Gothenburg, an old port city on the North Sea, is the second largest city in Sweden (besides Stockholm). Gothenburgers will tell you it far outstrips the capital in charm, beauty and wit. You could easily spend a week here, but if you are pressed for time, let us suggest a jam-packed two days:
Start the day with a pastry and coffee drawn by the serious baristas at Café Kosmos on Västra Hamngatan 20.
Next, get an overview of the city from the water. The old city center is surrounded by Vallgraven (the moat), one of a number of city canals. The Paddan boat company has been hosting sightseeing on the water since 1939. Try the classic “20 Bridges” route.
Haga, just outside the moat, is an excellent place for those who like to browse vintage shops and independent designers. If you’re looking for genuine Swedish clogs you could do worse than Haga Trätoffelfabrik on Haga Nygata 19. Bebop Antik on Kaponjärgatan 4 specializes in vintage Scandinavian design, mainly high-end mid-century modern furniture, though they also carry textiles and other housewares.
After all that shopping you’ll need a pick-me-up. Café Husaren, Haga Nygata 28, located in a landmark 19th century building, serves some of the largest cinnamon rolls known to man, along with good coffee and traditional Swedish sandwiches.
To learn more about Scandinavian design, why not check out The Röhsska Museum at Vasagatan 37.
Breakfast at Bönor och Bagels (beans and bagels) on Linnégatan 48. Next head out to explore the historic Linné neighborhood.
Andra Långgatan, which starts just west of Haga is a formerly rough-and-tumble street for sailors on shore leave. These days it’s lined with bars, restaurants and galleries.
Walk back through Kungsparken, the park that lines the moat, cross the canal at Raoul Wallenberg’s street.
There’s a longstanding café culture in Gothenburg, starting with old workers’ cafés in the 18th century. The last two decades have seen an explosion of continental style coffee houses. Café du Nord, Kungstorget 3, also known as “the meatball café” has been around since 1875. Stop here for a hearty lunch of large meatballs, served the traditional way with mashed potatoes and lingonberry jam.
After lunch, take a gander at the Antiques Halls at Västra Hamngatan 6 and the cathedral, just around the corner, on Kyrkogatan 28. On the other side of Kämpebron, a bridge across the canal, you will find the East India House at Norra Hamngatan 12, which contains the City Museum.
To cap off your stay, go for a high-quality brasserie experience at reasonable prices at Familjen on Arkivgatan 7. If you’re hungry try their three-course dinner with some local flair, if you’re still full from lunch they have Swedish style tapas.
By: Sarah Clyne Sundberg