Sweden´s second largest city located at the Western shoreline of the country is a popular cruise and holiday destination in the South of Sweden. Get to know six fun things to explore when visiting for a few days or only for a few hours.
Most ferries and smaller cruise ships get the privilege to dock downtown while larger vessels, such as our Queen Victoria, arrived to the Western harbor of Arendal, about 25 minutes by bus from Gothenburg city center. But when you chose the right cruise line, no worries that you would have to pay for the shuttle service into downtown (which some of the major companies such as Costa are more than happy to do).
As the weather forecast was quite mixed for the day, we found ourselves on one of the first buses leaving the ship around 9:30 am in order to see as much as possible before the rain would set in. But as my partner had forgotten his mobile phone back on Queen Victoria once we reached Stora Teatern, the Grand Theatre, an additional hour was lost for going back to Arendal and returning to Gothenburg at once.
Not a problem though, since the downtown area is easy to explore by foot and we did not have a big agenda at all. Like all Swedish cities, Gothenburg offers a beautiful cityscape with lots of historic buildings and gorgeous architecture to marvel at, combined with a wonderful array of stylish cafés, bars and restaurants and uncountable fashionable shops to spend your money at.
Our main focus lied, as always, a bit on local food, souvenirs and sightseeing. So here are our seven highlights that we were able to cover in four hours:
1. Indulge in Seafood heaven at Feskekörka
Built in 1874, this unusual Fish market rather looks like a typical Scandinavian church (Feskekörka means Fish church) from the in and outside, but it surely holds Gothenburg´s most excellent offers in fresh fish and seafood. Stroll along the stands to enjoy an amazing offering on salt and freshwater delicacies which can be enjoyed right inside the building or on one of the many outdoor sitting spaces with a nice view along the canal that runs next to it.
2. Have a local beer in Haga
It is probably the city´s oldest and most well-preserved historic district to explore tons of cute little cafés and shops lining up next to each other. And we all know that sightseeing is hard work, so maybe a very touristic, but definitely a beautiful spot to sit down and enjoy a typical Swedish “Fika” (Afternoon coffee break) or a local draft beer.
3. Shop unusual souvenirs at Myrorna
The reason why we ended up in this Second Hand shop was the sudden thunderstorm that hit the city during the afternoon hours. We were rushing by in the rain protected by our umbrella when my eyes caught this enormous store offering everything from antique kitchen ware to clothes and furnishings. I wanted to buy something that would remind me of this lovely day without having something standing around again that needed to be dusted on a regular base and room on the walls for another picture was neither. So after poking around for an hour, I finally ended up with three amazing retro cardigans that would be just perfect for any future cruise and a wonderful souvenir to this day spend in Gothenburg.
4. Take a Paddan Sightseeing Boat Trip
See the old moat and canals that date from the 17th century while learning about the history of Gothenburg’s construction and defense. This guided boat tour with Paddan continues beneath Gothenburg’s many low bridges, which brings you out into the fascinating harbor with traditional shipyards, the fishing harbor, new and old housing, expanding commercial and academic sites and maritime museum.
5. Eat a Shrimp Sandwich in Saluhallen
Another place not to be missed for foodies is the local market hall just across the canal from the Grand Theatre. It is a popular place for locals to stock up their fridges with fresh foods and bakeries and also a beautiful piece of architecture to stop by at. Get yourself one of the delicious, delicious shrimp sandwiches that are on sale just as you enter the hall or sample through the local sweets and cakes offered by trendy bakeries.
6. Enjoy the view from Skansen Kronan
Built as one of two fortresses during the 17th Century, the mighty tower was intended as a defense against Danish attacks from the South towards the historic city of Gothenburg. Today, it serves as a lifestyle and business event location and surely offers one of the most panoramic views over the city. To get there, one has to overcome the quite steep staircase leading to the top of the hill on which the fortress thrones. But the hassle is worth the trip. A small kiosk rewards with refreshments and snacks.
7. Learn about Swedish cars at Volvo Museum
Just outside the Arendal cruise pier, automotive enthusiasts will surely enjoy taking a ride through the history of the Swedish car maker. From cars to buses and commercial vehicles, the exhibition also features everything you need to know about the Volvo Ocean Race.