Gothenburg…. Autumnal break early November…to embrace new seasonal colours and crisp fresh air…looking to explore a new city with plenty of wanderings topped with delicious treats and tipples.
It did not disappoint.
Stillness, Honest, Working, Effortless, Solid, Homely, Grey, Green & Blue, Timber, Concrete, Corrugated Cladding, City Traffic. Sweden's second biggest city proved to be a satisfying mix of new discoveries.
Not quite on the Designers Checklist yet, but being in the top 5 biggest Scandinavian cities we were keen to give it a shot. Being able to fly direct from Edinburgh – Göteborg Landvetter Airport for under £50 return made it extra appealing too.
With no Wallpaper or Cereal city guide to lead the way we started searching on Pinterest and soon found an array of industrial chic interiors allied to a mix of green spaces, river walkways and urban building blocks to keep us entertained.
The city's official visitor guide was also a good point of inspo > http://www.goteborg.com/en/
Using public transport is definitely recommended... it’s reliable and super easy to navigate. A 30 minute airport transfer bus dropped us at Central Station, where we nipped into the Tourist Information Centre and picked up a 3 day unlimited travel pass for 180 Krone [Roughly £17]. Also worthwhile downloading the Vastttrafik app that, like the TFL, just gets you from A to B dead easy.
We opted for an Air Bnb apartment on the edgy street of Tredje Långgatan [5 stops from central station on lines 3,9,11] and tucked in between the Haga and Linne districts. This was a funky stretch which you can really see becoming an area in its own right and was definitely raising the bar for totally on-point hangouts with loads of different food and drink experiences on offer.
Best Caffeine Hit.
The day doesn’t start without coffee and we were lucky to be on same street as Kafè Magasinet. A hip joint with stylish baristas and cool tunes nestled in a courtyard space, this double height glass frontage unit oozes industrial and honest design with genuine character which means it buzzes from early morning to late at night. Stripped back walls with exposed services layered with suspended felt baffles created a perfect backdrop for the cash to be spent on cantilevered wall lights and oversized enamel pendant fittings. Simple, functional plywood bench seating runs the entire length of the space with plenty of varying shades of grey cushions and throws…coupled with wooden and pastel coloured powder coated seats making for the perfect 'Hygge' spot for you to plan, work or just shoot the breeze.
Interior details aside the caffeine was excellent, cinnamon bun exquisite and staff super friendly!
Best Green Space.
A great city has a great park at its heart, and we made our way to explore the sprawling Slottsskogen, situated south west and the biggest public green space on offer. Being positioned adjacent to the Botanic Gardens was also a good reason to check it out! Pathways on different planes weave in and out of a patchwork of lakes, dense forestry and open grassland, which makes for a good couple of hours taking in the fabulous oranges, reds and browns that Autumn has brought, not too mention getting a good lungful of fresh Scandinavian air.
The various food halls on offer ensure that you won’t be struggling for choice in this emerging foodie city.
Our favourite was Feskekôrka or ‘Fish Church’ located in the Inom Vallgraven district. Modest in size this market offers a plentiful array of locally sourced seafood with a couple of restaurants and a less formal café where you can stop for drink and some fresh fish. We couldn’t resist salmon nuggets… a mixed bag of sensational natural, lemon, chili and garlic and champagne marinated bites of joy!
After a spot of googling, we settled on Bord 27 in Haga for our last night's meal and, although we missed the online booking... we chanced it! In the heart of the university neighborhood , this small and humble shop front opened its doors and gave us a seat at the bar to dine. Cozy, relaxed and unassuming this interior held such a sense of pride and quality that you just knew it was going to be a really great experience. A modest sized menu and minimal print design contrasted with showstopping flavours and presentation... I think I won the starters round with the best steak tartare either of us can remember: nutty, crunchy and well textured this was taste heaven! The other half won on the mains and desserts with slow cooked local lamb dish followed by a pumpkin trio of ice cream, mousse and pastry!
For those with a keen craft beer palate, you’ve come to the right city! My favorite spot for a tipple, however, shared the same courtyard as Kaffe Magasinet and served the grape instead of the grain. Olssons Vin wine bar is the ideal spot to rest your feet post city meanderings. This double height space was broken with a small mezzanine above the seating area keeping the bar and wine display over the full height. The service and mix of seating was excellent; high stools and tables opposite the bar let incoming guests see the buzz and the perimeter timber slatted banquettes with pull out shelf tables let clients sit side by side and view out into the space. Simple, warm and clean lines meant this was the place to be come after work Friday drinks! Sample the German Pinot Noir it was delish!
We bypassed the large malls…not my bag! If it’s more boutique style local craft retailers you are after there is a whole street dedicated to outlets promoting ‘coziness’ in Haga. For a little bit more up market zing, there's a strong collection of fashion, interior and styling focused retail units on the streets surrounding the cathedral. When you stumble upon Kvadrat’s showroom next to a Rum 21 outlet, it's clear that good design is a key part of this city’s Scandinavian culture
For me, the best spot to spend a couple of Krone was found tucked within another urban courtyard. Floramora & Krukatö, a garden shop come interior styling heaven was a myriad of detail, filled with anything and everything you need to make your home typically and effortlessly Scandi!
Best Culture Fix.
There are a number of larger more traditional museums that take prominence in the central district along the canals. However we wanted to seek out something a bit more underground…so we travelled west to the Rödasten Art Hall. Home to Swedish and international contemporary works of art we had a really exciting and unique experience. Think abandoned factory club night with a touch of the BALTIC centre to level you out. The volume and sheer scale of the main gallery space made me really gasp. The work by Pinar Yoldas was intriguing and politically and culturally on-point, the staff were super welcoming and the Fish Taco washed down with some Organic Carlsberg was totally tops!
Use your travel pass and head to Saltholmen ferry terminal, west of the city to take advantage of the local ferries out to the Southern archipelago. From mid October these are less frequent but we managed to take the long journey out to Donsö stopping at 3 or 4 smaller islands. The tranquility of the scenery is worth the bitter cold views up on deck and the hues of blues, greys and browns are truly quite magical.
On Donsö we made for the only café we could see, Restaurang Isbolaget planning to just grab a take-away coffee. On entering you could feel the warmth and homeliness. A real sense of community spirit echoed in the large dining hall and we couldn’t resist the homemade spread the buffet had to offer, which we realised was a daily changing set feast. Filling hot and cold boxes we rushed back to catch ferry whilst a passing local asked ‘what's the dish of the day?’.
Almost deserted streets and lanes made it feel very cinematic and still like you were the only actors on stage. Yet I can imagine these hard-working fishing islands will become very different atmosphere come warmer months.
Check Out >
Feskekôrka, Rosenlundsgatan 4-6, 411 25 Göteborg, Sweden
Slottsskogen, Sottskogspromenaden, 414 76 Göteborg, Sweden
Kafé Magasinet, Tredje Långgatan 9, 413 03 Göteborg, Sweden
Restaurang Isbolaget , Donsö hamnväg 45, 430 82 Donsö, Sweden
Bord 27, Haga kyrkogata 14, 411 23 Göteborg, Sweden
Floramora & Krukatös AB, Kaserntorget 8, 411 18 Göteborg, Sweden
Burgersson, Friggagatan 14B, 411 01 Göteborg, Sweden
RÖDA STEN 1, 414 51 Göteborg, Sweden
Made In China, Tredje Långgatan 9, 413 03 Göteborg, Sweden
Tacos & Tequila, Tredje Långgatan 9, 413 03 Göteborg, Sweden
Bar Kino - Hagabions café, Linnégatan 21, 413 04 Göteborg, Sweden
The Rover, Andra Långgatan 12, 413 28 Göteborg, Sweden
Da Matteo Roastery, Södra Larmgatan 2, 411 16 Göteborg, Sweden
Rum21, Kyrkogatan 20-22, 411 15 Göteborg, Sweden
Smörgåsbaren, Kyrkogatan 20-22, 411 15 Göteborg, Sweden
Grandpa Göteborg, Vallgatan 3, 411 16 Göteborg, Sweden
Top Tips >
1. Wrap Up – the locals didn’t really understand why we were visiting in November!
2. Don’t take a taxi…anywhere – it makes Edinburgh taxis look cheap!
3. Quite a few places have adopted the ‘card only’ system when paying
4. Check ferry times, stops and duration
5. Keep on the right track…there are strict pedestrian, cycle, tram and motor lanes