OutUK's Adrian Gillan takes a gay gander around Gothenburg (Goteborg), Sweden’s second city.

If Stockholm is largely grand and occasionally bland; then Sweden’s ½-million-strong second city, Gothenburg, is smaller and cooler. Founded in 1621, it’s a compact gem of cafes, culture and history – perched on the West coast, between wild forest and harbour, then sea – and of a size that makes it perfect for a weekend gay getaway, just 90 minutes from London using budget airlines.

Home to Volvo: but you won’t need a car to get around. In fact, you might just want to slump over a coffee ogling some of Europe’s finest male talent. Swedish lads are excruciatingly and quite unselfconsciously stylish and sexy.

Thus diverted, it's time to relax and rest your sore eyes.

The Main Canal.
Why not glide through the canals and harbour on an hour-long trip aboard the Paddan - a sightseeing boat departing regularly from Kungsportsplatsen, by the bridge across the moat.

Then find your land legs exploring the Old Town within the main canal loop, including the German Church and quirky Fish Market Hall. A little west, saunter around Haga – the revitalised 19th Century workers’ district, with its cobbled streets, Bohemian feel and heady mix of boutiques and student digs.

Cool off in any of the many parks that line the canals’ banks, just across from the Old Town. Get sultry in the humid Palm House and flirty in its surrounding Rose Gardens – in full, flagrant bloom come June. Stroll up The Avenue – Gothenburg’s café-lined artery, ending in three cultural treasures - the Concert Hall, Art Gallery and Theatre, all clustered around the statue of a naked, glistening Poseidon. Walk just five minutes further to Liseberg Amusement Park, Scandinavia’s most popular tourist attraction, with more than three million visitors a year – and Sweden’s emphatic answer to Denmark’s Tivoli! A naked glistening Poseidon.
Check out the old wooden rollercoaster; the more modern high-speed Canon coaster; the gasp-inducing 3-D IMAX cinema; the breath-snatching vertical-drop towers; the rotating high-level viewing platform; oh, and the good old-fashioned dodgems, to laugh away all those nerves!

There are so many parks in town that you’ll hardly feel hemmed in. However – for those with excess of wanderlust – five minutes by car and you are in wild ever-green forests; and a half hour by tram and boat and you are out in Gothenburg’s island-strung archipelago. Take the number 11 tram westbound to the Saltholmen ferry terminus to sail away to sun yourself on any of the twelve nearby inhabited islands.

As darkness falls, as it scarce does throughout Gothenburg’s long, steamy summer nights, line your tum at Bee Kök & Bar a well-established, straight-friendly bar & restaurant that welcomes everyone regardless of gender, ethnicity or sexual orientation. It's located in the famous market hall, Saluhallen.

Then mosey mere minutes down the road to Greta’s, Gothenburg’s gay heart – open 5pm-3am and functioning as a spacious bar on weekdays, combined with a busy club at weekends. Note: Swedish boys may be initially reserved, yet – with minimal encouragement and persistence - they really let rip!

Having a great night out in Gothenburg.
Haket is a cool mixed neighborhood bar in Haga which has one of Gothenburg's largest selections of beer and whisky. There's also a pub menu with both Swedish and international dishes.

Skål Pub is a well known hole in the wall style pub. Good service, perfect for a couple of beers before heading out on the town. It's popular with a gay crowd, a bit on the small side but it has excellent lighting and enough seating for small groups. The music is fun and old school.

In the Avenyn area of the city look out for the Ruby Bar, which is part of Scandic Rubinen Hotel. It's a mixed hotel bar with Latin American influence. Also in the area Park Lane is a good night club for a young crowd - it's been around forever and known for its gay events on Sundays called Club Queer.

Wanda's swing is an erotic club, which caters for all tastes - straight, bi, trans and gay. The Sunday Sauna is exclusively for men between 5pm and 8pm. All their playrooms are available and they provide towels - although many people don't bother with them! Vuxenkul Backaplan is Gothenburg's adult entertainment store with a wide range of items to suit every taste and most occasions. The store's name is "Adult Fun" in English and it provides plenty of that until 11.30 at night, most nights.

If you are looking for restless, bushy boys then take nocturnal airs in the massive Slottskogen park - on the hill by paths and rocks around the old observatory tower. The area offers some stunning views – and not just over the city below - the stars shine down and are not shocked!


For a choice of gay-friendly hotels at special online rates check out our hotel partners Booking.com.

Get more information about Gothenburg and the great-value Gothenburg Pass which gives free public transport and entry to most major attractions at www.gothenburg.com. There are three airlines that fly regularly to Gothenburg from London. RyanAir operate direct flights from Stanstead, Norweigan Air go non-stop from Gatwick and there's some flights available from SAS out of Heathrow although some of those may involve a change.


Bee Kök & Bar (Stora Saluhallen, Kungstorget 13-15; T: +46 31 13 38 39; Website)
Club Queer (Kungsportsavenyen 38; Website)
Greta’s Bar & Club (Drottninggatan 35; facebook)
Haket (Första Långgatan 32; T: +46 31 14 58 88; Website)
Liseberg Amusement Park Website)
Park Lane (Kungsportsavenyen 36; T: +46 31 20 60 58; Website)
Ruby Bar (Scandic Rubinen Hotel, Avenyn, Kungsportsavenyn 24; T: +46 31 751 54 00; Website)
Skål Pub (Storgatan 16; Website)
Vuxenkul Backaplan (Färgfabriksgatan 3; T: +46 31 50 80 55; Website)
Wanda's swing (Andra Långgatan 16; T: +46 76 255 30 34; Website)

Revised June 2022.


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