Go shopping for gifts and goodies at Liseberg’s Christmas market. Credit: Peter Kvarnström

Sweden’s biggest Christmas market at Liseberg

With half a million yearly visits, Liseberg Amusement Park is Sweden’s most popular Christmas market. No wonder. It is a truly magical place for all ages, especially during the coldest months when the entire park is transformed in to a beautiful winter wonderland. Here, you can dine at the high quality restaurants, meet with Santa and go on the winter-open carousels.

Fish and shellfish is extra tasty in Gothenburg, like here at Sjömagasinet’s Christmas buffet. Credit: Frida Winter

Traditional Swedish Christmas food

Swedish Christmas food is tasty, hearty and easy to love. Sweden is a large country and there are many local varieties. The number one reason to enjoy a Christmas dinner in Gothenburg is the fish and shellfish. In addition to the compulsory gravad lax (cured salmon) and pickled herring you will find fresh crayfish, shrimp and other Gothenburg specialities.

Two grown ups and a child enjoying christmas shopping.
In Gothenburg you’ll find cosy streets that are perfect for Christmas shopping. Credit: Happy Visuals

Go Christmas shopping

Gothenburg is a handy metropolis, and if you want to go Christmas shopping you have loads to choose from within walking distance. The Haga district is filled with little shops selling presents, chocolate, toys, hats and other charming things. In and around the street Magasinsgatan you will find the latest within fashion and interior design, while the city centre and the main boulevard Avenyn house many famous brands, flagship stores and arcades. There is also a wide range of secondhand, vintage and sustainable brands – check them out in our guide to sustainable Christmas gifts!

Vendor in old fashioned clothes in a candy stand.
At Gothenburg’s Christmas markets you’ll find everything from honey and socks to modern design items. Credit: Mika Aberra/Studiografen

Lots of Christmas markets

A good way to get into the right Christmas spirit is to visit a Gothenburg Christmas market. There are many markets to choose from and you will find everything from honey and wool socks to modern design items. Explore traditional Christmas markets in the beautiful 17th century area around Kronhuset or enjoy a market combined with events and concerts in the shopping centre Nordstan.

Visit a Christmas castle

Around Gothenburg, there are several castles and houses perfect for a Christmas outing. Just a short drive or bus ride from the city centre is Gunnebo House and Gardens with it’s impressive organic café and restaurant. Enjoy the beautiful surroundings and 18th century buildings.

Tjolöholm castle was built in 1898–1904 and the architecture is a mix of 14th century English style, Art Noveau and innovative design features. This is also a lovely place to visit in the Christmas time. Nääs Slott is another beautiful estate, not far from Gothenburg. The castle is set in a beutiful landscape just by a wonderful lake and there’s a lot to explore – both inside the castle and beyond. If you can’t get enough of the atmosphere, there are rooms for rent.

Young people taking part in a saint Lucia celebration.
The Saint Lucy Celebrations on December 13 is a popular Swedish tradition. Credit: Peter Kvarnström

“Luciatåg” – Saint Lucy celebrations

On December 13, Swedish people dress up in white and head out early in the morning to celebrate Saint Lucia of Syracuse (also known as Saint Lucy). During the celebration, there is always one girl dressed in a white dress with a wreath of candles on her head. This is Lucia herself. The celebrations take place in churches, homes and workplaces and are extremely popular thanks to the beautiful songs and atmosphere.

But why do Swedes celebrate a Catholic saint with such enthusiasm (apparently regardless of Christian faith)? One explanation might be that the celebrations are in fact inspired by old (and often wild) festivities that used to be held to celebrate the winter solstice. These festivities could be quite burlesque – containing schnapps, crossdressing and animals that could speak (!).

Ett stort rött upplyst hjärta står vid Lejontrappan mitt i Göteborg.
The red heart at Brunnsparken shines bright throughout the Christmas season.

A bright and friendly Christmas

Christmas just would not be the same without the millions of Christmas lights shining bright during the dark winter months. In Gothenburg, the city is full of festive lights, from the big red heart att Brunnsparken and the pink cherry lights at Järntorget, to the glowing cows in the meat packing district of Gamlestaden.