Finally made it into Scandinavia! Even though Gothenburg is not the capitol of Sweden, it is however the 2nd largest city in Sweden. Before visiting the city, I didn’t think too much of it but it turned out to be quite the lovely, beautiful city.
The city centre of Gothenburg is over run with their main transportation methods of these blue busses and trams. Now every time I think back on Gothenburg all I can see are these blue busses and trams. And they are everywhere. Sure it means getting around town is easier, but navigating across streets can be confusing trying to figure out who has the right of way. But, as the locals do, just cross and they’ll yield to you.
Gothenburg also has a lot of canals, making it look almost Dutch. And these canals, unlike the ones in Amsterdam are actually adjacent to lush green parks that follow the main canal. We saw many locals laying on the grass enjoying the warm sunny day.
Since there wasn’t all that much to do or see in the city centre and with us having a whole day here, we decided to adventure out into the Southern Archipelago, which is just an extensive group of small islands. In Gothenburg, there are the northern and southern archipelago (same amount of time to travel to both archipelago). However the southern archipelago don’t have any cars on the island where the northern ones do. Therefore, we wanted the small, isolated feel of the southern archipelago.
There are many islands in the southern archipelago. So which ones are the “better” ones or ones you must see? Well reading around I came to the conclusions that the island of STYRSÖ, the biggest of the islands and the island of VRÅNGÖ are the best to see. Sadly, we did not make it to the further island of VRÅNGÖ because we were running low on time, however we did make it to the biggest island of STYRSÖ.
Welcome to STYRSÖ! The biggest island of the southern archipelago. As you can guess, even the small island out of the bunch is still actually quite small, I think at it’s biggest diameter, the island is 1km is length. So, what is there to do on these islands? Well, not much. You can walk around but it’s like walking through someone’s neighbourhood. There was one small restaurant/cafe near the ferry dock and that’s it. We were here for maybe 40 minutes and we were bored. Yes it’s pretty, but on this island there wasn’t much to offer. I’m guessing that these are summer homes of the people of Gothenburg. I have heard of other islands there are areas for swimming thats open to the public which would have been nice on this hot day.
But in all honestly, the ferry ride to and from the islands were enough to satisfy you of the southern archipelago. Being on the island itself didn’t offer too much else. But that being said, I was only at the island of STYRSÖ.
We got back into Gothenburg around 6 or 7 I believe and decided to check out the highly acclaimed hipster neighbourhood of Haga.
To me Haga was definitely missing something. The streets were empty (okay, maybe because it was a holiday and everything closed at 5pm) and the area was lacking charm, especially with the architecture of the area. Actually if you go west of Haga, I found the area to be more charming especially with the beautiful buildings that towered over the little cobble streets.
We did however stop to have a Fika break, which means to have a coffee break with cake or traditional cinnamon bun.
We stopped at this gorgeous cafe right on the corner of Landsvägsgatan and Haga Nygata (which is the main street of Haga) called Le Petit Cafe. We were so blinded by its beauty that we ignored the rude customer service and the prices. I purchased one of those chocolate cupcakes with meringue on top. Yes, it looked delicious but was way too overly sweet and finishing the whole thing left me with a stomach ache. Even my friend who had a coffee with her found it too sweet as well.
Gothenburg was a cute little city to rest our heads and use as a home base while we ventured to other cities. But the city itself didn’t have too much to offer for tourism. I could see staying here for more than 1 day would get boring.
- Getting to the southern archipelago in the “off” season or “shoulder” season is a bit more tricky, but still totally do-able. I was here on June 15th and the season started on June 19th. What did this mean for us? Well to get to the islands, you need to take the tram out to the coast (25 minutes tram ride) and then get on the ferry which takes you to many of the popular islands (for us this meant 15 minutes). But, if we here on June 19th and latter, well, we wouldn’t need to take the tram out to the coast because starting on June 19th, they’ll start the ferries in the city centre, eliminating the tram duration of this trip. This would have been super helpful because the tram runs every 10 minutes, however the ferry runs every 30 mins or hour. Which meant lining up the ferry and the tram was a hit or miss and this really faulted us because we were always pushed back by an hour.
- But the good news is, the transit ticket for the city of Gothenburg (1 ticket lasts 90 minutes) was also valid for the ferry. And in like German fashion, there is no one controlling the tickets, but if you get caught, then you get heavily fined. There are no machines at the tram/bus stops but they are on the trams themselves. And since Scandinavia is on this whole “no cash, card only” trend right now they only accept card. And out of all of us traveling there, none of our cards worked. So this meant getting off at the city centre and having to buy a day pass at the tourist centre. You also could not buy a day pass on the tram itself. Only single tickets.
- Everyplace, looking at it’s hours, seemed to close very early to North American standards. Everywhere closed as early as 5pm or 6pm, so take this into account when planning your day. Even some restaurants closed this early so take note of where you’d wanna eat.
- Make your way to VRÅNGÖ for a more authentic island