Four Things to do in Gothenburg, if you’re pressed for time.

I’m never in one place for a long time. Most days, I’m in a city for just a day. Some days I get lucky and I’m there for two. Such was the case when I flew to Gothenburg, Sweden. Because of the schedule of my job, I was rostered with a day off there. Since I arrived early in the morning of my first day, I slept it through noon. So technically, I only had a day and a half, yet as I backtrack to what I did during those days, I feel like I did so much already.

If you’re planning to go to (or already are in) Gothenburg for a couple of days, and would like an idea of what to do, maybe my itinerary can help you out. Here’s what I did:

  1. Haga Street

This is one of the more well known streets in Gothenburg. Haga is a quiet residential area close to a busy square, but it’s well visited for this one street that’s lined with cafes and restaurants. You can busy yourself by looking through the pretty displays of The Kawaii Store or Unicorns and Sons, or simply find the perfect souvenir in the number of souvenir shops nearby. If you want to hit two birds with one stone, you can enjoy a Fika break in one of the coffee shops lining the street. Don’t forget to try their famously gigantic cinnamon buns!

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2. Gothia Tower’s Heaven 23

If you’d like to get drinks and have a nice view of the city, Gothia Tower’s Heaven 23 is a sky bar/lounge with a good atmosphere, great wine, and a wide view of the city. The place is popular for it’s “King Size” Raksmorgas, Heaven 23’s take on the popular Swedish prawn sandwich.

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3. The Horticultural Garden

In my opinion, Gothenburg is a place of quiet and relaxation. So activities should also be in between those lines. What better way to admire those two aspects than to visit  a garden. The Horticultural Garden houses quite a number of plants that belong to different climates. The greenhouse has a rose garden, an entire wing for tropical plants, a rainforest section, and an area dedicated to cacti. The place is good to walk around in and just admire the different colored greens. Not to mention, to enter is free.

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it was a gloomy day, but not too bad.

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4. Gothenburg Art Museum

Another place that’s worth admiring is the Gothenburg Art Museum. To see all of the six floors of art, it’s 60 Swedish Kronas (SEK). On some occasions, they have artworks from different countries/museums that they show for some time. To be able to see such displays, it might be an additional 40 SEK or so, making it 100 SEK to be able see all the art inside the museum. At the time of my visit, I paid 100 SEK to see the Mloda Polska exhibit as well.

Not only does the museum house different forms of art by Swedish artists, they also keep works by foreign artists such as Vincent Van Gogh.

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Haga in Gothenburg and Fika, Sweden’s Coffee Culture

Travel truly does educate. If I hadn’t flown to Gothenburg, I wouldn’t have known what this Fika thing is about. Fika is the Swede’s practice of taking a break from a day’s work and making time for friends. It’s a socialisation that relies heavily upon coffee (or tea) and a little snack. It’s more than a social behavior, it’s an important culture that, as I’ve read, the Swede’s are very proud of.

The first time I read about fika, I thought it was like taking a siesta minus the sleeping part. It is still, essentially, taking a break. I thought that this Swedish practice was making time for one’s self, and just letting go of the worries we’ve encountered in the day for a mere hour or so – while sipping that deliciously smelling coffee of course. Well, it is kinda. I was almost there. As I read more and more about fika, though, I learned that doing it by yourself is simply just a coffee and snack break. Although they’ve revolved fika around coffee as its most important factor, it isn’t just the mere drinking of coffee; its second most important factor is being able to make connections with the people who’ve gathered with us.

But still, I wanted to try fika. I thought I’d been doing fika all along whenever I went to coffee shops alone during my layovers. So I told myself, “since I’m in Sweden, I’m doing Fika too.” So I strut myself to Haga, Gothenburg’s famous neighborhood, known for it’s one street that’s lined with cafes, restaurants, and souvenir shops. It also had a Kawaii shop – yes, a shop filled with kawaii items like Sailormoon’s clothes and TONS of Pikachu products – and a Unicorn and Sons store, which sold multiple items with either pictures of unicorns or unicorn horns on them! EXCITING.

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it’s an instagrammable street
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Here’s a bike displayed just outside the Kawaii Shop.

But I digress.

So after setting foot on the street and admiring the trinkets on display and the people sitting in the restaurants, I searched for my very own cafe to kill time in. By the end of the street stood Cafe Hebbe Lelle, which sold Sweden’s famous cinnamon buns known for their bigger-than-normal size (for a vague point of reference, they’re bigger than my face). Since I have such a sweet tooth, I was lured in. I ordered that and a cappuccino, and spent my afternoon in that one spot.

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