with the decor, tableware, and of course, food. There’s nothing that I don’t like here, everything is SO good. But if you don’t know where to start, their hotpot menu guarantees satisfaction.

Vi Viet

The fact that this restaurant is always full speaks for itself, and that’s not surprising. The food is fresh and comforting, and even if you pick blindly from the menu, you wouldn’t be disappointed. Banh xeo, pho bo, banh bao… everything is just oh so delicious.

Saigon

Saigon is not exactly the place you go to for a fancy meal. It’s located next to the Asian supermarket in the Nordstan mall, and it’s got more of a food court vibe rather than a restaurant. But the food is so scrumptious, and it’s a bit more affordable compared to the other places on this list. If you go here, don’t forget to try the beef pho and pad thai.

On the left: vegetarian bun xao xa and vit kuay kho. On the right: beef pho and vegetarian red curry at Saigon.

Yammy Kitchen

I’d never been crazy about Korean food until I tried Yammy Kitchen. Bibimbap, kimchi jjigae, kimchi don, japchae, the bulgogi set, everything is top notch. The same goes for the appetizers menu. Wonton soup, wakame salad, edamame… I have only high praise for this restaurant.

The Elephant

My go-to restaurant for when I’m craving Indian food. I’ve tried their beef and lamb curries, as well as vegetarian and seafood ones – all are flavorful and fresh. My favorite? Definitely the prawn curries (any kind!) and pani puri for the appetizer.

Ramen-Ya

This is definitely the best ramen place in town, there’s no contender. Even a Japanese friend of mine crowned this restaurant as ‘the closest thing to the real ramen back home’. The decadent tonkotsu ramen is my firm favorite, but if that’s not your cup of tea, they offer other types of that you won’t be short of options.

Tugg

Tugg specializes in burgers, and they know their stuff. The standard burger is delicious, but if you want something extra, then try the wagyu burger. Paired with moreish fries (a mix of normal and sweet potato), it definitely makes for a satisfying meal. An extra point also for the cozy vibe and cool decor.

Succulent burgers at Tugg.

Magazzino

I’m not a big pizza fan, but who can say no to thin crust, fresh, and delectable pizza? This restaurant has been praised for having ‘authentic’ pizza, but I think the cozy atmosphere also deserves a commendation.

Poh-Keh

This is more of a deli than a restaurant, but I’m obsessed with their spicy salmon poké bowl so I thought I’d include it here. The vegetarian poké bowl is also delicious!

Spicy salmon poke bowl, topped with cilantro, fried onion and garlic (all toppings are optional).


Coffee shops for fika

I don’t have a list for coffee shops, which might be a bit strange since everyone here is into fika (coffee and cake break). Well, I’m not a coffee connoisseur as I drink it just for the caffeine, and I certainly don’t have a sweet tooth so I never really go to a particular place just to taste the cakes or dessert. Most of the time, I stop by at a coffee house just to recharge or warm up, with no particular interest in the coffee or cakes.

That said, I won’t leave you empty-handed. The tourism board of Gothenburg, go:teborg.com, has comprehensive lists of coffee shops and cafés in Gothenburg that you should try. For me, any coffee houses along Haga is always a good idea. In a caffeine emergency, you can always go to the Espresso House – Sweden is dotted with these coffee shops, so it won’t be hard to find.

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2 Comments

  • Reply Bama

    Gothenburg seems like a really peaceful and quiet city, which for an introvert like me is a perfect place to just walk around and wander aimlessly — although the chance of getting pooped on by the birds in Slottskogen is something I definitely don’t look forward to experiencing. It would be my fourth time if that happens, though. For some reason, birds do seem to have a penchant for pooping on me.

    April 9, 2019 at 1:59 am
    • Reply Dixiezetha

      People say that if you get pooped on, good things are coming to you soon (I suspect it’s just a consolation, but maybe you’re that lucky?). Gothenburg is not that quiet compared to other smaller towns, but it’s a far cry from Stockholm and any other big cities. And there’s always beautiful space with natural beauty to escape from the city for a while 🙂

      April 18, 2019 at 11:54 am

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