Gothenburg (Göteborg) is the second biggest city in Sweden, but don’t let this hold you back from visiting. It has many beautiful areas, with cosy cafés and local shops. Plus, it is a great place to go for the sustainable traveller.
The Green City
The city calls itself “a world leading greentech cluster and a living example of sustainable urban development”. Gothenburg houses one of the research centres of Mistra Urban Futures, an organisation with sustainable urbanisation as its vision. But this is not the only example of sustainable projects. Busroute 55 is a project by ElectriCity, and has making the public transport green and clean as it’s goal. In 2016 actual homes for students of the Chalmers University were built to do research on sustainable houses of the future and Kvillebäcken is the first district in the city where many new environmental solutions are tested in real life. As you can see, a lot of interesting stuff is going on!
Trains from all the Scandinavian capital cities, Stockholm, Oslo and Copenhagen, are directly connected to Gothenburg. To get to Gothenburg by bus is the easiest if you are already in Scandanavia (It is possible to travel by bus from Berlin, but this trips contains a ferry trip).
Getting around in the city itself is easy. Because the main areas worth visiting are close to each other, it is possible to travel by foot. You don’t want to walk all the time? The city rental bikes (Styr & Ställ) will get you anywhere for a low price. If you are dependent on public transport you don’t have to worry though, there are many trams and busses that can bring you to your destination. Because 65% of Gothenburg’s public transport drives on renewable energy, your carbon footprint will stay reasonable.
Haga: the place to be
Established in the 17th century as a suburb outside of the city walls, Haga transformed into the place you have to visit. You’ll find architecture typical for the city, that gives the district its cosy appearance. And many local shops and cafés perfect for lunch and the traditional Swedish fika. Also during the night Haga is worth visiting, because of its numerous bars. Go to Brewers Beer Bar, where you can drink a beer and eat a (vegan) sourdough pizza.
Most shops in Haga are located on the main street Haga Nygata. For second hand clothing visit Charlston, a bit further you’ll find Rum för Inspiration, where you can buy (second hand) home decoration. The four-storey second hand shop Myrorna is located on Järntorgsgatan, with enough stuff to buy yourself a new outfit and decorate your home
As a tea lover myself I can’t resist to recommend a tea shop: Tekultur. It is a true tea walhalla and most products are ecological grown. The shop is located on Andra Långgatan. On the edge of Haga you’ll find the organic grocery store Fram Ekolivs and the conscious fashion store Thrive. They sell affordable, ecological and ‘slave free’ clothes and have the most catchy slogan ever: “There is no Planet B”. Hallelujah!
Food & Drinks
District Haga is perfect for people who love to eat, also for vegetarians and vegans. All cafés have plant based milk, so you can always enjoy a warm cup of coffee or a hot chocolate. And most places have vegetarian or vegan options for food.
But as a conscious traveller you want to support the (even) more eco-friendly places, and there are enough fully vegetarian/vegan restaurants to go. En Deli Haga is the perfect place to have a nice lunch or fika. It is located on the main street Haga Nygata. In the same street you’ll find Hebbe Lelle, a lunch and fika café inspired by the ‘50s. Kafé Magasinet is the place where the young hipsters of Gothenburg meet up and enjoy a drink and some food. It has a Krav label, what means the café meets organic standards. Bistro Taverna Averna has a Krav label too. Here they serve organic wines and use their own organic roof top garden. Definitely worth a visit! My personal favourites are restaurant Thali, an Indian vegetarian restaurant with the best food in the world (locals get their Indian food here, even if they live on the other side of the city). And Blackbird , a vegan restaurant a little bit further out the area on Stigbergsliden. I took the Mac & Cheese, what got me stuffed for hours! Fun fact: The restaurant organises a trivial quiz every first Thursday of the month.
The city centre is the oldest part of Gothenburg and dates back from the 17th century. The centre is surrounded by a canal and park. It is a great place for the shop-till-you-drop mentality, but that is of course something you want to avoid. Look a bit further and you’ll find some great local and eco shops and places to eat. With good weather the Trädgårds Föreningen is worth visiting, since it is ‘one of the best-preserved 19th century parks in Europe’. Or walk all the way to the Opera house and enjoy the industrial scenery surrounding the canal Göta Alv.
Just outside of the city centre is the university area; the place to go for some culture and art. One of my favourite spots is definitely the city library. There are plenty seats to sit down to, relax and read, but you can also visit the small exhibition hall, eat and drink in the café or play some chess! Close to the city library are the art museum, the concert house and the cinema.
Most stores in the city centre belong to a big chain that are often very harmful for the environment (and for people). Of course some chains are changing their ways of production and the rights of workers, plus big chains can invest a lot of money in charity and environmental innovation. But for most stores, this is not the case. It is better to choose for second hand shops or stores where eco-friendly products are sold. One such a shop is Pop Boutique, which story began in London in the ‘80s. For cool interior pieces you should visit Norrgavel.
Food & Drinks
Are you craving for some fast-food? Go to Jonsborgs to buy a vegan hamburger or a vegan bratwurst. Outside of the shopping mall, on Spannmålsgatan, the food truck Gothia Falafel sells great vega(n) food. Another vegan bistro is Open New Doors. It is a small restaurant, fully made out of glass and located on a small bridge. Go there! And last but not least, if you are looking for a warm and great lunch then visit Suppa & Sunt. 80% of their food is vegetarian and composed in such a way that your sugar level will stay stable.
Where locals want to live: Mariaplan
A little bit further out the city you’ll find Mariaplan and its surroundings, a popular area to live among locals. The ‘plan’ connects multiple main streets and is close to the park Slottsskogen. If you want to get out of the city and enjoy some nature, this park should be on your list.
At Mariaplan you won’t find any big chains, but instead multiple local shops. One of these is Pop-In: “Love local, Support local”. The shop sells clothes, maps and gifts designed by local creatives. So if you want something unique and support the local citizens, visit this place. At Ekedalsgatan Hälsokost is located. The store sells all kind of herbal and bio products, ranging from skin care to organic food. On the other side of the square you’ll find Majornas Saker Från Förr, a great antique shop with lots of second hand goods.
Food & Drinks
For vegetarians and vegans there is a great salad bar near Mariaplan: JoAnnas. The wraps will get you pretty stuffed for the rest of the day. Walk a bit further and you’ll run into Materia, a fun lunch café that sells freshly squeezed juices, healthy shots and food. Located on the same street are Syster Marmelad, a fully plant based café/restaurant and the ecological bakery Cum Pane. At this place you can enjoy a fika without regrets.