Free Things-To-Do in Gothenburg – One Day Itinerary

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Visiting a pricey destination needs more preparation, especially if you can’t afford a spending splurge (read: need to be stingy) and prefer to travel wisely and modestly. The most essential thing to do on your list: check free-entrance attractions or sightseeing activities available in the town. Second on your list: find other ways to spend your time if point one fails. And last but not least – let’s pray and hope that you don’t need to be a beggar in your destination country, or work part-time as a dishwasher because you are flat broke.

My second destination after Stockholm is Gothenburg, another expensive city in Sweden. Under lousy weather, with a gust of chilly wind in May, I made a beeline to Gothenburg by rail. SJ, the main railway company in Sweden, brought us right to this windy city. As we arrived, the weather was still moody, windy, and chilly, but sunny. In spite of that, locals bravely walked around wearing only shorts and short-sleeved shirts. Totally different from us, who remained loyal to our coats and scarfs.

Gothenburg in the morning

Haga vs Kungsportsavenyn

Both are acclaimed city districts with sprawling restaurants, pubs, and stores. However, there is still a slight difference between them: price. Yes, the second is well-known as a pricey road with luxury hotels and restaurants, while the first offers small cafes and pubs with more affordable prices. So, if you are looking for a budget-friendly hostel, Haga is the place.

Other things you can do in Haga include buying souvenirs, and ambling around its old and classic alleys dating back to the 17th century! And…don’t forget to immerse yourself in a Swedish habit – having some Fika. Fika can be interpreted as a coffee break, a time when Swedish people usually have some tea or coffee accompanied by kanelbullar or a cinnamon bun while enjoying a conversation with someone, or even alone. And Haga is again famous for this, and you can get a super big cinnamon bun at Cafe Husaren. For your information, in Haga this kanelbullar is called Hagabullen.

If you can get whatever you want in Haga, what is there for you to visit in Kungsportsavenyn? Despite the pricey restaurants and cafes available in this district, you can still find an affordable lunch in restaurants geared towards workers. It is worth a visit and believe me, the taste won’t make you regret it.

Varldskulturmuseerna

Or in English, the World Culture Museum, is a free-entrance museum which sometimes transforms into a venue for weddings, birthday parties, or parties for the locals. For a free museum, The World Culture Museum is great for spending time while it is raining outside or the wind is too chilly to walk around.

Unlike other contemporary museums, The World Culture Museum offers more unique exhibitions, starting with a tree exhibition containing colorful hanging ribbons that can be interpreted accordingly in this exhibition about immigrant awareness. In essence, this museum is suitable for a contemporary person with a contemporary sense of art. Don’t expect to find any classical paintings inside!

Skansen Kronan

If you love hiking up hills and are fascinated by things related to history, Skansen Kronan has them both. Situated not so far from Haga, Skansen Kronan is one of the favorite places for locals having a small party, walking their dogs, or just jogging. From the top you can get a bird’s eye view to Gothenburg town, especially when the weather is great and not so foggy as it was when I was last there.

The way to Skansen Kronan. Beautiful, isn't it?

According to history, Skansen Kronan is a fortress that has never been used as it should have been. Yet, it served as a military museum until 2004 before it eventually turned into a private facility for conferences and then became a place to ….party! Therefore, don’t be shocked if you find some rubbish around the area.

By the way, why is it called ‘Skansen Kronan’? Has it got any relationship with Ronan Keating? Unfortunately no, even though it sounds almost similar (to my ears). It was named due to the crown seen atop its roof, and a crown is referred to in Swedish as en krona (the crown – kronan).

A view overlooking the town

There are some more “Skansens” around Gothenburg which we haven’t visited as of yet due to their locations.

Tips for Visiting Gothenburg

  • Make sure to bring a scarf or hat. No matter how “bright” the summer is, Gothenburg is always windy and chilly. 
  • Gothenburg is a quiet town. If you like crowds, don’t go out before 10 am. If you love serenity, the earlier you go out, the better ( although I don’t believe Gothenburg is ever that crowded). 
  • Make a list of “must visit” sites, especially if you aren’t staying in the center of town and you dislike wandering around on a chilly summer day.
  • There’s no need to copy the locals wearing shorts and short sleeves in the springtime. Be yourself. If you feel cold, just put on your scarf and hat.

Ha en fantastisk resa!

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