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.

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.

illustration of people around a 360 screen
In the park Bältespännarparken you can enjoy a circular cinema experience from 17th century Gothenburg. Credit: Stina Wirsén

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.

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 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).

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.

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 (!).

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.