There are LOTS of stay at home dads in Sweden which is so amazing!, the parks are full of them, here was me thinking it was a holiday or something. In Sweden families are entitled to 480 paid parental leave days. Yes you read it right PAID parental leave days that can be divided up between mum and dad. Can you imagine UK & USA?
Swedish people love all things outdoors including eating outside, I was right there with them but it was so great to see everyone taking part in major picnics and family alfresco dining.
The shops really do close at 6pm and liquor stores which are state-owned have special opening hours and are closed on Sunday.
If you visit someone’s home be sure to take off your shoes. In Sweden as in many Asian countries it is very rude to walk around someones home with your shoes on. Here here!
Sweden is expensive but it’s not impossible to budget either. If you can stay in an apartment or homestay the obvious suspect being Airbnb. then do so this will really free a ton of cash up for you. Cooking at home or picnics are your budgets best friend. Plan to be tee total too because drinking in restaurants and bars is not budget friendly. Here are some of the attractions we thought were the best value for money and kid friendly.
Get a Goteborg city card and a top up pass for public transport. Check out www.goteborg.com/citycard for full information on all the options such as 24 hour, 48 hour or 72 hour cards and a list of all the available attractions the card covers. It also covers public transport. We opted for a 24 hour card and started our adventure around noon time so that we could split it up for the next day. If you have younger children like me mornings are often more productive and less cranky so this really worked for us.
Gothenburg Sweden with kids 1. Haga
This area is on every Gothenburg sightseeing list for good reason and we loved it. A charming old area of the city littered with small independent boutiques, antique shops, coffee shops and street stalls. This area seemed to be pretty traffic free so it felt like a village rather than being in a bustling town. Highlights had to be the Liten Karin toyshop, Villervalla sales shop and En Deli. Liten Karin was a treasure trove of wooden toys and creative gifts, some suitable for souvenirs for kids all ages even some big ones too 🙂 Villervalla is a famous Swedish kids brand specialising in brightly colored and boldly printed stars and stripes designs for baby all the way to teenage clothing, the sale shop was fantastic and as the designs are pretty classic we came away with some great signature looks for 1/2 the usual price.
En Deli is one of many cafes and restaurants in the area, what makes it different though is that it is Vegan. You can mix and match salads, soups, bakes etc and it also has space inside for buggies should you be visiting in the colder months. Make sure you park up next to the fabulous and beautiful wood burner for a cosy healthy meal. Prices were very reasonable and the staff were very very friendly towards our little brood of children. We opted to take out as it was so sunny and beautiful and made our way up the road to a great little kids park with grassy hills to picnic on.
Gothenburg Sweden with kids 2. Universeum
The Universium is in close proximity to the fun park Liseberg. With older children you could start here in the morning, with under 5’s this is really an entire day out. The museum has two restaurants for a lunch break or an outdoor play area for picnicking although there is only one bench so it might require some good timing.
This place was magical, from the walk through tropical house complete with, wait for it, mini monkeys running wild and a giant swooping aquarium. Oscar Chang was mesmerized. There are lots of activities taking place daily ( a dinosaur special and an animal penis talk were on ours!) and the below ground level has a fantastic indoor play area with fire stations, hospitals and ships to explore so rainy days are more than covered. Oh and we found Nemo, can you?
Gothenburg Sweden with kids 3. Alfons Abergs Kulturhus ( weirdly translated to the Alfie Atkins Cultural Centre )
Writer Gunilla Bergstrom created the wonderful character Alfons Aberg in 1972 and although we had never heard of it ( I’m new to the kiddy world ) we decided to visit the world of all things Alfons. WOW I’m so glad we did, this place is probably my favorite children’s attraction so far. It is geared towards younger children with a 3 floors of interactive play, story spaces, fun houses to explore, mini cinemas complete with adorable leather loungers, a theater and even a helicopter to ride in. Truly a memorable place, from the entrance with buggy car park to the coffee shop with unlimited refills of coffee (heaven right?) I was blown away. The details are very special so I wont spoil them for your. Enough convincing, you get the point you should go.
Gothenburg Sweden with kids 4. Slottsskogen Park
This place is vast, they don’t call it the lungs of Gothenburg for nothing. Its biggest inhabitant the 15 meter long whale in Plikta playground is a sight to behold on a sunny day, Jonah would have felt like a pygmy. Take a picnic and lots of energy with a penguin (fed at 14:30) and seal enclosure, pony rides (Gotland ponies no less) and a fantastic kids petting zoo ( open May – August ) you’re going to need it. The park has cafes, snack shops and restaurants as well as tons of picnic areas and you can even pick wild strawberries and blueberries in season. Most exciting part of the day….seeing my first moose of course, they’re massive. Who knew?!
Gothenburg Sweden with kids 5. Paddan boat tour
We took a few tours in Gothenburg but found this one the most fun and interesting. Being in a boat gives you a very different perspective on this beautiful old city. Its rich maritime history is about to end as the last boat yard closes this year however you can enjoy absorbing yourself in its waterways with floating naval museums and even a new and very modern nautically themed Opera house. The tour has a few hidden fun twists which I enjoyed a lot more than Oscar Chang did. The bulky life jackets that small children have to wear don’t exactly look like a bundle of laughs. Some improvements could be made there.
And here our journey ends. There is lots and lots more to do in this city, museums, an amazing library, unique shopping and of course plenty of opportunity to Fika (look it up) we just don’t have the time to get it all down as we start another adventure. Sweden is definitely somewhere we will be returning to after all we still have the capital to explore and another couple of thousand islands! The people were charming and polite and infrastructure makes travel a pleasure, especially with small children.