Eight things to do in Gothenburg

02 August 2016

Find out what to see and do in the beautiful and historic Swedish city of Gothenburg.



With its historic parks and gardens Gothenburg, on the west coast of Sweden, is a must-visit city for anyone with a love of plants, gardens and open spaces. In fact, there is estimated to be a whopping 175 square metres of green space per citizen.

With Gothenburg Green World 2016 in full swing there hasn’t been a better time to visit. All year the city celebrates its green credentials with pop-up gardens, exhibitions, land art and more, so there’s bound to be something for everyone – and at just under 2 hours from London Gatwick it makes the perfect getaway for a long weekend.

There’s plenty to see and do in Gothenburg, and if you pick up one of the the City Cards you’ll be able to get free entry into many of the city’s attractions and free public transport on bus, tram and boat.

Gothenburg Botanic Gardens

A visit to Gothenburg’s incredible Botanic Garden (Göteborgs botaniska trädgård) is a must. It’s one of the largest and most important botanic gardens in Europe, at about 430 acres. The 100-acre garden proper is made up of areas for native Swedish plants, a Japanese garden, rhododendron valley, perennial garden and much more. 

Step inside the huge greenhouse for some rare and unusual plants, including orchids, cacti and the extremely rare Easter Island tree Toromiro (Sophora toromiro) that was saved from extinction in the 1950s by Norwegian explorer Thor Heyerdahl when he brought seeds back from the last known wild-growing tree on Easter Island. Outside the ornate garden lies a further 350 acres of parkland and an arboritum where moose, wild boar and red squirrels can be seen.

Open: Every day except holidays. Times vary according to season.
Admission price: Adults 20 SEK voluntary fee for garden, 20 SEK mandatory fee for greenhouse.
Included in City Card: Yes
For more information: Botaniska.se

Slottsskogen park and zoo

Slottsskogen is a beautiful city park with winding paths, grassland for relaxing with a picnic and herds of wild deer. As well as the wild animals it is also home to Sweden’s oldest zoo, where visitors can see seals, penguins, elks and more. Children can visit the children’s zoo for a ride on a Gotland pony. Entry into the park and zoo is free but pony rides cost 20 SEK. Fans of ancient history should look out for the jättegrytorna - holes made in the rocks by our ancestors around 12,000 years ago.

Opening times: all year, every day
Admission price: free
More information: goteborg.se

Avenyn

For shopping, people-watching, cafes, restaurants and galleries visit Gothenburg’s most famous street Avenyn (The Avenue). 1000 metres from end to end, the tree-lined boulevard stretches from the oldest part of Gothenburg to Götaplatsensquare, home of Carl Milles’ iconic statue of Poseidon and Gothenburg City Theatre, Gothenburg Concert Hall and the Museum of Modern Art. A visit to the Museum of Modern Art is free with the City Card or a very reasonable 40 SEK without and inside you’ll see one of the finest collections of Nordic art in the world, as well as international artists such as Monet, Picasso and van Gogh.

See our gallery of Avenyn's pop-up gardens

Liseberg

Liseberg theme park, where amusements meet landscape design

Liseberg theme park

This all-ages theme park has something for everyone. Admission fees are staggered - you can pay a small fee to step inside and just enjoy the beautifully sculpted gardens, buy tokens for the rides you would like to go on or buy a wristband for all-you-can-do enjoyment. Although the park is enormous it has been carefully designed to allow plenty of secluded pockets so if you are travelling as a family with teenagers in tow they can be free to enjoy the many rides while you wander the gardens and coffee shops. Gardens include a poison garden and a garden designed for blind people featuring gently winding paths, scented plants and the sound of trickling water.

Open: Varies, check website for details.
Admission price: 95 SEK for garden only, 355 SEK for all-day pass. See more about pricing structures.
Included in City Card: Yes
For more information: Liseberg.com

Archipelago trip

Take in the sights of Sweden’s beautiful coastline with a boat trip to the picturesque and car-free islands of the archipelago, including Vrångö, a tranquil island with a small fishing community, nature reserve and beautiful bays for swimming in when the weather is good. Find out more about getting to the islands.

Open: See timetable.
Admission price: Varies, but many trips included in City Card.
More information: goteborg.org

Gunnebo House

Gunnebo House

Gunnebo House and Gardens

A beautiful Swedish take on a traditional English manor house (think 'marble' sculptures carved from local wood), Gunnebo House is an 18th Century country house surrounded by landscaped parkland, kitchen garden and formal gardens. Currently on display are some stunning land art sculptures by international artists such as Will Beckers and Rainer Ross. Fans of historical buildings and landscaping methods can see a wood-heated orangery being built using historic plans and a solid oak framed pleached tree tunnel. Be sure to allow time for lunch at their fantastic cafe for a taste of locally food and organic vegetables grown in their own kitchen garden.

Opening times: All summer, winter restrictions.
Admission price: Guided tours are 100 SEK. Entry to the gardens is by optional donation.
Included in City Card: Yes
More information: gunneboslott.se

Volvo Museum

Petrolheads rejoice, Gothenburg isn’t all about greenery - it’s also a city of industry and technology. One of Gothenburg’s most famous exports is on display in the Volvo Museum on the island of Hisingend, West of Gothenburg city centre. On display you’ll find many of the brand’s cherished historic models going back to prototypes of their first car, 1927’s Volvo ÖV 4. You can stop off at the Volvo Museum during a boat trip, and while there take a stroll along Hisingend’s beautiful beaches.

Open: Tues-Sun except public holidays.
Admission price: Adults 100 SEK, 65+ 80 SEK.
Included in City Card: Yes
More info: Volvo Museum

Garden Society of Gothenburg

The beautiful gardens and palm house (modelled on Crystal Palace) of the Garden Society of Gothenburg (Tradgardsforeningen) couldn’t be more easily accessible. They are right in the city centre - a calm oasis away from it all. Greenhouse highlights include the camellia room and aquatic plants. Outside a fabulous rose garden features more than 2,000 different kinds of roses - heavenly when they are blooming in summer.

Opening times: Every day, times vary according to season.
Admission fee: Free
More information: Tradgardsforeningen.se

Take a sightseeing tour of Gothenburg on Saga's Through the Heart of Sweden holiday

The opinions expressed are those of the author and are not held by Saga unless specifically stated.

The material is for general information only and does not constitute investment, tax, legal, medical or other form of advice. You should not rely on this information to make (or refrain from making) any decisions. Always obtain independent, professional advice for your own particular situation.