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The Garden Society in Gothenburg
The Garden Society, Trädgårdsföreningen, is located in the heart of the city and serves as a quiet and calm green lung.
Photo credit: Jennie Smith/ Göteborg & Co

Swedish city parks – green oases in the cities

You’re never far from green spaces in Sweden, even if you’re in a city. Here’s our guide to the parks worth a visit, from south to north, in the cities of Gothenburg, Malmö, Visby, Uppsala and Karlstad.

Spending time in Sweden’s city parks gives glimpses into local life and sometimes even a degree of historical insight. Many of these leafy spaces offer activities for all ages and interests, while others have a more niche appeal. They are all open and available for the public to relax in, have a picnic or just spend time close to nature.

Gothenburg

Botaniska (Gothenburg Botanical Garden)

Botaniska, located in the western part of Gothenburg, is one of the largest of its kind in Europe. You’ll find some 16,000 species of plants here, including the most extensive collection of tropical orchids in Sweden, and various types of carnivorous plants. For the culturally-inclined, there are several nature-inspired sculptures to admire, while children will enjoy the adventure-based “squirrel path.” There’s also an excellent café – Paviljongen – within the garden, offering everything from eco-friendly coffee, great wine to fresh raw food and home-baked delicacies

Trädgårdsföreningen (the Garden Society)

Founded in 1842, by King Carl XIV Johan, Trädgårdsföreningen (the Garden Society) is one of Europe’s best preserved 19th century parks. Explore the varied aspects of this beautifully landscaped oasis, in which you’ll find an abundance of roses and many other blooms, as well as stretches of woodland. Don’t miss the spectacular Palmhuset (the palm house). Built in 1878, inspired by Crystal Palace in London, it’s kept at Mediterranean temperature and houses a vast range of exotic plants. Refuel in the historic setting of Rosenkaféet (the Rose Café), where traditional, high-quality Swedish food is on the menu.

Slottsskogen

Gothenburg’s major park Slottsskogen is many a local’s favourite place to go for a stroll or have a picnic. Much of this vast area is covered in natural woodland, in which native trees, including linden, beech, maple and oak, thrive. Slottsskogen is also known for its spectacular and colourful azaleas. There are plenty of cafés in and around the park – Café Azalea being one example – and you’ll also find several playgrounds. Don’t miss the park’s resident petting zoo, allowing you to get up close to Nordic animals such as elk, Gotland ponies and sheep.

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The Palm House in Gotheburg

The Palm House located in the Garden Society of Gothenburg.

Photo: Peter Kvarnström

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The Palm House in Gotheburg

Photo: Peter Kvarnström

Gothenburg Botanical Garden

Photo: Steampipe Production Studio/Göteborg & Co

Gothenburg Botanical Garden

Photo: ©Jennie Smith 2015 info@jenniesmithphoto.com

Gothenburg Botanical Garden

Photo: Superstudios D&DAB/goteborg.com

Trädgårdsföreningen, Gothenburg

Photo: Niklas Bernstone/Göteborg&Co

The Garden Society of Gothenburg

Photo: Frida Winter/Göteborg & Co

The park Slottsskogen in Gothenburg

Photo: Steampipe Production Studio/Göteborg & Co

Slottsskogen in Gothenburg

Photo: Per Pixel Petersson/Göteborg & Co

Malmö

Slottsparken – and the adjacent Kungsparken and Slottsträdgården

Inaugurated in 1900, Slottsparken (Malmö Castle Garden) spreads across the former military grounds of Malmöhus Palace, the oldest maintained renaissance castle in the Nordics. Popular with visitors of all ages, this vast park has an extensive network of tree-lined walking paths and lawns, small ponds and bridges, and a Japanese garden. The city library is based here, and so too, a fairy-tale-themed playground.

Across the canal from Slottsparken, you’ll find the elegant Kungsparken, harbouring more than 130 tree species from three continents. Completed in the mid 19th century, it’s Malmö’s oldest park, centred around a cast-iron fountain, built in 1882.

Next to it is another green oasis, Slottsträdgården. This lush garden erupts in bloom during summertime and the resident café serves up a mostly organic menu, some of which is prepared using produce grown on-site. Events are held regularly, including dahlia festivals, quiz nights, music performances and the annual highlight, the Malmö Garden Show (the next edition will be held in summer 2021).

Folkets Park

Located in Malmö city centre, Folkets Park is a cultural spot, where concerts and other types of events are held regularly, and there’s also a dedicated children’s stage in the park. It’s centred around Moriska paviljongen (the Moorish pavilion), a landmark reminiscent of an oriental palace with minarets. The park is also a hive of activity, incorporating a popular skate ramp area as well as lush greenery For the brave, the resident reptile house zoo is another draw.

Restaurant Far i Hatten, housed in a cosy cottage built in 1894, is one of Malmö’s top eateries. Dishes are prepared using organic ingredients and the wine list is extensive.

Pildammsparken

Designed in neoclassical style, Pildammsparken is considered one of Northern Europe’s most uniquely landscaped parks. In 1926, city planner Erik Bülow-Hübe went about merging two green spaces, resulting in a vast national park, surrounded by the pond that once served as Malmö’s main water supply.

You’ll find two outdoor gyms here, as well as a pair of themed playgrounds, one centring on spiders and the other with a theatre focus. Concerts are held occasionally in the park, and as for permanent cultural highlights, look out for sculptures by artists like Nils Möllerberg, Bertil Nilsson and Hiroshi Koyama.

Scaniaparken

Taking advantage of Malmö’s seaside location, Scaniaparken is located along the west harbour with direct access to the sea. The park primarily consists of open green spaces and there’s an idyllic jogging and cycling path along the water. You’ll also find the popular Scaniabadet here – a bathing spot complete with jetties for sunbathing and direct access to the sea.

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Slottsträdgården in Malmö.

Slottsträdgården is a 12000 square meter garden with different themes, surrounding Malmö Castle.

Photo: Oskar Falck

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Slottsträdgården in Malmö.

Photo: Oskar Falck

Folkets Park in Malmö

Photo: Malmö stad

Skateboarding

Photo: Tina Axelsson/imagebank.sweden.se

Pildammsparken in Malmö

Photo: Malmö Turism

Kungsparken in Malmö

Photo: Linnea Svensson Arbab

Scaniaparken in Västra Hamnen, Malmö

Photo: Linnea Svensson

Scaniaparken in Västra Hamnen, Malmö

Photo: Linnea Svensson

Visby, Gotland

DBW:s Botaniska Trädgård

Located in the centre of Visby on the island of Gotland, and surrounded by the medieval city wall (‘Ringmuren’), and partly alongside the sea promenade, the DBW Botanical Garden was built in 1855. The name derives from “De Badande Wännernas trädgård” (the bathing friends’ garden). This tranquil haven of greenery is celebrated for its diverse mix of native and exotic plants and trees (possible thanks to Gotland’s mild climate and the park’s protected location). Don’t miss the rose garden, where the flowers bloom until late autumn. In summer, the garden comes alive with all manner of events and concerts.

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Roses at Visby Botanical Garden

Rose bed at Visby Botanical Garden, Gotland

Photo: gotland.com

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Roses at Visby Botanical Garden

Photo: gotland.com

Visby Botanical Garden

Photo: gotland.com

Uppsala

Botaniska Trädgården

As the former hometown of world-famous botanist Carl Linnaeus, it’s not surprising that the city of Uppsala is home to three noteworthy gardens. Botaniska Trädgården (the Botanical Garden), close to Uppsala Slott (Uppsala Castle), is the most extensive and varied. Highlights include the stunning baroque garden, the 200-year-old orangery and the tropical greenhouse, in which you can stroll from deserts to rainforests, from steppes to savannas. Bring your own picnic to enjoy on the garden lawns or take a seat at Café Victoria, which serves lunch dishes made from locally sourced, organic ingredients, as well as pastries and coffee.

Linnéträdgården

Founded in 1655 by Olof Rudbeck the elder, Linnéträdgården (the Linnaeus Garden) in central Uppsala is Sweden’s oldest botanical garden. Today’s French style layout was designed in 1745 by architect Carl Hårleman and revered botanist Carl Linnaeus, who lived and worked in the house to which the garden belongs. Exploring the garden, you’ll come across over 1,300 species of flowers and plants, all cultivated and arranged by the botanist himself. The museum home and its botany-focused exhibitions are open from the beginning of May until September. There are also several restaurants and cafés in proximity to the park.

Stadsträdgården

For a relaxed and child-orientated outdoor experience in Uppsala, head for Stadsträdgården (the Uppsala City Garden), by ‘Fyrisån’ (the Fyris river). The central location makes it a popular spot for locals and tourists alike, with playgrounds and picnic areas, around which idyllic jogging paths snake. In the centre you’ll find the Gula Villan (the Yellow House) café.

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Botanical Garden

The Uppsala University Botanical Garden, is a grandiose Baroque Garden with a 200 year old Orangery.

Photo: Gustav Dalesjö

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Botanical Garden

Photo: Gustav Dalesjö

Tropical Greenhouse

Photo: Gustav Dalesjö

Cultivations at the Linnaeus Garden

Photo: Gustav Dalesjö

The Linnaeus Museum

Photo: Mikael Wallerstedt

Uppsala City Garden

Photo: Lisa Arnold

Uppsala city garden, Stadsträdgården

Photo: Ana Vera Burin Batarra .

Picnic at Uppsala city garden

Photo: Tor Johnsson

Karlstad, Värmland

Mariebergsskogen

Mariebergsskogen, also known as Karlstad city park, is the main park of Karlstad, a charming town in Värmland. Aside from varied forms of terrain and greenery, a range of activities and entertainment can be experienced in the park. There’s a sandy beach at Lake Vänern, ideal for swimmers of all ages, a mini golf course and a touring train named after Conrad Höök, the 19th century doctor who donated the park to Karlstad upon his death. Lillskogen petting zoo – where goats, rabbits and horses reside – is a firm favourite with children. Various restaurants and cafés are offering lunch or coffee and pastries.

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Mariebergsskogen, Karlstad City Park

Mariebergsskogen, Karlstad City Park is located close to the center and has a lot of space for swimming and outdoor life.

Photo: Christine Holm

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Mariebergsskogen, Karlstad City Park

Photo: Christine Holm

Goats at Mariebergsskogen, Karlstad City Park

Photo: Christine Holm

Cafe at Mariebergsskogen, Karlstad City Park

Photo: Christine Holm

Animal farm by Mariebergsskogen, Värmland

Photo: Per Eriksson