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November 18, 2013 at 9:30 pm by Angela

“On first glance, a more industrial side of Sweden but actually an attractive and relaxed city.”


Last visited:

12th November 2013 – 15th November 2013

Our trip to Gothenburg was the second part of a Sweden holiday which started in Stockholm. Since we were already in the country, we decided to get the train across to Gothenburg. Despite being over 450km apart, the train was scheduled to only take 3hrs 15mins and the tickets (booked in advanced on the national train operator, SJ, website) only cost 420SKE total (~£21 each).

Day 1

We were keen to try out Swedish trains because they have a good reputation for punctuality. Unfortunately we seemed to pick the single day where there were issues (accident outside Stockholm). Our train left 45minutes late and arrived in Gothenburg 2hrs after it was supposed to. Most unfortunate. What was good though is that no passengers got irate – very different to the UK! Normally passengers have to pay for wifi on SJ services, but they were piloting a new system so we also got wifi for free which made the delay go buy quite quickly. It was also a wonderful way to see the Swedish countryside which is incredibly green!

When we eventually arrived we walked through the station which is beautiful and quite quaint inside. We followed the directions from the hotel website and successfully navigated the bus to the hotel. The bus was really efficient and appeared to run really regularly; it was cheaper that the T in Stockholm but not much – 26SKE each.

The hotel we chose was the Radisson Blu in the science park on the north side of the river through Gothenburg. It had the usual feel you get in a more ‘corporate’ hotel but the rooms are a fair size with good facilities. Because there were no restaurants nearby and it was already quite late, we decided to eat at the hotel restaurant, The Cookoo’s Nest. It wasn’t too pricey considering it was in a hotel and the atmosphere was really relaxed. The food was very tasty and it really helped us relax after the long journey.

Our room!

Day 2

The sun was shining and the sky was clear for our first day in Gothenburg. When we went for breakfast though we could see outside and the flags outside the hotel were flapping away in the wind. Breakfast at the hotel was a lot busier than back in Stockholm and whilst the selection was good it wasn’t quite as Swedish as in Stockholm either. There was brioche and raspberry jam though!

We got the free ferry across from the hotel in to the city and wandered along the Rosenlund canal – the moat of the original fortified Gothenburg. We stopped in Tradgardsforeningens Park to look at the Palm House which was full of lots of lovely green, given it was November, but had fewer interesting species than I’d hoped. We then went to look at the Rose garden which the guide book claimed to look attractive at all times of year but given it was November, it wasn’t!

A mini pineapple!

We wandered to Nordstan shopping centre which is also the largest shopping centre in Sweden. However, we have so many big shopping centres in the UK that it felt quite normal sized. We wandered from there to look at the Domkyrkan which is an interesting church but a rather plain interior. Our next stop was the market Saluhallen. It was full of amazing food inside including loss of bistros to eat at. None of the hot food took our fancy but we went back later to get food for dinner.

A strange statue in the centre that lit-up at night!

In search of lunch we headed on to popular main street Avening. After checking out all of the lunch menus we settled on a place called Le Pain Francais which was 98SKE per person including salad and bread. Sam had chicken linguine and I had fish of the day which was salmon with veg and mash. It was really good value and we were very full!

Post lunch we headed to the Stadsmuseum which was absolutely worth the 40SKE each to get in. The museum had lots of exhibits from the earliest human settlements found in Sweden. It also had a great Viking exhibit with the remains of the only Viking long boat found in Sweden. Our was a really interesting 90mins.

Great Odin…without the raven…

For dinner we had a picnic in our room with some food we bought at the market: a baguette (or a Swedish take on the baguette), cheese, cherry vine tomatoes and cakes. It was a tasty and more cost-effective dinner, more than sufficient after a big lunch.

Market goodness.

Day 3

It was a much cloudier day and it was drizzling when we got the ferry at about 10am. We walked through south Goteborg to the Universeum, an environment and science museum. The walk took longer than we expected and with hindsight it would have probably been better to get the bus. We made it just after 10:30 though.

The museum was quite a well designed and interesting space. It was more of an environmental and natural sciences museum with many exhibits covering the nature of different Swedish terrains. There was also a rainforest section and an oceans section. Aside see from that, the rest was heavily aimed at kids. We did enjoy reading about life of the International Space Station though from the diaries of the first Swedish astronaut, Christer Fulesang. The whole experience was heavily impacted though by the large number of children there on school trips; The children would have not been an issue except they were literally running a muck. Their guardians were not even controlling them. I had massively generalised my view of what Swedish children would be like but that certainly wasn’t it!

Cool bird in the rainforest section

We were going to eat lunch at the museum but the options weren’t very good. We wandered back to Avenyn in search of lunch and struggled to find anything which looked decent; Gothenburg had much less English on menus than in Stockholm which made it more challenging. We were both starting to get tetchy and fed-up when we decided to take a look in one of the coffee shop type venues. The had a lengthy lunch menu in Swedish but I asked one of the ladies at the till and she came and translated for us. We decided to stay and had chicken pasta / prawn jacket potato, salad, bread, tea and water all for 154SKE. The cafe was called Condeco and had a really chilled out atmosphere with very helpful staff. It perked up our day!

Condeco – my favourite Swedish cafe

We took our time at lunch and from there headed to the Rohsska museum, a design and art museum. There was a design through the ages exhibit which was interesting. The remainder of the museum was more focused on art with exhibits on silver and Japanese art. The best part was we got in for free with our ticket from the Stadsmuseum from yesterday.

Pretty vase…

For dinner we did a repeat of the day before by buying a picnic for our hotel room. Rather than pay expensive market prices again though we slummed it at a supermarket we passed on our walk back to the ferry, ICA. We had also been given a 10% off discount coupon for ICA by a friendly go on a Segway the day before which saved us a few krona!

Day 4

Home day – both a happy and sad day! We had an earlier start because our flight was at 11:30am so we joined the business crowd for breakfast just after 7am. I have no issue being up at that time but the lights were very dingy making it feel sleepier than it needed to!

We checked out just before 8am using the computer terminals in the lobby to check out because there was quite a big queue. It was very efficient and even had a printer for printing proper A4 receipts. I shouldn’t be too surprised to see something like that because the tech isn’t cutting edge or anything, but yet I haven’t seen it before.

We got to see a different side to Gothenburg as we walked through to town from the ferry to the bus station. Everyone was walking to work and it had the same sleepy vibe you get in all cities at that time of day. With the early morning mist, it was also easy to understand why at least 10% of the Swedish population are said to suffer from SAD during winter. We got to the Nils Ericsson bus terminal in good time and were presently surprised by the bus station. Whereas in the UK they are usually quite grotty affairs, this one had proper gates, clean seating area and doors out to the bus with a green light to show when you could go out and board – it was very easy to navigate.

Our bus arrived promptly and we had already bought our tickets online. We were at the airport within 30 mins and there were almost no queues so were checked-in and through security within a further 20 mins. The airport wasn’t huge but had more than enough facilities. We bought some work snacks at duty free and then had a cuppa and a saffron bun before boarding. The fog that had been enclosing the airport for the entire morning lifted just before our flight left and as we departed (on time) we got one last fleeting glimpse of the vast Swedish forests.

Last Swedish food – cup of tea and a saffron bun

Useful links:

SJ trains

Radisson Blu hotel

Lindholmen Science Park Ferry

Flybussarna Airport Bus

Nordstan shopping centre

Saluhallen indoor market



Rohsska museum

The Cookoo’s Nest

Le Pain Francais

Condeco cafe

ICA supermarket

Posted in Gothenburg, Sweden
Tags: Condeco, Gothenburg, Rohsska, Stadsmuseum, Sweden, Universeum,
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