Sightseeing for Natives

2011-01-29. Published in Life in Gothenburg
by Nils Pasi

Sightseeing for natives, what a curious idea! Of course, Gothenburg offers many sightseeing opportunities for temporary visitors and tourists, but for someone who was born and grew up here, sightseeing may not be the first thing that comes to mind when trying to decide what to do on a day off. But take the word 'sightseeing' apart, and you have 'sights' and 'seeing', two words that together form the notion of going to sights that are worth seeing, and let's face it, there are sights in Gothenburg that natives of this city return to again and again. But how do you find these places? Take the building in the photo to the right, for example. How could you possibly know that this building, as a sightseeing spot, is completely and utterly not important? Well, I will try to help you out there. 'Sightseeing for Natives' is an article on the sights in Gothenburg that are so good that even the native Gothenburgers cannot get enough of them.

Masthuggskyrkan (map)

First on my list of three is the view of the city from Stigberget and the famous Masthuggskyrkan (direct translation: 'the mast cutting church'). The harbour has always been of great importance to Gothenburg and if you have a look at the street names in Masthugget, you will find that shipbuilders, harbour workers and sailors probably used to live here. Masthugget, of course, refers to the cutting and crafting of ships' masts, and then there are Kompassgatan ('Compass street'), Sjömansgatan ('Sailor's street') and so on. Considered one of Gothenburg's great sightseeing spots, Masthuggskyrkan resides at the top of Stigberget from where it overlooks the harbour and inlet. Busloads of tourists come here throughout the year, but also natives, in cars or on foot, making it a sightseeing spot so good that even the natives cannot get enough of it. Although always a good place to visit for a breathtaking view, I would especially recommend a visit here during sunset – it is something extra, to be sure.

Botaniska Trädgården (map)

Second on my list is Botaniska Trädgården ('The Botanical Gardens'), which is perhaps at its most spectacular during the spring season, but certainly retains much of its attraction throughout the summer and autumn as well. This is indeed a place that many tourists and natives visit, and it is also a good spot for cherry blossom viewing ('はなみ'). If the you prefer woods over gardens, passing through Botaniska Trädgården will take you to Änggårdsberget, a relatively large area of Swedish wilderness where wild moose (elks, Sw: 'älg'), deer, foxes, badgers and other wild animals may be seen if you are very lucky.

Haga (map)

Third and last on my list is Haga, an old area of the city located close to Handelhögskolan. In Haga, both tourists and natives come for a good cup of tea or coffee at one of the many cafes lining both sides of the main street. Although cars are not explicitly forbidden to enter the area, they rarely do (I believe you are only allowed to drive there if you are leaving or picking up things from one of the addresses in the area) which makes it a very quite and relaxed place. There is easy access to Skansen Kronan, the old bastion overlooking the city from the top of Skansberget, which was the topic of another article here on a little while ago. During Christmas, there is an annual Christmas market and throughout the year you will find lots of interesting stores to visit, such as one of very few hat makers' stores in Gothenburg. People selling home made accessories or things obviously found in the attic are not uncommon during the warmer parts of the year. If ice cream is your cup of tea, I'd be very curious to know what your cup of coffee is... (ahem, sorry about that). So, if ice cream is your cup of tea, there is also a great little ice cream shop which offers wonderful home made ice cream and delicious sorbets.

Of course, there are many places that I have not mentioned. Some of these I have omitted simply because it is impossible for me to include everything in one article. Others I have omitted because you most likely already know about them. These include the archipelago, Slottsskogen, and Liseberg, the great amusement park. If I had unlimited time and space, I would write a book on the subject, for there is so much to tell. If you are looking for some special kind of sightseeing spot, like maybe a beautiful place to go for walks, please leave a comment and the Misi team and I will do our best to try to come up with some recommendations for you.

/Nils, team 2010-2011


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