Navigating Gothenburg: A Comprehensive Transportation Guide for International Students

Navigating a new city can be daunting. Our comprehensive guide details transportation options in Gothenburg, Sweden, taking the guesswork out of getting around!

Navigating Gothenburg: A Comprehensive Transportation Guide for International Students
Photo by Kasper Dudzik

Gothenburg, the second-largest city in Sweden, is known for its world-class education institutions, making it a popular choice for international students. As a newcomer, one of the first challenges you'll face is navigating the city's transportation system. Luckily, Gothenburg boasts an efficient and diverse network that is perfect for student living. Here's your complete guide to getting around Gothenburg.

Photo from Smart Cities World

Public Transportation in Gothenburg

Home to one of the largest tram networks in the world, public transportation is the lifeblood of Gothenburg. Västtrafik operates the city's public transportation system, which comprises trams, buses, and ferries. As of 2021, the network consisted of 13 tram lines, nearly 60 bus routes, and several ferry services. A single ticketing system allows passengers to switch between modes of transport seamlessly within a specified period.

The robust transportation network in Gothenburg ensures you can travel to any part of the city without much hassle. Whether your accommodation is in the city center or a bit further out, you can count on Västtrafik to get you there.

Choosing the right accommodation can have a significant impact on your daily commute. Here's where Hemavi comes in handy. A matchmaking service for roommates and shared accommodation, Hemavi focuses on safety and compatibility between roommates. When it comes to selecting your new home, Hemavi considers the location and its accessibility by public transport, making sure you can easily reach your university and other important places.

Public Transportation Pass and Prices

When planning your transportation budget, a monthly pass is a cost-effective option for frequent travelers. The cost of a monthly pass is around 795 SEK (approx. $90). This grants unlimited travel across all modes of public transportation within the designated zones. There are also discounts available for students, so make sure you inquire about those!

In addition to your daily commute, a monthly pass also makes exploring Gothenburg's various districts easier. From the bohemian atmosphere of Haga to the trendy boutiques in Linne, the efficient public transportation system allows you to experience all the facets of the city.

Photo from Visit Sweden

Cycling in Gothenburg

For those who prefer an active and sustainable mode of transportation, Gothenburg provides excellent cycling infrastructure. The city's commitment to reducing carbon emissions is evident in its well-maintained network of over 450 kilometers of bike paths, making it a cycling paradise. As an international student, cycling in Gothenburg doesn't just get you to your destination; it's also a fantastic way to stay fit, save money, and explore the city at a more intimate pace.

Gothenburg's bike paths are separated from the main traffic lanes wherever possible, making them safer for cyclists. The paths take you through the city's picturesque landscapes, from its bustling downtown to its peaceful waterfront and green parks. Cycling can, therefore, become not just a means of transport, but also a recreational activity, giving you the chance to discover Gothenburg's hidden gems and scenic routes.

For casual and regular cyclists, the city offers a bike-sharing program, Styr & Ställ. Operated via a network of docking stations scattered throughout the city, Styr & Ställ is available 24/7. A season pass costs around 75 SEK (around $8), and a 3-day pass is available for 25 SEK (around $3). The first 30 minutes of each ride are free, making it perfect for short commutes to university, the supermarket, or a friend's place. One of the advantages of the Styr & Ställ system is its ease of use. You can borrow and return a bike at any of the numerous stations across the city, making it a flexible option. Plus, with an extensive network of stations, you're likely to find one near your accommodation or destination.

Photo from Solo Sophie

Walking in Gothenburg

As for those who enjoy strolling through a city's streets, soaking in the sights and sounds at a relaxed pace, Gothenburg still presents a fantastic opportunity. This pedestrian-friendly city is not just easily navigable but also rich with scenic walking routes that take you past beautiful architecture, green spaces, bustling markets, and vibrant neighborhoods.

Gothenburg's city center is particularly pedestrian-friendly. Its compact nature and well-planned urban design mean that most major attractions, facilities, and universities are within walking distance of each other. You can walk from the University of Gothenburg to the city's main park, Slottsskogen, in less than 30 minutes, taking in the city's diverse architecture and lively street life along the way.

The city also boasts an array of parks and natural spaces that are perfect for walking. Among these is the Gothenburg Botanical Garden, one of the largest of its kind in Europe, where you can enjoy a walk amidst more than 16,000 plant species.

Photo from Clean Technica

Car Services in Gothenburg

While public transport, cycling, and walking are popular modes of transportation in Gothenburg, there are times when you might need the convenience of a car. Maybe you're planning a trip outside the city, have a large item to transport, or simply need a quick ride back home late at night. Gothenburg offers a variety of car services to cater to such needs.


Taxis are readily available throughout the city. They can be hailed on the street, found at taxi stands, or booked via phone or apps. All taxis in Sweden are required to offer fixed prices, which means you can ask for the total cost of your trip before you start. Major companies operating in the city include Taxi Göteborg, Taxi Kurir, and Minitaxi.

Ride-Sharing Services

Ride-sharing apps like Uber are also an option in Gothenburg. This can be a more convenient choice, especially if you are used to using such services.

Car Rentals

For more extended needs or trips outside of the city, car rental might be a better option. Companies like Hertz, Avis, and Europcar have branches in Gothenburg, offering a variety of vehicles to choose from.

Car-Sharing Services

For short-term needs, car-sharing services can be quite practical. Services like Sunfleet (now M, powered by Volvo) allow you to rent a car for a few hours to a few days, depending on your needs.

Do keep in mind that driving and parking in the city center can be challenging, especially during peak hours. Parking can also be quite expensive in central areas. However, most universities and many residential areas offer more affordable parking options. Having a car at your disposal can undoubtedly offer convenience in certain situations. However, the cost, combined with excellent public transport and cycling infrastructure, makes cars a less common choice for students in Gothenburg.

Ferry Services in Gothenburg

Perhaps one of the most enchanting ways to explore Gothenburg is by taking to its waters. The city is renowned for its stunning archipelago, an assortment of picturesque islands that lie just off the coast. For a break from your routine, or when you simply want to escape the hustle and bustle of the city, these islands provide a serene retreat.

Several ferry lines run from the city center and Saltholmen, a sea-side district in the southwest, connecting the mainland with the southern and northern islands of the archipelago. Operated by Västtrafik, the same company that manages the city's trams, buses, and trains, these ferries are integrated into the city's public transportation network. This means your public transport pass also covers ferry trips, making island hopping both easy and affordable.

The ferry ride itself is part of the charm. As you glide over the calm waters, you'll be treated to stunning views of the city and its surrounding landscapes, and the islands offer a unique blend of rugged landscapes, quaint fishing villages, charming summer houses, and sandy beaches. Cars are prohibited on many of these islands, adding to their tranquil appeal. The southern archipelago - including the islands of Styrsö, Donsö, and Vrångö - is more populated and serviced year-round, while the northern archipelago is more secluded, with less frequent ferry services.


Gothenburg, with its varied and efficient transportation system, is an easy city for students to navigate. Between its extensive tram network, dedicated bike paths, and scenic ferry rides, getting from point A to B is rarely a hassle. The city is geared towards sustainable and efficient travel, making it perfect for students.

Whether you're rushing to a lecture or exploring the quaint cobblestone streets of Haga, remember that you have multiple transportation options at your disposal. And when it comes to housing, you've got Hemavi to help you find a convenient and comfortable base from which to embark on your Gothenburg adventure.