Gothenburg, Sweden


Insider tips from the Swedish city of Gothenburg by local Alice Andersson.

So, you’ve brought me to your favourite cafe – tell me about it.
This is Café Villekulla. We’ve walked down the steps into the underground café where no two chairs are the same. Treasures from antique shops and old homes cover the walls and shelves and old copper pots hang from the ceiling. There’s a huge branch from a giant oak tree in one corner, from which even more toys, plates and broken cups hang. The atmosphere is cosy, messy and kitsch. But it’s also homely in the way that you’d imagine Pippi Longstocking’s home, Villa Villekulla, to be. I’ve brought you here for the ambience and the amazing cake buffet, but also because the books about Pippi are such an integral part of every Swede’s childhood that you can’t avoid hearing at least one reference to her or the author Astrid Lindgren while in the country.

Mmm… this is good, what are we drinking? 
We are drinking coffee, a standard brew. Swedes drink on average eight cups of coffee a day (and no nasty instant stuff either). Our “fika” is sacred – a cup of coffee and a bun, cake or pastry in the afternoon is a great way to fend off the 3 o’clock energy dip.

What are your favourite local dishes?
Here, at this particular café they serve a cake buffet, where you can eat as much as you want of their Princesstårta (Princess cake), made from sponge, vanilla custard, raspberry jam and cream in layers and covered with a thin blanket of green marzipan; apple pie (obviously with hazelnuts and cinnamon); mazariner, filled mini-pies with almond paste and covered in icing; kladdkaka, a compact, gooey chocolate cake, served with cream and rulltårta, a kind of swiss roll with strawberry jam.

I’m getting hungry already, where else would you suggest I go to find these?
Apart from this café, there is Husaren in the old part of town, Haga, serve the biggest cinnamon buns ever, moist and just sweet enough, they are one of my favourite “fika”-snacks.

The sky is blue and the sun is shining, what’s the best thing to do on a day like today? 
A sunny day in Gothenburg is perfect for taking a short tram ride to Saltholmen and diving off the cliffs in to the clear, salty water and taking a swim. Or you should go and explore one of the many islands in Gothenburg’s archipelago.

And if it rains?
If it rains, Universeum, museum of technology and the nearby Museum of World Culture are worth a visit.

If there’s one thing I should do while I’m here, what is it?
While you’re here you should go to Liseberg, Gothenburg’s amusement park. There are rides to suit every kind of visitor, old-fashioned shops, a polka pig factory (polka pigs are red and white peppermint sweets), concerts, a dancing area with free dancing classes (salsa, lindy hop, bugg), restaurants, and more. I’ve been there loads this summer!

Give me a local tip that other tourists wouldn’t usually know…
You can rent equipment and go cross-country skiing in Delsjö-området, the woods in the eastern part of town, as long as there’s enough snow cover.

Originally published on