Only in Scandinavia’s second-biggest city can a family mingle with monkeys at a science centre, ride a rollercoaster and drive a bus straight into the ocean – all before lunch time. With its wide-open outdoor space, dozens of playgrounds, welcoming restaurants and endless places to explore, Gothenburg is one of the best family destinations for a city break in all of Europe.
Exploring this welcoming city is a joy for kids – and kids at heart – of all ages. Here are just a few of the best family activities, events and destinations in the city.
From the enormous Plikta playground to a free zoo featuring moose, penguins and more, it’s a joy to explore Slottsskogen. The 137-hectacre greenspace is the crown jewel of Gothenburg’s beloved park system, and the perfect way to enjoy nature without leaving the city. Along with a beautiful network of accessible forest trails, you’ll find a hedge maze, multiple playgrounds, a mini-golf course, picnic areas, fire pits, stunning panoramic views and, of course, multiple kiosks serving up hot dogs, ice cream and waffles.
Celebrating 100 years in 2023, Liseberg is sure to delight visitors of all ages. Scandinavia’s largest amusement park is home to sky-high rollercoasters and kid-friendly rides, plus great food options, carnival-style games and concerts. Whether you’re here to get your adrenaline pumping or simply enjoy a show featuring the park’s iconic rabbits in Kaninlandet, no visit is complete without a ride on the Liseberg Wheel, which offers unparalleled views of Gothenburg. As a bonus, the park gets an extra-spooky makeover for Halloween, then transforms into one of Scandinavia’s top Christmas markets during the winter holidays.
A tropical rainforest crawling with monkeys in the heart of Scandinavia? Sharks and stingrays swimming on the upper levels of a tall building? At Universeum science museum, anything is possible. Your family will have so much fun mingling with the wildlife in the multi-floor indoor rainforest and watching tropical fish swim in the aquarium that you won’t even realise how much you’re learning! This world-class science museum also has displays dedicated to health, space travel, technology and more, making it one of the most exciting educational experiences you can have in the city.
Conveniently located on a hill above Slottsskogen, Göteborgs Naturhistoriska Museum (Natural History Museum) features beautifully preserved animals charting 3.8 million years of planetary evolution. Here, you’ll find fossilised dinosaur skeletons, stuffed birds and more from the oceans, savannas and mountains of the world. It’s also home to one of Gothenburg’s most famous residents: A 16-meter, fully preserved whale calf. Contrary to urban myth, it does not have a café in its stomach. However, a replica on the nearby Plikta playground does have a small table for a quick fika inside its belly.
An interactive learning and play centre, the Alfons Åbergs Kulturhus is inspired by beloved Swedish author Gunilla Bergström’s most famous creation. Like its namesake character (known as Alfie Adkins in some countries), the Kulturhus focuses on values of “kindness, joy and curiosity” in an interactive space where learning, storytelling, performance and imagination co-exist. Pair a visit with a stroll through the adjoining Trädgårdsföreningen grounds (look for the “secret” playground in the center) for two great cultural experiences in one!
Gothenburg is a city loaded with parks big and small – and throughout the city, you’ll find miniature golf courses that make a perfect diversion for a quick round of golf and ice cream. You’ll find courses tucked next to the football pitches of Heden Park, near the small lake in Slottskogen and more.
Like most sightseeing tours, Ocean Bus – painted to resemble a shark – passes most of the Gothenburg’s most iconic areas and sights. But just when you think you’re on another standard bus tour, the Ocean Bus drives straight into the Göta River: suddenly, your bus tour becomes a boat tour! It’s a unique way to see the city from different angles and transform a normal sightseeing tour into something exciting.
Gothenburg is famous for many things, but its particularly proud of its historic canals and its “dad jokes.”. The two combine during the Paddan tour, in which a tour of the canals and waterfront is hosted by a tour guide with a penchant for puns and quips. A day on the water is always a joy. Paddan the perfect way for kids to take in some culture while having fun and laughing all the way.
Would you like to experience a winter wonderland all year round? At Skidome, it’s always winter, and the snow is always ready for skiers of all ages. With its well-maintained tracks and small hills, Skidome is an ideal place to cool off in the summer or escape the rain in the winter, offering an alpine experience for everybody. Ski rentals and lessons are available, meaning you don’t need to pack your own gear to enjoy this unique attraction.
From 2 – 5 June, the Göteborgs Jubileumsfirande takes over the Frihamnen area, offering live music, dancing, exhibitions and so much more. With performances ranging from pop to classical, a visit by the royal family and a wide array of delicious treats, it’s sure to be one of the summer’s biggest family events. Even better, it’s completely free and open to all ages. Happy birthday, Gothenburg!
Click here for a full list of family friendly events celebrating Gothenburg’s 400th anniversary.