Let’s face it: most mountain bike destinations are small towns way out in the sticks that just so happen to be surrounded by massive mountains and vast webs of trails. Very rarely do such destinations have anything to keep a family with kids busy while Mom or Dad are out shredding singletrack.
However, a city of a million people is a different story. And even compared to other cities with a million people, Gothenburg is flush with activities and amusements to keep your kids and family happy–no matter how old they are.
The Liseberg Amusement Park “is Scandinavia’s largest amusement park by number of rides and Sweden’s most popular attraction by visitors per year (more than 3 million),” according to Wikipedia. Liseberg is filled with attractions to keep anyone and everyone happy, from toddlers on up to adults. I know, because I had a blast riding roller coasters myself!
Pro tip: if you plan to make regular use of Liseberg, stay at Gothia Towers. Not only is this the largest hotel in the city, but it’s connected to Liseberg via a pedestrian skyway, so you don’t even have to cross the busy street to get there.
Gothenburg is bisected by the Gothia River along with a series of interconnected canals. See the city from a different angle by taking a Paddan Boat tour. The tour guide will point out key historic sites in the city, and explain their signficance
To me, the shopping opportunities in Gothenburg appear endless, with everything from small, privately-owned shops located in historic districts to Nordstan, Scandinavia’s largest indoor shopping mall. If your family and/or significant other enjoys shopping, there’s plenty to keep them entertained!
4. Marstrand Island and Carlsten Fortress
Stay tuned for more detailed information on Marstrand Island and Carlsten Fortress, but suffice it to say that this island is a destination for mountain bikers, hikers, and tourists/sight seers alike.
The Maritime Museum and Aquarium has on “permanent exhibition 400 years of Swedish shipping, include objects from the Swedish American Line, sailor memories of life on board and stories from the port city of Gothenburg,” according to Goteborg.com. Some of these exhibits include permanently-anchored boats that still float along the city’s waterfront.
There’s no end to the dining opportunities in Gothenburg, and I’ll continue to share some of my dining experiences with you along with my ride reports. While I’ll share more about this establishment in a future article, I have to mention that Restaurang Gabriel, located in the Fish Church (which is an excellent attraction in its own right), was hands-down the best dining experience of the week, and one of the best of my entire life! Absolutely incredible seafood served by a local connoisseur coupled with one of the best beer selections that I saw in Gothenburg = success.
If your kid (or you, for that matter) is into natural history, this should be stop #1 on your list. The Gothenburg Natural History Museum is home to the world’s only mounted blue whale (which I hear has a coffee shop located in its skeleton).
8. Island Archipelago
If you want to see a side of Gothenburg that you can’t find anywhere else in the world, you need to visit the island archipelago. Actually, there are at least two concentrated groups of islands: the northern and the southern archipelagos. Marstrand, mentioned above, is technically part of the northern archipelago, but if you want to stay closer to Gothenburg, consider hopping on a ferry and exploring the southern archipelago.
I had the pleasure to experience Branno Island in the southern Archipelago, which is only open to foot traffic, bicycles, and small mopeds. Life can be harsh for the residents who live full-time on the island, but they’ve either learned to adapt thanks to the few technological changes available there (see photo below), or they’ve lived simply amongst these islands for generations. As our ferry pulled up to Branno, we saw some Swedes coming in from a morning of fishing… in what was essentially a viking long boat. No, it wasn’t a tourist ride: these locals and their boat were weather-hardened and tough, and were just living life in the archipelago.
Want a more active tour? Take a day off from riding and spend it sea kayaking through the islands, exploring the smaller, lesser-known rocks protruding from the sea.
If your family is into art, the Gothenburg Museum of Art could provide hours of diversion!
If art (or one of the other museums listed above) isn’t your thing, there are all sorts of other museums in Gothenburg including an aviation museum; Volvo museum (Gothenburg is the home of the car brand); the Rohsska Museum for design, fashion, and decorative arts; and more!
10. Slottskogen Park
Gothenburg abounds with parks and green space, but Slottskogen is the main park in the city. This expansive area offers plenty of space for relaxing, walking around, and even a leisurely pedal if you’re so inclined. There’s even a small outdoor zoo spread throughout the park.
And so much more…
As I began to draft this list, I quickly realized that I could drone on and on about the sights in Gothenburg. There are more historic sites, museums, and other attractions and diversions than I could begin to cover in this article.
For more information, be sure to check out the Gothenburg City Card website. Not only does the City Card give you access to most of the attractions mentioned above, but it also provides free access to all public transportation in the city, including trams, busses, and the ferries required to access the southern archipelago.
If you’ve ever wanted to plan the perfect vacation combining family fun, history, and technical mountain biking, look no further than Gothenburg!