We spent two days in Gothenburg, Sweden’s second city, as our first port of call on honeymoon in May. We were there for three nights, which really wasn’t enough, especially since we were so tired from all the wedding malarkey. But we instantly fell in love with Gothenburg, like we tend to do with wherever we go in Sweden. It’s definitely somewhere we’ll return to.
First things first: Gothenburg is absolutely beautiful. Everywhere is green, buildings are stunning, there’s no litter (what more did you expect from Sweden?!). It’s somewhere I could see us living in. There were flowers everywhere, especially in Haga. The atmosphere is calmer than Stockholm but still has that unique Swedish quality of orderliness and the sense that you’re in a people-first society.
So here are some of the things to do if you have two days in Gothenburg…
Feskekörka (fish-church market)
We used the excellent tram system to get to the Feskekörka indoor fish market, which takes its name (fish church) from the building’s resemblance to a Gothic church.
It’s on the Göta älv, or Gothic river. Lots of references to Gothic-ness here.
Not very big, but worth going to see. Also some statues outside that are crying out for photo opportunities…
The area around it was modern trendy – a contrast to Haga (see further down this post). There was a boules bar/restaurant and plenty of other hip-looking places to eat and drink. We had a wander around, which was really nice on such a warm day.
A day trip to Branno, an island in the archipelago
Gothenburg lies on Sweden’s West Coast archipelago – a hugely underrated collection of 13 typically Swedish little islands.
We had an amazing day out on one of them, Branno, which we’ve written about in a separate blog because it was that good.
If you are planning a Gothenburg trip, one of your days there has to be spent exploring the archipelago. I can’t describe to you how brilliant it was. Cars are banned there! If that doesn’t sell it to you, then you’re probably not the target audience for this blog…
The views from Skansen Kronan
Skansen Kronan is a fortress on a hill in the Haga district of the city. What better thing to do on a hot day than climb to the top of a hill? We always seem to end up doing this on holiday.
To be fair, the view across Gothenburg was worth it. There was also a bike with flowers on it that seemed to be a permanent fixture because Sweden.
Exploring the ‘hipster’ Haga district
We were dead keen to explore the bohemian (ahem, hipster) district of Haga, having heard loads about it.
Haga is the oldest district in Gothenburg, with old timber buildings. Like most bohemian areas (the Northern Quarter in Manchester and Bold Street in Liverpool, for example), it was once a run-down part of the city and now it has become the ‘in’ place to be.
The main road is Haga Nygata, which is of course pedestrianised, cobbled and lined with independent shops and cafes, including the infamous Cafe Hursaren and their super-sized cinnamon buns.
We spent nearly a whole day taking in the atmosphere, browsing the shops and eating too much. I wish we’d taken more photos and noted the names of shops we particularly liked, but I think we were too busy walking round gawping at it all and wishing we were Swedish.
Where to eat and drink in Gothenburg
Over our two days, other than the day in Branno, we managed to eat some of the best food we’ve ever had.
There’s the usual myth that you have to spend a fortune on food in Sweden. You can easily do that if you wander into places without planning, but you can also do some research and spend far less. We did a mixture – some nice, cheap lunches/fika and one posh evening meal too.
We had lunch at Le Petit Cafe in Haga – yes, it was open sandwiches. No, I don’t care how predictable that is when in Sweden.
They involved capers. Can’t argue with that.
Kladdkaka, Swedish sticky chocolate cake, is something we’re obsessed with. I normally hate chocolate cake but it’s not like the usual sponge stuff and has to be tried to be believed.
Fika (a coffee and cake break) is pretty much mandatory when we’re in Sweden.
New Nordic fine dining at SK Mat & Människor
We headed to the Lorensburg district one evening for our dedicated posh meal of the trip. And I have to say, SK Mat & Människor was probably the best evening meal we had in our whole honeymoon. This is really saying something as we ate a lot of excellent food all week.
It was a fancy five-course tasting menu, but presented in typical Swedish laid-back style. You could watch the chefs preparing the food – always a positive sign. One of the best things we had involved cod roe with white asparagus. Amazing.
At about 595SEK each, it wasn’t cheap, but compared to other tasting menus in Scandinavia, we thought it was really good value for money. And it’s something we’ll always remember.
Two days in Gothenburg: useful information
How to get there
When we went, there were no direct flights from Manchester airport. So we flew to Copenhagen and went from there. You could definitely combine it into a fantastic multi-destination Scandi holiday, to include Malmo and Stockholm too.
Where to stay
As it was our honeymoon, we splashed out and stayed in the exquisite IQ Suites apartments. They had an amazing hot tub and it was all very luxurious. Not the kind of place we normally go for!
How to get around
There are fantastic trams for getting about quickly, but a lot is walkable.
When to go
May was a good time to go – sunny, warm weather and blossom on the trees. We’d love to go back and wouldn’t care what time of year it was – there was plenty to do indoors that we didn’t have time to see, so it’d be fine in poor weather.
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