I Heart My City: Sofia’s Gothenburg

Gothenburg is Sweden's second largest city. (Photograph by Bernt Rostad, Flickr)

Sofia von Porat is a full-time traveler who shares tips, videos, guides, and inspiration from her adventures abroad on her blog, AsWeTravel.com. Though she’s been all around the globe, something about her hometown keeps calling her back. Here are a few of her favorite things about Gothenburg, Sweden.

Gothenburg is My City

When someone comes to visit me, the first place I take them is Haga, a quaint old neighborhood with many cozy cafes.

Gothenburg's quaint Haga district. (Photograph by Robyn Lee, Flickr)

Gothenburg’s quaint Haga district. (Photograph by Robyn Lee, Flickr)

Summer is the best time to visit my city because the rain and snow have disappeared, the sun comes out to play, and the city is at its most beautiful.

You can see my city best from the canal that runs through the city: they will give you a different perspective of Gothenburg.

Locals know to skip Nordstan shopping mall, and check out the boutiques around Kungsgatan instead.

Kronhusbodarna is the place to buy authentic, local souvenirs.

In the past, notable people like Björn Ulvaeus and the members of Ace of Base  have called my city home.

My city’s best museum is the Gothenburg Museum of Art (Göteborgs Konstmuseum) because of the new exhibitions and the famous paintings by Rembrandt, Van Gogh, Monet, and Picasso.

If there’s one thing you should know about getting around my city it’s that riding a bike is a much better experience than taking public transport.

The Gothenburg Museum of Art is a great place to spend a day (rainy or not). (Photograph by Guillaume Baviere, Flickr)

The Gothenburg Museum of Art is a great place to spend a day (rainy or not). (Photograph by Guillaume Baviere, Flickr)

The best place to spend time outdoors in my city is in Slottsskogen, a massive park perfect for picnics and relaxing in the sun. It’s also the home of Sweden’s only free zoo.

My city really knows how to celebrate summer, because the city comes alive with heaps of events and concerts, including Way Out West in August.

You can tell if someone is from my city if they don’t take things as seriously as other Swedes — and if they speak with a “funny” Swedish accent.

For a fancy night out, I head to Kungsportsavenyn, a centrally located avenue lined with the best bars and nightclubs.

Just outside my city, you can visit Gothenburg’s stunning archipelago, where you can swim and enjoy the beautiful scenery — all with the same tram card you use to get around the city.

My city is known for being a rough working-class city but it’s really a beautiful town with great shopping, fashionable people, and trendy cafes.

The best outdoor market in my city is in Haga. The Christmas market is very cozy and the farmers’ markets during the summer are also a lot of fun.

Le Petit Café, Biscuit, and Café Ethel’s are my favorite places to grab breakfast, and the “korv kiosk” (hot-dog stalls) that are scattered around town are the spots for late-night eats.

A tiny house on Vrångö island in the Gothenburg archipelago. (Photograph by Steffen Ramsaier, Flickr)

A tiny house on Vrångö island in the Gothenburg archipelago. (Photograph by Steffen Ramsaier, Flickr)

To find out what’s going on at night and on the weekends, visit stadsevent.se.

When I’m feeling cash-strapped, I take a ferry to the islands, visit one of the nearby lakes, or hang out in Slottsskogen.

To escape the crowds, I go to the Gothenburg Botanical Garden.

If my city were a celebrity it’d be Terry Crews because it’s unpredictable, tough, and quirky, just like Terry’s characters.

The dish that represents my city best is any kind of seafood (we’ve got some of the best in Sweden), and the “Whole and Half Special” (a street food sausage dish invented in Gothenburg in the 1930s).

Masthuggskyrkan is my favorite building in town because it provides a great view of Gothenburg and the harbor.

The most random thing about my city is that people call it “Little London.”

Sticky Fingers and Nefertiti are the best places to see live music, but if you’re in the mood to dance, check out Trädgår’n.

In the spring you should get a huge scoop of ice cream at Triumf  and stroll on the banks of the harbor at Röda Sten.

A boat cruises down one of Gothenburg's canals. (Photograph by Ruminatrix, Flickr)

A boat cruises down one of Gothenburg’s canals. (Photograph by Ruminatrix, Flickr)

In the summer you should take the tram and ferry to the nearby islands to sunbathe and jump off the rocks.

In the fall you should walk along the golden, leafy Vasa Viktoriagatan boulevard.

In the winter you should indulge in Swedish Christmas snacks, shop at the Christmas markets, and go to Christmas at Liseberg.

If you have kids (or are a kid at heart), you won’t want to miss Liseberg, Scandinavia’s biggest amusement park, and the Universeum.

When I think about my city, the song that comes to mind is “Feel No Sorrow For Me Gothenburg,” by Håkan Hellström.

In 140 characters or less, the world should heart my city because: it’s beautiful and fun without trying to be something it’s not. Gothenburg kind of wears its heart on its sleeve.

If you’re from Gothenburg or have spent time there, tell us what you love about Sweden’s Cinderella city by leaving a comment below.

I Heart My City: Sofia’s Gothenburg Bjorn Ulvaeus , Café Ethels , Goteborgs Kontsmuseum , Gothenburg , Gothenburg Botanical Garden , Haga , Hakan Hellstrom , korv kiosk , Kronhusbodarna , Kungsgatan , Kungsportsavenyn , le petit cafe , Liseberg , Masthuggskyrkan , Nefertiti , Nordstan , Roda Sten , Slottskogen , Stadsevent , Sweden , Terry Crews , Tradgarn , Triumf , Universeum , Vasa Viktoriagatan , Way Out West , Whole and Half Special


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