48 Hours In: Gothenburg

Sweden’s second city takes its chance to shine during the long days of summer, says Nick Boulos

Click here for Gothenburg city map

Travel Essentials

Why go now?

Summer in Gothenburg is an enticing prospect. The days seem infinite, the air is balmy, and the city's half-million people make the most of the parks and outdoor cafés.

The Cultural Festival (kulturkalaset.goteborg.com), a six-day carnival with over 1,000 acts performing for free, kicks off on 14 August followed closely by the annual Jazz Festival (gothenburg jazzfestival.com) – three days of swing, gospel and blues starting on 24 August.

Touch down

Ryanair (0871 246 0000; ryanair.com) flies from Stansted and Edinburgh to the most convenient airport, Gothenburg City, 12km north-west of the city. Buses to the centre (00 46 77 141 4300; flygbussarna.se) leave roughly every hour from 6.45am-8pm, taking 25 minutes for a return fare of 129 krona (£12.50). A taxi will cost Skr300 (£29) one way.

Other flights from the UK land at Landvetter airport, 30km east of the city centre. SAS (0871 226 7760; flysas.com) and British Airways (0844 493 0787; ba.com) fly from Heathrow while Norwegian (020-8099 7254; norwegian.com) operates from Gatwick. Flights from Manchester with BA affiliate Sun-Air start on 27 August.

Buses from Landvetter leave about every 20 minutes from 4.50am-12.30am and take half an hour. A return ticket costs Skr189 (£18). A one-way taxi will set you back Skr400 (£39). All buses arrive at Nils Ericson Terminal (1) next door to the Central railway station.

Get your bearings

Sweden's second city – located at the mouth of the Gota River on the south-west coast – was founded almost four centuries ago by King Gustavus Adolphus II. Most of the points of interest are conveniently located within the compact heart of the city, with the port to the north.

A network of 13 tram lines criss-crosses the city, making it easy to explore the outer suburbs. A Skr25 (£2.40) ticket covers unlimited rides within a 90-minute period.

The main tourist information centre (2) can be found at Kungsportsplatsen 2 (00 46 31 368 4200; gothenburg.com; open 9.30am-8pm daily). A 48-hour Gothenburg City Card costs Skr395 (£38) and includes unlimited public transport, city tours and admission to most museums.

Check in

The Avalon Hotel (3) at Kungstorget 9 (00 46 31 751 0200; avalonhotel.se) has gone to great lengths to ensure a comfortable stay. The "feng shui certified" property features soft corners throughout, art by native painter Ernst Billgren and Swedish-made beds. There's also a glass-walled rooftop pool. Doubles from Skr1,495 (£145), including breakfast.

For something more traditional, try the Hotel Royal (4) at Drottninggatan 67 (00 46 31 700 1170; hotelroyal.nu). It's been welcoming guests since 1852, making it the oldest hotel in the city. Doubles start at Skr995 (£97), including breakfast.

Le Mat (5) at Kristinelundsgatan 13 (00 46 31 20 4800; lemat.se) offers decent accommodation on a budget. Housed on the top two floors of a nondescript office building, the 29 minimalist rooms are spotlessly clean and have flat-screen TVs. Bathroom facilities are shared, unless you manage to book room 15: the only one with an en-suite, available at no extra cost. Doubles start at Skr770 (£75), including breakfast.

Day One

Take a hike

Lording over Avenyn, the city's main thoroughfare, is Carl Milles' statue of a naked Poseidon (6). It caused quite a stir when it was unveiled in 1931; the Greek god's nether regions were deemed too prominent and some reshaping was ordered.

From here stroll along Avenyn and veer left at Kristinelundsgatan. After two blocks turn right on Gotabergsgatan, a quiet street with independent art galleries including Galleri Nils Aberg (7) at no 24 (00 46 31 20 12 83; gallerinilsaberg.se; noon-6pm Sat-Sun, to 6pm Weds-Fri). Back on Avenyn, wander past the flowerbeds towards Gustav Adolfs Square (8), where two bronzed lions guard the steps to the canal.

Continuing north you'll emerge at the port, the largest in Scandinavia. Directly ahead, colourful flags billowing from its masts, is the Barken Viking (9). The four-masted barque first set sail in 1907 and is now a hotel and restaurant. Turn left and head past the Opera House (10) until you reach the quayside Maritime Adventure Centre (11) (00 46 31 10 5950; maritiman.se; 11am-6pm daily May-Sept; Skr90/£8.75). Docked here are 20 historic vessels, most notably the Nordkaparen submarine that served the Swedish navy until 1983.

Lunch on the run

Stroll back to town to Strommingsluckan (12), a black burger van stationed at Magasinsgatan 17 (strommingsluckan.se). Ask Thomas for stromming, a snack of fried herrings with parsley butter, mash and lingonberries (Skr55/£5.30). Open 11am-3pm Mon-Fri, to 4pm Sat, closed Sundays.

Window shopping

There's something for everyone along Sodra Larmgatan (13), from cutting-edge clothes by local designers at Whyred at no 13 (00 46 31 7 11 30 00) to chocolatiers Kanold at no 14 (00 46 31 13 0561).

More retail therapy awaits on the adjacent street of Vallgatan (14) – accessed via a small alley lined with exotic plants. You'll find innovative trinkets at contemporary design store Krypton Form at no 17 (00 46 31 13 63 66). Shops are typically open 10am-4pm on Saturdays and closed Sundays.

An aperitif

Housed in a former school, Kino (15) at Linnegatan 21 (00 46 31 42 6332) is a small bar with a large outdoor terrace overlooking the boulevard. It's a lovely spot from which to watch the blue and white trams go by. The drink of choice is Vega, a cloudy ale from a microbrewery down the road. Open 4pm-1am daily; pints from Skr65 (£6.30).

Dining with the locals

Familjen (16) (00 46 31 20 7979; restaurang familjen.se) is the latest venture by Bjorn Persson, who also owns the nearby Michelin-starred restaurant, Kock & Vin (17) at Viktoriagatan 12 (00 46 31 701 7979; kockvin.se). The food at Familjen is sophisticated and, as the name suggests, diners are made to feel at home. Try the grilled pike perch from Lake Vanern (Skr245/£24).

Bhoga (18) (00 46 31 13 8018; bhoga.se) is a trendy bistro that opened in March. Diners can expect seasonal Scandinavian cuisine with an international twist such as local beef with artichokes and chimichurri spices. Mains from Skr175 (£17).

Day Two

Sunday morning: go to church

Designed by Carl Wilhelm Carlberg and named after the acclaimed king who laid the foundations of the city, the Gustavi Cathedral (19) at Kyrkogatan 28 (00 46 31 731 6130) has a gilded timber altar flanked by Baroque angels. The cathedral that stands today is the third incarnation after fires in 1721 and 1802 destroyed the previous structures. Sunday mass is at 11am.

Out to brunch

Cafe Husaren (20) at Haga Nygata 26 (00 46 31 13 6378; cafehusaren.se) is something of an institution in Haga, the city's oldest neighbourhood. In a previous life, this listed building was a pharmacy, bank, bar and hat shop. Today, it serves the best fika in town – the Swedish tradition of a gossip over a coffee and cinnamon bun. The indulgent treats, made from a secret recipe and piled high in the window, are the size of dinner plates (Skr38/£3.70). Rolls, salads and smoothies are also on the menu.

Cultural afternoon

From Viking settlement to modern-day metropolis, Gothenburg's radical transformation is documented at the Gothenburg City Museum (21) located at Norra Hamngatan 12 (00 46 31 368 3600; stadsmuseum.gote borg.se; 10am-5pm daily except Mondays, to 8pm Weds; Skr40/£3.90). A ticket also allows entry into four other recommended museums including the Museum of Art (22) at Gotaplatsen (00 46 31 368 3500; konst museum.goteborg.se; 11am-5pm Fri-Sun, other days vary). An exhibition of works by Francis Bacon and Andy Warhol continues until 12 August.

A walk in the park

Located along the quiet banks of the Rosenlund canal is the Gothenburg Botanical Garden (23) at Carl Skottsbergs 22A (00 46 31 741 1100; gotbot.se; 10am-8pm daily). Gravel paths weave through woodland and rose gardens behind which statues peer. Meanwhile, the greenhouse contains exotic specimens from as far and wide as Madagascar and Pakistan. Make a pit stop at the Rosenkafeet Café (24) (00 46 31 80 9780; rosenkafeet.se) for a slice of soft gingerbread cake (Skr25/£2.40).

Take a ride

Sightseeing cruises with Paddan Boats (00 46 31 60 9670; stromma.se) depart up to three times an hour between April and October from the Kungsportsbron bridge (25). They travel along the canals taking in the shipyards and port while passing under 20 low bridges. Cruises last 50 minutes and cost Skr150 (£14.50).

Arts and Entertainment
musicOfficial chart could be moved to accommodate Friday international release day
Wes Brown is sent-off
Italy celebrate scoring their second try
six nations
Glenn Murray celebrates scoring against West Ham
footballWest Ham 1 Crystal Palace 3
Arts and Entertainment
Drake continues to tease ahead of the release of his new album
ebookHow to enjoy the perfect short break in 20 great cities
Independent Travel Videos
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Amsterdam
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Giverny
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in St John's
Independent Travel Videos
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Travel

    Recruitment Genius: Car Sales Executive - OTE £36,000

    £12500 - £36000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This established Knaresborough ...

    Beverley James: Accounts Payable

    £23,000: Beverley James: Do you have a background in hospitality and are you l...

    Recruitment Genius: Cleaning Manager - York and Bradford

    £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The post holder is a key member of the V...

    Recruitment Genius: Vehicle Breakdown Recovery Drivers

    £18000 - £28800 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Vehicle Breakdown Recovery Driv...

    Day In a Page

    War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

    The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

    Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn
    Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

    Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

    The shadow Home Secretary on fighting radical Islam, protecting children, and why anyone in Labour who's thinking beyond May must 'sort themselves out'
    A bad week for the Greens: Leader Natalie Bennett's 'car crash' radio interview is followed by Brighton council's failure to set a budget due to infighting

    It's not easy being Green

    After a bad week in which its leader had a public meltdown and its only city council couldn't agree on a budget vote, what next for the alternative party? It's over to Caroline Lucas to find out
    Gorillas nearly missed: BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter

    Gorillas nearly missed

    BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter
    Downton Abbey effect sees impoverished Italian nobles inspired to open their doors to paying guests for up to €650 a night

    The Downton Abbey effect

    Impoverished Italian nobles are opening their doors to paying guests, inspired by the TV drama
    China's wild panda numbers have increased by 17% since 2003, new census reveals

    China's wild panda numbers on the up

    New census reveals 17% since 2003
    Barbara Woodward: Britain's first female ambassador to China intends to forge strong links with the growing economic superpower

    Our woman in Beijing builds a new relationship

    Britain's first female ambassador to China intends to forge strong links with growing economic power
    Courage is rare. True humility is even rarer. But the only British soldier to be awarded the Victoria Cross in Afghanistan has both

    Courage is rare. True humility is even rarer

    Beware of imitations, but the words of the soldier awarded the Victoria Cross were the real thing, says DJ Taylor
    Alexander McQueen: The catwalk was a stage for the designer's astonishing and troubling vision

    Alexander McQueen's astonishing vision

    Ahead of a major retrospective, Alexander Fury talks to the collaborators who helped create the late designer's notorious spectacle
    New BBC series savours half a century of food in Britain, from Vesta curries to nouvelle cuisine

    Dinner through the decades

    A new BBC series challenged Brandon Robshaw and his family to eat their way from the 1950s to the 1990s
    Philippa Perry interview: The psychotherapist on McDonald's, fancy specs and meeting Grayson Perry on an evening course

    Philippa Perry interview

    The psychotherapist on McDonald's, fancy specs and meeting Grayson Perry on an evening course
    Bill Granger recipes: Our chef recreates the exoticism of the Indonesian stir-fry

    Bill Granger's Indonesian stir-fry recipes

    Our chef was inspired by the south-east Asian cuisine he encountered as a teenager
    Chelsea vs Tottenham: Harry Kane was at Wembley to see Spurs beat the Blues and win the Capital One Cup - now he's their great hope

    Harry Kane interview

    The striker was at Wembley to see Spurs beat the Blues and win the Capital One Cup - now he's their great hope
    The Last Word: For the good of the game: why on earth don’t we leave Fifa?

    Michael Calvin's Last Word

    For the good of the game: why on earth don’t we leave Fifa?
    HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

    Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

    Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?