Off the beaten track – this is what every traveler is now looking for. Nobody wants to go to overcrowded European capitals, stay at big chain hotels and see the same postcard-like castles and museums; everybody wants to do something new, something undiscovered. And yet, the phrase “off the beaten track” is a tricky one. Western coast of Sweden is definitely off the beaten track for US travelers, but the Swedes have been enjoying this gorgeous region for ages. And now, thanks to the Western Sweden Tourist Board’s trip, I am in on that secret!
Gothenburg, only a short flight or a three-hour train ride from Stockholm, makes for a great base with its gorgeous boutique hotel Dorsia, the cool design hotel Avalon or the historic and recently renovated Elite Plaza. The city itself is friendly and diverse, with a strong sense for ecological and sustainable living.
A great (and tasty) introduction to Gothenburg is a quick lunch at Heaven 23 that offers a 360º view of the city and just as importantly – Gothenburg’s most famous snack (well, snack is a bit of an understatement) – the shrimp sandwich.
Not far from here, you should not miss a visit to the fantastic Konstmuseum. Besides quite a few big names in their French Collection, the museum offers a great overview of Nordic art. A highlight outside of the city center is the Gunnebo mansion and its pretty grounds. I happened to visit it on a Sunday, when there was a lovely farmers market. The entire park around Gunnebo is run organically and everything sold in the coffee house and restaurant is locally produced. Their cinnamon buns are impressive!
If you travel with children, enjoy some time at the Liseberg Amusement Park or take them to the Universeum – Scandinavia’s largest science center. If you are lucky enough to be in Gothenburg while the Swedish Ship Gothenburg is in town, you should not miss a tour there. This faithful replica of the 18th century East Indiaman is an impressive ship with a crew of 80 and a busy schedule of sailing all around the world.
And during your touring, don’t forget the fika – Swedish coffee break, usually accompanied by a sweet treat (oversized cinnamon buns seem to be the treat of choice). The best independent coffee house with in-house roasted coffee is Da Matteo.
Part II and III coming soon!
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