The Göteborg area was part of a much-wanted piece of land, which was fought over by Swedes, Danes and Norwegians, and as a result, the city and surrounding areas were fortified. One such fortification was the Fortress Island of Älvsborg, established to protect the ever-growing city from invasion. The island we visit today, is actually the second one (called the "new fortress"). The old fortress was located on the mainland - not far from the Älvsborg bridge today - and was demolished in 1660. The new fortress had been started already as early as 1645, but it was finished in the 1670s. The new fortress built was built partly with material from the old fortress. After serving its purpose in defending the city against Danes, the fortress fell into disuse after peace was signed with the Danish. It then served as a prison, like many old fortresses in Sweden, and in 1869 it was declared not being a fortress any longer.
These days, there are a cafe, restaurant and shops on the island, as well as interesting re-enacted tours telling you about life on the island in days gone by. Children will appreciate the tour guides.
Börjesson's boats will take you out to the fortress island. You can buy tickets close by Lilla Bommen. The standard ticket includes the trip and a guided tour. With Göteborg Pass you get some discounts, do check out!
This 17th century fortress is located at the mouth of the Göta River and has a fascinating history. The island boasts a café, dungeons and a period church.
Don't miss the big cannonball on one of the walls in the fortress
It's funny; you can see the ships and ferry's passing by the shore of Nya Älvsborg Fästning (Elfsborg Fortress), but you really don't hear them, and It's not very private because of all the damn 'tourists' ;o), but when you're enjoying the sweet Swedish sun, ahh,...you don't really care.
Oh,...the Fortress/Prison/Museum is pretty cool too: it has a guided tour, jail cells, a little cafe which serves (among other things) nice little seafood salad sandwiches and excellent coffee and of course there are a bunch of cannons to sit on while enjoying the sun and sea air. What more could you ask for? How about a little church? Well, it has that too and apparantly it's a very popular spot to hold weddings. My only question is how many wedding guests have been lost to the harbour whilst exploring the fortress walls late at night with champagne glass in hand?
OK, this is not the first thing I would take a tourist to but nor is it off the beaten path since tourists are ferried here all summer by boats from near the Opera. It is also not off the beaten path since every ferry entering the harbour goes passed it so there is a chance you might have seen it if you came from Denmark or England. The fortress was used to guard Göteborg agains invaders. The original one was further inland but that was never enough so it was moved to this skerry in the harbour inlet. Today, you can wander around with or without guides and see the defenses, barracks etc. plus a great harbour view. There are also summertime theatre plays with some historic theme but mostly in Swedish.