Two weeks ago my friend Stephanie and I took an incredible road trip through Sweden. We started in the big city of Gothenburg, drove up the stunning west coast, explored the quiet countryside, and came back to the city again. We experienced unique and fabulous food, fun shopping, and explored some of the most picturesque and charming villages I’ve ever seen in real life. I could not get over how beautiful Sweden is!
Our adventure started at the Volvo factory in Gothenburg, Sweden. Did you guys know if you buy a new Volvo they’ll send you on a free trip to Sweden? Yes, it’s true! They’ll give you two complimentary roundtrip airline tickets to Sweden and one night at a hotel in Gothenburg. You can tour the Volvo factory and museum, pick up your actual car, and drive it on your own road trip through Sweden. When you’re done, they’ll ship it back to your local U.S. Volvo retailer for free. You can take an unforgettable vacation in gorgeous Sweden with free airfare and no need for rental car expenses. Volvo will also include 15-day European Car Insurance coverage and temporary Swedish registration so you’ll be all set to drive in Sweden.
Volvo and the West Sweden Tourism Board invited us to come take a sample road trip and drive this super swanky Volvo through Sweden so I could help spread the word about their Overseas Delivery Program when I got back. Over the next few posts I’ll be sharing how we fell in love with the car AND Sweden, as well as the delicious food we found, beautiful villages we explored, and some of the cutest shops ever — all the highlights you HAVE to see if you’re ever in Sweden! :)
Our first day started in Gothenburg, Sweden. Gothenburg is the second largest city in Sweden (after Stockholm) with a population of about half a million people. It’s located on the west coast of southern Sweden off the North Sea, about halfway between Copenhagen and Oslo. Gothenburg is a major hotspot in Sweden for fabulous restaurants and chefs, fun shopping, museums, and sight-seeing.
On our first day we took a “Foodie Walking Tour” through downtown Gothenburg to orient ourselves in the city and find Gothenburg’s unique and hidden gems. Our first stop was the show-stopping Dorsia Hotel and Restaurant. Yes, that is a bird’s nest above the door!
This place is the cutest EVER on the inside!! It reminded me of Alice in Wonderland. This would be the perfect place to come for brunch, afternoon tea, or champagne before dinner.
Our next stop was a beautiful hidden alley, the the Victoria Passage, lined with colorful shops, flowers, coffee, and chocolate.
Flickorna Kanold in the Victoria Passage is a must-see in Gothenburg for handmade gourmet chocolates.
They have more flavors to choose from than you could possibly imagine, but I had to get the Gothenburg Sea Salt truffle, topped with salt made from the sea off the coast of Gothenburg. Love!
We passed so many colorful flowers and shop windows as we made our way through the passage.
Loved this little paper and notebook store!
At the other end of the alley is Bröd o. mer, which in English means Bread & More.
One thing I should mention is that everyone in Sweden speaks English! So you don’t have to worry about that. :) However the one Swedish word you should definitely know is “fika” (pronounced fee-ka). Fika basically means taking a break to drink coffee (or tea, juice, etc) and eat something sweet!! Our guide told us that people generally take a morning fika AND an afternoon fika!! I seriously need to implement this at home!! :) And Bröd o. mer is THE place to go to get your fika fix.
Sweden is famous for their bread and buns, especially their signature cinnamon bun and cardamom bun.
So you should totally get one of each for your fika!! Look how flaky and sugary these beauties are!! This is an absolute must in Sweden! :)
You guys. It’s time to get serious. Anytime you are in Gothenburg, BE ON THE LOOKOUT for this blue sign! That means that this ice cream brand, Lejonet & Björnen (The Lion & The Bear), is sold here. And there just happened to be a sign at Bröd o. mer!
If you see it, you HAVE to try their Sea Salt Caramel ice cream. Hands down, this is the BEST salted caramel ice cream I have ever had anywhere. I don’t normally like caramel ice cream. I can’t really put my finger on why… sometimes it’s too hard, sometimes it just has an artificial flavor… But THIS was like they had just freshly made the best homemade salted caramel sauce in the world, and then swirled it into the best homemade ice cream in the world, right there in front of you. Honestly some of the best ice cream I’ve ever had. I’m still dreaming about it!! I have got to go back to Sweden for this ice cream!! :)
Our next hidden gem was Juicekällan. It is located in another beautiful, tucked-away courtyard you’d never find if you didn’t know about it. One thing I loved about Sweden is that many of the chairs and outdoor seating areas had soft blankets to wrap up under in case you got a little chilly at night. How sweet is that??
Juicekällan is an AMAZING juice bar in Gothenburg!
They had so many unique flavors and combinations that I’d never seen before. I wanted to try one of each!!
After MUCH deliberation, I finally decided on a juice with aronia berry (which is kind of like a super healthy and antioxidant loaded blueberry), carrots, apple, lemon, and ginger. Loved it!! I could’ve seriously had breakfast and lunch here every day!
We continued strolling through Gothenburg and came to another hidden courtyard at Floramor & Krukatös.
Upstairs is a super cute home store. I totally picked up a few small souvenirs here!
The courtyard is filled with flowers, tables, and chairs, and is the perfect spot for fika! Especially considering da Matteo bakery is right downstairs! Da Matteo is where all of the breads and buns at Bröd o. mer are freshly baked every morning. They also roast all their coffee there as well so you can get your coffee and sweet and have it in the courtyard surrounded by flowers. :)
From the courtyard, cut through da Matteo and you’ll come out at a little food truck station, where you can get an Umami burger from one truck, or a classic Swedish dish from another: fried herring with lingonberries and mashed potatoes.
For lunch we walked along the canal and made our way to the Fish Church!
The “Feskekörka” is an indoor fish market that looks like a Gothic church on the outside.
It’s the perfect place to pop in for lunch and check out their fabulous selection of seafood, like this amazing gold-skinned salmon!!
We had lunch upstairs at Restaurant Gabriel.
How cute is this butter in an oyster shell??
They brought us a huge sampler platter showcasing their finest fresh caught seafood and best dishes. An incredible meal.
View Gothenburg Sweden Foodie Walk in a larger map
Here’s a map of everywhere we went on our Gothenburg Foodie Walk if you want to take one for yourself! :) Click here to see a larger version of this map, with a list of everywhere we went.
More to come soon!! :)
Sweden is so astonishing and an excellent travel destination, Kevin and Amanda. I fell in love with the Dorsia Hotel and Restaurant and it definitely reminds me of Alice in Wonderland. When would it be the best time of the year to explore Sweden?
Beautiful photos and article. Have you guys visited Orebro? I was there last summer.
Tough life. Have a trusty old Toyota Hiace Van, won’t part for anything, so it looks like I will have to pay for my next trip myself, but it surely will be with Finnair from Australia. Best stopover in Singapore (nudge, nudge – wink, wink – any sponsors that way…?) Definitely Gothenburg as a gateway, the rest is wide open. Maybe a section of the Kungsleden. Or Gotska Sandoen. Itinerary wide open …
My dream is to come to Sweden to see the house my mother was born in. Your post has made me want to come even more.
Wow, wish we had this BEFORE our trip to Sweden in late May to pick up our new XC90…after a week in England and flying around we were pooped and did not do Gothenburg justice for the two days we were there…but the Volvo factory tour was fun! Nice article, maybe next time.
Thank you so much, your descriptions and photos are gorgeous
You are killing me with these posts. I’ve fallen in love with the countryside already from the peeks through your Instagram shots. But I had no idea that Volvo had such a fantastic car program. Oh man! The possibilities!! So much fun and an awesome adventure for you too!
I’m headed to GOT for business next week… am hoping to see some of these places you mentioned! Thank you so much!
Just a little add on about the Volvo deal.
It’s even better than what Amanda says cause when you come here and drive the car…it’s all of a sudden a used car!!
So when your Volvo gets delivered to the US it will be with the “used car taxes” wich ofcourse is less then a new one.
That means that you will save money! So you really get a new Volvo, a trip to Sweden and your pocket money and some hotel nights for the same price as a new Volvo costs in the US.
Sorry if my english is bit bad! :)
Love this post – Sweden looks absolutely amazing!
Everything about this makes me hungry, want to travel, and buy a new car!
What a cool trip and how awesome is it that Volvo will ship your car back to the U.S?? So cool!!
What a fun place to explore and that Volvo sounds like an amazing way to travel around to the sites!
This post brings back great memories of my trip to Sweden back in 2001!! I have got to go back with my family one day!
I once had a penpal from Sweden and almost wanted to visit. Just love seeing Sweden through your photos. We had a Volvo but wish I knew about this promotion when we bought it.
Incredible photos! Looks like the best food and amazing sites!
Looks wonderful, really beautiful. That sure was a lot of exclamation points you used. ;0)
my girlfriends and I take road trips around the country once a year!! They are beyond fun and your trip looks epic!! Also – so important to have a comfy car :) I’m dying to get over to Sweden and explore – it looks incredible!
WOW! Sweden looks incredible, the food and places – gorgeous!.
I’ve been loving your blog for a long time now, and loved the pictures you took on your last trip. I’m from Sweden, Malmo, and this is such lovely representation of my country. It is truly beautiful, clean, and healthy and you capture all of it with you beautiful pictures, THANK YOU so very much!
My mom had a Volvo for years and LOVED it!! I have never been to Sweden but now I really want to go!
These pictures make you want to jump on a plane and head to Sweden tonight!! So fun! xo
I have always wanted a Volvo and NOW I want to go to Sweden! GREAT thanks!
What a wonderfully colorful trip!
I had no idea that Volvo offered such a wonderful incentive to purchase their vehicles. That’s an added feature I could totally buy into!
I LOVED seeing your photos on IG, and it’s fun to see some here too! It looked like you had an awesome vacay girl…and I NEED that ice-cream yesterday!
Amanda – Your trip looked amazing!! All the treats too – craving salted chocolates now :)
Now you’ve got me want to buy a Volvo, take a trip to Sweden, and have daily fika breaks.
Gosh this looks amazing! I’ve never been to Sweden, but I’d love to visit! The Dorsia Hotel looks particularly intriguing. :)
I remember on your last trip to Sweden being blown away by the colors, I knew right then that I wanted to add it to my “future trip” list. The colors are still amazing, but now you have thrown in food…done deal! The salmon has me practically packing my bags now! I am a huge food truck fan and I love seeing them crop up all over the world.
The photos are so gorgeous. I need to add Sweden to my places to go list! Honestly, I’d fly to Sweden just for that ice cream!!!
This trip looks amazing! I have traveled to Europe but never to Sweden. What a dream :) Also, how awesome is Volvo for giving away free trips! I think I might need a new car…
What an amazing trip! Sweden looks amazing – I’d love to go one day. A perfect excuse to buy a Volvo! My current car *is* getting old… ;)
Well, you know… I’m 50% Swedish, so I have always thought that I must go to Sweden one of these days! That Volvo you posted looks cool. We’ll be in the market for a new car soon, so I’ll be checking that out for sure! Beautiful photos of a beautiful place!
Sweden is one of my bucket list trips and we were actually considering a Volvo for our next car. I might need to check out this deal of theirs…
You take the best trips and I love the way you recap them for us!
I never thought of Sweden as a vacation destination, but it is definitely on the list now. We love, love, love the Volvo XC 90, so when we get back to the U.S. we’re gonna buy one and leave again immediately on a trip to Sweden. Plus I have a cousin who lives in Stockholm who I haven’t seen in over 10 years, so yeah I think it’ll be perfect. Anyway, your photos certainly make it look Awesome!