A) A bus pass.
Without this you are screwed. People don’t drive in Gothenburg, especially since they made the so called “traffic jam tax” or Trängselskatt. People take the bus, tram and ferry which are all conveniently gathered together in the oh so practical, but quite expensive bus pass. These can easiest be bought at Pressbyrån and 7-Eleven that are located all around the city, especially in hot spots such as Brunnsparken, Valand and the Central Station.
Quick Note on bus inspectors
Bus inspectors are very common in the city and you can easily spot them since they are wearing a white cap and black jacket saying “Västtrafik”. If you are caught riding the bus or tram without a card the fine is 1200 SEK. No joke.
We recommend you to at least try playing out the “no hablo ingles” card before paying.
For bus time tables, please check out the Västtrafik Website
Are you staying for a longer period it can be very practical to get in touch with friends easily, and be able to utilize the 3G/4G network that exist in basically the entire country. We recommend the ComviQ SIM-Card with the plan costing 195 SEK/month. No subscription, just buy a new plan every month, or change it if you please.
It will give you:
– Unlimited calls in Sweden
– Unlimited texts
* 1 GB Internet.
Quick Note on foreign calls
We strongly recommend you to use Skype, Facebook, Viber, iMessage or similar service when calling family members in your home country.
C) Where to buy food and other basic things
This one is very basic, but surprisingly difficult for a newcomer to any country. In Sweden there are few convenient stores, but many average to large size food stores. The most common ones are:
– Coop Forum
We can strongly recommend you to use Willys or Netto since they are usually cheaper than other places. ICA has possibly the highest quality, but are more expensive. Willys would be the best all round store. If you join their Willys+ program you will receive some serious discounts (NOTE: you will need a Swedish Identity Number).
D) Where to get everything else
One word: IKEA.
It might be a stereotype, but it is definitely true. IKEA got everything and it is dirt cheap. Just take bus number XX from Brunnsparken and stop at Bäckebol Köpcenter (Google Maps). You won’t be abel to miss the store which will be a gigantic blue building with yellow IKEA-letters on your right side. It takes around 25 minutes to get there from Brunnsparken, and you will see some of the countryside, but it is well worth it. If you go there between Tuesday – Thursday they have meatballs for 21 SEK, making it the cheapest lunch offer in history.
They also have the cheapest “fika” offer in history. 5 SEK for a coffee with free refill – and Oh! You want a cinnamon bun with that? Just take one for free.
If you need an adapter or Ethernet cable the best place to go to is “Clas Ohlsson”. There is one conveniently located inside Nordstan shopping mall, Tram Stop: Brunnsparken (Google Maps)
If you need a new cheap phone for your SIM-card (due to a locked smartphone) you can buy one at Elgiganten – also at Nordstan.
F) Alcohol (Systembolaget)
Systembolaget is the only liquor store in Sweden. In Gothenburg there are several of these (conveniently marked on this Google map) and they are a constantly aggravating factor in Swedish people’s lives, but they exist for a reason!
Swedish people simply used to drink themselves to death and because of this the government a long time ago banned the sales of alcohol above 3.5 % to any place other than Systembolaget. Other than that only restaurants/bars who also offer a non-alcoholic alternative as well as hot food are allowed to sell alcohol.
So… everything including beer and cider must be bought at that place. Systembolaget is extremely big daddy against Swedish people for the following reasons:
a) no cold drinks
b) horrible opening hours.
Opening hours usually look like this:
Monday – Wednesday 10-17
Thursday – Friday 10-19
Sundays and holidays – Closed
Can we do something about this? Well, not really, but you are allowed to import as much as you can carry from any other European country… so we recommend you making a beer run to Germany at least once every 6 months.
G) Post Office
Oddly enough Sweden doesn’t have post offices. Instead these have been moved to the grocery stores – such as Willys and ICA – instead. The good thing is that this gives better service and much better opening hours. If you receive a package the most common thing is to receive a slip of paper in your mailbox and you can pick it up at the store (NOTE: bring ID card).
OK all set?
Do you have the following:
* Bus pass
* IKEA stuff
Then you are ready to go! Hope you will enjoy it! =)