We have handpicked some of Gothenburg's sweetest design gems for you. Explore them by foot, combined with public transport. For the northern bank of the river, Norra Älvstranden, we suggest you catch the Älvsnabben river ferry and for the western neighbourhood Majorna for example tram 9 or 11.
10 highlights to be on the lookout for
The Gothenburg Opera and the lipstick skyscraper
The opera house from 1994 is located in Lilla Bommen harbour. The architect Jan Izikowitz found inspiration, not only in the world of opera, but the waterfront location too. The harbour is also where you can get up close to the red and white skyscraper commonly referred to as "the lipstick". The building, designed by Ralph Erskine, was completed in 1989 and stands 86 metres above sea level. The top floor is housing the observation deck Götheborgsutkiken offering amazing views of the harbour and city.
Lindholmen and the northern bank of the river
The northern bank of Göta River (Norra Älvstranden), and especially Lindholmen Science Park, is the place to go for contemporary design. The old shipyard area has been transformed into a modern neighbourhood including offices, a university campus and residential buildings. The most eye-catching feature is Kuggen, "the cog", a colourful round building with triangle-shaped windows, designed by Gothenburg-based architect Gert Wingårdh.
The Västtrafik river ferry Älvsnabben runs from Lilla Bommen harbour to Klippan and offers excellent views of the riverside neighbourhood Eriksberg. Get a seat on the top deck if the weather is fine, to fully absorb the harbour views. In Eriksberg you find the 70-metre high harbour crane – a distinct landmark reminding us of the glory days of shipbuilding. The crane was completed in 1969, making it possible to fix ships as large as nearly 500,000 tonnes. The country administrative board appointed the red harbour crane a historic building in 2012, to be preserved in the future.
The final stop, before the ferry returns, is Klippan, by the Älvsborg bridge, known for the former Carnegie porter brewery and the contemporary art centre Röda sten. The brewery was once among the largest employers in the city, with around 450 employees in 1890. This was also busy times for the sugar cane factory next door. Today the brewery is hotel Novotel and the sugar cane factory Sockerbruket, is for example housing arts and crafts studios.
Typical wooden houses in the west
The wooden county governor houses (landshövdingehus) from 1875-1940 are one of building styles that are the most typical in Gothenburg. They are for example found in the western neighbourhoods of Majorna and Kungsladugård, like around Mariaplan. They are characterised by a ground floor made in stone, followed by a second and third floor in wood. This was partly due to fire regulations. In the 1940s around half of the population lived in this type of house.
The fish market hall Feskekôrka (literally the "fish church") is one of the most well-known buildings in the city. It was designed by Victor von Gegerfeldt who was the city architect between 1872 and 1896. Head there, not only to check out the quirky design, but also to grab some fresh seafood or perhaps lunch at Gabriel's upstairs.
Haga is one of the first suburbs, although today located right in the current centre, and it was planned in the middle of the 17th century. The neighourhood has kept a lot of its original charm and the picturesque main street Haga Nygata is lined with well-preserved wooden houses. On a small hill nearby you find Skansen Kronan. The previous fortifications is now a spectacular outlook and you can see large parts of Gothenburg from here. Skansen Kronan was built 1687-89 after designs by Erik Dahlbergh. Walk along the street Vasagatan, towards the main boulevard Kungsportsavenyn, to see grand turn of the century stone houses.
Götaplatsen and the concert hall
The square Götaplatsen, at the end of the main boulevard Kungsportsavenyn, was created for the World Expo in 1923. It's the home of the characteristic Poseidon statue by Carl Milles, the Gothenburg Museum of Art, the City Theatre and the Concert Hall. The later was designed by the architect Nils-Einar Eriksson and opened in 1935. The well-preserved interior is a real design treat and the main hall is decorated with panels in Sycamore mapel. The acoustics is considered to be among the best there is.
Universeum and the Museum of World Culture
Just a stone's throw from Götaplatsen you find Korsvägen with the Universeum Science Centre and the Museum of World Culture. The two modern buidlings are located next to each other, the first designed by Wingårdh Architects and the second won the Kasper Salin Prize in 2004 and is designed by the London duo Brisac-Gonzales Architects.
The town hall
An architectural walk is not complete without a stop at the square Gustav Adolfs torg. The town hall was complete in 1672, but as time passed it was considered too small. In 1912 a competition was won by architext Gunnar Asplund and his functionalistic addition to the building was complete in the autumn of 1936. His way of blending the old part and the new together has reached international recognition. From the square, do find your way to the Krohuset, the oldest remaining building in the city, dating back to 1654. Today it is used as a concert hall and the surrounding buildings form a small arts and crafts centre. Nearby you also find the German Christinae Church and the Gothenburg Cathedral.