If you follow the trends, keep in mind that Gothenburg is a stylish destination. It has evolved from a shipbuilding and industrial city into a mecca for sophisticated Swedish design, bright taste and vibrant art.
One cannot go to Sweden and not experience a real Swedish sauna. Just across the river from Gothenburg’s city centre, in the Frihamnen district, resides arguably one of the most exceptional saunas in Sweden. Created by the German architects’ collective Raumlabor Berlin, it was made largely of recycled materials. For instance, the changing rooms were made from 12,000 recycled bottles. You can time you visit for ladies’ or gentlemen’s hours, and, like all the best things in life, it’s free! The sauna is a part of the new Jubileumsparken, a project developed for Gothenburg’s 400th anniversary celebration in 2021. The park also features an urban beach, an outdoor pool, and a roller-derby court.
Catch a concert
Satisfy your inner music maniac at the Konserthuset. It’s not only home to the Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra (Sweden’s national orchestra as of 1997) but is also ranked among one of the acoustically greatest concert halls in the world. The concert hall is situated on Götaplatsen and shares the space with the City Theatre, the Museum of Art, and a statue of Poseidon. You can also enjoy beautiful arias at the Gothenburg Opera. The glass-fronted venue offers a breathtaking view of the Göta River, and it’s a perfect place to gaze at the moon reflecting on the water. Swedes even have a name for this magical scene – mångata. For those who prefer more relaxed vibes, there’s the no-less prominent Nefertiti club. Established in 1978, the venue attracts jazz masters from all over the world. But Neferiti’s musical menu doesn’t end with jazz; there’s also rock, pop, and even some electronic tunes.
Get your jeans on!
Well known in the sustainable fashion world, the Nudie Jeans story of success started in Gothenburg in the early 2000s. The company is lauded not only for the durability of its products but also for its friendly customer policies – it’ll repair any jeans you buy from them free of charge and let you trade in an old pair of Nudies for a decent discount on a new pair of jeans. The old jeans are then upcycled or recycled. In addition to a plethora of jeans styles, Nudie Jeans also makes shirts and jackets.
Ride the tram
Don’t let the rain or tired legs stop you from exploring. Get a different perspective of the city by riding one of the sky-blue trams buzzing through the city. Take tram number 9 or 11 and go all the way to Saltholmen. Even if the weather isn’t appropriate for some water fun, just a glimpse at the popular Aspholmen swimming area, located at the tip of the archipelago, is truly worth the ride. The journey takes about 30 minutes, but you can extend it by spontaneously hopping off the tram here and there. For example, stop to appreciate the Masthugget Church, designed by Sigfrid Ericson in 1914, or get off the beaten path and explore the shabby-chic Majorna district with its cosy bars and restaurants.
Enjoy a fika
What was once a ratty industrial district has now become the most alluring part of the city. Lined with picturesque, well-preserved wooden houses, Haga is the best place to search for some treasures by local designers. But no shopping tour is complete without a coffee break, or, as the Swedes call it, fika. Luckily, Haga’s cobbled streets are filled with charming cafés, such as the Café Kringlan. Or Café Husaren, where you can sink your teeth into the local speciality, a plate-sized cinnamon bun known as a Hagabullen. It’s so big, you won’t need any dinner. (Don’t say we didn’t warn you!)
Eat some seafood
Every seafood lover should make sure to visit the Fish Church, or Feskekörka. The indoor market got its name for a reason – it’s situated in a majestic, church-like building. Built in 1874, the structure was an architectural experiment by Victor von Gegerfelt. Inspired by the wooden stave churches of Norway and stone Gothic churches, he wished to build a room without pillars. Here you can buy all sorts of fresh sea delicacies. Stop by the market at midday to enjoy a seafood-themed lunch at one of the three on-site bistros. If you prefer your fish in the evening and cooked by a Michelin-starred chef, then head to Fiskekrogen.
Search for street art
Notice how the city is decked out with colorful murals? These are a legacy of the Artscape street art festival in 2016. About 20 Swedish and international artists descended on all ten districts of the city to create large-scale works of art. This made Artscape 2016 Scandinavia’s largest-ever street art festival. Keep an eye out for the vivid industrial murals made by local maestro Jonathan ‘Ollio’ Josefsson. Even though the festival has ended, he continues to make wandering through Gothenburg way more interesting than it was before.