Hej hej! I can’t believe it’s been more than 3 weeks since I have arrived in Stockholm. I have settled into my lovely studentboende and have done some exploring in Stockholm (more content on that to come). Yesterday, I did a little solo trip to the second largest city in Sweden – Gothenburg!
Fun fact: Gothenburg has two names – Götenborg (in Swedish, pronounced ““yeh-teh-BOR-ee” where the “G” is pronounced as the Swedish alphabet “Y”) and Gothenburg (used in English literature).
To maximize my time in Gothenburg, I took the earliest train out of Stockholm Central Station at 05:48. I bought my train ticket ahead of time on the website of a Swedish railway, SJ. SJ offers discounts to 25 or under passengers (which I totally missed… and bought adult tickets). You could also get tickets at the station. All in all, I spent 8 hours in Gothenburg, short but filled with great sights!
After almost 4 hours of journey on the train, I arrived at Gothenburg Central Station. Right outside of the station, there is a bus and tram terminal to different parts of the city. The transportation in Gothenburg is operated by Västtrafik. You can buy day tickets or single-ride tickets on their app. At the terminal, I boarded a tram and headed off to Slottskogen, a city park that houses animals, playgrounds, and breathetaking nature. Many people were jogging up and down the hilly tracks, while families and other visitors were strolling and catching glimpses of the Nordic animals. My visiting host, who is a Gothenburg native, recommended me to check out this park, and especially the seals, which were incredibly adorable. I saw a wide range of animals: horses, reindeers, sheep, ducks… Walking on the many paths in the park, under the tall, (still) green trees, I experienced the cleasing power of nature. I couldn’t believe how this park was entirely free!
After visiting slottskogen, I walked around 20 minutes to Skansen Kronan, it is an old fortress built for but never used in battles. The inside of the tower is not open to public but there are stairs attached to the fortress. I climbed up to a viewpoint at the top of the tower and saw an unobstructed view of Haga, the old town of Gothenburg, and beyond. It was slightly scary – you can see through the gaps of the platform how far off from the ground you are – so I recommend focusing on the view.
Skansen Kronan is located on top of a hill called Skansberget. My hike up was a bit steep (path 1 in map, west of Skansen Kronan). On my way up, I was recommeded by a local to check out the steps down to Haga (path 2 in map, North of Skansen Kronan).
Other than Slottskogen, my visiting host also recommended me checking out Haga, one of the oldest neighborhoods in Gothenburg. You can walk on the cobblestone roads with beautiful buildings built with a mix of brick and wood.
Walking down Haga Nygata, I found myself at Café Husaren, home of the large cinnamon bun. I ordered in Swedish for a cinnamon bun and hot coffee (thanks to my Swedish classes), except when I asked for a paper bag… that I do not know how. The cinnamon bun was HUGE and recommended to be shared by more than one person, as I am still snacking on it as I am writing this.
Fueled with energy from the bun and coffee, I made a quick stop at Stora Saluhallen, the Market Hall. When I entered into the hall, it was buzzing with conversations and filled with the aroma from the eateries and delis. People were sitting on stools around the each eatery, enjoying lunch with their friends and family. Walking through the narrow hallways, you can almost see the hustle and bustle of Gothenburg in the 1800s-1900s. The inside of the Market Hall also reminded me a bit of Quincy Market in Boston, albeit the buildings have very different exterior designs.
Passing through Victoriapassagen, I checked out a stationary boutique and soaked in the coziness of the historical area (and contemplated if I should get yet another coffee at De Mateo), before taking the tram to Järntorget.
You might wonder why I went back to the Haga area…it’s because I am meeting up with a friend! I met Elin the Thursday before my Gothenburg trip at a DIS-organized New in Town Event where we met local Swedish students at a pub on Södermalm island. She is a Gothenburg native so we decided to meet up when I came to visit. We went to Benne Pastabar near Haga (there were way too many people in Haga and the eateries were quite crowded). The pasta was relatively affordable and delicious! We talked about universities, growing up and working up in Gothenburg. I am very thankful that I got to meet up with her. It was my first time travelling solo to a new city and I was feeling quite nervous and on high alert the whole morning. But meeting a familiar face had definitely calmed me down and helped me better enjoy my the rest of my trip.
Afterwards, I headed to Hisingen (the third largest island in Sweden) by ferry and checked out a coffee shop on the island, called Alkemisten. A bummer of the day here – they have two branches, and the first branch I went to check out was closed so I had to venture deeper into the island to their second branch. It gave me an opportunity to explore more of Gothenburg though! I read my Murakami and sipped on my oat milk latte for an hour or so. Then, I headed back out to the central Gothenburg by tram. And before I headed back to Stockholm, I stopped by the Garden Society of Gothenburg, in which housed a majestic palmhouse and the Rose Garden. It was a sight to behold – a wide variety of flowers and range of colors. Some people would sit on the benches in the garden and chat or relax.
That is a wrap – I very much enjoyed my visit to Gothenburg, albeit it was only a short one. Truly, it is a charming city. I hope I will be back soon!