We finished our tour at Poseidon Diving Systems (click here to read about it) and still had a couple of hours until we needed to be back on the plane for Kiruna, so we decided to do a little bit of city exploring. I had done some research on things to do in Kiruna and had a couple of them tucked in the back of my mind in case we had time, and thankfully we did!
Our first stop was the Gothenburg fish market. For hundreds of years, the city has been a big shipping port and was the first place many fishermen stopped to sell their catch. In fact, Gothenburg is one of the few places in Sweden where fresh seafood was traditionally available. As a result, seafood and the fishing industry are a big part of the city. So much so that the fish market is built to look like a church. Inside, there are a number of restaurants serving anything from scallops and mussels to smoked salmon and crab. You can also purchase fish and seafood to take home and cook yourself. If we had been staying longer, and had access to a kitchen, I would have done this myself.
We then decided to head back towards the hotel to retrieve our luggage and head to the airport, but at a leisurely pace. On the map, Gothenburg looks much larger than it is. We walked pretty much the entire length of the city center in about a half hour. Along the river is a beautiful park, but since we were hungry, we walked down one of the main avenues. There was a beautiful tree lined path that would probably look gorgeous in the fall. On each side of the street were small shops and cafes. Lots of cafes. Apparently the Swedish really like their coffee.
One thing that struck me was how much like London the city looked. There were even British pubs, including one called the Rose and Crown. We grabbed lunch in one of these. I had the mussels and they were delicious.
And now for some tips if you're planning to visit Gothenburg for yourself:
1. Transportation from the Airport to the City
The airport lies about 20 - 25 minutes outside of the city. When researching ways to get from the airport to our hotel, I found that taxis were expensive and a rental car even more so (not to mention the limited parking in Gothenburg). We opted for the Flygbussarna which offers round trip tickets from the airport to the main bus station in Gothenburg for about 20 euro per person. It does make a few stops along the way in case the main bus station isn't your destination of choice. It runs every 20 minutes from 5:00 in the morning until 1:00 in the morning.
2. Transportation in Gothenburg
Transportation within the city itself is excellent. There are buses, trams, taxis and boats (to reach many of the islands surrounding the city). For 9 euro, you can purchase a card valid for 24 hours and entitles you to unlimited access on all forms of public transportation, except taxis. They also offer a city card which not only grants access to public transportation, but also a number of museums in the city. Visit their website to learn more and purchase.
3. Be prepared for sticker shock
Many of my collegues told me before I left that Sweden was expensive. I didn't realize how expensive until we got our bill for our first meal. At an average restaurant, main courses cost between 15 and 25 euro and beers cost between 5 and 10 euro. Needless to say, for two people each having one beer, a meal can easily cost 50 euro.
The sticker shock extends to the hotels as well. When I booked our hotel, it was one of the cheaper, non-hostile hotels (we didn't want to deal with bringing bed linens and/or towels with us). In general though, hotels in Gothenburg ranged from 75 - 200+ euro per night.
4. Facilities for when nature calls
Perhaps to make up for their expensive hotels and restaurants, Gothenburg offers free use of public restrooms. To many Americans, this may not seem like a big deal, but most public restrooms in Germany cost 50 cents. Not much, but free is always better. Bonus, they are very easy to find and are fairly abundant.
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Gothenburg is a beautiful city and definitely worth a visit. They even have an amusement park which looks pretty cool all lit up at night. If you have any questions about visiting this beautiful city, put 'em in the comments and we will do our best to answer.
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