Category Archives: Sweden

Things to do Sweden and the best attractions in Sweden.

Boarding Maritiman in Gothenburg Sweden

Maritiman is a maritime experience centre located on Packhuskajen quay close to the Opera House. It consists of nineteen moored ships joined by walkways.

maritiman gothenburg

I hadn’t planned to visit the Maritman, it was en route on my walk from the Gothenburg City Museum to Gotheborgsutkiken (aka the Lipstick). I’m not that interested in ships, but once I checked that the SEK 120 admission fee was waived by having a Gothenburg City Card, I decided to take a look.

The lightship Fladen, reminded me of the North Carr lightship, which is moored in Dundee in eastern Scotland. The Fladen was built in Stockholm in 1915.

lightship fladen at maritiman gothenburg

HMS Smaland, which left active naval service in 1979, is the largest preserved destroyer in Scandinavia.

The destroyer Smaland at Maritiman Gothenburg

I found it eerie to be up close and personal with the Smaland’s massive firing power.

Artillery on the destroyer Smaland in Maritiman Gothenburg

There are some good views towards the Opera House and the Lipstick from the front of Smaland.

View from the destroyer Smaland at Maritiman Gothenburg

The Paddam sightseeing boat tours pass the Maritiman.

paddan boat from martiman gothenburg

There are another two naval vessels, HMS Hugin and HMS Kalmarsund moored at behind Smaland, which are not accessible.

Looking toward HMS Hugin and HMS Kalmarsund from Maritiman Gothenburg

The cargo ship Fryken was built in Denmark in 1938. It sailed between harbours in Lake Vanern (the largest lake in Sweden), Gothenburg (via the Gota Canal) and the east coast of Britain.

maritiman gothenburg fryken

There was some light rain during my visit to Maritiman. I was really glad that I decided to play it safe by putting my camera phone back into my handbag and using both hands to hold on the side of ladders and walkway ropes, as it did get a bit slippery.

There are several Sea Laboratory stations featuring experiments and puzzles located around the Maritiman. Some kids were having great fun learning about hydrodynamics and surface tension.

You should check the opening times at the Maritiman before visiting. Hours vary, and t’s closed from October to Easter, except for the local Autumn holiday, which is usually the first week in November.

Gothenburg Botanical Garden

I first visited Gothenburg Botanical Garden when I was in the city in December 2004. When I returned to the city in August 2016, I thought I’d like to see the garden in the Summer.

I decided to walk the two miles to the botanical garden from my city center hotel, the Royal Gothenburg.

There is a voluntary admission fee of SEK 20 (around £1.80)  to the garden. My Gothenburg City Card gave me free admission to the garden and to the greenhouses, which charge an additional SEK 20 to enter.

Upon arrival I had a seat by the pond.

gothenburg botanical garden pond

Will Becker’s ‘Origin of the Species’ sculpture sits in the pond.

gothenburg botanical gardens origin of the species sculpture

There’s also a fountain in the pond.

gothenburg botanical garden fountain in pond

A bat sculpture adorns the roof above the entrance to the greenhouses.

gothenburg botanical gardens entrance to greenhouses

The greenhouses are home to more than 1,500 orchids.

gothenburg botanical garden disa house

I almost didn’t bother going into the Succulent House, as cacti aren’t my cup of tea,

gothenburg botanical garden succulent house

But the collection in the Gothenburg Botanical Garden was interesting.

gothenburg botanical garden cacti

I liked the hanging pink flower below which was in the Tropical House.

gothenburg botanical garden tropical housejpg

Close to the greenhouses is a large marble tulip shaped drinking fountain.

gothenburg botanical garden marble fouintain

I had an all too brief seat in the Mansion Garden, before it was time to head back to the city center.

 

gothenburg botanical gardens mansion garden

I could have happily spent another couple of hours at the botanical garden. But I got a bit lost on my walk there, and the museums which I wanted to visit shut at 5pm.

The Gothenburg Botanical Garden is open every day from 9am until sunset. The greenhouses are open 10am to 5pm from May to August and 10am to 4pm from September to April.

My stay in Gothenburg was organised by the West Sweden Tourist Board.

Review of the Hotel Royal Gothenburg

I stayed at the Hotel Royal Gothenburg for two nights in August 2016. I was hosted by the West Sweden Tourist Board.

The hotel is a five minute walk from Central Station.

Upon entering the hotel, my attention was drawn to the beautiful painted ceiling above the reception desk.

hotel royal gothenburg painted ceiling in lobby

After check-in, I decided to have a cup of tea and some homemade cake in the lounge before going up to my room. You can make yourself a complimentary hot drink at any time, but the cake appears in the afternoon.

The staircase was very grand.

hotel royal gothenburg staircase

I stayed in an economy single room. I thought that the room was tastefully decorated and was spotlessly clean.

hotel royal gothenburg economy single room

The room was small, but the large window meant it was light and airy. The bed was comfortable.

The desk area was large enough to fit my Chromebook, my phablet, camera phone and my paperwork. The free WiFi signal always provided me with a fast connection, both in my bedroom and in the lobby.

hotel royal gothenburg desk in single room

I had requested a quiet room. My request was fulfilled, as my room faced the inner courtyard.

hotel royal gothenburg view from my room

The bathroom was a good size, with a large window, which was the same size as the window in the bedroom. As bathrooms in most hotel bedrooms don’t have natural light, this was a bonus. The botanic toiletries were lovely.

The breakfast buffet was very good.

breakfast buffet at the Hotel Royal Gothenburg

There was a wide selection of cold meats and cheeses.

hotel royal gothenburg the breakfast buffet

There was a waffle machine. I decided against using it, as I thought that there was high chance of me making a bodge of it, e.g. overfilling the machine so the batter leaked out. It wasn’t such a sacrifice as there were ready prepared pancakes in the hot food selection.

Waffle maker at breakfast buffet at the Hotel Royal Gothenburg

I’d recommend the Hotel Royal Gothenburg. It oozes charm and character, combined with high standards of quality and service, and it’s in a central location.

Click here to check availability and prices for the Hotel Royal Gothenburg.

The Art Museum in Gothenburg

Visiting the Gothenburg Museum of Art was one of the highlights of my stay in the city.

I started on the top floor in the Nordic at the Turn of the Century and Swedish Modernism galleries.

Helmer Osslund’s ‘Autumn Evening Nordingra’ was one my my favourite pieces in this museum. The combination of the large size and the vivid colours used in the painting gave it real presence.

Autumn Evening Nordingra by Helmer Osslund at Museum of Art Gothenburg Sweden

‘River Landscape Hjartum’ by Ivan Ivarson was another very colourful landscape.

River Landscape Hjartum by Ivan Ivarson at Museum of Art Gothenburg Sweden

I liked another of Ivan Ivarson’s paintings ‘Flowers in a Window’.

Flowers in a Window by Ivan Ivarson at Museum of Art Gothenburg Sweden

I’ve heard quite a bit about the Norwegian artist Edward Munch, with ‘The Scream’ being his best known work. ‘Vampire’ was the first Much painting I’d seen in real life.

gothenburg museum of modern art vampire by edward munch

The ‘Woman in Blue’ featured in Ake Goransson’s painting looked rather downcast.

Woman in Blue by Ake Goransson at Museum of Art Gothenburg Sweden

Next, I went down to the Sculpture Hall on the third floor of the Gothenburg Museum of Art.

The first piece I encountered was ‘Double Blind’ by Charlotte Gyllenhammar. It made me think of a hostage situation.

Double Blind by Charlotte Gyllenhammar at Museum of Art Gothenburg Sweden

The rotating ‘Seconds in Ecstasy’ by Cajsa Von Zeipel was bathed in pink light.

‘Ingeborg’ by Gerhard Henning, was a more traditional sculpture of the female form.

Ingeborg (female figure) by Gerhard Henning at Museum of Art Gothenburg Sweden

I wondered if the name of Jonathan Josefsson’s ‘Rug No 83’ related to the number of small circular tufted wool rugs making up the installation.

Rug No 83 by Jonathan Josefsson at Museum of Art Gothenburg Sweden

Just off the Sculpture Hall, there was an exhibition of paintings by the Gothenburg based artist Kent Lindfors.

art museum gothenburg kent lindfors

art museum gothenburg kent lindfors1

art museum gothenburg kent lindfors2

All too soon, it was almost the 5pm closing time. As I made my way to the exit, Isaacs Grunewalds’ ‘Self Portrait (created with buttons) caught my eye.

Self Portrait by Isaacs Grunewald at Museum of Art Gothenburg Sweden

Entry to the Gothenburg Museum of Art is free to holders of the Gothenburg City Card.

If I return to Gothenburg, I’ll be back at the Museum of Art.

My visit to Gothenburg was organised by the West Sweden Tourist Board.

Review of the Scandic Europa Gothenburg

I stayed at the Scandic Europa Gothenburg for one night prior to my cruise along Sweden’s west coast. My stay was organised by the West Sweden Tourist Board.

I was glad that the hotel was so centrally located. I arrived in Gothenburg on the bus from the airport around 8pm after a ten hour door to door journey from Berwick upon Tweed. It took me around five minutes to walk from the bus terminal next to the Central Station to the Scandic Europa Gothenburg.

The room was a good size. It felt a bit stark, but was functional and spotless. I found the bed to be a bit soft for my liking.

scandic europa gothenburg twin room

My room was at the front of the hotel facing the Central Station. But I couldn’t hear any exterior noise. I loved the fact that the desk was by the large window. This meant that I could work in daylight while admiring the view. The free WiFi had a strong signal.

scandic europa gothenburg view from my room

I liked the black and white tiles in the bathroom. It took me quite a while to work out how to get the water to come through the shower head. You had to push the base of the mixer tap up.


The lobby area is large and comfortable, with plenty of sofas.

scandic europa gothenburg lobby

I wasn’t able to take any photos of the breakfast buffet, as there were too many guests around. There was a wide selection of quality food and drink, including scrambled eggs and sausages.

Although my room didn’t have much character, it fulfilled its purpose admirably. The quiet room meant that I had a good night’s sleep. The central location was very convenient. I went for a short walk around the city center before dark. The departure point for the cruise was a five minute walk away. The breakfast was very good.

Click here to check availability and prices for the Scandic Europa Gothenburg.

‘Clothes of Memories’ Collages by Tonie Lewenhaupt at Rohsska Museum Gothenburg Sweden

One of the highlights of my visit to the Rohsska Museum in Gothenburg were the ‘Clothes of Memories’ collages by fashion historian Tonie Lewenhaupt. The collages were part of the ‘Only the Best – Fashion Highlights’ exhibition, which runs until 30 December 2016.

Clothes of Memories Collages by Tonie Lewenhaupt

I’ve created quiet a few collages myself. The collage technique of using various types of material such as fabrics and paper to stick onto a supporting surface, is one of my favourites. I like the textures and feeling of movement that this technique offers.

Clothes of Memories Collages by Tonie Lewenhaupt1

Clothes of Memories Collages by Tonie Lewenhaupt2

Clothes of Memories Collages by Tonie Lewenhaupt3

Clothes of Memories Collages by Tonie Lewenhaupt4

Clothes of Memories Collages by Tonie Lewenhaupt6

Clothes of Memories Collages by Tonie Lewenhaupt7

I was hosted by the West Sweden Tourist Board on my trip to Gothenburg. The gave me a Gothenburg City Pass which includes complimentary entry to the Rohsska Museum.

Cruising Along Sweden’s West Coast

I was delighted when the West Sweden Tourist Board invited me on a press trip to cruise along the west coast of Sweden.

A couple of months earlier, I’d watched Timothy West and Prunella Scales cruise along the Gota Canal from Gothenburg to Stockholm on the ‘Great Canal Journeys’ TV show. Watching that show made me think that I’d love to take a cruise in Sweden.

The West Coast Cruise journeys through the Bohuslan archipelago between Gothenburg and Grebbestad.

Itinerary for the West Coast Cruise in Sweden

My cruise started at Grebbstad. I had stayed at the Scandic Europa, Gothenburg,  the night before taking the coach from central Gothenburg at 9am the next day, for the two hour drive north to Grebbstad.

On arrival in Grebbestad, we were greeted on board by the captain Pierre. Our boat, Wilhelm Tham, was built in 1912. In her recent past she had been one of the vessels doing the Gota Canal cruise. This west coast cruise was a new adventure for her.

wilhelm tham docked in grebbestad for start of cruise along sweden's west coast

There was an organised excursion at every port of call. You could choose to  go along, do your own thing on shore, or stay on the boat.

Fjallbacka

Our first stop was in Fjallbacka.

arrival in fjallbacka on sweden's west coast

The actress Ingrid Bergman had a holiday home here.

fjallbacka on sweden's west coast

Swedish crime writer Camilla Lackberg, was born here, and some of the novels were set around Fjallbacka.

fjallbacka on the west coast of sweden

Smogen

The next stop was Smogen. Close to where the Wilhelm Tham berthed, there was a large sailing ship, Lady Ellen.

lady ellen in smogen on sweden's west coast

I walked along the long wooden pier.

restaurant in smogen on sweden's west coast

There was a wide selection of restaurants and shops.

shop in smogen on sweden's west coast

Grundsund

It was almost dark by the time we arrived in Grundsund, where we docked for the night.

sunset in grundsund on sweden's west coast

As we were due to depart from Grundsund at 7am the next day, I decided to get up early so that I’d have some time for a wander around.

willhelm tham in grundsund on sweden's west coast

It was perfect morning, still and sunny.

grundsund on sweden's west coast

grundsund reflections

Gullholmen

The first stop of the second day was on Gullholmen.

gullholmen quayside on sweden's west coast

We visited the Skepparthuset Museum. It’s a sea captain’s home which has remained pretty much unchanged since the late 19th century.

Skepparhuset Museum in Gullholmen on Sweden's west coast

crockery in Skepparhuset Museum in Gullholmen on Sweden's west coast

I loved the painted ceiling.

painted ceiling in Skepparhuset Museum in Gullholmen on Sweden's west coast

Outside the museum we were offered fresh oysters and mussels.

fresh oysters in gullhomen on swedebn's west coast

There were wonderful views up the slope from the church.

gullhplmen view from rocks

Skarhamn

I thought that visiting the Nordic Watercolour Museum on the island of Skarham would be one of the highlights of my trip. However, the exhibition that was on during my visit was ‘Disney’s Art of Storytelling’. I had been rather hoping for a selection of works, including landscapes by Nordic artists.

nordic watercolour museum skarhamn on sweden's west coast - Copy

There were some brave souls swimming and jumping into the water from the wooden platform.

swimming in skarhamn

Marstrand

We arrived in Marstrand, our overnight berthing spot, at 6pm, which allowed time for a wander around before dinner.

marstrand's waterfront on Sweden's west coast

It’s a very pretty town with lots of grand buildings.

bar in marstrand on Sweden's west coast

cafe in marstarnd on sweden's west coast

Marstand sweden's west coast

During dinner there was a cruise out to see a light house.

lighthouse near marstrand on sweden's west coast

It was a 6.20am departure from Marstrand the next morning.

Leaving Marstrand on Wilhelm Tham on Sweden's west coast

Vinga

On the third day, our first stop was on the island of Vinga.

willhelm tham on vinga on sweden's west coast

It’s the most westerly island of the Gothenburg Archipelago.

approaching vinga on sweden's west coast

There were some sheltered spots for swimming on the island.

inlet in vinga on sweden's west coast

The Swedish composer and singer Evert Taube lived on the island, as his father was the lighthouse keeper.

lighthouses on vinga on sweden's west coast

Alvsborg

The final port of call on the cruise along Sweden’s west coast was on the fortress island of Alvsborg. The dramatised tour of the fortress was good fun.

historic tour at alvsborg fortress on sweden's west coast

I was accosted by one of the performers outside the prison.

historical guided tour in alvsborg on sweden's west coast

On the prison wall is an illustration of the prisoner’s sleeping accommodation.

Illustration of prison in Alvsborg Fortress on Sweden's west coast

Accommodation on the Wilhelm Tham

My cabin was on the bridge deck. I knew that it would be compact. There was a sink in the cabin, with a toilet and a shower nearby. I found the bed to be more comfortable than I’d expected. There was some noise from the boat’s generator during the night.

Most passengers spent very little time in their cabins. The weather was very good for most of my cruise, so it was great to sit in the covered area to the rear of bridge deck to make the most of the views. There is also seating on both sides of the boat, on the bridge and shelter deck.

If you prefer to be inside, or the weather isn’t so good. there’s a lounge to the front of the shelter deck.

Catering on Wilhelm Tham

Meals were served in the restaurant on the shelter deck.

The meals during the cruise along Sweden’s west coast were superb; very tasty and with local ingredients. Full board was included, which consisted of a breakfast buffet, a set menu two course lunch and set menu three course dinner.

I thought that there was bound to be picked herring on the menu some day. I’d tried it before, and didn’t like it. However, I really liked the herring served on the Wilhelm Tham.

herring, salmon and cheese lunch on wilhelm tham on cruise along sweden's west coast

Below are photos of some of the other delicious fare.

crayfish on wilhlem tham

Crayfish main course

elk starter on wilhelm tham

Minced elk starter

cod main course on wilhelm tham

Cod main course

venison main course on wilhelm tham

Venison main course

There was an honesty bar on the bridge deck.  Tea and coffee were complimentary. You could drink the tap water on board.

The Cruising Experience

Cruising along the west coast of Sweden is a very special experience. It felt magical to journey through such beautiful scenery on an old fashioned boat.

There’s a maximum capacity of fifty passengers on board in the twenty five cabins, so there’s an intimate atmosphere, with the opportunity to chat to fellow passengers.

The staff are all exceptionally friendly and helpful; they are focused on giving passengers the best possible experience.

25 Fun Things to Do in Sweden

With so many things to do in Sweden, it was hard to choose just 25. Here are our tips for fun things to do in Sweden. We’ve excluded Stockholm, the Swedish capital city, as we already have lots of tips for things to do in Stockholm in our collation post.

Say Hello to the Christmas Goat of Gavle

The Christmas Goat of Gavle is a large, straw Christmas goat and a big tourist attraction. In Sweden, it is a believed that a goat comes on Christmas to deliver presents. Oddly, this attraction is constantly the target of foul play, such as attempted burnings and thefts of the goat.

what to do in Sweden

Image by misterbisson

Click here for the lowest prices on Gavle hotels

Play Swedish Bandy

Swedish Bandy is a Winter game that is basically a cross between soccer and hockey and played on ice. You will need skates, two goals, sticks, an orange ball, and minimal padding to play. It is a very fast paced game and can be hard to keep up. Also, be warned that there are no such thing as casual bandy fans.

what to do in Sweden

A Swedish Bandy Match by Marcus Cederstrom 

Continue reading

Mardi Gras in Sweden with Cream Buns

For an American, Mardi Gras is synonymous with New Orleans.  A non-stop party with plenty of good food, alcohol, and some party beads thrown in for good measure.  Swedes celebrate Mardi Gras too.  They just do it a little differently.

Swedes eat.  Specifically, Swedes eat semlor.  A semla is a delicious baked good smothered in cream.  The pastry itself is a wheat bun, spiced with cardamom.  The top of the bun is cut off (but not thrown away) and hollowed out.  Inserted into the newly hollowed out bun is a dollop of almond paste. Finally, the bun is filled with cream and the cut off (but not thrown away) top acts as a sort of hat to the semla.

Picture courtesy of ratexla. More pictures by ratexla here.

Semlor are traditionally meant to be eaten on Fat Tuesday (Shrove Tuesday in the UK), before the Lent fast begins on Ash Wednesday. However, the Semla starts making an appearance in bakeries and grocery stores throughout the country around the beginning of the year and don’t disappear until Easter.

And it is a good thing, because they are delicious.  Several years ago, Aftonbladet, one of the evening newspapers in Sweden, reported that the average Swedes eats five semlor per year for a grand total of 40 million semlor.

Picture courtesy of Per Ola Wiberg ~ Powi. More pictures by Per Ola Wiberg ~ Powi here.

I had initially planned on ranking my favorite semla places, but it’s just not fair. The beauty of Fat Tuesday is sampling your way through several different semlor.  The cafés in Gamla Stan in Stockholm are a great place to start.  If the weather is nice, continue on to KungsträdgÃ¥rden and grab a seat at one of the outdoor cafés.  Finally, make your way towards Hötorget.  You won’t be disappointed.  You will be full, and if you didn’t pace yourself, borderline sick.  Semlor are rich and heavy and should probably be eaten in moderation.  Of course, it is Fat Tuesday, so enjoy.

If you can’t make your way to Sweden in time to sample a semla, try this recipe here.

More Tips for Things to Do in Sweden

We’ve lots more travel tips for what to do in Sweden.

The Best of Stockholm Travel Tips

The Swedish capital of Stockholm is a fascinating destination and is included in our best European cities to visit post. If you’re planning a trip to Stockholm, then this round-up of our best suggestions for things to do in Stockholm should help you make the most out of your time there.

Historical Attractions in Stockholm

Stockholm’s most famous museum is the Vasa Museum, home to the 1620s ship which sank and spent 300 years in the Baltic Sea, before being salvaged and becoming the centrepiece of this museum.

Things to do Stockholm

The Vasa by Scarygami

Another interesting museum in Stockholm (which has some 70-odd museums!) is the Museum of Medieval Stockholm, which recently underwent extensive renovations. As a whole, Stockholm has a fascinating medieval history and many places to see evidence of it, including the Old Town area known as Gamla Stan.

gamia stan stockholm

Gamla Stan by lyng883

Sports fans might like to check out Stockholm’s Olympic Stadium (Stadion), venue for the 1912 Olympics.

For something different, try the House of Nobility in the centre of Stockholm, a historical building which now features the genealogical history of the noble families of Sweden. Alternatively, the Stadshuset (City Hall), home to the Nobel Prize banquet, can be an interesting place to explore, especially if you climb the tower for some great views over Stockholm.

Things to do Stockholm

House of Nobility by roger4336

Free Things to Do in Stockholm

A free attraction which Marcus suggests is underrated but very interesting is to visit the Swedish House of Parliament or Riksdag. It’s situated on an island – easily reached via a pedestrian bridge – and offers regular tours, including tours in English, and they’re all free.

Things to do Stockholm

The Riksdag by dtsomp

If you’re looking for some interesting exhibitions but are short on cash, then the Kulturhuset (“Culture House”) in Stockholm is a great way to spend your time. It has numerous floors of exhibitions, which might include photography, films and artworks, and most exhibitions will be free to enter.

Things to do Stockholm

The Kulturhuset by Anna-Stina

Enjoying the outdoors is possible (but different) in both summer and winter at the Kungstradgarden – it’s also the venue of the fantastic Christmas Market in December.

Things to do Stockholm

Kungstradgarden by ollesvensson

Although tours of the Skogskyrkogården World Heritage-listed cemetery are available, Marcus suggests giving yourself a free tour instead.

Palaces and Churches in Stockholm

The Riddarholmskyrkan is a church on a small island in Stockholm which dates back (in part) to the thirteenth century, and is the burial place for a number of Swedish royals.

Things to do Stockholm

Riddarholmskyrkan on a grey day by Eoghan OLionnian

An hour out of Stockholm by boat, the Drottningholm Palace is where the Swedish royal family live but the general public can access most of the palace’s grounds.

Things to do Stockholm

Drottningholm by tehzeta

Also a short trip out of Stockholm, to the north, you can find the Ulriksdal Palace which used to be the royal family’s summer residence. You can look through the palace buildings during summer and through the grounds at any time of year.

Things to do Stockholm

Ulriksdal in winter by lefant

Film, Food and Getting Around in Stockholm

Film buffs might like to time their visit to coincide with the Stockholm International Film Festival in November – it might not be a high profile festival but apparently there are plenty of great films to be seen.

If you’re feeling peckish while wandering Stockholm, then you can stop in to the Hötorgshallen Markets with all kinds of local and international foods to try. To add a great view to your meal or drink, you can try the Mosebacke Etablissement during summer, which has a great outdoor seating area.

Things to do Stockholm

Feast from Hotorgshallen Markets by patrikneckman

How you get around Stockholm depends a lot on the season (but the metro, of course, is fine all year!) – in summer, you might want to try the Stockholm City Bikes scheme.

Things to do Stockholm

Stockholm City Bikes by bjaglin

Find the Lowest Prices on Stockholm Hotels

Click here to find the best deals on hotels in Stockholm on the HotelsCombined price comparison site.

Podcast of Best of Stockholm Tips

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More Tips for Things to Do in Sweden

We’ve lots more travel tips for what to do in Sweden.