Gothenburg: The understated capital of cool, Sweden. A short winter visit!

Heading on home before Christmas we had flown into Oslo as it was a great cheap route from Asia. We took the chance to travel overland through Scandinavia and see some new places! Being the winter… and in Sweden, it was pretty cold! But we made the most of it and explored the wonderful and underrated city of Gothenburg. A cool and vibrant city, easily walkable with an understated hipster vibe! We fell in love and can’t want to return one summer to explore even more of what this beautiful region has to offer! Heres what to see in Gothenburg on a short winter trip!

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What to see in Gothenburg

Try out the local food at Stora Saluhallen food market

The biggest market hall in Gothenburg, the Saluhallen is home to around forty stall that specialise in both local delicacies and global cuisine! You can find the most amazing cheeses, Swedish meatballs, fresh fruit, spices and coffee all under one roof. Opened in 1889 the large market hall has served the city for over 100 years and is even more popular today amongst the discerning tastes of both locals and visitors alike looking for something fresh, authentic and affordable to eat! It also provides a great place to shelter from the harsh winter weather.

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Take a ‘Fika break’ in Haga, the home of Hygge!

Gothenburg is all about Haga, the cool hipster area of an already cool and hipster city! Understated, cozy, traditional and yet on the cutting edge of modernity, Haga is the place to hang in Gothenburg. Well preserved wooden houses line the cobbled streets and often house independent cafes and coffee shops or tiny inviting boutiques. The term “Hygge”, a Scandinavian word that describes a feeling of a charming cosiness through subtle worn pastel colours, wooden panelling, log fires and fluffy pillows is embodied effortlessly in Haga. A must do whilst exploring the streets and shops of Haga is taking a “Fika Break”, a Swedish coffee break alongside a “Hagabullen” – a small cinnamon bun! On our list of what to see in Gothenburg, this has to be our favourite place in the city! 

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Buy fresh seafood at the Feskekôrka fish market

what to see in Gothenburg: The Fish Church of course!! Even if you don’t eat fish, like us, the Fish Church is a Gothenburg landmark that just has to be visited! Opening on 1 November 1874 it resembles a Neo Gothic church more than a market and houses one of the oldest trades in the history of the city; fishing! If you do like a good seafood meal then this is the place to get the freshest catch of the day, you can even eat right there in the market! If not then its a great place to explore the history and traditions of this port town. 

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Explore the old streets of this historic city

What to see in Gothenburg? Explore this magnificently walkable city on foot! Gothenburg by it’s nature is a lovely city to explore, its quite small and compact which makes it very walkable and pedestrian friendly. It is also a beautiful old city with many wonderful examples of stunning Swedish architecture to marvel over. Our favourite areas to wander had to be around the main train station whose ornate facade dates back to 1858. Around this area there are many other stunning buildings to ponder over, the facing square is a great meeting place and the nearby canal a great place to walk. 

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Enjoy the markets at Liseberg amusement park

The city’s famous amusement park; Lisberg, that opened in 1923 is a must see, though in the middle of winter you might not be too keen to be whizzing through the freezing air! But never fear, the park is transformed in the colder months with many amazing markets, including the wonderful Christmas markets and horrifying halloween stalls… of course, if you still want to brave it then the rides do run all year round! Brrr! 

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Take in the city’s alternative culture

Gothenburg has a wonderful art and counter culture scene, numerous vegetarian restaurants and a thriving skate and graffiti scene… right up our alley. The entire city is great for those of us who love this kind of culture but the beating heart of it all is just outside the city centre over at the harbour. The Roda Sten Art Centre is in the old boiler room and provides a unique space both inside and out for contemporary art in all its forms. There are even some DIY skate ramps outside, performance areas and of course, its covered in graffiti! There is also a cafe here that serves great veggie food! Not what would be on most “What to see in Gothenburg” guides, but well worth a look at this other side to the city. 

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Have you been to Gothenburg in the winter, what did you get up to?

We really can’t wait to come back in the summer and explore the wonderful countryside just outside the city, do some paddle sports and go on all the rides in the park!

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