You don’t have to be rolling in it to go to Gothenburg. Yeah it’s a big Scandinavian city, and things tend to be a little more expensive there than in other European cities. But with a little research and planning, you can experience Sweden’s second city without breaking the bank. To help you, we’ve compiled of ten unmissable experiences for anyone going to gorgeous Gothenburg on a budget… here are ten of the best things to do, see and eat in the city for under a tenner…
Fika is one of Sweden’s most famous traditions – it’s a coffee break, but it’s so much more than that too. It’s consciously taking a little time out to just relax and refresh yourself – it’s worlds apart from that take away latte that’s bought to be hastily sipped on the way to work. Fika requires three things – a coffee to drink, a baked good to eat, and ideally someone lovely to do it with. Of all the baked goods you could choose, the sweet and sticky cinnamon bun is the most Swedish of them all. For the ultimate Fika in Gothenburg, head to Haga and find yourself a seat at Café Husaren. They are the makers of a famous cinnamon bun called the Hagabullen. It’s huge. Really, it’s the size of a steering wheel. At just over a fiver, it will easily feed two people (or you can eat it in installments all by yourself). Pair it with a good coffee, and you have breakfast (and possibly lunch too) for around €8.
If you pay for admission to one museum in Gothenburg, you’ve actually paid for admission to five. For 40 SEK (just over €4), you can explore Gothenburg City Museum, the Natural History Museum (which has an actual stuffed blue whale; the only one in the world), the Museum of Art, the Maritime Museum, and the Rohsska Museum of design, fashion and art. If the weather is bad, you have your whole day sorted for under a fiver. If the sun’s shining you might not want to spend all day indoors, but you have a really good choice of things to do for half a day. I’d choose the Natural History Museum and the Rohsska design museum, but it’s really your call!
Slottsskogen Park is beautiful. It’s the place where the Gothenburgers go when they want to unwind and get close to nature. If you’re a jogger and you want to keep up with your routine while you’re away, you couldn’t find a better place to do it. If you’re lazy and you just like lying around on grass in beautiful places, same thing applies. It’s right in the heart of the city, and it’s even got a zoo which is totally free to visit. The zoo houses native Nordic animals, so you’ll get the chance to see all kinds of Swedish wildlife from elks, sheep and deer to Gotland ponies and even seals and penguins (which you can watch being fed from 2pm every day).
Just as it is in cities all over Europe, the street food revolution is thriving in Gothenburg, and if you have one food truck experience when you’re there, make it Strommingsluckan. Strommingsluckan pretty much translates as ‘the herring hatch’, so no prizes for guessing what you’ll be eating here. This is seriously fresh fish, fried perfectly and served with lingonberries and buttery, creamy mashed potatoes. It’s Gothenburg food, and you’ll get a filling lunch for just 65 SEK (just under €7). This is street food, but it’s fancy – and they have tables you can sit at to enjoy your meal. And you will enjoy your meal. A lot.
Roda Sten is a very cool place. Once a boiler house that powered local factories, it was abandoned and used as a canvas for graffiti writers and a venue for illegal raves. As much as it’s a shame to lose a good rave venue, what has been done with it is pretty awesome. Today, it’s a slick and slightly surreal culture and arts centre, that has regularly rotating exhibitions of experimental and unusual art. It’s really worth seeing. And at only 40SEK (just over €4) for admission, you’d even have change from a tenner to have a cup of coffee or a drink after seeing the exhibitions. The restaurant there is pretty good too, and inexpensive (they have meat-free Sundays too, which should please vegetarian visitors).
Flickorna Kanold is a little chocolate shop that makes really, really good truffles and pralines. Their flavours are so, so spot on too – goats cheese and honey, chilli and passion fruit, strawberry and rhubarb… but there is one truffle that truly takes the cake, and that’s their Gothenburg Sea Salt chocolate (Göteborgstryffel Havssalt). It’s a cube of rich, glossy high quality chocolate encasing a soft, smooth praline filling, flavoured with actual salt – from the actual sea right in Gothenburg. If you’re going to eat chocolates in Gothenburg, they might as well be as Gothenburg as they can be. 12 chocolates costs about €17, but you can buy these bad boys on their own. If we were you, we’d get as many as we could for a tenner…
Delsjön Lake is about 6km from the centre of Gothenburg, and if you happen to be in the city when it’s warm this is the place to go for a swim. Jump on the number 5 tram from Korsvägen and you’ll reach a stop called Töpelsgatan in under ten minutes – from there it’s a 15 minute walk until you reach the lake. The lake is beautiful and safe for swimming in. If you’re going there on a sunny day, bring a portable barbeque or a picnic as well as your swimming gear, and bliss out by the water for the day. It’s gorgeous.
In February 2015, something truly momentous happened in Gothenburg. A public Swedish Sauna opened at Jubileumsparken. It was built by volunteers using mostly recycled materials (the changing rooms were built from around 12,000 recycled glass bottles), and it is free to use. The idea, according to the project leader Jessica Segerlund, was to provide a place where anyone can go to relax; not just those who can afford the luxury of a private spa. You can book online (it’s still only in Swedish at the moment), and choose a men/women only or mixed sauna. Everything about this concept is cool. Except the actual Sauna, which is very very hot.
Gothenburg’s Feskekörka (Fish Church) is a bit of a foodie mecca in the city – it was built in 1874 and designed by Victor von Gegerfelt, a famous architect from the city. It’s all very Gothic and imposing looking from the outside (hence ‘Fish Church’), and inside it’s just wall-to-wall seafood. It’s definitely a must-do foodie pilgrimage and it’s a Gothenburg institution – and it’s free to visit. Many of the vendors will be generous enough to offer you a sample here or there, so you can taste some of the freshest seafood int the city. Herring, salmon, tune, shellfish… and lots of pre-cooked and prepared seafood too. If we were to recommend buying one thing with that tenner burning a hole in your pocket, it would be some fresh smoked salmon.
Gothenburg’s southern islands are gorgeous, and they’re just a short ferry ride from the mainland. The boat departs from Saltholmen, which you can get to by taking the number 11 tram. The islands are genuinely idyllic – untouched, car-free and sparsely populated, they’ll give you a gorgeous sense of having got away from it all. There are loads of spots to go swimming (probably best in summer, and on Vrångö in particular), have picnics, and hike or walk in beautiful natural surroundings. You might end up wanting to stay on one island, or you may feel like visiting a few – see how you feel when you get there. You can get a single ferry ticket for under 3 euro, or if you plan on moving around a bit, get a day pass for 85 SEK (€9.12)
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