Gothenburg is often called one of Europe’s greenest cities, and it’s easy to understand why. From densely forested parks to crystal lakes, nature preserves to beaches, the city lives in harmony with nature. Each neighbourhood and park highlights the unique beauty of western Sweden.
It’s no wonder Gothenburg is a magnet for cyclists, hikers, nature photographers and boaters. Gothenburg is the perfect place to immerse yourself in nature while enjoying the food, culture and activities of a big city. Here are just a few great ways to get outside and enjoy Gothenburg on your next visit.
Slottsskogen is the perfect place to enjoy nature without leaving the city. With a 137-hectacre network of hiking and biking trails, exercise areas and more, it’s an endlessly explorable place full of dense forests and panoramic views. Visit moose, penguins, goats and ponies at the free zoo. Watch the kids run wild on the enormous Plikta playground. Fuel your appetite at various kiosks offering everything from gourmet gelato to fresh-made waffles, or roast sausages in a fire pit. It’s the crown jewel of Gothenburg parks and an essential destination for all seasons.
Visiting the Gothenburg Archipelago is a quintessential Swedish experience. Among these 20+ offshore islands you’ll find dozens of stunning beaches, charming communities like Styrsö and Hönö, sprawling nature preserves and more. Some areas welcome cars. Others are only reachable by ferry. Whether you’re visiting to boat, dive, hike, sunbathe, spot wildlife or simply stroll through a seemingly timeless island full of wonder, the archipelago is a must-see for anyone visiting.
The Delsjö natural area is a short tram or bike ride from the city centre, but step into the reserve and you’ll feel transported back in time. With two lakes (Stora and Lilla Delsjön) surrounded by rugged hiking trails, stunning cliffs and dense forests, the area is breathtaking. It’s also full of fun: The popular beach is one of the liveliest places in warm weather, while the rustic café is home to friendly goats and delicious kanelbullar. Rent a canoe to paddle the lake, or explore on foot: The islands are reachable by land bridge, making it easy to get away for a private picnic.
Want to explore the historic canals by Gothenburg? During warmer weather, you can rent electric boats from Let’s Boat or take advantage of hourly kayak and paddleboat rentals offered at various vendor along the water. Prefer your time on the water with intentionally bad jokes? The famous Paddan tour pairs signature Gothenburg-style puns with the most comprehensive tours of the city’s waterfront heritage.
One of the largest and lushest gardens in Europe, the Göteborgs Botaniska Trädgård (Gothenburg Botanical Garden) offers a serene escape right in the middle of the city. Home to colourful flower blooms, rock gardens and a Japanese dell, strolling its grounds offers a complete immersion in nature. Climb to the top of the Håberget lookout for a grand view of the city, then explore Änggårdsbergen, a nature reserve and arboretum adjoining the garden that is perfect for a hike.
In summer – and, for braver souls, in cold weather – Gothenburg’s beaches are the place to be for people who want to splash, sunbath, catch crabs or explore. Sweden’s west coast is chock full of gorgeous stretches of sand and rocky cliffs, but in Gothenburg the perfect beach is just a tram, bike or bus ride away. Popular spots include Fiskebäcksbadet, Billdalsbadet, Näset and Saltholmen, although with the freedom to roam you’re also encouraged to find a slice of waterfront paradise that suits your tastes.
Gothenburg’s largest park, Hisingsparken, is often overshadowed by Slottsskogen. The namesake park on the centralised island of Hisingen is definitely worth a visit for hikers, bikers and animal lovers. Well-maintained trails make it a joy to explore the wetland areas and densely forested park, which gives the illusion that you’ve wandered into the wilderness without leaving the city. And the rustic Kättilsröds 4H Gård is a great place to get up close and personal with horses, goats, rabbits, pigs and other livestock.
Gothenburg’s not just a fantastic city full of outdoor adventure: It’s a gateway to explore the natural splendour of Sweden’s west coast and beyond. Bring your car and explore the gorgeous towns and stunning beaches along the coast, or head inland to experience the lush forests and 100,000 lakes that make Sweden a nature lover’s dream. You can even traverse the countryside en route for a further exploration of Norway – whose borders are a gorgeous 3-hour drive away. No matter the outdoor experience you seek, Gothenburg is at the doorstep to an adventure you’ll never forget.