10 Top Attractions & Places to Visit in Gothenburg

Written by Andrew Birbeck and Shandley McMurray
Updated Dec 27, 2023
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It's impossible to get bored in Gothenburg, Sweden's so-called, "Second City." Known as Gӧteborg, this coastal place is filled with beauty and fun things to do, including screaming on a thrill ride at Liseberg Amusement Park, looking for deer in Slottskogen Park, and embarking on a seal safari in the Southern archipelago.

Naturalists will enjoy the Gothenburg Botanical Garden, while creative types should visit the Gothenburg Museum of Art. When hunger strikes, there is an array of delectable dishes on offer at the city's award-winning restaurants.

In this picturesque city peppered with historic buildings and flanked by a bustling seaport, the sparkling canals can fool tourists into believing they're near the sights of Amsterdam. Speaking of canals, Gothenburg's 190-kilometer-long Gӧta Canal is an unmissable attraction and one of the most popular places to visit in Sweden.

For more must-see attractions, use our list of the best things to do in Gothenburg.

See also: Where to Stay in Gothenburg

1. Enjoy a Thrilling Ride at Liseberg Amusement Park

Liseberg Amusement Park
Liseberg Amusement Park

Want your kids to appreciate you forever, or at least for a day? Take them to the Liseberg Amusement Park. Opened in 1923, this Gothenburg landmark remains a true family favorite. Thrilling rides and roller coasters, regular concerts, and a wonderful Christmas market make this a popular attraction — the largest of its kind in Scandinavia — with locals and tourists alike.

Around 40 different attractions and rides, such as AtmosFear, one of the tallest free-fall rides in Europe, and the award-winning wooden roller coaster Balder will help you while away the hours. On the Liseberg Wheel (Lisebergshjulet), you'll be treated to terrific views over the city, and the Helix roller coaster is another favorite.

This ultra-fun attraction also boasts good food, music, games, and hundreds of thousands of flowers in bloom during the summer months. Another popular time to visit is Halloween, when the park is transformed into a spooky-themed adventure zone.

Address: Örgrytevägen 5, 41251 Gothenburg

2. Take a Stroll in Slottsskogen Park

Reindeer at Slottsskogen
Reindeer at Slottsskogen

Hoping to save a few bucks? Head to 338-acre Slottsskogen, a leafy park and mini-zoo in the heart of the city. Also known as "Castle Park," it's a fantastic place to bring the entire family. And the best part? It won't cost a penny. In fact, visiting this park is one of the best free things to do in Gothenburg for both locals and tourists.

Elk, seals, penguins, moose, and deer are just some of the species you can see in the zoo, which is one of the oldest in Sweden. And, from April to September, kids can enjoy pony rides and cuddle farmyard animals at the petting zoo.

Many people also come here to relax and wander through the peaceful parklands and wild forests of maple, beech, and oak. Roller skating, biking, jogging, and miniature golf are other popular activities. Cafés and well-designed children's playgrounds lie within the park, and concerts and events are also staged here, including the popular Way Out West music festival in the summer.

Located on the edge of the park is the Gothenburg Museum of Natural History, a popular Gothenburg attraction for its dioramas of animals from around the globe.

Address: Slottskogspromenaden, 414 76 Göteborg

3. Have an Outdoor Adventure in Gothenburg's Southern Archipelago

The Southern Archipelago
The Southern Archipelago

You don't have to travel far from the city to find charming villages, stunning scenery, and pristine beaches. Thanks to its location in the Gothenburg Archipelago, seal safaris, sailing, lobster fishing, sea-angling, and boat excursions are just some of the activities to tempt tourists in the southern section of this stunningly beautiful archipelago (Skärgården). Best of all, regular ferry links run to most anywhere you'd like to go.

The southern islands, reached from Saltholmen ferry port, remain a car-free zone making it a perfect destination for cyclists and hikers. Styrsö Island, with four quaint villages and about 1,400 inhabitants, is a real treat. The oldest village, Byn, which literally means village, dates back to 1752. There's also a post office, cafés, shops, guesthouse, and restaurant as well as plenty of places to fish and swim.

4. Get Back to Nature at the Gothenburg Botanical Garden (Botaniska)

Gothenburg Botanical Garden (Botaniska)
Gothenburg Botanical Garden (Botaniska)

If you feel like soaking up some nature in between touring the city sights, the serene 432 acres of Gothenburg Botanical Garden (Botaniska) is a wonderful place to unwind. Part nature reserve and arboretum, with walking paths weaving through the trees, and partly cultivated gardens, this peaceful oasis is guaranteed to bust any stress that accompanied you on vacation.

This beautiful and tranquil place was established in 1916 and is one of Europe's largest botanical gardens. Home to around 16,000 different plant species, including some extremely rare specimens, it's a wonderful place to visit.

Highlights include the Japan Valley, the colorful Rhododendron Valley, and the rock garden awash with the soothing sounds of a waterfall. Orchids and other species of exotic plants flourish in the greenhouses, and you can even see a rare tree from Easter Island that is extinct in the wild. The park is particularly pretty in the spring and summer when colorful blooms cluster on the trees.

Address: Carl Skottsbergs gata 22A, 413 19 Göteborg

5. Gothenburg Museum of Art (Goteborgs Konstmuseum)

The Gothenburg Museum of Art (Goteborgs Konstmuseum)
The Gothenburg Museum of Art (Goteborgs Konstmuseum) | Tommy Alven / Shutterstock.com

Inspired and aspiring artists will enjoy a trip to the Gothenburg Museum of Art (Goteborgs Konstmuseum). This captivating attraction hosts a collection of works that is regarded as one of the finest in Northern Europe, and it really shouldn't be missed.

The collection covers artworks from the 15th century to contemporary pieces, with a special emphasis on Nordic art. Artists featured here include Carl Larsson, Edvard Munch, Anders Zorn, Picasso, Chagall, Monet, Rembrandt, and many others.

The museum also hosts temporary exhibitions, as well as family activities, lectures, workshops, guided tours, a shop, and café. The photo exhibitions at the Hasselblad Centre in the museum are also well worth seeing. A highlight is the annual Hasselblad Award Winner's Exhibition. Next door is the City Theatre (Gӧteburg Stadsteater) and Art Deco Concert Hall.

Address: Götaplatsen, 41256 Gothenburg

6. Explore the Historic Haga District


You can't help but love Gothenburg's historic district. Located in the west of the city, Haga is one of the oldest neighborhoods in Gothenburg and dates from the mid-17th century. It's also packed with things to do during the day and night. Stroll along the charming neighborhood of Haga Nygata, which is lined with beautifully preserved timber houses, boutique shops, and pleasant cafés.

Try one of the world's largest cinnamon buns (Kanelbullar) at Café Husaren, visit the spa and restaurant at Hagabadet Bathhouse, or enjoy fresh seafood at Sjöbaren restaurant. Don't miss out on Bräutigam's, chocolate makers for more than 140 years. In the southeast area, you can gaze out over the city from Skansen Kronan. As evening approaches head to Pustervik just outside Haga for some live music.

Location: Haga Nygata, Gothenburg

7. The Garden Society (Trädgårdsföreningen)

The Garden Society (Trädgårdsföreningen)
The Garden Society (Trädgårdsföreningen)

Situated in the heart of the city, the Garden Society of Gothenburg (Trädgårdsföreningen) is one of Europe's most beautifully preserved 19th-century parks. Here, you can stroll amid rolling lawns, exotic plants, and historic buildings, many of which date back to the park's establishment in 1842.

The woodland gardens and magnificent collection of roses are a feast for any eye, while the splendid glass and cast-iron Palm House at the park's center was inspired by the famous Crystal Palace in London and has been a popular attraction since 1878. For the kids, there's a terrific playground with swings, slides, and secret paths to explore.

Restaurants and cafés are on-site, and concerts and performances take place here throughout the year.

Address: Slussgatan 1, Gothenburg

8. Explore the Universe at Universeum

Clownfish at the Universeum
Clownfish at the Universeum

Your kids won't be the same after you take them to Universeum. Located in the center of Gothenburg, this fun attraction is the largest science center in the Nordic countries and a great day out for all the family. The aquariums are among the largest in Europe. Explore the indoor rainforest, or go on safari and get up close to lizards, birds, insects, sloths, and several species of monkeys.

The ocean tank is home to several different kinds of sharks, the largest one being the sand tiger shark. You can also see moray eels and swordfish and even touch giant rays as they surface. Other fun things to do include visiting the space exhibition and the job lab, where little ones can dress up and try out different professions.

Address: Södra vägen 50, 40020 Gothenburg

9. Enjoy the Views from Skansen Kronan

Skansen Kronan
Skansen Kronan

A short walk from the city's historic Haga district, up a steep flight of stairs, Skansen Kronan fortress offers a glimpse of Swedish history, as well as sweeping views over the city. Completed in 1697, the fortress was built to defend against perceived threats of Danish attacks from the south. However, Gothenburg was never attacked in this way, and the cannons inside have stood idle for centuries.

The building served as a prison, as a private residence during the 19th century, and as a military museum in the 20th century. Today, the site encompasses a restaurant and conference center and is the site of many events and weddings. In the old army barracks adjacent to the tower is a summer café serving home-baked cakes, pastries, and ice cream, as long as they receive the right permits to open during the year you visit.

Location: Skansberget, Leijonsparres Väg 15, 413 04, Gothenburg

10. Shopping around Magasinsgatan

Delicious pastries
Delicious pastries | Heather Cowper / photo modified

The trendy, bustling neighborhood around Magasinsgatan, in central Gothenburg, used to be a warehouse district and is well worth a visit. Grab a cup of coffee and something to eat or browse shops with everything from interior design to vintage clothing. There are plenty of gourmet and traditional restaurants.

This district is in the city center at the end of the Kungsgatan. If staying downtown, the easiest way to get there is to walk. Alternatively, you can take the tram or bus to either Grönsakstorget or Domkyrkan.

Location: Magasinsgatan, Gothenburg

Where to Stay in Gothenburg for Sightseeing

Gothenburg's attractions aren't grouped compactly into one area, but public transportation is good, and many are within a 10- or 15-minute walk of each other. So for tourists, the most convenient hotels are those in the city center, close to the rail station and the Magasinsgatan shopping district and an easy walk from the floating ships museum. Farther south, on the way to the Liseberg amusement park and Universeum science center, is the Lorensburg district and Gothenburg's outstanding art museum. These highly rated hotels are handy to Gothenburg attractions:

Luxury Hotels:

  • The striking contemporary Upper House, overlooking the Universeum and Liseberg, is connected to the convention center and has a spa, heated outdoor pool, and beautiful views.
  • In the center, near the train station, city museum, and Magasinsgatan shopping area, the boutique Hotel Pigalle is a romantic retreat with 1920s Paris décor.
  • Beside the rail station, Clarion Hotel Post offers a gym, spa, and a year-round heated roof-top pool, all a short walk from the center.

Mid-Range Hotels:

  • In the city center, near the station, airport bus stop, and Magasinsgatan, the historic Hotel Royal Gothenburg pampers guests by including afternoon tea and cakes.
  • A two-minute walk from the airport bus stop, Comfort Hotel City - Gothenburg has small, well-furnished rooms and a kitchen for guests' use.
  • Nearby, Hotel Vanilla is a 10-minute walk from the station and close to restaurants and shopping.

Budget Hotels:

  • For a unique experience only a short walk from the airport bus stop and the center of Gothenburg, Hotel Barken Viking is on a ship.
  • Just off Kungsparken, halfway between the old center and the art museum and an easy walk to either, Hotel Poseidon is close to restaurants and shopping.
  • Spar Hotel Majorna is on the waterfront in Majorna, near the maritime museum and Kiel ferry landing; a variety of restaurants are nearby.

Map of Attractions & Things to Do in Gothenburg

Gothenburg, Sweden - Climate Chart

Average minimum and maximum temperatures for Gothenburg, Sweden in °C
1 -3 2 -4 5 -1 10 2 16 8 20 12 21 13 20 13 16 10 12 7 7 2 3 -1
Average monthly precipitation totals for Gothenburg, Sweden in mm.
69 41 53 43 48 58 71 74 84 86 86 76
Average minimum and maximum temperatures for Gothenburg, Sweden in °F
34 26 35 25 41 30 49 36 61 45 67 52 68 55 68 54 61 49 52 43 43 35 37 29
Average monthly precipitation totals for Gothenburg, Sweden in inches.
2.7 1.6 2.1 1.7 1.9 2.3 2.8 2.9 3.3 3.4 3.4 3.0

More Must-See Swedish Cities


Sweden is famous for its safe, stylish cities flaunting a fascinating blend of old and new. About 470 kilometers northeast of Gothenburg, the Swedish capital, Stockholm, is a picturesque intermingling of land and sea, with plenty of appealing day trip options, including the medieval university city of Uppsala. The beautiful island of Gotland, where many Swedes like to vacation, is also only a 35-minute flight away. At the country's southwestern tip, Malmo is famous for its iconic Oresund Bridge connecting Sweden with Denmark, and the busy port city of Helsingborg to the north is also a short hop from Denmark.

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