Although it is referred to as a Spring Exchange, you might find most of your time in Gothenburg to be pretty cold, wet, and wintery. Hence, it is a welcome surprise when the weather suddenly gets warmer and the flowers begin to bloom. The sun begins to rise at 4am instead of 9am and sets at 10pm instead of 4pm, giving you a whopping 16 hours of daylight to enjoy! It is also during this change of seasons where the beauty of Gothenburg really starts to shine. Below is a list of just a few of the amazing things that we have experienced in Gothenburg as it stepped into the fleeting Spring.


1) Walpurgis Night, or Valborg

Cortègen – What makes Valborg in Gothenburg unique

Valborg is a traditional spring celebration that is celebrated yearly on the 30th of April in Sweden. Traditionally, bonfires are lit at dusk to ward off evil spirits, and people gather to listen to speeches and songs to welcome the new season of spring after a cold winter.

Gothenburg celebrates Valborg with a giant bonfire in Slottsskogen city park, where a choir will also perform to welcome the spring. We arrived at Slottsskogen late (you will find out why later) so we missed the choir and lighting of the bonfire, but we did manage to at least get an idea of how big the fire might have been, had we arrived a little earlier.

Remnants of the dying bonfire in Slottsskogen

Valborg is also the only day (other than on election day every 4 years) where the 150 year old beached whale mounted in Gothenburg’s Natural History Museum is opened up for visitors to enter. Unfortunately, we made plans to visit some of the islands in Gothenburg’s archipelago that day and missed out on this rare occasion. The Natural History Museum is free of charge though, so I would definitely recommend visiting it on Valborg to look inside the mounted whale!

On Valborg, the mounted whale (bottom left) would be open for visitors to look at its interior

Last but definitely not the least, Chalmerists have a special connection to Valborg, as they have been organizing huge parades called Cortègen which makes its way around the city center every Valborg since 1909. Students engage in carefully choreographed satirical and comical depictions of a selection significant events that have occured in the past year atop truck carriages that are driven through the parade route. This is, of course, complete with self-made costumes, props, sets, and even some MacGyvered vehicles, all made to entertain and amuse.

This depicts Elon Musk’s takeover of Twitter, with a sink in his hands when he went to the Twitter HQ for negotiations

This depicts Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s appearance on Oprah
Last one – Argentina winning the world cup! Featuring a triumphant Messi and disappointed Lloris

Every year, roads are closed and hundreds of thousands of locals gather along the parade route to watch this entertaining display of creativity and fun. Of course, we took special care to make it back from the archipelago on time to join in the festivities as well! It was honestly very entertaining and despite all the writings being in Swedish, we managed to identify many of the displayed events, especially the global ones. In fact, it was so fun that we decided to stay until the end (which we did not intend to initially) and even followed rest of the crowd in walking with the final float for a little while (hence we were late to the bonfire in Slottsskogen).

The crowd following the ‘floats’ at the end of the parade

The atmosphere was electric and I highly recommend that anyone who visits Gothenburg during this period take the opportunity to celebrate Valborg like the locals by watching the Chalmers Cortègen.


2) The re-opening of Liseberg!

I feel like this photo captures the vibes at Liseberg well: The Liseberg Rabbit and giant snack wins

Gothenburg is home to one of the largest and most popular amusement parks in Scandinavia, Liseberg. As April draws to an end and the cherry blossoms begin to bloom, Liseberg re-opens for spring and summer once again! We did not know this, but on the day we went, it happened to be the first day of Liseberg’s re-opening after being closed for the cold wintery months of January to March. Additionally, this year marks Liseberg’s 100th year of operation, making its first opening day of the year even more special. Hence, you can imagine the crowds that joined us on our Liseberg visit on that day. Nonetheless, it was still an enjoyable day out with good weather and amazing rides! (Though disclaimer: I do not particularly enjoy amusement park rides so I went just to bask in the atmosphere and take some nice pictures. Hence I paid for general admission without rides for around 12SGD, while the rest paid the for the full 50SGD ticket that includes rides. They had a lot of fun on the rides though! So I’m assuming the rides are good :D) Spending your day in Liseberg is the perfect way to welcome the spring as the weather is pleasant enough for you to spend the whole day out and about without feeling too hot or too cold. It also provided a refreshing break from school (or even travelling around Europe) and was a great fun-filled day for all of us. I’ll share some of my shots here as I really enjoyed myself just walking around the park, soaking in and hopefully also capturing the magical amusement park vibes through my camera lens.


3) Exploring the archipelago of Gothenburg

Although it probably would have been a more activity-filled experience if we visited in summer as we would have been able to do things like crab-fishing or swimming, it was still fun to explore and walk around a couple of the 20+ islands that make up the archipelago of Gothenburg. These rocky islands are mostly pretty small and explorable by foot, as were the ones that we visited, Brännö and Galterö. We traveled there by taking a tram from the city center to Saltholmen ferry terminal, before boarding a ferry that would bring us to Brännö.

Ferry terminal at Saltholmen
How the ferries (considered public transport, by the way!) looked like

This journey took us about 1.5 hours, but I would say that it was definitely worth the travel time. Brännö is a quaint little island spotted with locals’ summer homes, though there are some who seem to stay on the island long-term as well. It is a really small island, and there seemed to only be one restaurant (which housed the only public restroom we could find) and one supermarket that served the whole island. Nonetheless, we really enjoyed the calm, countryside vibes as we walked along the little pebbled roads and passed by tranquil neighbourhoods of very aesthetic traditional Swedish wooden homes.

Quaint neighborhoods of Brännö

We brought some food with us from the mainland to picnic at Brännö’s viewpoint, and hiked through the rocky coastal national reserve to get to Galterö island, which we explored for a little bit before we had to leave to make it back in time for Cortègen that day.

Picnic at the viewpoint!

Coastal areas in Brännö and Galterö

Lowkey farmcore vibes

Overall, it was a nice half day away from the hustle and bustle of the city, and I would definitely recommend visiting Gothenburg’s archipelago for a day to take in the quaint, almost cottagecore (more like a mix between farmcore and coastal(???)core) vibes that can’t quite be emulated anywhere else. It was scenic in a calming way and an excellent place to visit if you would like to go somewhere to be away from the world and clear your mind.


4) Visiting gardens, parks, or even just admiring the flowers blooming on roadside trees and shrubs

Gothenburg truly comes to life with the arrival of spring. Locals love to spend time with friends and family in the great outdoors once the weather gets warmer and the sun shines bright.

Like the locals, I too took the opportunity to experience life outdoors after being cooped up during the cold winter months by visiting the Slottsskogen City Park on a pleasant Friday afternoon in May. It was 16 degrees outside and was the perfect temperature to walk around under the sun without breaking a sweat. Slottsskogen is Gothenburg’s main park, and is also home to a free of charge mini zoo, housing animals like moose, deer, and even seals and penguins!

Some of the wildlife in Slottsskogen

The park has a good mix of planned park space and natural forest, with many flat grassy expanses that can be used as picnic grounds, but also many hillier, native tree-covered areas, lightly scattered with benches for the meditative visitor. After a fruitful walk around the park zoo, which truly had quite a variety of animals, I found myself on a park bench in a relatively quiet area of the park. I sat there amongst the trees for close to half an hour, enjoying the breeze which made the leaves rustle, the sunlight which filtered through the canopy in dancing patterns, and plenty of birdsong which was accompanied by the occasional bird sighting. It was again, a welcome break from civilization and a great place to just chill and be present in nature.

People having gatherings and picnics on the grass fields
Benches in the hillier areas
Me on one of such benches!

Besides Slottsskogen, there are other more heavily landscaped parks like the Botanical Garden and the Horticultural Gardens that you can visit to get your dose of nature and greenery, while admiring the various flowers in bloom for the season. Unfortunately I could not find the time to visit these gardens during the short window I had between the time the flowers have started to bloom and the time I would leave Gothenburg, but this was definitely one of the regrets I had when I left Gothenburg.

Despite being unable to visit the gardens during my time there, I am really glad and thankful that I could still admire the beautiful flowers in bloom, thanks to the brilliant public landscaping efforts of the town. Tram and bus rides got exciting in our last month there as the sidewalks would be lined by trees, lush with flowers of all kinds. I shall let the video speak for itself, but Gothenburg in spring is a truly charismatic place, and it was a shame that I had to leave pretty soon after we just got to the good part.

Hopefully this blog post succeeded in conveying the beauty and charm of Gothenburg in spring. With that said though, nothing would beat being able to experience it in person! If given a chance, I would definitely love to visit Gothenburg again in spring to relive these familiar joys, and make even more beautiful memories in this lovely city <3.


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