Spending one day in Gothenburg? Here’s my personalized guide for what to get up in the city. Enjoy!
“One day in Gothenburg, will it be enough?”
My one day stopover from Copenhagen was to be spent in this mysterious city, according to Felipe. My friend from New York who eagerly moved to Sweden to pursue his musical passions, and subsequently make Gothenburg his newfound home.
Plastered with images of European hotspots growing up in the states, I had never heard of Gothenburg. I guess the hidden gems always remain in the rearview in exchange for it’s shiny tourist counterparts.
But, over the years this pocket of Sweden has grown to be a favorite of mine. Between the Gothic architecture, art musings and the way the city makes you feel like you’ve stepped into an independent film. Yep, Gothenburg slowly had it’s chip at me.
Below is a personalized round up of all the lovely things you should do if you’re visiting Gothenburg for one day. (Warning, may include Fika).
Why Visit Gothenburg
Often in competes with it’s friendly rival, Stockholm Gothenburg is a historic viking home turned hip shipping port town.
The city holds a definite vintage feel and a younger vibe. I’m not sure if it was in part to my painfully hipster friend or the mere muse of the city, but visiting Gothenburg always feels a bit too cool for me (in a good way).
Pasteled trams, Swedish minimalism and effortlessly trendy shops on every corner, Gothenburg is a perfect for one day wanderings. I also love that despite being the second biggest city in Sweden, you still get a very local feel, much appreciated coming from European hotspots.
How Long to Spend in Gothenburg
I’d suggest seeing Gothenburg in one day or a lazy weekend.
Although there’s definitely a ton to see, I think the best bits of the city are simply having a local experience. This could mean anything from wondering around Haga and having a Fika to browsing botanical gardens or the local markets.
Point being, outside of the simple joys of the city after a day or so, you may feel like you’ve seen what you wanted to see.
To remedy this and squeeze out most of my Scandinavian adventures I’ve paired it in the past with a visit to Lund, Sweden, and Copenhagen. But, of course, up to you!
Where to Stay for One Night in Gothenburg
Admittley, I’ve always opted to stay with my friend over cashing out on a hotel or Airbnb. But, don’t worry. As always, I’ve got the recommendations.
Gothenburg offers tons of hotel options smack in the city center. If you’re feeling a one night splurge Hotel Royal is a fine choice. Hotel Vasa comes with all the hotel fixing for a bit less and Olof Wijksgatan, by Anna & Jesper for a more local B&B.
The currency in Gothenburg is Swedish krona. But, if you’re only spending one day in Gothenburg it may be best to just use your card. Mastercard and Visa are widely accepted at most places.
How to Get Around Gothenburg
Even if you have a limited time in the city I would still suggest getting around by foot. It’s one of those cities that has gems in little corners, so you won’t want to miss.
If you’re looking to be a bit more efficient you can opt for a Gothenburg Pass for 345 krona. This grants free access to plenty of museums in the city, so it’s worth it if you’re keen to visit.
Whichever way you get around, you’ll want to start your day on the main square, Götaplatsen.
What to do in Gothenburg
Sip morning coffee at Café Kringlan
Eager to appreciate all the city, I knew no trip to Gothenburg is set without a caffeine fix. Coffee shops are second nature to the likes of Gothenburg, and nicely paired with a Fika of course. Hold on, pausing to explain what a Fika is.
Fika: A sacred time in the day centered around socializing with friends or coworkers, complemented by coffee and something sweet. Wow, I love Europe.
You can make your way to the central neighborhood of Haga to find Café Kringlan. All the pastries are homemade with interiors that scream warm and cozy. You’ll want to try their cinnamon buns.
Roam around Haga
Your coffee start will put you in the middle of Haga. Think familiar charming European vibe with a gothic twist. Sidetracked by one window shop after the other, you’ll be eager to get some morning shopping done.
Antique toys, boutique finds, hat makers, pop-up galleries, tattoo parlour (I randomly accompanied my friend to one night) and colorful wooden houses will all have your eye. The shopbustlers will also be keen to chat with the odd non-Swede, so get to roaming!
Also, if you’re anything like me, you’ll want to get your hands on some Swedish style. Miss Ragtime’s calling. Second-hand Scandi fashion at budget prices all the clothes are extremely well-kept, get your hands on a few pieces.
Take in the view at Skansen Kronan
Eager to get my city steps in I asked Felipe where we could find a view. He led me to Skansen Kronan. A 17th-century fortress designed for battle by Erik Dahlberg it’s a slice of Gothenburg history commandingly perched above the city.
Just a short walk from Haga the stone fortress is met with a cute summer cafe and of course, a chance to see the city from a new perspective. Climb up the steep steps and cobbled pathways (try not to trip like I did) and you’ll be rewardingly greeted into sweeping panoramic views of the city.
Of course, no view in the 21st century is met without a camera. Spend some time snapping before taking in Gothenburg afternoon.
Try your language luck at Sprakcafee Language Cafe
On the looks for something different, we headed to Sprakcafee. It’s a cozy language cafe and social hub to get past the obligatory embarrassment of speaking a new language.
For 45 krona you can spend the afternoon chatting over yummy sandwiches and beer which may turn your language exchange less a little less than educational, but hey, all for the memories.
Retreat to Trädgårdsföreningen & Palm Tree Gardens
A quiet retreat in the midst of the city center you’ll want to pop over to Trädgårdsföreningen, a 19th-century garden, preserved to perfection. It’s lovely.
You can spend some lazy minutes strolling along the bedded flowers, stoned garden and quiet walkways, but the real star is the Palm House.
As soon as you walk in you’re hit with green lushed plants dusted beneath rusted white awnings. Statues and vines twisting and curving on every corner we spent far too much time here. In a good way!
P.S – Be sure to get there before 4pm!
There’s also a quaint cafe nearby to head to after, Rosenkaféet.
Get a Taste for Swedish (or Japanese) Cuisine
To feel like a true hip Swede for the day you’re going to want to try all the Gothenburg foodie favorites. In the mood for food we lead our noses in and out of local food offerings we could find. Here are a few.
Stora Saluhallen! – A traditional market with 40+ stalls. Great for souvenir shopping and a chance to meet locals. P.S – Pop over to Flickorna Kanold’s for amazing homemade chocolate!
Smaka – A cozy restaurant with traditional Swedish offerings. Don’t leave without trying their meatballs!
Zozaki – A quaint Japanese restaurant with an extensive menu and super cool interiors
Take in Haga at Night & Wind Down at Zamenhof
When in Europe. Gothenburg’s night scene spans from cozy pubs to elegant bars. But with a yearn for casual Zamenhof was calling my name.
A local hip spot with an arcade and three restaurants, a classic cocktail bar, and tasty craft beer to match I was in Gothenburg heaven. Apparently, this spot also makes for funny conversations with Swedes with newfound liquid courage. Interesting.
One Day in Gothenburg Itinerary at a Glance
- Sip morning coffee at Café Kringlan
- Roam around Haga
- Take in the View at Skansen Kronan
- Try Your Language Luck at Sprakcafee Language Cafe
- Retreat to Trädgårdsföreningen & The Palm Tree Gardens
- Get a Taste for Swedish Cuisine
- Take in Haga at Night & Wind Down at Zamenhof
Final Thoughts on One Day in Gothenburg
Every one day I’ve spent in Gothenburg has been well spent. Between the vintage charm of the city and fika pastimes, Gothenburg makes you feel like a local from day one.
If I ever trade my London life for a Swedish existence, perhaps you’ll find me here. Roaming around Haga, drinking cafe at Sprakcafee, and of course, guarding my precious fika time.
P.S Be sure to check out Gothenburg’s tourism board website for more amazing things to get up to for your time in Gothenburg.