Oh our beloved neighbour, Sweden! How I have neglected you during my travels. Surely I’ve been on the overnight ferries and taken the daily trips to Stockholm like a proper Finnish tourist, marched up and down Drottningsgatan in the old town, but that’s about it. Therefore it was about time to fill this major void in my travel history during our summer holidays. And what would be a better way of spending your vacation days during the Nordic summer than packing up the car and driving to Sweden?
We booked the ferry tickets with Tallink Silja and off we went, towards Gothenburg on the west coast of Sweden. And what a brilliant town it is! Easy to cover in a day or two. Gothenburg is a bit like Helsinki but, I must say, just a tad better in every respect. Just as those Swedes generally tend to be. (If you weren’t aware there is a friendly rivalry between Sweden and Finland. Us Finns usually tend to suffer from a slight inferiority complex when compared to the Swedes but I reckon there’s no reason. We’re great, they’re great, everyone’s great and we all fit in, yeah? 😉 )
For those heading to Gothenburg for a weekend trip, or on any other shorter trip, I listed five things to do or see. Go ahead and take your pick!
1. Gothia Towers
Based on their appearance, the very modern looking Gothia Towers seem to be shipped over from New York and do not quite fit the rest of the architecture in the city. But the whole point is to get dizzy in the glass elevator, head to the rooftop coctail barand order an open-top shrimp sandwich. That is the precise dish on the menu that you should order. Apparently the restaurant has recently added a tiny drop of caviar on the plate and now charge an extra 100 crowns for the dish but, nevertheless, you will not leave hungry. And the views are worth it. Just go ahead and have another look at the cover photo of this post.
If the elevator at Gothia Towers didn’t get your head spinning enough, try the Liseberg amusement park across the street. It is the largest in the Nordic countries and was listed amongst the 10 best amusement parks in the world by Forbes magazine. Personally I stick to the piggy train and don’t enjoy roller coasters but not to worry, there was plenty of eye candy and exploring to do regardless. The area is extremely pretty and I wonder if I should return one year for their annual Christmas market.
There’s a whole bunch of parks in Gothenburg, the largest and most gorgeous probably being Trädgårdsföreningen. Especially the rose garden is particularly exquisite – you may want to pop in for lunch. There’s also a green house that reminds me of the Helsinki Winter Garden. The locals in Gothenburg call the building the palm house.
Gothenburg, Scandinavia’s very own Amsterdam. It is evidently entirely possible to go on a canal cruise in the Nordics – not just in Venice or the Netherlands. Instead of the ordinary Hop On Hop Off boat I recommend you choose the one and only, original Paddan cruise – named after a toad. The boats cruise along the canals for an hour and this will already give you a fair idea of the city. Notice how low the bridges are, and the Paddan actually sails underneath them. Lucky for me I’m such a shorty but J did have to duck his head on several occasions.
5. Neighbourhoods and shopping
Gothenburg is bulging with the cutest neighbourhoods. You have timber house blocks, jugend architecture, boulevards and parks and they are all lively with shops, cafes and restaurants. The area of Haga is especially nice. You definitely want to stop for a proper Swedish coffee break, Fika, every now and then.
Bonus: cafes and restaurants
The great selection of chic and trendy restaurants and cafes adds to the nice atmosphere of the city. So stop and enjoy the great food and drinks and the gorgeous Scandinavian design.
Trevlig resa, mina kompisar! Have a great trip my friends!