Many of the best museums in Gothenburg are focused on the sea – both above and beneath its surface. Some are even floating, allowing you to step on board and explore historical ships and vessels. Much revolves around the port, seafaring, emigration to America and trade with the world – especially China.

    The city also boasts 2 museums with gigantic aquariums and, naturally, there is even a museum dedicated to Gothenburg's most iconic form of transport, the tram. People have lived in West Sweden for 12,000 years and there is plenty of history to uncover about the Vikings, the city's fortifications and the history of industrialisation. All museums are located within comfortable walking distance and most are small with affordable entry prices.

    1

    The Ship Götheborg (Ostindiefararen Götheborg)

    Experience life as an 18th century sailor on the open seas

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    This replica of the Swedish Ship Götheborg (Ostindiefararen Götheborg) has been painstakingly reconstructed using tools from the period and is chock full of interesting history. Take the Älvsnabbare Ferry from the centre to Eriksberg on the island of Hisingen, an alluring residential area built in harmony with its ship-building history.

    People once flocked here to follow the construction of this gorgeous 18th century ship. The original was shipwrecked rather unceremoniously with a full load on its return from a voyage to China. Once on board, you can learn all about what it once contained, its historical and contemporary expeditions over the 7 seas and everything that went into its construction.

    Location: Pir Fyra 2, 417 64 Gothenburg, Sweden

    Phone: +46 31 7793450

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    2

    Gothenburg Museum of Art (Göteborgs Konstmuseum)

    Discover fascinating art behind an iconic facade

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    The Gothenburg Museum of Art (Göteborgs Konstmuseum) makes for a magnificent finish to the impressive Avenyn Boulevard and does justice to the artists it houses inside – from Picasso and Rembrandt through to a whole string of Swedish masters. Many will have seen the monumental museum building on the front pages of travel brochures. But not everyone will know that it houses a huge museum focused on Nordic visual art from the late 19th century, as well as international art from the last 600 years of human history.

    In typical Gothenburger fashion, the museum is open and welcoming to all, including children, with activities and exhibitions being held one after the other. Even when the museum is closed, you can pay a virtual visit all day round – even after you go home!

    Location: Götaplatsen, 412 56 Gothenburg, Sweden

    Open: Tuesday 11 am to 6 pm, Wednesday 11 am to 8 pm, Thursday 11 am to 6 pm, Friday and Sunday 11 am to 5 pm

    Phone: +46 31 3683500

    Map

    photo by Bolstermage (CC BY-SA 3.0) modified

    3

    Museum of World Culture (Världskulturmuseet)

    Let the world come to you

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    The award-winning Museum of World Culture (Världskulturmuseet) in Gothenburg is one of Sweden's newest and most modern museums, with a focus on curiosity and reflection. The minimalist glass and concrete building is located right next to Liseberg Amusement Park and Universeum, close to the busy transport hub of Korsvägen Square.

    Even if the stately World Culture Museum may be one of the more serious sites on Gothenburg's so-called Thoroughfare of Events (Evenemangsstråket), it attaches great importance to open discovery and learning through play. Contemporary and historic artefacts and architecture are displayed side by side and carefully curated exhibitions are constantly being held. Take a breather at the museum's café and restaurant or on the large indoor staircase which is sometimes used for seating during concerts.

    Location: Södra Vägen 54, 412 54 Gothenburg, Sweden

    Open: Wednesday to Sunday 11 am to 5 pm

    Phone: +46 10 4561179

    Map

    photo by Hélène Binet (CC BY-SA 3.0) modified

    4

    Maritime Museum & Aquarium (Sjöfartsmuseet Akvariet)

    Learn about life above and below the water's surface

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    The Maritime Museum & Aquarium (Sjöfartsmuseet Akvariet) offers something for everyone – learn about the port and the history of the American liners or visit the Knattegatt Playground and the wide range of exciting aquariums. This immeasurably popular museum is located on the outskirts of the city centre. But you can easily find your way by looking out for the Seaman's Wife (Sjömanshustrun) who gazes out towards the ocean from her tower, which you can also go up to the top of. It is located right next to the Maritime Museum on Stigbergstorget Square and is easily reached by tram.

    Gothenburg has one of the biggest ports in the Nordic Region and was for a long time its biggest ship-building city. The city hasn't got a fully fledged shipyard museum but the floors dedicated to maritime history are chock full of ship models, displays, dramatic stories and even a ship stimulator. On the bottom floor, you can experience the wide array of life that exists beneath the surface in the museum's large aquariums.

    Location: Karl Johansgatan 1-3, 414 59 Gothenburg, Sweden

    Phone: +46 31 3683550

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    photo by Nahid V (CC BY 2.0) modified

    5

    Gathenhielmska Culture Reserve

    Get a glimpse of a Gothenburg from days gone by

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    The Gathenhielmska Culture Reserve (Gathenhielmska Kulturreservatet) takes you on a journey back to the 18th and 19th centuries when Majorna was comprised of small wooden homes and gorgeous gardens. The district of Majorna is well known for its 3-storey wooden houses in the landshövdingehus style, which are emblematic of a Gothenburg from days gone by. But the painstakingly preserved buildings in the Gathenhielmska Culture Reserve are much older than the ones outside and a testament to what this historically working-class and seafaring neighbourhood used to look like before raging fires transformed it forever.

    Combine this small-scale, film-set-like and peaceful environment with a stroll through modern Majorna, a visit to the Maritime Museum & Aquarium (Sjöfartsmuseet Akvariet) or the Masthugg Church (Masthuggskyrkan) high up on the hill. All of this is located just a few tram stops from the centre, by the Stigbergstorget Stop.

    Location: Pölgatan 13, 414 60 Gothenburg, Sweden

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    photo by Averater (CC BY-SA 3.0) modified

    6

    The Gothenburg Museum of Natural History

    Don't miss the blue whale, elephant and dinosaur skeleton

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    At the Gothenburg Museum of Natural History (Göteborgs Naturhistoriska Museum) you can stroll around through imposing halls full of taxidermic animals, dioramas, insect collections and a scale replica of Lucy, our oldest human ancestor. The gorgeous building towers above Linnéplatsen Square in Slottsskogen Park and is a much loved day-trip destination for Gothenburgers of all ages.

    This is largely down to its well-preserved charm, just like you'd expect from any good natural history museum. Inside, you'll find everything from single-cell organisms to the world-famous Malm Whale (Malmska Valen). Once you've finished checking out the museum's 10 million animals, you can switch things up with a space walk. This is a thought-provoking scale model of the solar system with planets placed outside the museum and all the way out to the Änggårdsbergen Nature Reserve.

    Location: Museivägen 10, 413 11 Gothenburg, Sweden

    Phone: +46 10 4414400

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    photo by Udo Schröter (CC BY-SA 2.0) modified

    7

    Gothenburg Maritime Museum (Maritiman)

    Step on board a destroyer, submarine and a dozen other vessels

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    The Gothenburg Maritime Museum (Maritiman) is a floating museum where instead of wandering around a big museum building, you can explore the insides of various maritime vessels. That makes it much easier to imagine what it must have been like to serve on the 120-metre long HMS Småland destroyer with its many canons and ladders.

    Stroll around and just imagine what it would be like to live full-time in the claustrophobic conditions found on the HMS Nordkaparen submarine. Step over to warships, towing boats, harbour ferries, floating taxis and fireboats as you learn all about life at sea. This floating experience centre enjoys a central location on the river between the Opera House and Casino Metropol.

    Location: Packhusplatsen 12, 411 13 Gothenburg, Sweden

    Phone: +46 31 105950

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    8

    Gothenburg City Museum (Göteborgs Stadsmuseum)

    Learn about Vikings, the city's birth and famous Gothenburgers from history

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    The Gothenburg City Museum (Göteborgs Stadsmuseum) is a large and varied repository precisely because it is the result of a merger between several museums, all housed in a single, majestic old building. The museum is located by the Stora Hamnkanalen Canal in the centre of town and within walking distance from most things. The building was previously home to the Swedish East India Company which pursued exciting and lucrative trade with China. A replica of one of its vessels can be found on the other side of the river.

    Gothenburg's position as Sweden's port to the world is just one of the topics broached at the Gothenburg City Museum. The stories begin 12,000 years ago and you will follow the development of Gothenburg and West Sweden all the way through to its current position as a beacon of industry, IT, music and events. On the very top floor lies the Children's Museum, a popular meeting place for families with kids in the city.

    Location: Norra Hamngatan 12, 411 14 Gothenburg, Sweden

    Open: Tuesday and Thursday–Sunday 10 am to 5 pm, Wednesday 11 am to 8 pm

    Phone: +46 31 3683600

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    9

    Röhsska Museum

    Expand your knowledge of crafts and design

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    The Röhsska Museum has for more than a century been Sweden's only museum entirely dedicated to crafts and design. This romantic brick building is just a stone's throw away from Valand Academy and the city's main boulevard, Avenyn. Even if the museum may be distinguished and traditional, it doesn't shy away from innovation and has more than 10,000 of its objects on display in digital form. Children and adults alike can try their hand at techniques such as straw blowing and textile printing.

    Just like at the Gothenburg City Museum (Göteborgs Stadsmuseum), much focus is placed on the meeting between Sweden and East Asia, with the Chinese collections being particularly prominent. Another exhibition focuses on fashion from the 19th century onwards. One quirky feature is that the Röhsska Museum visualises design and trends over time with a little help from more than 500 chairs.

    Location: Vasagatan 39, 411 37 Gothenburg, Sweden

    Phone: +46 31 3683150

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    photo by Andrzej Otrębski (CC BY-SA 4.0) modified

    10

    Gothenburg Tram Museum (Göteborgs Spårvägsmuseum)

    Step on board a historic tram and get ready to chat with the guides

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    At the Gothenburg Tram Museum (Göteborgs Spårvägsmuseum) you can learn all about developments in the city's transportation network and step on board a 19th-century tram carriage for yourself. The old trams are parked in a former carriage hall with 8 tracks in total, and 15 of the old carriages still run today. Many of them are operated by the Ringlinjen Society in the summer, at Christmas time and on other public holidays.

    This public transport museum even boasts a tram simulator where you can learn how drivers and conductors used to work in days gone by, completely exposed to the elements. The Gothenburg Tram Museum is located in the district of Gårda, close to the Nya Ullevi Stadium, and you can naturally arrive by tram. Simply get off at the Svingeln Stop. After your visit you will understand why Gothenburg never retired its beloved tram network, unlike many other cities.

    Location: J Sigfrid Edströms Gata 2, 416 48 Gothenburg, Sweden

    Open: Sunday 11 am to 2 pm

    Map

    photo by Albin Olsson (CC BY-SA 4.0) modified

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