12 hours in Gothenburg is easily doable. Sweden’s second biggest city is only a couple of hours away by plane from the UK, and Ryanair offer early morning and late night flights from London Stansted so if you’re short on time, you can spend a day there.
I should know, I’ve done it before. Gothenburg holds a special place in my heart as it’s the first Scandinavian city I ever visited (for my fifteenth birthday), and I loved it so much that it inspired me to learn Swedish.
Whilst I do like Stockholm, I much prefer Gothenburg as it’s less touristy and just so much more… Swedish.
Here’s how you can spend 12 hours in Gothenburg, my favourite Swedish city!
From my home in Nottingham it takes me around two and a half hours to get to Stansted. Do you live closer? Lucky you – you won’t have to leave quite so early.
I have to make sure I’m up by 3.15am so I can quickly get dressed and say goodbye to my cat. Then it’s on the road for a drive down to the airport (probs listening to Mø… possibly also Måns Zelmerlow – well, he is Swedish…)
Finally I’ve arrived at Stansted airport. Once I’ve gone past security, I sit down for some early breakfast. Well, I’ve got to get my energy up if I’m going to be spending 12 hours in Gothenburg!
The flight takes off from Stansted at 8.15am, and it’s less than two hours to get to Gothenburg. Realistically, no matter how tired I am, I’m not going to go to sleep on the plane (I just can’t do it).
Besides, I need to wave to Denmark when I’m flying over (find out how you can spend 12 hours in Copenhagen – aka the world’s best city – here!).
Once the plane has landed in Gothenburg, I literally fly through the airport with my cabin baggage (hahahaha to everyone who put theirs in the hold).
Ryanair changed which airport they land into in Gothenburg. Previously, they flew into Gothenburg City which was essentially a barn (I kid you not – Google it if you don’t believe me).
Now however, they fly into the main airport, Gothenburg Landvetter, which is 15 miles outside of the city.
The easiest way to get into the city centre is to catch a bus. There are plenty to catch outside the airport, and they drop you off at Gothenburg’s bus station, which is just outside Nordstan shopping centre.
OK, so now you’re in beautiful Gothenburg and you have the whole afternoon ahead of you. What do you do?
Go shopping, of course! It’d be rude not to, considering you’re RIGHT OUTSIDE Nordstan. There are over two hundred stores in the shopping centre alone, in addition to several cafes and restaurants.
You can also find a network of backstreets outside Nordstan that are filled with my favourite shops including Monki and Weekday.
There’s no harm in getting your Scandi street style shopping fix every once in a while! It’s the first thing I do when I’m spending 12 hours in Gothenburg.
Once you’ve managed to tear yourself away from the shops, you should probably go grab some lunch.
I love ordering hot chocolate and chokladbollar… so delicious that I always forget the overly sickly feeling from having the two together. Oh well, it’s worth it!
Pic’n’mix time! The Swedes love pic’n’mix just as much as I do, which I think is a first! 4-Gott is like heaven. You walk into the shop and there are wall-to-wall sweets EVERYWHERE.
Trust me, it can be hard NOT going overboard. Even if you’re full from lunch, you’ll want to buy some pic’n’mix for later in the day. I’ve never seen a sweet shop quite like this before.
Just one word of warning: beware the saltlakrits (salty liquorice). Everyone in Scandinavia seems to love it, and nearly everyone else hates it. It’s got a very distinct taste, so it’s something bear in mind if you’re unassumingly shovelling what you think are rolos into your bag of sweets; that when you bite into it later on there’s a high possibility you’ll get that horrible salty taste in your mouth (I speak from experience).
Armed with a bag brimming full of sweets, it’s time to head on over to the harbour. It’s only a five minute walk away from 4-Gott – you just need to walk round the back of Nordstan.
The harbour is full of ships, and there are lots of cute little concrete ducks too. One thing you HAVE to do is catch a boat out to the suburb of Klippan.
It only takes twenty minutes or so, and if you buy a ticket you can catch the buses and trams around Gothenburg too.
The first time I visited Gothenburg, we stayed in the Novotel which was right by the waterside in Klippan. Whenever we wanted to go into the centre of Gothenburg, we just caught the ferry in.
Then one time when I visited the city with my friend as part of our Scandi Adventure, we caught the ferry over to Klippan after dinner, and then walked it back to where we were staying.
I love catching that ferry – you see a very industrial-chic side of Gothenburg from the boat, and it’s a view that just makes me want to move to the city straight away!
So now you’re in Klippan, you’ll want to go to Slottsskogen – a beautiful grassy park in the heart of the city.
It’s only 5km away from Klippan, so you just need to catch tram 3 and get off at Göteborg Klintens Väg (the ticket you purchased for the boat means you can ride the tram for free).
Slottsskogen is a huge grassy area where you can spend your time sunbathing or exploring. If you’ve still got room for sweet stuff, you can even buy a cinnamon bun from the kiosk!
My favourite part of Slottsskogen is the zoo. You can see elk and lots of other Nordic animals, alongside peacocks, who always seem to have their feathers out on display.
Considering you’ve only got 12 hours in Gothenburg, it’s time to make a choice. If you’re visiting the Swedish city on a nice summer’s day, then you may decide to spend the rest of your time at Slottskogen, before making your way back to the city centre.
Alternatively, you may decide that it’s time to go and visit somewhere else for the last few hours you have left…
…much like Tivoli is famed in Copenhagen; Liseberg is Gothenburg’s fairground of choice. Sadly I have yet to visit, but I really do want to go!
It’s only 2km outside the city centre, and it’s just a short tram or train ride out. Plus in the summer it’s open until 11pm, so if you’re staying in the city for the weekend, then you can spend the rest of your night here.
Admission into Liseberg’s grounds is 100 SEK (approx. £9.50), and you can buy individual ride coupons for 22 SEK (approx. £2), although bear in mind that the bigger rides cost four coupons each. If you want to go on a couple of rides then you’re better off buying the combined admission and ride pass for 455 SEK (approx. £42.50).
I love Gothenburg and I love fairgrounds, so I think a trip to Liseberg is a legitimate excuse to book some flights back here.
Reaching the end of your 12 hours in Gothenburg, you can either grab dinner at the food stalls at Liseberg, or wait until you get back to the airport.
With the flight heading back to the UK at 10pm, it’s time to head back to the airport – it’s easiest to just catch a bus from the bus station. Did you go overboard on the shopping earlier in the day like I did? Now’s the time to hide it away in your cabin bag.
I don’t know about you, but on flights back home I usually spend time thinking about where I’m going to go next. Realistically, it’s probably Copenhagen, but it could be Gothenburg again or even Oslo (ohhh I love the Norwegian capital. OK, I love Scandinavia in general). It’s pretty cool though how close we are to Scandinavia, so that you can easily spend 12 hours in Gothenburg.
Landing back at Stansted at 11.10pm, it’s time for me to embark on the long journey back home… just as the post-holiday blues begin.