Looking for a laid back, low-key destination for a weekend away? Gothenburg is an up and coming Swedish city taking the Nordics by storm. Hugging the banks of the river Gota Alv, the sea port has undergone a sort of renaissance and is giving Stockholm a run for its money. With its vibrant nightlife, charming historic centre and picturesque architecture, there’s a lot more than meets the eye in the west coast city. Here’s eleven of Gothenburg’s hidden gems.
Tucked away in Hisingen, explore the legacy of Sweden’s first car manufacturer at the Volvo Museum. The brand debuted in 1927 and has acted as a symbol of Swedish practicality ever since. Wander round the exhibits showcasing the iconic cars, buses and commercial vehicles as well as highlights from the Volvo Ocean Race. See the vintage models not found anywhere else and pose for a picture beside the life-sized SUV made from Lego bricks. A perfect day out for all the family, this museum is just waiting to be found.
In the middle of central Gothenburg sits 137 hectares of Slottsskogen park featuring an unusual landmark. The large fields play host to multiple festivals throughout the year as well as a zoo but the top of the central hill, next to the Observatory, is where you should focus your attention. Walk towards the bushy area and you’ll find the Pacifier Tree, a cluster of trees with baby pacifiers hanging from their branches. There’s no explanation as to why they are there, but it’s a weird and wonderful sight none the less and should definitely be added to your list of things to do in Gothenburg.
Visit the world’s only mounted blue whale and experience the belly of the beast just like Pinocchio did, by climbing inside its hinged jaw. Named after the taxidermist and museum curator who bought the carcass of the animal, the Malm whale sits inside the Goteborg Natural History Museum and is an exhibit unlike any other. Relax into the plush benches and carpets of the lounge in the stomach of the whale and escape reality for a little moment.
Built near the mouth of the Rosenlund Canal in 1847, the Gothic inspired fish market sells the best seafood in the city. An attraction in itself, the indoor fish market was inspired by the wooden Norwegian stave churches and Gothic stone churches with the aim of creating a room with no pillars. The mix of classic romanticism and 19th century experimentation has attracted tourists since its inception and is a great place to come and test the local waters.
Venture down to the banks of the Gota Alv and take a look around the world’s biggest floating maritime museum. Boasting a collection of 19 vessels, the museum brings the heart of the old port city to life. All the vessels in the museum are interactive from the oldest HSwMs Solve to the Nordkaparen submarine. Have an educational day out and learn more about destroyers, U-boats, mine-layers and fireboats for the ultimate marine experience.
Take a trip off road and go in search of the Viking ruin in the countryside of Hisingen. The hill home to the ruins of a Viking fortress, is now a bird sanctuary and was built by the Norwegian King Hakon V. A real hidden gem for wildlife enthusiasts, the ruins are not very well known, meaning you’ll have lots of space to enjoy the collection of wildlife, beautiful views and Bohuslan heritage. Located along the Kongahallavagen road, the hill is hard to miss amidst the usually flat land.
Housed inside a charming building, the small police museum looks like something out of a Grimm’s fairy tale. Designed by Swedish architect Emil Billing, the park police station was closed for official use in 1966. Nowadays, peek inside at the collection of uniforms, caps, batons, handcuffs, whistles and tiny toy police cars. Find it in the north-eastern part of Slottsskogen between Gragsnasgarden and Smalandsstugen.
The museum belonging to the Sahlgrenska University Hospital is somewhat of an odd addition to the list, but a hidden gem all the same. Featuring a 200 year old collection of medical paraphernalia, the historic house founded in 1808 was donated to be first a hospital than a museum and is one of the oldest original medical museums in Europe. Highlighting both local Swedish medical history and an overview of medical advances over the centuries, the museum is definitely worth stopping by.
Gothenburg’s hidden gems are so plentiful that they can’t be contained on one stretch of land. Drift away from the shore and explore the plethora of islands north and south of the city. The various islands are connected by ferry so it’s easy to hop from village to village stopping off for coffees and food at one of the many harbour cafes along the way. This is one day trip very deserving of a spot on our list of Gothenburg’s hidden gems.
Opened in 1923, this is one of Scandinavia’s most visited amusement parks. Attracting about three million visitors a year, Liseberg is perhaps not so hidden but something you might not think to book into your weekend away. Enjoy the music, games and its 42 rides and attractions and relax in the pretty, green surroundings of the parkland.
Book tickets to an ice hockey game for an authentically Swedish evening of sports. Join the crowds as they pile into the huge Scandinavium stadium and cheer on the Frolunda Indians, Gothenburg’s resident team. Dress up in red and green, grab a beer from the stadium bar and live like a local for the night. Hockey season extends from the end of summer till mid-March so you’ve plenty of time to catch a game before the players hang up their skates.
Planning a visit to Gothenburg soon? Make sure to tag us in your photos of Gothenburg’s hidden gems by using the hashtag #ryanairstories, for a chance to be featured on Ryanair’s Instagram feed.
Flights to Gothenburg
- Lucy Norris