Sunday 16 October 2016

Gothenburg: Haga and Slottsskogen Park Running Route

Click here for route map
Length 7.1 km (4.4 miles), terrain: a few hills, gain 91 meters

I didn't have a camera with me in Gothenburg, so thanks to Google StreetView for the pictures!

Gothenburg running routes:
Town Center Loop
River run

Haga and Slottsskogen park
For more running routes, see Route List.

Here's a running route on the south side of Gothenburg (Göteborg) that you're guaranteed to fall in love with. It takes you through the cool Haga neighborhood and then through Gothenburg's biggest and best park, Slottsskogen.
Running in Slottsskogen park
Slottsskogen park opened in 1874, covers almost 140 hectares of public parkland, with lakes, hills, cliffs, cafés, a zoo, the natural-history museum, an observatory and the city's biggest playground. And it's open day and night.

The zoo (djurpark), right in the middle of the park, has only native Scandinavian animals, functioning as a preserve for threatened Swedish wildlife. The zoo has free admission, so you can run an extra loop through it if you feel like it.
The start at Rosenlundsbron, heading south
So if you're anywhere in central Gothenburg, get yourself to Rosenlundsbron, the bridge over the moat that once protected the town from attacks. Turn south and run southwards past the tree-lined parkway along the south side of the canal, and now keep left to run through the little park surrounding the yellow brick church, the Hagakyrkan.
Before the church square ends, turn right to cross over the zebra stripes into the Haga neighborhood along Haga Nygata (Haga New Street). This is the cobblestone-paved pedestrian shopping street for Haga.
Along Haga Nygata
Lying outside the old city walls, Haga was built as the town's first suburb, with a mix of wooden and brick houses. The old working-class neighborhood has been fixed up and gentrified, and is now one of the coolest parts of town. It's full young people hanging out in cafés and pubs, parents biking their kids around. You'll probably want to stop right here and ask to sign up to be a resident. It reminds me a lot of Prenzlauer Berg in Berlin.
Further down Nygata
The streets are strangely bare of trees or greenery, though, giving the place a bit of an empty feel. Every inch is paved in stones: I would plant some trees!

Run westwards along Nygata for six blocks, then turn left onto Mellangatan ("between street"). Run down this quiet side-street until it ends in a little playground at the foot of a green hill. Just keep running straight along the little path, which will take you to another side-street to the right, Bergsgatan.

At the end of the next block, turn left, then left again onto Lilla Risågatan.

Now run just 100 meters to the 1-kilometer mark, where you'll see the green hill again, rising along the left side. The hill has a 300-year-old defensive tower on the top, Skansen Kronan. The granite blockhouse was fitted with 23 cannon, which never needed to be fired. So, we might as well jump at this opportunity to experience a bit of history, and run up those stone steps to then follow the paved path to the top. The massive crown topping the tower dominates the scene.
Skansen Kronan: let's circle it!
Circle the tower and enjoy the view! Then you have to descend the way you came. Back down at the street, continue southwards along Lilla Risågatan to the next corner.

Now turn right to run west for a block on Djupedalsgatan. You now come to a wide boulevard with tram tracks along the center, Linnégatan. It's quieter than you would expect for such a wide street.
Turn left here, and now follow Linnégatan southwards towards those green trees in the distance. After four blocks, you'll come to a square, Linnéplatsen, where Slottsskogen Park begins.

Cross over to the right side of the square, where the main park pedestrian trail, Slottsskogenpromenaden, heads into the park.

Now just follow this main trail and enjoy the nature, running past trees and lawns and small hills. You'll run past an area on the left that has some scattered wooden buildings built in styles from around Sweden.
Running past the lake
After the 3-kilometer mark, when you see the big lake with the restaurant, turn right to keep heading west into a woods, heading along the trail called Säldammsbacken, lined with a few little ponds for zoo animals. The trail starts going up and over a hill, with a 40-meter gain. The zoo is higher up on the hill to the right.

You'll then come to a house with a few small pools of its own on the right: the Fågelhuset (bird house), which is the home of a colony of endangered Humboldt penguins.
Fågelhuset: turn right, just past the building
Just past the bird house, turn right to head north, with a big lawn to the left. This is the Azalea valley, and must be beautiful in springtime. You'll soon start running uphill again.

The street will eventually end at the edge of the park, where a neighborhood with some apartment houses borders the park at the west side. Now turn back into the park along the trail called Hålekärrsbaken.
Heading uphill, past the rock formations along Hålekärrsbaken
You're now heading east, past cool rock formations to both sides, with a short uphill section. But after this, it's downhill all the way home.

You'll soon come to a playground called Plikta. The playground is huge and lively, full of monkey-bars, a giant slide and it's dominated by a whale for the kids to climb around on.
The maze
Run around the playground, passing the 5-kilometer mark, but don't exit the park into that neighborhood, but turn right onto Museivägen. Run till you come to the circular maze on the right side. Just across from the maze on the left is a path to the Natural History Museum, a long brick building (I wish I could have gone inside!).

At the north end of the museum, take the steps down to Linnéplatsen again.

Now run north along Linnégatan again, but this time we'll take a different way back through Haga.

Turn off on Majorsgatan at the 6-kilometer mark. In two blocks, it runs into Kastellgatan, where you turn left and run past the back side of the Skansen Kronan hill.
Skolgatan could use a tree or two
Continue northwards along Skolgatan (school street) through the whole, quiet neighborhood. You'll come to the old-town moat again, where you turn right and run the last 100 meters back to the Rosenlundsbron bridge. Wow, Gothenburg is quite a place!

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