16 Best Things to do in Gothenburg, Sweden (+Map)

Sweden’s largest port town, Gothenburg, has a storied maritime past. Yet it’s the city’s modern transformation from old-school grit to cutting-edge that has landed it on the proverbial map.

Known as the Second City, Gothenburg continues to move beyond the shadow of Stockholm. Its vibrant Old Town is a portal to an earlier world. But only if you wish to enter. As these same cobbled streets which tell ancient tales, are also infused with the aromas of Michelin-star restaurants and the results of the morning’s fishing. Beyond the delicious meals span a grand collection of galleries and museums, including that of Volvo.

Besides these things to do in Gothenburg there’s plenty of outdoor adventure too with botanical gardens and a thread of sightly islands to explore. Whichever direction you go, it’s topped off by a burgeoning nightlife scene.

In this post, we’ll cover:

16. Alvsborg Fortress

Alvsborg Fortress

Arguably Sweden’s best-preserved fortification, the Alvsborg Fortress promises to be the perfect day out. To see it best, wait for the sunshine to shimmer along the Göta Älv and jump onboard a boat.

With both Swedish and English narrators, you can catch up on the local history before making landfall. From there, you’ll embark on a dramatic guided tour that takes you back to the 17th century. On arrival, you’ll cross paths with the king of Denmark, Christian IV, and Admiral Tordenskiöld, who will tell you all about the war with the Danes.

Aside from the history, the island fortress provides inspiring views of Gothenburg along with restaurants and cafes to help you enjoy the ancient site.

15. City Museum

City Museum

In the 1700s, the East India Company settled in this building on the banks of the Stora HamnKanalen. Now, the building has been transformed to showcase an incredible 12,000 years of history. The Gothenburg City Museum is a portal to the past, peeling back the layers on pre-historic, Neolithic, and medieval life.

Temporary and permanent exhibitions combine to explore the human experience here in Gothenburg in various eras. Artifacts and human remains showcase a world thought lost as you learn about life in West Sweden thousands of years ago. As you jump through the centuries, you’ll see how life here evolved.

This is especially poignant in the 1600s, as Gothenburg made its way onto the map. You can hear the music of the 17th century and experience the life of the city’s first residents.

14. Natural History Museum

Natural History Museum

History, conflicts, and old-time architecture are major parts of the Gothenburg experience. But what of nature, and the stories they hold? Well, at the Natural History Museum, you can explore this side of Sweden and the world at large. But the best news? It’s free!

The Natural History Museum is great for the traveling family. From Tuesday to Sunday, you can head inside and see a great variety of exhibitions on wildlife and flora from across the globe. The world’s only mounted blue whale promises to be a highlight and the story behind it is just as memorable. The whale is on display alongside the skeletons of other major marine life.

Be sure to save time to explore the sprawling Mammals Gallery that takes you on an adventure from the African savannah to the harsh environments of Scandinavia.

13. Aeroseum


A hidden gem in Gothenburg, Aeroseum invites aviation enthusiasts and curious minds alike.

When we say hidden, we really mean it. The Aeroseum is actually located in an underground aircraft hangar of the former air base Säve Depå. This was once one of the most top secret defense facilities in the Cold War Era, laying abandoned until the Aeroseum moved in, in 2008.

After exploring the Cold War facilities, make sure to check out the fighter planes like the Draken and Viggen. In addition to the airplanes, the Aeroseum boasts an exhibition featuring over 20 distinct helicopters.

12. Kronhuset


Get lost in time at the oldest building in Gothenburg! Kronhuset dates back to the mid-1600s, only 21 years after the city of Gothenburg itself was founded. Originally intended to be used as a storage facility for military equipment, the centuries-old building now houses a concert hall and lively craft center.

The series of sheds surrounding the building house small shops where you can find anything from artisanal crafts to Swedish chocolates and leather goods. After a few hours of exploring, take a break and grab a bite to eat at one of the many local cafes, such as Cafe Kronhuset, and revel in the beauty of the historical buildings.

11. Lilla Bommen

Lilla Bommen

A vibrant hub in the heart of Gothenburg, Lilla Bommen is where history and modernity seamlessly intertwine. ‘Lilla Bommen’ translating to ‘Little Boom” gets its name from the boom that was lowered across the canal to prevent unauthorized access to the waterway back when it was a bustling commercial port.

Now serving more passenger ferries and sightseeing tours, this is the perfect spot to get out on the water and see some of Gothenburg’s architectural gems. One of those can’t-miss sights is the Lipstick Building, locally known for its striking red exterior. Standing adjacent is the Skanskaskrapan, which features a more traditional design, providing a unique contrast among the skyline.

As you make your way along the promenade, you can treat yourself to classic Swedish fare or pop into the Gothenburg Opera House, which features a sleek design on a beautiful waterfront location.

10. Maritiman


Prepare yourself for an incredible voyage through maritime history! Step aboard the captivating floating museum, Maritiman, and get ready to set sail for the past.

Start your adventure by going beneath the surface aboard the HMS Nordkaparen. This exhibition dives deep into what life was like living under the sea in a submarine.

Next hop on the Jagaren Småland, most known for being the largest destroyer in Scandinavia. We recommend a guided tour, which reveals intriguing stories about life at sea and the vessel’s role in past conflicts.

Before continuing your journey, refuel at Café Matrosen. Here you can indulge in authentic Swedish-style waffles topped with whipped cream and jam, or opt for heartier waffles with delicious shellfish fillings.

If children will be joining you, go say hi to the Virvelina and Tim mascots who come prepared with treasure hunts and hands-on activities.

9. Skansen Kronan

Skansen Kronan

Built in 1641, the Skansen Krona fortress is as imposing now as it was when it was built to intimidate the Danes. Set atop the hill Risåsberget, the fortress features its own “krona” aka crown-shaped tower ornament that dominates the city skyline.

Step into Skansen Kronan and immerse yourself in its storied past. Learn about its role as a vital defense structure and how on its completion was armed with 23 cannons. Fortunately, the fortress was never subjected to any attacks.

We recommend starting early. After a steep but short climb, you’ll be treated to panoramic views of Gothenburg. With its proximity to the Haga district, you can treat yourself to a coffee and a more leisurely stroll afterward.

8. Museum of Fine Art

Museum of Fine Art

One of the oldest and most expansive art museums in Scandinavia, the Museum of Fine Art, is a must for art aficionados. You’ll want to start your day early for a quiet experience with the museum’s permanent collection. This collection is a testament to the Nordic art scene, boasting pieces by celebrated painters like Carl Larsson and Anders Zorn.

To balance out your experience, explore the museum’s expansive section of European art. Here, you’ll be admiring works by renowned artists such as Rembrandt, Rubens, and Picasso.

If you are able to plan ahead, check out when special exhibitions are being hosted. These exhibitions showcase some of the best art from around the world and often feature recent works and rarely-seen pieces.

7. Volvo Museum

Volvo Museum

Like your cars? Spend the day exploring automotive history and innovation at Volvo Museum. Here you can go on a journey through Volvo’s past, from its humble beginnings as a small automobile manufacturer in the early 1900s to its current status as a world industry leader.

The museum is broken up into sections that allow you to see historic cars from the 1940s and 1950s. Not to mention rally cars, marine engines, buses, and concept vehicles. You’ll see that Volvo is much more than old, simple wagons.

The Volvo Museum also offers a number of special events and activities, such as lectures from industry experts and guided tours. Once you’re done, stop by the souvenir shop and take home a special memento of your trip.

6. Feskekôrka


Seafood lovers will find themselves in awe of the renowned Feskekôrka in Gothenburg. Feskekôrka, translated as “Fish Church” in Swedish, is Gothenburg’s iconic fish market hall, most known for its striking resemblance to a cathedral.

This indoor market is a seafood haven, offering an assortment of fresh catch, sourced daily from the Kattegat Sea. As you make your way through the market, you’ll find the selection impressive and the atmosphere equally so. You’ll soon build up an appetite, which is the perfect time to check out the prepared dishes of smoked salmon, shrimp, and fish cakes.

Whether you decide to eat at one of the many restaurants within the market, take fresh fish home to prepare, or grab a light bite to eat as you stroll the riverfront, you are in for a truly unique and tasty experience. 

5. Liseberg Amusement Park

Liseberg Amusement Park

Get your heart racing at Scandinavia’s premier amusement park, Liseberg. Since its inauguration in 1923, on Gothenburg’s 300th anniversary, Liseberg has risen to prominence as one of the Nordic region’s most popular amusement parks.

Thrill seekers will want to check out the iconic Balder wooden roller coaster, AtmosFear, which is the tallest free-fall tower in Europe. If that’s not enough, you can then ride Valkyria, the longest-dive roller coaster in Europe, with a terrifying vertical drop.

Liseberg does, however, maintain its family-friendly appeal. You’ll find carousels, enchanting castles, an open-air dance floor, adventure playgrounds, and a lineup of live shows and concerts. If you are in Gothenburg around the Christmas Holiday, make sure to add a visit to your list as the park is lit up with millions of Christmas lights.

4. Botanical Garden

Botanical Garden

Whether you’re looking for a romantic walk or a relaxing break from the hustle and bustle of city life, Gothenburg’s botanical gardens will not disappoint. This sprawling garden is home to over 10,000 species of plants from around the world, including rare and endangered species.

Explore the winding paths and discover the diverse range of plants at your own pace or via a guided tour using their Botaniska App. After a lengthy stroll, unwind in the serene Japanese Garden. Consider planning a picnic or simply relaxing with a warm cup of coffee. Admiring the vibrant colors, you might hope to recreate this beauty in your own garden. Luckily, the Botanical Garden shop offers a chance to bring a piece of garden home with their seed selection for purchase.

3. Gothenburg Archipelago

Gothenburg Archipelago

Think you have chosen the wrong destination to go island hopping? Think again with a visit to the Gothenburg Archipelago.

The archipelago is comprised of over 20 islands, split into Northern and Southern sections, each with its own unique charm. Consider exploring Vrångö, Donso, Brännö, and Styrsö, the largest and most accessible southern archipelago islands via ferry. We recommend these for their proximity and car-free environment, making for a peaceful getaway.

Embark on a boat tour to discover the islands or spend the day fishing. For the adventurous, try kayaking or sailing. Additionally, enjoy ample chances for swimming, hiking, and cycling activities. As the sun sets on your day at the archipelago, sit back and enjoy ample fresh seafood dishes or local specialties while taking in the seaside vistas.

2. Universeum


Ignite your passion for science and exploration at Universeum. Located in the heart of the city, Universeum is a science center and museum that houses a variety of interactive exhibits and activities.

You’ll feel like you’ve entered an underwater wonderland at the Aquarium, featuring over 1500 species of fish, reptiles, and amphibians from all over the world. Fun fact, with over three million liters of water, the aquarium is one of the largest in the Nordic region.

From the Ocean Zone, make your way to the Tropical Rainforest. Home to a large array of exotic plants and animals from South America, you may choose to wander the sights on your own or dive deeper with a guided tour.

Round out your day by catching a mesmerizing show at the planetarium. Immerse yourself in the wonders of the cosmos through captivating visuals and narrations about space, stars, and the universe.

1. Haga District

Haga District

A testament to the city’s historic charm and vibrant atmosphere is the Haga District. Dating back to 1648, it beckons travelers as Gothenburg’s oldest suburb.

Start your morning on Haga Nygata, getting lost among the cobblestone streets and wooden houses, filled with small boutiques and shops. With the smell of coffee permeating the air at every turn, you’ll know it’s time for Fika! If you have not heard this term before, it is a cherished cultural tradition that embodies the act of taking a break for coffee. Typically accompanied by a sweet pastry or baked treat. We recommend the famous Hagabullen.

Once you have had your Fika fix, take a short walk to nearby attractions like the Skansen Kronan fortress. Climb up to enjoy panoramic views of the city (be mindful of the steep steps!). Alternatively, unwind at Hagabadet, the historic spa in Haga.

Best Time to Visit Gothenburg

Gothenburg Climate

Between May and September is generally considered the best time to visit Gothenburg. This is because temperatures average 16 to 20°C (61-68°F), the sun is shining, and its countless parks and canals look their most beautiful.

As the days seem almost endless, lots of hugely popular events like the Gothenburg Culture Festival and Way Out West music festival are held. This is the perfect period to amble about its center, swim in the sea and take trips about its archipelago.

April can also be a nice time to visit due to the blooming flowers. Even though it is only 9°C (48°F) outside, cafe patios and beer gardens are already starting to open up again after the winter.
While October is a couple of degrees warmer, the increased rain and unpredictable weather mean it’s a good idea to pack an umbrella. The glittering golden hues of its trees does look very pretty though.

In comparison to the rest of Sweden, Gothenburg has relatively mild winters with snow not always falling. Around December, its center is delightfully decorated with Christmas markets and ice skating rinks popping up here and there. Prices are more expensive but still cheaper than July and August.

Where to Stay in Gothenburg

Scandic Göteborg Central

Diverse neighborhoods cater to different preferences, ensuring an ideal stay for every visitor. For those seeking vibrant surroundings and historical charm, Centrum stands as an excellent choice. Nestled amidst several historical sites and vibrant streets, it epitomizes the essence of Gothenburg.

Located in the heart of Gothenburg is Scandic Goteborg Central. This hotel lies just a stone’s throw away from the vibrant Avenyn Boulevard, renowned for its trendy shops, cafes, and cultural hotspots. Its proximity to Gothenburg Central Station makes landmarks like Liseberg Amusement Park and the picturesque Haga district easy to reach. Guests are treated to an array of facilities including high-speed internet, air conditioning, on-site restaurants, and a fitness center.

For a truly memorable experience, check out the Hotel Royal. With its roots dating back to the early 18th century, it was one of the first major hotels in the city and is still in operation today. Each room is adorned with tasteful furnishings, plush bedding, and elegant decor that pays homage to the hotel’s rich heritage while ensuring a comfortable stay.

How to get there

Gothenburg Train Station

As Sweden’s second-largest city, Gothenburg offers an array of travel options for arriving visitors.

Located on the west coast, it is easily accessible by plane. The city is served by two international airports, Landvetter, and Gothenburg City Airport, with flights from many major cities across Europe and beyond.

Travelers can also opt for a train or bus ride from the main Swedish cities, enjoying picturesque landscapes en route to Gothenburg Central Station, conveniently located downtown. Navigating the city is effortless with an extensive tram network or by way of the many pedestrian and bike paths.

Map of Things to do in Gothenburg

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