After a stressful month, Mihir and I were pining to get out of the city for a while. And as Mihir’s birthday was approaching anyway, I was desperately looking for the perfect destination for a surprise getaway. Gothenburg had been on our list for a while, so the tickets were booked in a manner of minutes. Not only was Gothenburg the best place for a short getaway, it even exceeded our expectations. It presented the perfect mix of city life, nature, and culture… in short, Gothenburg embodies what the Swedes call ‘lagom‘ better than any other city in Scandinavia. Don’t believe us? Check out our 5 reasons why you should plan your trip from Copenhagen to Gothenburg right now!
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1. It’s Just in the Right Place
Gothenburg is the second largest city in Sweden and located on the country’s west coast. What makes it a perfect getaway is it’s almost equidistant location from three of the biggest cities in Northern Europe: Oslo, Stockholm, and of course Copenhagen.
Gothenburg is located approximately 300 km from Copenhagen. It’s easily accessed by either train or bus. The Öresundståg connects the cities hourly and the journey takes just under 4 hours. Alternatively, you could keep a lookout for bus companies operating on the route.
Flixbus departs twice a day and tickets run you as cheap as 140 kr. one way. The journey takes around 4 hours which means that if you depart in the morning, you’ll reach Gothenburg around noon.
Naturally, you could rush yourself and see everything within a matter of hours. But honestly, Gothenburg is the perfect place to take a break from your life. Book yourself into a nice hotel and book a departure the following afternoon. Give yourself time to relax and explore. You won’t regret it!
PS: We had a lovely stay at Hotel Bellora. Located on Gothenburg’s liveliest street, it is close to shopping, restaurants, and cafes. The rooms are cozy, the staff exceptionally attentive and the free breakfast is honestly one of the best hotel breakfasts I’ve seen. And this review isn’t sponsored in any way 😉
2. Food & Fika
Two more good reasons to visit Gothenburg are food and fika. Gothenburg is known for its high-quality seafood. There are plenty of restaurants to choose from, but the best experience is to be found at the so-called Fish Church (feskekörka). It is named so because the building rather resembles a church than a fish market, but what’s on offer inside is divine nonetheless.
Traders here have fresh fish on offer which you can either take home for preparing or let them cook it for you. Locals love to grab a seafood salad and enjoy it in the sunshine on the benches outside. How can you say no?
After your lunch, it is time for a traditional Swedish fika. In Swedish, fika simply means “to have coffee” although it is so much more. Fika is a national pastime. It means to have a break and spend time with your colleagues, friends, or family over a cup of coffee and sweet treats.
Some of the best pastries and cakes in Gothenburg can be found at Cafe Husaren. The cafe is home to the famous Hagabulle, supposedly the largest cinnamon bun in the world. And indeed, Mihir and I couldn’t resist and ordered a cinnamon bun which is larger than life… or at least larger than my head.
Another spot to enjoy your fika is da Matteo on Magasinsgatan. It is an institution in Gothenburg and known especially for its finely roasted coffee. Although da Matteo has several outlets throughout the city, the cafe on Magasinsgatan is the most popular and just perfect to take in the aromas together with the locals.
3. Arts & Architecture
Gothenburg is one of the most important hot spots for the fine arts in Scandinavia. Any art lover would, of course, start their visit at Gothenburg Museum of Art which encompasses a collection of 70.000 pieces of art.
Anybody who knows me I’m a sucker for watercolors and to my delight, they make up the majority of the museum’s collection. Whether you love art or not, the entry fee of 40 SEK is a very small price to pay to see these works of art.
Apart from the Gothenburg Museum of Art, dozens of smaller galleries dot the streets of Gothenburg. Whether you are interested in photography, sculpture, or calligraphy, Gothenburg offers something for every taste. And if you really don’t want to set foot inside anywhere, simply enjoy some of Gothenburg’s beautiful pieces of street art 😉
For those of you who love classical architecture as much as us, Gothenburg is the perfect destination. Just wandering the streets is a real treat.
However, what makes the city particularly attractive is its eclectic mix of architectural styles. From the traditional wooden houses in the old Haga district to Nordic Classicism, to eccentric modern architecture – Gothenburg has it all. Make sure not to miss the infamous Feskekörka, the imposing town hall, and the whimsical lipstick skyscraper!
4. Proximity to Nature
Although the city is widely known for being an industrial city, Gothenburg’s proximity to pure Swedish nature is almost palpable. For a quick breather, take a hike up to Skansen Kronan.
The area surrounding the fortress on the hill is lush and green and perfect for a picnic with a view. Alternatively, you could hang out in one of the city’s many parks or head over to the Botanical Gardens.
If you really want to get away, however, take a day trip into the archipelago. Although we were spoilt living in close proximity to the beautiful Finnish archipelago for several years, I need to admit that Gothenburg’s archipelago is a very special place.
Gothenburg’s archipelago is divided into a Northern and a Southern archipelago. The Northern Archipelago is easily accessible by either car, bike, or public transport.
The Southern archipelago, though, is where it’s really at. It is completely car-free and only accessible via boat or ferry. You can catch a ride from the Stenpiren terminal in the city and reach the southern islands (Styrsö, Donsö, Vrångö) in less than two hours. And the best thing is, ferries are part of the public transportation network which means you won’t even need an extra ticket!
Now, if you follow our blog you’ll know that we hardly ever talk about shopping in our travel guides. That is because we are conscious about our consumption and because in general shopping can be rather expensive in Northern Europe. However, we’re making an exception this time.
Gothenburg is home to some of the most beautiful and unique boutique shops you can find in Scandinavia. Whether you are on the lookout for Swedish interior design pieces or the perfect vintage dress, Gothenburg is the place to be.
Some of the city’s main shopping areas are Avenyn, Magasinsgatan, and of course the old Haga district. And if you are coming from Copenhagen to Gothenburg, it won’t even seem too expensive 😉 Happy hunting!
Now, what do you think? What are your favorite places in Gothenburg? Anything you absolutely can’t miss? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below! Let’s stay in touch!