Sweden's Gothenburg And Scenic Islands

Gothenborg (Goteborg in Swedish) located on the southwestern side of the country by Kattegat, (considered a bay of the North Sea) is an intriguing port city. With spectacular gardens, museums, art, history, culture, festivals, canal tours, amusement park, cuisine and walkable downtown, Sweden's second largest city is an appealing destination.

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Gothenburg possesses a completely different atmosphere than Stockholm and has the population and feel of a smaller metropolis. This sense is reflected in one of the most visited areas of the city, Haga or old town. Haga's renovated historical wooden houses and cobblestone streets provide a perfect setting for the pedestrian only thoroughfare. Browse the quaint boutiques, art galleries, antique shops and teas stores that makeup the captivating district. These intriguing shops entice visitors to leisurely peruse the avenues and then relax at a sidewalk cafe in the warm sun, sipping a frothy cappuccino and examining the afternoon's purchases. A famous local Swedish cafe to visit is Cafe Husaren, for the best coffee and cinnamon rolls (the size of a dinner plate) in town. The interior is a work of art, and part of the cafes' charm. The cafe is extremely popular and lunch hour is generally busy.

After a visit to the cafe, look across the avenue to the largest East Indian spice shop in Sweden, the Curry House. Aromatic spices and products take up every square inch of the shop and the colorful displays of dried fruits make designing cascades of color that artfully draw the eye. Make sure to bring your camera.

When your appetite is satiated, stroll one block west past Cafe Husaren to A.A. Antik. This exquisite antique store is brimming with gorgeous antiques from several periods. European statutes, paintings and tiny, jeweled boxes of the most delicate detail are just a few of the amazing items available. Oh yes, and they do indeed ship their antiques.

The Padden boat tours are a wonderful activity and an excellent way to see areas of the city and port, as well as learn the history. Located in the city center at Kungsportsbron, the boat tours are inexpensive and cruise past lovely parks, historical architecture and into the port itself. This tour is fun and perfect for all ages. And, if you have Swedish ancestry, you'll be interested to see the debarkation area where many Swedes once left the country to immigrate to America. The cruise lasts about an hour and is presented in multiple languages.

From Tradgardsforeningen gardens to Gothenburg cafe
Gothenburg's gardens are definitely superlative with the Botanical Garden considered one of the largest in Northern Europe with over 20,000 plants. The Michelin Green Guide rates their Rock Garden at two stars as well. Another lovely garden to visit is located in the center of town, the Tradgardsforeningen Horticultural Society Gardens. The 19th century park meanders past the old moat where the Padden tours cruise. With rolling green lawns and trees of every Swedish species, the gardens offer a haven for strolling and just taking in the tranquility and beauty.

The Victorian-designed Palm House (greenhouse) was originally built in 1878 as a replica of London's Crystal Palace. Inside this glass-domed work of art, visitors will find small, elegant coffee carts serving, hot beverages and nibbles. Several petite, white tables and chairs are available to sip your tea and enjoy the greenhouse's exotic plants and mixed art displays.

After exploring the greenhouses, walk through the garden's large selection (1,900 species) of fragrant and colorful rose gardens. When in full bloom, the roses scent the air throughout the park. The late afternoon is the best time to visit, as it is less crowded and has better light for photography.

The city's museums are varied and fascinating. For the world's finest collection of turn- of-the-century Nordic art, visit the Gothenburg Art museum. In addition, their international art collection is impressive and their Hasselblad photographic art is amazing. The hours vary and they are closed Mondays; be sure to check the museum's schedule. Mornings are least crowded.

Festivals play a large roll in Gothenburg's cultural environment. One of the most popular is the August Jazz Festival. The festival draws crowds from across Europe and the U.S. for a three-day weekend period. From Dixieland to Vintage jazz, every club venue in the city is packed with Europe's finest jazz musicians. For additional information, visit,

Gothenburg is a remarkable city with a great deal to see and do; visitors should plan a minimum of three full days to explore the city. For additional information on Gothenburg, visit

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Patrice RapleePatrice Raplee is an experienced travel photojournalist and editor of Travel Excursion and Seattle Spotlight for Positively Entertainment magazine. In addition, she writes a monthly travel column for the award-wining site and is a regular contributor on travel radio shows. She is a member of North American Travel Journalists Association (NATJA), International Food, Wine & Travel Writers Association (IFWTWA) and the Recording Academy. Her articles and photographs have appeared in numerous international publications, as well as NW newspapers such as the Seattle Times, the Stranger and Seattle Weekly. Patrice travels the globe to cover destinations that feature fascinating culture, art, culinary, history and soft adventure.

Unless otherwise indicated, all photos by the author

Updated: November 18, 2016

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