Gothenburg is Sweden’s second largest city, located on the west side of the country. Sweden’s capital Stockholm may be larger, but Gothenburg rivals it when it comes to tourism. Gothenburg has gorgeous landscapes and busy seaports, along with classic architecture, rich culture and delicious cuisine — not to mention gay Gothenburg’s bustling nightlife.
Sweden’s long been a leading European country when it comes to gay rights. They’ve even trolled Russia over homophobia! Sweden legalized same-sex marriage in 2009, and they’ve been socially progressive for decades. Gay Gothenburg is so inclusive, even the only gay club in town, Gretas, is open for straight and other LGBTQ people. Almost every restaurant, club, bar and place in Sweden is LGBTQ-friendly. It’s truly a place where the division between heterosexuals and queer folk is non-existent.
Fun Facts About Gothenburg
The great thing about Gothenburg is it’s so easy to get to — if you’re in Kiel in Germany, Frederikshavn in Denmark and different ports in England, just hop a ferry to Gothenburg for a weekend getaway. And when you get here, you’ll have to try the traditional fika. People in Gothenburg take fika very seriously. Fika is the moment you share with friends over a cup of hot chocolate and sweets. It’s kind of like the Swedish version of spilling the tea with your BFFs, just with real treats!
Surrounded by the sea, obviously Gothenburg’s going to have phenomenal fresh seafood. Sample fish, shrimp, oysters and lobster at high-end restaurants or street vendors. Seafood lovers must go to Feskekörka to taste a variety of seafood. Feskekörka is a fish market in a beautiful church-like building. And as you’re sampling, you can gaze at the magnificent scenery by the canal.
Gothenburg is the Scandinavian equivalent of London. Scottish and English businessmen have been connected to Gothenburg since the 1800s. These early connections to Gothenburg made famous businessmen like Andrew Carnegie vastly wealthy. In return, they donated money and helped build a library, university and hospital. No wonder they call Gothenburg “Little London.”
Must-Visit Gothenburg Museums
Volvo is the leading vehicle manufacturer in Sweden and the Volvo Museum is in Gothenburg. The Volvo Museum is where you can learn the history of the car company, and look over the different models of Volvo throughout history. Discover ancient company stories, and see exhibits like the joint desk shared by Volvo founders Assar Gabrielsson and Gustaf Larson during the early years. The museum’s located on the riverside, so once you check out the museum, you can take a lovely walk along the shore.
The modernist Museum of World Culture is another must-visit museum in Gothenburg. The magnificent glass building by the Liseberg amusement park is impossible to miss. The Museum of World Culture has been home to controversial exhibitions like No Name Fever: AIDS in the Age of Globalization to Horizons: Voices From a Global Africa, challenging and educating museum-goers.
The Gothenburg Museum of Art offers a true Nordic cultural experience. This museum has the world’s most exquisite collection of late 19th century Nordic art. It also has the lavish Fürstenberg Gallery, named after a leading Gothenburg art donor, Pontus Fürstenberg and his wife, Göthilda. Among the artists showcased are P.S. Krøyer, Carl Larsson, Bruno Liljefors, Edvard Munch and Anders Zorn.
The Maritiman is more than just a museum — it floats! You can find it on the Göta Älv in Gothenburg. The Maritiman consists of 19 vessels for visitors to explore, the oldest being the HSwMS Sölve from 1875. You can make a day of it — there’s also a restaurant, and they often hold special events catered to children.
The Röhsska Museum, also known as the design museum, focuses on design, fashion and the applied arts. There are a number of exhibits here, including ones focusing on Swedish and European handicrafts, arts and crafts from Japan and China, and more. There’s also an exhibit looking at fashion from the 20th and 21st centuries — including some of the best haute couture Paris has to offer.
Local Gothenburg Tourist Attractions
If you love amusement parks, Liseberg Amusement Park is the most-visited park in Scandinavia since 1923. It earned that reputation by having over 30 different rides, along with a dancehall, and a number of restaurants and arcades for all your entertainment needs. And if you enjoy roller coasters, you must try Balder, the best wooden roller coaster in the world.
For the foodies, sample local delicacies at Stora Saluhallen. It’s located in Gothenburg’s largest market, and features more than 40 stalls and restaurants giving a real taste of Sweden. Buy unique products like elk and reindeer meat here as gifts — or maybe as your new favorite meal!
The central shopping district is around the streets Kungsgatan and Vallgatan. You can casually walk around the district and shop at big Swedish fashion chains like Nordstan. If you’re looking for something more alternative and indie, the Magasinsgatan district has smaller stores with the latest fashion, design, home furnishings and gifts. After a long day of shopping, check out the dive bars here and soak up the local experience over a glass of wine.
Next to Gothenburg is an archipelago of twenty islands. It’s easy to island hop and discover different places for a day or overnight trip. Some islands don’t allow car access, but the ferry system is fast and comfortable. Once you set foot on land, many of the islands offer hiking trails and great cafes.
Gay Gothenburg Nightlife
Where do people meet up in Gay Gothenburg? Your first stop should definitely be Gretas, the gay nightclub on Drottninggatan. Gretas is Sweden’s oldest LGBTQ club at over 17 years old. Gretas also hosts special events like “Antoninas Show Time,” where the local drag star Antoninas performs for the crowd.
You’ll also want to go to Bee Kök & Bar, a straight-friendly restaurant/bar. This place is open to everyone and serves excellent dishes from prime rib to Stormiga Fisksoppa, a fish soup, for an authentic Swedish treat. They’ve also got a great cocktail selection to start your night of fun off right.
Wish You Were Queer is a fabulous party that attracts an alternative queer crowd. This Nordic version of Ladyfag’s Holy Mountain party has boys, girls and drag queens dancing side by side. Wish You Were Queer usually happens over the summer at the canal boat Rio Rio. However, it does move locations during the year, so you’ll want to keep an eye on their Facebook page.
Every last Friday of the month, Club Queer opens its doors at Park Lane, located in the heart of the city, and welcomes a diverse crowd of party goers from butch queens, twinks and everything in between.
Gay Gothenburg Cruising Spots
Wandas, a strip club on Andra Långgatan street, has one floor dedicated to gay cruising. On the second level, guys can wander around and cruise other men freely on the weekend. They also have video booths set up for all-day adult entertainment.
Many sex shops in the city also have a cruising area — generally mixed with straight cruising —where guys meet for anonymous fun. For example, there’s Nyhavn Erotica, which has a wide selection of adult videos to watch. This shop even has private viewing rooms for patrons, who can choose up to 16 different videos.
Videoshopen, another favorite, also offers a cruising area for guys to socialize. Besides having a wide video selection, Videoshopen also has a store inside selling fun toys.
Gay Gothenburg Events
Every year around June, Gothenburg hosts West Pride, one of the largest Pride festivals in Sweden. Next summer, Gothenburg and Stockholm are both hosting Europe’s largest Pride, EuroPride 2018. In Stockholm, EuroPride takes place between July 27 to Aug. 05. Then it starts in Gothenburg, from Aug. 14 to Aug. 19, 2018.
The Gothenburg Film Festival in late January is another important gay Gothenburg event — and it’s the largest film festival in Scandinavia. Since 1979, this film festival celebrates excellence in Nordic films. They also have a number of different categories like HBTQ, a collection of various films that depict untraditional love or non-heterosexual roles, like Tom of Finland which screened this year.
Gay Gothenburg STD/HIV Testing Centers
Every Tuesday between 18:00 and 20:00, there’s a free drop-in anonymous HIV/Syphilis testing service called Checkpoint Göteborg. At this free clinic, patients get fast, anonymous results. It’s located in a discrete building with a safe entrance on Stora Badhusgatan. You can even get free condoms, lube, advice and safe-sex tips.
Ungdomsmottagningen (UMO) is a group of youth clinics around the city offering STD testing, advice and counseling. They also have free condoms and lube, plus on-site doctors can answer any health questions or look at any problems. UMO values privacy — they refuse to share any information with anyone, even the healthcare system nor your parents/guardians.
Featured image by robbie via iStockphoto.com