The Gothenburg City Card is touted as one of the best ways for tourists to save cash when visiting Sweden’s second-biggest city. But is it really worth buying? Or would you be better off saving your cash, and paying for attractions and transport separately?
How the Gothenburg City Card works
The idea is that you buy the Gothenburg City Card (or Gothenburg City Pass, as it’s sometimes called) to cover part or all of your stay in the city. You pay for the card upfront and then get free access to loads of attractions, plus free use of the public transport network (including ferries) and a booklet full of special offers and discounts. It’s similar to the city card scheme that’s in operation in Stockholm.
In high season, there are three different types of Gothenburg City Card, lasting 24 hours, 48 hours and 72 hours respectively. The time starts running out when the card is first used – either when making a journey with public transport, or when visiting a gallery or museum.
Once your card is activated, you’ll get free admission to more than a dozen attractions, including:
You’ll also get half-price admission to other attractions around the Gothenburg area, such as the Strandverket Art Gallery in Kungälv and the Nordic Watercolour Museum in Tjörn.
Other perks include use of the city’s bike hire scheme (March–December only), two-for-one tickets on the airport buses, half-price ferry trips to Denmark, and free city sightseeing tours (by boat and bus).
How much does the Gothenburg City Card cost?
At the time of writing, the prices for the Gothenburg City Card are as follows:
|24 hrs||375 SEK|
|48 hrs||525 SEK|
|72 hrs||675 SEK|
Cheaper versions of the card are available for under 17s. Note also that a cheaper, 48-hour version of the Gothenburg City Card is available during low season (October–April). However, it’s worth remembering that some attractions – Liseberg, for example – are closed for most of low season.
Update 1/10/2015: Although you could once buy your city card online in low season (at the cheaper rate) and then activate it later in the year, Göteborg & Co has now closed this loophole. The cheaper ‘low season’ version of the card will only be accepted in low season.
Where to buy the Gothenburg City Card
You can buy the Gothenburg city pass at the local tourist authority’s website and then either pick it up from the tourist office when you arrive, or have it sent to your house (you’ll need to pay extra for postage and allow up to 10 days for international deliveries).
It’s also possible to buy the card on arrival in Gothenburg. Cards are sold at the information desk at Landvetter, Gothenburg’s main airport, and at two city-centre tourist offices. The main tourist office is at Kungsportsplatsen 2 in the city centre. There’s another tourist information booth within the Nordstan shopping mall, across from the train station.
Is the card worth buying?
Yes and no.
If it’s your first time in Gothenburg and you just want to get a feel for the city and maybe take in a museum or two, then the city card is probably not worth buying. You can easily get hold of a cheap public transport card, which will allow you to travel around on the city’s buses, trams and boats, and then just pay cash for the attractions you want to see.
Several of the city’s public museums, including the main art museum and the natural history museum, are also covered by a special deal that gives you free, unlimited admission for the rest of the year once you’ve paid for one 40 SEK entry ticket. There are also plenty of free, quirky things to do in the city – see this guide for ideas.
So when is the card worth buying?
If you have plans to visit some of Gothenburg’s more expensive attractions, or fancy a full-on weekend of sightseeing including guided tours and cycle hire, you could save a decent chunk of cash by buying the Gothenburg City Card.
The Universeum science centre, for example, costs 245 SEK per adult during summer. Even if you just went there, had a walk around the Liseberg theme park, and then used public transport a couple of times, you would end up saving money.
Another great reason to pick the city card is if you’re travelling as a couple or family and will be using the airport bus. A return ticket from Landvetter to central Gothenburg costs 195 SEK, so getting two tickets for the price of one is a really big benefit (just show your city card when boarding the bus and then pay with a credit or debit card).
Note that although the Gothenburg City Card covers admission to Liseberg, it doesn’t include access to any of the rides – you’ll still need to pay extra for those.
Gothenburg card discount code
You may be able to track down a discount code for the Gothenburg card online, but so far we haven’t had much luck. The local tourist board does run accommodation packages that include a city card as standard, though, so if you’re already planning on staying in a hotel, it’s worth checking the deals there too.
The bottom line
Whether the city card is a good deal really depends on your plans. Try to work out what you want to see using our Gothenburg guide, and then estimate how much you’ll end up spending on admission fees and public transport.
A smart approach is to cram all of the expensive attractions into one day. That way it’s possible to get by with a one-day card, still benefit from two-for-one airport bus tickets, and spend the rest of your trip checking out some of the city’s cheaper (or completely free) sights. Easy!