After nabbing some bargain flights, in the summer, to Gothenburg (£60 London Gatwick return!), I set off in December with my mum to visit one of Swedens smaller but slightly funkier, cities.
Not knowing much about Gothenburg, I sat down to do some extensive research (where are the best places to eat, mainly) and I discovered that Gothenburg markets itself as the Scandinavian ‘Christmas capital’, boasting it’s impressive Liseberg market; the largest Christmas market in northern Europe. Not only was I giddy from excitement at being in a literal *Christmas City*, I couldn’t wait to try glogg, gingerbread and have a little hygge and fika for myself. I managed to do everything that I was looking forward to, plus I managed to eat a whole load of cinnamon buns. Oh boy, they are good.
Sweden is a wonderfully festive place to spend Christmas in, so if you’re looking for a Christmassy weekend away in Europe, then here are five reasons why you need to add Gothenburg to your festive bucket list.
Liseberg Christmas Market
All throughout the year, Liseberg is an amusement park, however, in December it gets transformed into a beautiful Christmas market, the largest in northern Europe, complete with fake snow and over 5 million twinkling lights. You can enjoy choir concerts and ice-skating performances of the Nutcracker, alongside plenty of glogg, gingerbread and hot sugared nuts. Plus watch out for the carol singers that work their way around the park!
Now, no amount of words or pictures will do this place justice. It is simply magical.
Decorated in traditional Scandi-style, there is something to look at, at every turn. From the beautifully frosted windows, old-fashioned buildings (the kind you see in old American movies), trees covered in fairy lights, German-style market huts and hot coals to warm your hands onto. It’s hard not to feel the sense of magic that is in the air, with the sights, smells and sounds making it quite possibly the most wonderfully festive place on earth.
Wherever I visit, food is always high on the agenda and Sweden has some great offerings. From custard buns, marzipan cakes, cinnamon buns, gingerbread and glogg (okay, not a food but it is soooo good), I ate a hell of a lot of sugar for the three days I was there. Ooops.
With Gothenburg being a student city, there is also a great range of restaurants, cafes and even a small selection of street food trucks off of Magasinsgatan, one of the main shopping streets. From my research, I discovered Jinx Food Truck does an incredible vegan steamed bun, which were delicious. I’d also recommend visiting the indoor food market to grab some amazing local produce. Its right along the canal so is a perfect setting for an alfresco style lunch!
Fantastically, Gothenburg is great for veggies/vegans so if you have dietary requirements, you will not miss out on all that Sweden has to offer.
Fika and Hygge
You can’t visit Sweden and not indulge in a little fika and hygee for yourself. It was a massive trend a couple of years ago in the UK but the Scandinavians have been practising fika and hygee for years.
Fika is the act of coffee and cake, whereas hygee is essentially the feeling of lifes simple pleasures; warmth, coziness, friends and family. Gothenburg has some great places where you can achieve these, the area of Haga is perfect, with cute little cafes lining the streets with blankets and cushions to keep you toasty.
The Pretty Streets
Gothenburg is one of the prettiest cities I have ever visited, especially with the festive touches that they have everywhere. It’s extremely easy to navigate, it’s all flat so can be easily walked, however, they have a great tram link that gets you all around the city.
We purchased a Gothenburg city card which you can use on trams, and it gives you access to a wide range of attractions such as Liseberg and the Paddan Canal Boat tour. Sweden isn’t cheap, but we found the city card was a useful way to keep the costs down.
The Christmas Lights
Gothenburg during the day is pretty, but at night is when the city really shines. The lights that fill the streets are stunning, with every corner covered with beautifully tasteful Christmas decorations.
On our last night in the city, we wandered around, wrapped in layers from head to toe, soaking in the atmosphere, in awe of how pretty it all was. A wonderful end to a magical three days in Gothenburg!
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