Christmas songs from the moat
Last year’s popular choir on board the classic “Paddan” sightseeing boats is back. Wednesdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays on November 28–December 19 you can listen to traditional Christmas songs from the choir that slowly cruises the Gothenburg canals.
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.
A historical circular cinema experience
On December 3–19 you can step right into 17th century Gothenburg in a circular cinema in the park Bältespännarparken. The twelve-minute film is shown nonstop from 5–9.30 pm. You can find more information at goteborg2021.com. The screenings may be cancelled in case of bad weather.
Ice skating at Kronhuset
On November 27–December 19, you can experience a traditional Christmas market as well as an ice skating rink in the 17th century setting at Kronhuset. Besides skating, you can also enjoy historical architecture and stroll around the little shops selling local craft. The ice skating rink is open from 11 am to 6 pm every day.
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.
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!
Magasinsgatan is a given destination for shopping and coffee as well as eating out or grabbing a drink when the evening comes. Trendy shops, restaurants and bars all offer something special, no matter if it comes to barista skills, local clothing brands or restaurant decor.
The city centre
It’s easy to explore central Gothenburg on foot and there are plenty of fun to see and do. From the large market hall and shopping streets Kungsgatan, Vallgatan and Södra Larmgatan to cafés and sights. Many hotels are located here too, which makes it easy to stay right in the centre of things.
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 socks to modern design items. Explore traditional Christmas markets in the beautiful 17th century area around Kronhuset (November 27–December 19) or in the neighbourhood Haga (November 25–December 19, on weekends) and enjoy a market combined with events and concerts in the shopping centre Nordstan (November 25–December 31).
Haga is one of the oldest neighbourhoods in Gothenburg. The pedestrian street Haga Nygata is lined with well-preserved houses, many in the characteristic Gothenburg style called “landshövdingehus” with one floor in brick and the rest in wood. Today they house plenty of independent shops and cafés.
Visit a 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 and visit the Christmas market.
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.
“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 (!).
Saint Lucy celebrations in Oskar Fredriks kyrka
On December 12 and 13 you can enjoy traditional Saint Lucy celebrations in the church Oskar Fredriks kyrka in the Linné neighbourhood. You’ll find more information about the celebrations here.
Saint Lucy concerts in Domkyrkan
The cathedral Domkyrkan in the city centre offers five different Saint Lucy concerts on December 11–13. Read more about the concerts here.
Saint Lucy concerts in Hagakyrkan
The church Hagakyrkan arranges Saint Lucy concerts on December 13. Read more about the concerts here.
Heart-warming Christmas concerts, a sparkling Christmas musical and dinner shows
Gothenburg presents a number of different music experiences around Christmas time. Sanna Nielsen performs at the Gothenburg Concert Hall, Tommy Körberg sings in the church Annedalskyrkan and Sissel Kyrkjebø takes the stage at Partille Arena. The opera GöteborgsOperan stages a new Christmas musical for the whole family and Oakleys combines a Christmas buffet with a show. In our Events calendar you’ll find even more concerts to choose from.