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Summer in Gothenburg, West Sweden
View over the city centre of Gothenburg, Sweden's second largest city.
Photo credit: Per Pixel

City break in and around Gothenburg – tips for a week on the west coast

Gothenburg and its surroundings combine coastal charm with vibrant city life and a long-term commitment to sustainability. Innovative culture, great outdoor experiences in pristine nature, and creative foodie hotspots together with a trendsetting craft beer scene – this dynamic and walkable city has it all.

Located in the southwest part of Sweden, Gothenburg is Sweden’s second-largest city and the biggest on the west coast. You can explore this bustling city and its natural gems in both wintertime and summertime. Expect a mild Nordic climate with light and relatively warm summers and two distinctive mid-seasons. And when it comes to climate and environmental issues, Gothenburg does not kick into touch. On the contrary, this lively city has brought sustainability to the forefront. Gothenburg was named ‘Best Sustainable City Stay 2021’ by Lonely Planet and was together with Málaga awarded the European Capital of Smart Tourism 2020. Start planning your week-long stay in Gothenburg and beyond with these top green recommendations:

Immerse yourself in Gothenburg’s natural wonderland

Discover some of the best natural places in and around Gothenburg including parks, archipelago, and other natural wonders. All suggestions are located within walking distance from the city centre, or easily accessible via public transport.

Take a walk in the enchanting city parks

Gothenburg’s top city gardens include:

  • Jonsered Gardens: A large green estate from the 19th century located just outside Gothenburg and composed of four gardens – an elegant formal garden, a sustainable kitchen garden, an English rose garden, and the Show Gardens. Enjoy a cup of coffee and local organic food at their café or make a stop at the nearby ecological microbrewery Poppels. William Gibsons väg 17, Jonsered.
  • The Garden Society and the Palmhouse (‘Trädgårdsföreningen’): One of Europe’s best-preserved 19th-century parks which houses a wide array of exotic plants. Don’t miss the 1,000 square metre Palmhouse, an art piece built in 1878 in the middle of the garden. Slussgatan 1, Gothenburg.
  • Slottsskogen: Head to Gothenburg’s largest park for its numerous cafés, playgrounds, colourful azaleas, its resident petting zoo, and a beautiful greenery environment. Slottsskogspromenaden, Gothenburg.
  • Gunnebo House & Gardens: One of Sweden’s best-preserved 18th-century estates located 15 kilometres from the city. Here, you can explore an elegant formal garden, its lush English park, and the quaint kitchen gardens. Taste the products of the garden at the local eatery Kaffehus och Krog or cook your own food at the Edible Country table located in the surroundings. Not to miss: Gunnebo will inaugurate and celebrate the reopening of its orangery on 18 August. Christina Halls väg, Mölndal.
  • Botanical Garden (‘Botaniska trädgården’): Explore this large natural garden with its 16,000 species of plants. Children will appreciate the squirrel path while others can have a look at the several sculptures dotted in the park. Carl Skottsbergs gata 22A, Gothenburg.

Explore Gothenburg's quaint archipelago

Gothenburg is a compact city with nature on its doorstep. During your summer city break, take a one- or two-day trip to the charming archipelago and visit one of the following islands:

  • Hönö: This popular marina is located in the northern part of the Gothenburg archipelago. Head here to admire the beautiful landscapes with its fishing boats. Taste freshly caught fish and seafood at the harbor’s restaurants and try the local-produced flatbread. You can also experience various activities such as diving or kayaking.
  • Donsö: Nestled in the southern part of the archipelago, this island is a charming destination with splendid scenery, genuine wooden houses, fresh prawns, and idyllic swimming places.
  • Vrångö: Welcome to the southernmost island of the archipelago. Here you will find sandy beaches, nature reserves, panoramic views, and feel the unique atmosphere of the west coast of Sweden. You can even stay overnight at the comfortable Kajkanten.

For more information about getting to the archipelago from the city centre, click here.

Experience great outdoor activities in the surrounding natural gems

Gothenburg is surrounded by several magnificent nature reserves. Among them, Delsjön Nature reserve, Änggårdsbergen nature reserve, and Vättlefjäll nature reserve are worth a visit. You can access these greenery areas via public transport. A tip is to combine your visit with outdoor activities. These places offer many possibilities from fishing spots to swimming places, sandy beaches to hiking trails. In Delsjön and Vättlefjäll, you can also rent a canoe or a kayak and go paddling for a day trip in the wonderful west coast landscape.

Hiking enthusiasts will not be neglected either: Gothenburg offers several enjoyable hiking routes with beautiful scenery close to the city: Pilgrimsleden Göta älv, Gotaleden, or Kuststigen coastal path with its new trail stage on Hönö island inaugurated in May 2022.

Looking for more outdoor experience recommendations? Check out the following links: summer bathing spots and kayaking in the city centre.

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Jonsered Gardens

Gotaleden hiking trail between Gothenburg and Alingsås pass by Jonsered Gardens.

Photo: Jonas Ingman

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Jonsered Gardens

Photo: Jonas Ingman

Trädgårdsföreningen, Gothenburg

Photo: Per Pixel Petersson/Göteborg & Co

Gunnebo, Gothenburg

Photo: Lina Ikse/Gunnebo castle

Slottsskogen in Gothenburg

Photo: Steampipe Production Studio AB/Göteborg & Co

Gothenburg Botanical Garden

Photo: Superstudios D&DAB/goteborg.com

Island life

Photo: Anna Hållams/imagebank.sweden.se

Donsö, Gothenburg archipelago

Photo: Steampipe Production Studio/Mediabank Göteborg & Co

Vrångö

Photo: Emil Fagander/Göteborg & Co

Cultural spots to explore in Gothenburg and beyond

Gothenburg benefits from a varied and rich cultural offer. In this compact and pocket-sized metropolis, most of the cultural highlights are located within comfortable walking distance. Some of the following recommendations are located outside the city but can be easily reached by public transport.

  • Röhsska Museum: Sweden’s foremost museum for design and applied arts. Learn more about historic and contemporary design and craft by visiting its permanent collection featuring over 50,000 objects and its regularly temporary exhibitions by talented artists and designers.
  • Gothenburg Town Hall: The building is a combination of a historical and modern building. The main hall, built in the 17th century, was extended with a functionalist addition in the first part of the 20th century by architect Gunnar Asplund. Guided tours are held every Monday and Friday.
  • Gothenburg Museum of Art: Awarded 3 stars in the Michelin Green Guide, the museum presents one of the foremost art collections in Northern Europe and features art from the 15th century up until today.
  • Liseberg: Opened in 1913, the amusement park will celebrate its 100th anniversary next year but is already future-oriented. It runs on 100% renewable energy and leads a strong and committed innovative policy toward sustainability as evidenced for example The Green Room, a delicious plant-based restaurant. The newly opened area Luna Park awaits you with the new exciting family rides Turbo and Tempus.
  • Universeum: Sweden’s national science centre invites curious explorers to experience a mix of science, technology, sustainable development, and adventure. Constantly evolving, this interactive child-friendly museum has just opened a new restaurant, café, and a new store.
  • A day trip to Alingsås, the capital of fika: Located 30 minutes from Gothenburg city centre, Alingsås is a perfect day trip destination to experience one of Sweden’s most famous culinary customs – the Swedish fika. Expect charming walks through the city’s cobblestone streets with its lovely wooden houses but above all: cosy cafés with delicious fresh pastries for a perfect fika tour.

Looking for some Swedish souvenirs to bring home? 

Visit the interior design and furniture shop Norrgavel at Magasinsgatan 22. Located on the same street, Artilleriet is an exceptional store with home decor and design. Another unique place is the classic wallpaper-shop Engelska tapetmagasinet at Västra Hamngatan 18, a family-owned company since 1899. For second-hand shopping, head to Kvillehyllan at Kvilletorget 16 or one of these second-hand shops. If exploring the Nääs Castle for the day, don’t forget to pay a visit to Nääs Fabriker where you’ll find trendy shops with fashion, interior décor, and jewellery.

If you’re interested in buying Swedish food, the Market Hall (Stora Saluhallen) on Kungstorget is a reference for both locals and visitors with 40 shops, cafés, and restaurants.

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Röhsska Museum

The Röhsska Museum in Gothenburg.

Photo: Hendrik Zeitler

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Röhsska Museum

Photo: Hendrik Zeitler

Gothenburg Town Hall

Photo: Krister Engström

Rådhuset (Gothenburg Town Hall)

Photo: Peter Kvarnström/Göteborg & Co

Gothenburg Museum of Art

Photo: Kim Svensson / Göteborg & Co

Rollercoaster at Liseberg, Gothenburg

Photo: Stefan Karlberg/Liseberg

Universeum Science Center, Gothenburg

Photo: Frida Winter/Göteborg & Co

Café Nygrens in Alingsås

Photo: Jonas Ingman

West Pride, Gothenburg

Photo: BeatriceTörnros/Göteborg&Co

Way Out West music festival, Gothenburg

Photo: Peter Kvarnstrom/Mediabank Göteborg & Co.

Taste the rich flavours of Gothenburg and the west coast

In Gothenburg, it’s easy to find a good restaurant or café serving fresh produce, with seasonal and locally produced ingredients. The location of the city, close to nature with the archipelago and sea nearby, is a real asset for the city. But above all, this eco-friendly approach is the result of a strong commitment from many chefs and locals to focus more and more on sustainable cuisine.

Sample sustainable food in and around Gothenburg

Try some of the following cafés and restaurants, all focusing on sustainability:

Cafés:

Restaurants:

  • Natur: An affordable restaurant with a menu following the Nordic seasons and a focus on vegetables.
  • Vrå: A Nordic Japanese restaurant with locally produced ingredients.
  • Koka: A modern cuisine restaurant awarded a star by the Michelin Guide (2021).
  • Human: Modern and sustainable dining restaurant run by Martin Moses, previous winner of the Swedish chef of the year.
  • Vilda: A unique experience based on local and sustainable ingredients and a seasonal menu.
  • Restaurang Svinn: A restaurant run by Gothenburg City Mission with 95 percent of its food based on ingredients that have been saved instead of going to waste.
  • Pivo: Enjoy eating wild meat from animals living freely in nature.
  • Fiskbar 17: Taste fresh fish and seafood from the west coast.
  • Familjen: A contemporary Swedish brasserie awarded a Bib Gourmand by the Michelin Guide.
  • Garveriet in Floda: A place to sample sustainable, locally produced, and small-scale food.
  • Gunnebo kaffehus och Krog: Located in Gunnebo House and Gardens, it serves freshly harvested herbs and vegetables from the garden.
  • Syster Marmelad: A restaurant with a plant-based tasting menu.
  • Blackbird: A vegan alternative with fresh products.

Visit the local farm shops and sample local products

Located northeast of Gothenburg, Lammet & Bonden is Hällingsbo’s farm shop. Shop some locally produced products such as meat, vegetables, from the farm and neighbourhood after visiting and petting the farm animals. You can easily get there in less than an hour by bus from Polhemsplatsen.

Cheese lovers should not leave Gothenburg without visiting Cityysteriet in central Gothenburg. Housed in Slakthusområdet, you will find their cheeses and a selection of other good cheeses from Swedish and Nordic cheese dairies in the factory shop.

If you’re strolling through Haga old town – Gothenburg's oldest neighbourhoods – the organic grocery store Fram Ekolivs and the licorice shop Lakristroten are worth a visit.

Hot places to have a drink in Göteborg

You will find an impressive number of high-quality pubs and bars dotted around the city. Gothenburg is also internationally known for its craft beer and local breweries. Don’t leave the city before visiting Poppels brewery, one of the city’s most famous breweries. Or, if you’re more of a wine enthusiast, head to Wine Mechanics, an urban winery where you can taste vegan wines made of grapes bought in France and Germany. For further suggestions on beers, breweries, bars, and clubs, check out our top tips here: nightlife in Gothenburg.

In summertime, you can enjoy the long and light evenings at an outdoor bar or admire an aerial view over the city while sipping on a fresh cocktail from a popular rooftop bar. Choose your next summer spot from these trendy recommendations: outdoor bars and restaurants in Gothenburg and rooftop bars in Gothenburg.

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Kafé Magasinet in Gothenburg

Kafé Magasinet in Gothenburg is a charming café.

Photo: The Curious Pear

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Kafé Magasinet in Gothenburg

Photo: The Curious Pear

Locally sourced ingredients

Photo: Tina Stafrén/imagebank.sweden.se

Sustainable bakery

Photo: Tina Stafrén/imagebank.sweden.se

Sustainable meal at Vrå

Photo: Tina Stafrén/imagebank.sweden.se

Wine Mechanics, Gothenburg

Photo: Felix Odell/imagebank.sweden.se

Restaurant Koka, Gothenburg

Photo: Restaurang Koka