Gothenburg loves coming together for a big event. In this vibrant hub of art and culture, there’s always something happening, from huge music festivals to holiday markets, races and more.
With the city’s 400th anniversary celebrations taking place in 2023, now is the perfect time to experience Gothenburg at its liveliest. But the city’s big celebrations aren’t only limited to milestones: in Gothenburg, festivals and gatherings are annual traditions. Here are some of the best and biggest events to attend throughout the year in Sweden’s second-largest city.
Scandinavia’s largest cycling festival, the Göteborgsgirot draws cyclists of all skill levels to participate and compete in various rides and races each May. The Gran Fondo Gothenburg is the signature race: a 150 km competition winding through the city and surrounding countryside. But with 60 km and 50 km races and a lively festival village in Heden park, Göteborgsgirot is a draw for casual riders and competitors alike. The 2023 event takes place 27-28 May.
At the end of each summer, Göteborgs Kulturkalas (Gothenburg Culture Festival) transforms the city’s squares and streets into one big street party celebrating all things culture. All manner of performance – live music, dance, film, street art, crafts, comedy, poetry and more – is celebrated during the free event, which is expected to draw up to 700,000 attendees when it takes place 1-3 September, 2023.
From 2-3 June, 2023, Gothenburg will kick off celebrating its 400th anniversary with Göteborgs Jubileumsfirande. The free, all-ages festival takes place in Frihamnen and features an exciting, diverse musical lineup. Performers include the Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra, local indie rock troubadour Jens Lekman, pop star Sarah Klang, electronica duo Hooja and others. Additionally, the event will feature a visit from the Swedish royal family, great food, dancing and so much more. It’s a birthday celebration you surely won’t want to miss.
The anniversary celebration isn’t limited to one weekend though. Check out the Gothenburg Anniversary events calendar for a full list of events, exhibits and more during the 2 June – 3 September celebration.
One of Scandinavia’s favourite running races, the Göteborgsvarvet Marathon offers participants a chance to tour the city at street level as tens of thousands of runners speed past the city’s landmarks and canals on both sides of the river. In 2023, the city will hold a second race to commemorate the city's 400th anniversary. The one-off race takes place on 3 September and promises to be extra special for participants and spectators alike.
Taking place every June, West Pride is Gothenburg’s joyful celebration of the LGBTQ community. Taking place 5-11 June, 2023, the festival celebrates the art and culture for a full week, kicking off with a colourful parade and including concerts, exhibits and much more. Visit West Pride for a full schedule of this year’s events.
Gothenburg’s biggest summer event, the Way Out West music festival draws thousands to the lush Slottsskogen park for a weekend of world-class music across all genres. The 2023 festival, held 10-13 August, includes a wide array of artists, including Brit-pop pioneers Blur, Swedish superstars Håkan Hellström and Tove Lo, ‘80s legends Devo and more. And the Slottsskogen shows are just the beginning: Each night, the festival continues as Stay Out West in venues throughout the city and well into the dawn.
As a bonus, this year Way Out West will be taking over the stage at Göteborgs Jubileumsfirande for a free, all-ages show celebrating Gothenburg’s 400th anniversary on 4 June. Stay tuned to the anniversary website for the full lineup.
Each year, venues and neighbourhoods throughout Gothenburg – and Sweden as a whole – transform into winter wonderlands for the holidays. Christmas markets are huge in Gothenburg. In the city, you’ll find hot chocolate, unique gifts, heart-warming music and Christmas cheer in the popular Haga neighbourhood, while the Liseberg amusement park transforms into the North Pole for one of Scandinavia’s biggest holiday markets. Whether you stick to the city or set off to explore, you’ll find holiday cheer around you throughout the season.
Each January, Gothenburg takes its place in the cinematic spotlight during the 10-day Göteborg Film Festival. The annual festival features world-premiere screenings, interactive events, parties, pop-ups and more as theaters across the city transform into red-carpet events for cinema lovers.