Seven reasons to visit the Christmas City Gothenburg

Christmas City event in Gothenburg

By mid-November, central Gothenburg transforms into the Christmas City, mixing a warm sense of tradition with contemporary Swedish design. This winter is Gothenburg’s 20th Christmas city event, full of beautiful Christmas lights and modern, as well as traditional, Christmas markets. The city has many fun things to do in the running up to Christmas. Here’s why you should pay a visit:

1. Liseberg, the biggest Christmas market in Sweden

Since the start in the year 2000, the stylish Christmas at the Liseberg amusement park attracts some 450,000 – 500,000 visitors with 80 rustic market stalls and shops. The small, timbered cabins are selling everything from arts and crafts to seasonal foods such as traditional Swedish marinated herring, roasted reindeer served by Sámi reindeer herders from Lapland, marzipan pigs, and traditional mulled and spiced wine, known as glögg. You’re sure to find something.

There is also an ice-skating rink, which usually opens at the beginning of December. Here you can see fantastic ice-skating shows and go skating yourself.

Children can celebrate Christmas with Julius, the white rabbit. He has come down from the North Pole to visit his green cousins in Rabbit Land.

At Santa’s workshop, children can watch as Santa gets everything ready for the big occasion. They can also write their wish lists and leave them for Santa. A range of children’s rides is also available.

About 25 of the amusement park’s rides and attractions will be open during the Christmas market. A Winter Ride Pass gives you as many rides as you want on all of the attractions.

Christmas at Liseberg in Gothenburg opens tonight - with more lights than ever

The park is decorated with five million twinkling lights (almost all the lights are energy-saving LEDs), some 1,300 Christmas trees and a few tonnes of artificial snow. It is Sweden’s largest Christmas market and suits all tastes. Christmas spirit is guaranteed.

Liseberg is open from mid-November, though not every day.

2. Lane of Lights

Gothenburg has the most extensive illuminations in Sweden with the three kilometre long Lane of Lights along the main boulevard “Avenyn” from the harbour to the Liseberg amusement park.

The first lights are usually lit in mid-November as an appetizer to the Christmas City. The amusement park Liseberg will then open its gates a week later. Finally, all the Christmas ornaments and lights will be set for the première in early December, opening the festivities in the city.

3. “Julbord” Christmas buffets

Many restaurants propose a special Christmas buffet (julbord) starting from mid-November. These Christmas buffets often have a special Gothenburg twist, i.e. seafood in addition to traditional herring, smoked salmon etc.

4. Lucia and Christmas concerts

The Lucia tradition is a key event in the Swedish Christmas calendar. Witness a delightful, candle-lit Swedish national tradition: Every year, towns and cities across Sweden hold Lucia concerts. Gothenburg’s different choirs bring a sense of enchantment to the packed churches around 12 – 13 December.

In addition, there are many Christmas concerts in the city’s churches. Choirs will also be performing at different points throughout the city. Usually, the “Singing Christmas Tree” choirs will perform on Drottningtorget Square.

5. Sightseeing: Canal boats and an amphibious bus

As long as the canals aren’t frozen over, Paddan canal boats cruise along the city canals, passing the lock at the Drottningtorget square and on to Liseberg. Blankets, candles and glögg keep you warm along the way.

Weather permitting, the exciting amphibious bus will also be touring the harbour. Enjoy sightseeing with a splash.

6. Cafés with buns and cookies special for Christmas

There are lots of cafés where you can enjoy a Swedish fika (coffee and a bun). Most of them serve buns and cookies special for Christmas – for example ginger bread cookies (pepparkakor) and saffron buns (lussekatter). Try them with glögg or hot chocolate.

Haga, with its early 19th century cobblestone streets, is the perfect area for a fika, and is also great for vintage shopping and Christmas gifts. Don’t miss the Haga Christmas Market with local choirs, food stalls and real festive spirit, open on Saturday and Sunday from late November.

If you fancy trying a traditional cinnamon bun (kanelbulle), don’t miss the giant Hagabullen at Café Husaren, which you’ll find along Haga Nygata – the main street in Haga.

7. A perfect place to find your Christmas gifts

In addition to Liseberg (see above), there are several traditional Christmas markets full of handicraft. There are also many contemporary Christmas design markets where you can find unique jewellery, ceramics and alternative arts & crafts – for example at the Röda Sten Art Centre, Kronhuset, Kvarnbyn (Mölndal) or the Tjolöholm Castle (Kungsbacka).

Santa Claus, Father Christmas, at Tjolöholm Castle, Kungsbacka/Gothenburg

Santa Claus, or Father Christmas, at Tjolöholm Castle in Kungsbacka south of Gothenburg

Gothenburg is a compact city, almost everything is within walking distance. The city offers many personal, unique shops – a perfect place to find your Christmas gifts.

If you love fashion, Gothenburg has a really thriving fashion scene. There is a huge home grown talent who now have international acclaim. Big brands like Nudie, Monki, Velour and KappAhl all call the city home. Nudie Jeans is Gothenburg’s most famous fashion brand and is known for their denim clothes with unique stitching.

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Christmas in Gothenburg

Christmas in Sweden

Clarion Hotel Post in Gothenburg not far from the central station

 Clarion Hotel Post near the central station

Christmas City event in Gothenburg

In the Nordstan shopping centre

Gothia Towers

Hotel  Gothia Towers and the Liseberg amusement park

Christmas at Liseberg in Gothenburg opens tonight - with more lights than ever


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Sources: VisitSweden US, VisitSweden UK, Liseberg, West Sweden Tourist Board in cooperation with Göteborg & Co. Featured image: Göran Assner. Photos Liseberg: Liseberg. Photo Santa Claus: Will Rose. Photo Clarion Hotel Post: Clarion Hotel Post. Photo Gothia Towers: Gothia Towers.