If you know me, then you’ll know that Christmas is kind of a big deal (and by ‘kind of’, I mean it is absolutely 100% a BIG deal). Sometimes referred to as the ‘christmas bandit’, I actually take pride in my winter wonderland obsession. Last year was the first time I’ve ever been away from home on Christmas Day; my mum and I decided to test the waters of doing christmas abroad, whilst trying to keep within tradition (a.k.a no chance of sunbathing). After researching the best city breaks to visit in December, Gothenburg caught our eyes! Sweden already had a soft spot in my heart after visiting Stockholm whilst interrailing last summer (click here for a blog post on that), so for todays post I thought I’d share my thoughts on spending the holidays in Sweden.We didn’t really have any idea of what to expect before going, but we’d been guaranteed a 4-day Christmas bonanza! I won’t bother going into details of the *minor* setbacks before leaving (this included booking flights home for the wrong month and forgetting a suitcase….both were resolved incase you were concerned..). But seconds upon arriving, I knew we’d made the right decision; the streets were glistening with lights and filled with Christmas music. We stayed in the Gothia Towers and requested for a room with a view of the Liseberg amusement park. Dare I say much more? Just take a look…For our first night, we went to watch The Real Group perform at the Lorensbergsteatern (just a 10 minute walk from the hotel). Not really knowing what we were about to witness, we were pretty sceptical about it, but from the moment they came on stage and began creating music just through their vocals, we were blown away. Performing a mix of Christmas, Swedish and their own songs, The Real Group really were mesmerising to watch.An absolute must-do is to take a boat trip down the canal. Given ginger bread and mulled wine whilst you wait to board, this is the true Christmas experience. Cruising along the canal, hearing about the history of the city and Swedish festive traditions, you’re eyes are cast everywhere whilst taking in the cities beauty. Before long your jaw drops as you see a glimpse of the final destination point… Liseberg Amusement Park, have a little peak…Suitable for all ages (and I really do mean that), Liseberg is transformed into the festive paradise that you thought only existed in the movies. Close to 5 million lights guide you around the park, covering the trees and cabins head-to-toe. Whether you simply want to wander through the markets, watch the Nutcracker performed on ice or dare to try out the 27 attractions, there’s something for everyone. Romantic bridges covered in twinkling lights will give you serious feels and make you want to stay forever! And the best part? It’s nowhere near as busy as somewhere like our very own Winter Wonderland in London; for once you can actually enjoy this jolly experience without feeling like a sardine!
Other highlights whilst in Gothenburg included spending Christmas Eve at Heaven 23, a cocktail bar and restaurant on the 23rd floor of the Gothia Towers. With panoramic views overlooking the city and the most exquisite food, this was one of the best places I’ve ever eaten. As for Christmas Day, we ended up having pizza for lunch which was a relief as turkey (the only Christmas tradition I’ll never understand) wasn’t even an option on the menu!
The ‘Singing Christmas Tree’ is the perfect pit-stop whilst wandering around the shops and brightly-lit streets; situated in Kungsportsplatsen, the locals dress up and stand in a Christmas Tree formation ready to sing carols and spread even more joy.One final favourite moment (because if I do any more I’ll never end this post) had to be spending Christmas morning strolling through Slottsskogen park. Winding paths, botanical-esque gardens and Nordic animals will guide you through this scenic park that is the finishing touch to completing the perfect Christmas get-away.All in all, if you’re deliberating about whether to spend Christmas at home or away this year, take Gothenburg into consideration as you won’t have experienced anything like it before!