A day in Gothenburg exploring Slottsskogen & the city center

Gothenburg, Sweden is a great city for walking. With lots of parks, canals, and a compact city center, there’s a lot to explore. Although there is also great public transportation in the city, you can see most of it on foot when the weather is nice.

When I visited Gothenburg, I spent a day walking around the center of the city, venturing all the way to Slottsskogen, a park in the center of Gothenburg that is described as the lungs of the city. Here’s the rough route I took:

From my hotel near the train station, the Clarion Collection Hotel Odin, it was a short walk to the city center. From there, you have a couple of options. You can either walk around the old city, perhaps following Stora Nygatan & Basargatan along the canal that bends around the points of the walls, or you can cross the canal and walk through a series of parks.

gothenburg-streetcar

gothenburg-canals-flowers

gothenburg-canals

Near the end of the park, you’ll stop a tiny-but-towering church across the street. The church is called Hagakyrkan. It’s a pretty little church with an impressive tower, though it was covered in scaffolding when I visited.

Hagakyrkan-gothenburg

Hagakyrkan

From there, the walk continues south down the main road, which changes names several times (not that there are many street signs anyway). You’ll pass the Skansen Kronan, an old fortress that is now a conference & wedding center. It looks like a nice place to visit, but visitor hours are limited, so you’ll likely have to appreciate it from below.

Skansen-Kronan

After about a 45 minute walk from where you started the walk in central Gothenburg, you’ll reach a large transit roundabout with a giant park behind it. Or, if you’ve chosen to take a tram, you’ll also end up at this same spot. You’ve reached Slottsskogen!

Slottsskogen-map

Slottsskogen is truly a magnificent park, one of the nicest urban parks I’ve seen. With playgrounds, large grassy areas for sports, grills, lakes, and cafes, there’s something for everyone here. You can come with a huge group, or you can find a nice, quiet, secluded spot.

Slottsskogen-lawn

Slottsskogen-lake

While the edges of the park are more like what you’d expect a well-maintained city park to be like, the center of the park is much more wild.

Slottsskogen-hills

This center of the park is hilly & filled with trees. You’ll notice signs for particular animals, which is your first (and really only) sign that you are actually in a zoo. If you’re used to zoo entrances with ticket windows & such, you won’t find them in Slottsskogen. It’s a small zoo with exhibits of local animals, almost more of a farm given how many of them are domesticated animals.

Here you will find an aquarium with seals.

Slottsskogen-seals

There are also Oeland geese, which are apparently used as guard geese since they make a lot of noise when strangers arrive.

Slottsskogen-oeland-geese

There are also elk, otherwise known as moose in North America.

Slottsskogen-elk

The center of the zoo has most of the animals. As I mentioned, a lot of them are farm animals, such as goats and these sheep who had a standoff with a local dog.

Slottsskogen-deer

Slottsskogen-farm

While the Slottsskogen Zoo doesn’t have exotic animals, it’s a nice way to see some local animals from Sweden up close.

It’s very easy to get lost in Slottsskogen Park. The paths don’t really follow any kind of set pattern, so it’s easy to find yourself walking in a direction you hadn’t intended, or even in a circle. Eventually, I found myself at the northern edge of the park.

Slottsskogen-trees

From here, I walked along Vegagatan, then veered over to Linnegatan, both of which head north. This area of Gothenburg has much of the city’s nightlife, including several craft beer bars.

Just to the east is Haga, a shopping & entertainment area with lots of interesting independent businesses, particularly along Haga Nygata. Yes, this means lots of hipsters, but it also means lots of cool hipster places to visit.

Haga-gothenburg

gothenburg-haga-shopping-food-bars

The walk then continues north back into the center of Gothenburg. You can of course head to any of the sights here, but I wanted to pick up some food for later, so I went to the Saluhallen market.

Saluhallen

The Saluhallen market has lots of small food vendors selling meats, cheeses, baked goods, and more. Unlike some city markets I’ve visited, it’s open until 6pm.

Saluhallen-market

Saluhallen-market-gothenburg

I bought some lamb sausages, some cheese, and then a couple of pastries from the Steinbrenner & Nyberg bakery. I even got a free cinnamon roll called kanelbulle. I’d like to think that it was because the girl in the shop liked me, but more likely it was because it was near the end of the day, and they were going to go to waste anyway. Whatever the case, I’ll never turn down free baked goods.

Saluhallen-bakery

Gothenburg is a great walking city. While this is a nice walking route to get to know the city, you really can’t go wrong if you wander around on your own.

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