Visitors to Sweden usually make it to Stockholm and nowhere else, when the rest of the country has so much to offer as well. To get a further taste of Sweden outside of the capital, Gothenburg (or Göteborg in Swedish) is the second biggest city and is located on the western coast. If you're continuing on to Copenhagen, Gothenburg makes a great intermediate spot to break up the trip and see another city.
The fastest, most comfortable, and cheapest way to get there from Stockholm is the train, which is also the preferred method of transport of the Swedes. The bus takes much longer and costs more, and all the hassle of airline travel makes a flight not worth the headache. Of course, you could drive yourself to Gothenburg to have the freedom to explore some of the charming towns along the way.
How to Get from Stockholm to Gothenburg
|Train||3 hours||from $21||Quick and affordable travel|
|Bus||6 hours, 30 minutes||from $30|
|Flight||55 minutes||from $39|
|Car||5 hours||292 miles (470 kilometers)||Exploring the area|
Quick, comfortable, and easy to book, the journey by train from Stockholm to Gothenburg takes about three and a half hours and is very scenic. You can reserve a train on Sweden's national rail service, SJ, or the privately owned MTRX. Both companies have competitive prices, and the best way to compare schedules and costs is to book tickets using Omio.
Stockholm and Gothenburg are Sweden's largest and second-largest cities, respectively, so there are several daily trains between them. Prices start as low as $21 but can quickly get more expensive as demand goes up. However, because there are so many trains to Gothenburg, if you're flexible with your departure time you can usually find very affordable tickets even when purchasing at the last minute.
Both train stations are conveniently located in the city centers and easily connected to the rest of the city.
Direct flights from Stockholm to Gothenburg only take 55 minutes, and airline options include Norwegian, SAS, and BRA, with tickets starting as low as $39 for a one-way flight. Stockholm has two airports—the international Arlanda Airport and the smaller regional Bromma Airport—so pay attention to where your flight is departing from. Bromma is much closer to the city center than Arlanda, although an express train to Arlanda gets you there just as quickly.
While a plane seems like the fastest transportation method, once you factor in all of the time it takes to travel to and from the airports, check in, go through security, and wait at your gate, flying takes just as long as taking the train, if not longer. If you take a plane, you'll also miss out on all of the gorgeous landscapes you'd be able to enjoy from the train window.
Using the Omio website, you can also compare the prices of taking a bus to Gothenburg. Buses take about twice as long as the train and are normally more expensive, so the train is still your best option.
Buses depart from Stockholm at the bus terminal which is adjacent to the Central Train Station. In Gothenburg, you'll arrive at the long-distance bus terminal (Nils Ericson Terminal) right behind the train station.
The 470-kilometer (292-mile) drive takes about five hours to get from Stockholm to Gothenburg. From Stockholm, take E4 to Jönköping, and turn west onto Road 40 toward Gothenburg. It's a very scenic drive through forests, rolling hills, and along the banks of Sweden's second-largest lake. If you decide to make stops and explore the countryside—as you should—Sweden has a policy known as allemansrätten, or the Right of Public Access. For the most part, all of Sweden's land and water are free to roam and explore, so if you want to pick some wild mushrooms or take a dip in a stream, you're allowed to do so wherever you please.
Sweden has no tolls in place on its highways, but Stockholm and Gothenburg both use congestion pricing during peak rush hours. If you've rented a car in Sweden, the car should already be registered and the charges will just appear on your final rental bill.
Make sure to take the season into account before embarking on a road trip in Sweden. Spring, summer, and fall can make for a beautiful drive, but winter in Sweden could mean dangerous or closed roads. Always check road conditions before embarking on your trip.
What to See in Gothenburg
If you arrive at the Gothenburg train station, you're just a 10-minute walk from Stora Saluhallen, the city's largest market with over 40 stalls serving local and international cuisine, plus some one-of-a-kind boutique shops. Some Swedish dishes you shouldn't pass on include local coffee (Swedes are some of the biggest coffee drinkers in the world), fresh-caught or cured salmon, and elk meat. Slottsskogen should be your next stop, which is the biggest park in the city and a great place to spend a sunny afternoon sunbathing, having a picnic, or playing a round of mini-golf. If you're into amusement parks, Liseberg is the largest in all of Scandinavia. However, Gothenburg's most impressive attraction is actually outside of the city and you'll need to hop on a ferry to get there. The archipelago of islands just down the river offers scenic beaches, gorgeous landscapes, and quaint Swedish villages that are worth exploring. Styrsö and Asperö are two of the most popular ones to visit, but each island has something special.