Winters in Scandinavia can be long, dark and cold; with the weather being a little unpredictable (or completely predictable!), blizzards and grey skies can be frequent visitors. Whilst a cold winter escape may not be to everyone’s taste, a winter break will generally be a bit cheaper, less crowded, and it brings a brilliant excuse to linger longer in cosy restaurants and pubs, warming your hands on a hot drink, or a warming beer! And most importantly, it’s the perfect time to experience that true Nordic ‘Hygge’ feeling and indulge in Swedish ‘Fika’. Just don’t forget your wool hat!
Gothenburg (Göteborg) sits in the West of Norway, near the mouth of the Göta älv river. The second largest city in Sweden, it is extremely well known for its culture, and art and music scene.
Currency | Swedish krona
Time needed | 1 – 3 days
Seasons & Weather | Short, cold days in winter, mild to warm in summer. Rain and clouds can be common! Visit anytime, but summer will guarantee better weather and longer daylight hours.
Languages | Swedish, but English is widely spoken
How to say Hello | Hej
How to say Thank you | Tack
Transport | Walking, tram and bicycle are best!
Nearest Airport | Gothenburg-Landvetter Airport (GOT)
Nearest Train Station | Göteborg Centralstation
Things to Visit, Places to See
Explore the Haga Neighbourhood | Renowned for it’s selection of super cool, arty, independent shops, from bookshops, thrift stores and jewellery, homewares and clothing shops.
Gothenburg Museum of Art | 60 SEK | With pieces from Munch, Rembrandt, Picasso and Monet, it’s an impressive place to wander through in the late afternoon/early evening or if rain has set in.
Wander through Feskekörka | A seafood market and collection of restaurants set within an old gothic church . It’s compact but lively, and a great place to try fish soup!
Horticultural Society & The Palm House (Trädgårdsföreningen) | A perfect place to immerse yourself in the greenery and warmth of the glass houses for an hour or two.
Gothenburg Botanical Garden | SEK 20 for the glasshouses, the rest of the gardens are free | Home to the largest collection of tropical orchids in Sweden. Whilst the outer gardens were dormant, awaiting the approaching warmth of spring, the glasshouses of the botanical gardens were a welcome blast of humidity and heat in the frigid artic air sweeping down from the north.
I caught the tram to the Botanical Gardens from the Haga district. A number of trams stop here, just look out for the ‘Botaniska Trädgården’ stop name. You’ll stop on the other side of the motorway and will need to walk across the bridge and walk a short distance back on yourself, past a few colourful houses before you reach the garden entrance.
Places to Eat
For Coffee | da Matteo ££ | Viktors Kaffe £
Sweet Bakery | £ | Put ‘Sweet’ in the name of anything and I will likely go there… This was truly a sweet little cafe though, sweet! and friendly staff, with great pastries and good coffee!
Cafe Hebbe Lelle | £-££ | Located in the Haga district, it’s a great place to stop for lunch or to ‘fika’ and grab a kanelbulle (cinnamon roll and coffee!). Really friendly staff, and a cosy atmosphere!
Restaurang Gabriel | ££-£££ | Located in the seafood market Feskekörka, this restaurant is the perfect place to try fish soup or herring.
Places to Stay
Gothenburg is a little bit pricier compared to Stockholm, but there are still brilliant, affordable options to choose from. I stayed in an Airbnb during my time in Gothenburg, which unfortunately doesn’t seem to be available anymore! However it was a huge, super cosy room within an apartment and beautifully decorated too. Based in the centre of town it was perfect to explore from and brilliant to get helpful tips from the owner.
If Airbnb isn’t your thing, I’ve found some amazing looking alternatives below that I would love to stay in, suitable for a range of budgets and styles!
Budget | £
Göteborg Hostel | Modern and minimal styling, and great reviews at a budget price. A kilometre from the train station but with easy tram links and definitely walkable!
STF Hostel Stigbergsliden | Sweet and simple, with beautifully, minimalistic decor. Although its 2km from the city centre it has brilliant tram links.
Mid-range | ££
Hotel Barken Viking | If you love quirky accommodation you probably shouldn’t look any further than this. The hotel is set within a windjammer (old sailing ship with huge masts!) at the quayside and close to the train station!
STF Göteborg City Hotel | Set within the heart of the city, it’s a stylish place, with old lanterns, and wooden textures and dark warm hues used to create a slight industrial but super modern and cosy aesthetic.
Hällsnäs Hotell | If you have a car, you’ll find some beautiful accommodation in some of the surrounding areas of Gothenburg too. At 13km from the centre, Hällsnäs is a great option for exploring the city by day, and returning to this cosy, lakeside beauty by evening.
Luxury/Special Occasion | £££
Hotel Royal | The name says it all. This city centre hotel dates back to 1852, so they seriously know how to do elegance, style and service.
First Hotel G | Super close to the train station, with stylish aesthetics, and a sauna and spa too, it’s the perfect winter retreat.