The destination of choice for our August bank holiday weekend was Gothenburg. Where you may ask? Gothenburg is Sweden’s second-largest city and has recently been coined as “Little London” and the “New Amsterdam” for its charm, coffee culture, art and architecture.
Not surprisingly though many people (including me before booking) haven’t heard of this place as its often overshadowed by the county’s capital, Stockholm. I can see huge potential in Gothenburg becoming a popular tourist destination in coming years and they have big plans to develop a long-term sustainable city which will grow by nearly a third by 2035. So I would advise to get in before the crowds! And the flights are cheap!
On our first day, we set out to explore the Southern Archipelago of Gothenburg, a cluster of islands a short tram + ferry ride from the central city. We opted to visit Vrångö Island, which had a nice walk, cute little village and a laid back sleepy, fishing town vibe. We refuelled with some beer and tasty smoked fish from the café Fiskeboa which looks out onto the harbour. For dinner that evening we ended up at the very quirky Cuckoo’s Nest restaurant which has an eclectic, scientific style – a nod to the location being within a Science Park. Our meals were delicious and they make a mean G&T.
On Sunday, after patiently waiting for Andrew to return from his run, we headed to Haga for an all-important and famous cinnamon bun from Cafe Husaren. These bad boys are literally the size of one’s head and a pretty hefty way to start your day – Andrew and I opted to share one yet still couldn’t finish it off. After walking off some of the carbs in the trendy Haga neighbourhood, we headed up to the Skansen Kronan, which is an old fortress, turned conference centre, with great views over the city.
Next stop on the agenda was Slottsskogen, a huge park an easy walking distance from the city centre. You could spend hours wandering around and I can see why the locals love to come here. The best part is that there is a free zoo (and petting zoo!) in the middle of the park. It was like being a kid again going to pat the goats and sheep, and I was pretty stoked to see my first moose.
On our way back towards the city we stumbled across the garden community of Slottsskogskolonin. This colonial garden was founded in 1916 when World War I made these types of gardens an important tool for urban food supply. Today this budding small community has over 150 tiny houses which are no more than 20 sq meters. Andrew and I both love the idea of tiny houses so it was cool to see how these people have utilised their space and live simplistic lives here.
Back in the city we explored yet another green space – the Trädgårdsföreningen aka the Garden Society, which is apparently one of the best preserved 19th-century parks in Europe. With another loop through the city we started to admire this place a bit more…
Gothenburg is such a walkable city, you can easily see most of the main attractions in one day. So on our last day we stretched our day out and planned it around eating. We headed back to the trendy street of Magasinsgatan where the cool kids hang – along here you’ll find amazing cafes for fika, street food truck, hipster clothing shops and good restaurants. We liked it so much we ended up here for breakfast and lunch, as I was dying to taste the fried herring, mashed potatoes and lingon berries from Strömmingsluckan and the bao buns for Jinx – and I was not disappointed!
Gothenburg was a great weekend getaway. It has a laid-back feel to it, without too many tourists – as I mentioned before I highly recommend visiting before it gets too ‘cool’. The food scene was definitely part of the reason I loved this place so much. I can’t wait to explore more of what Scandinavia has to offer.