Guarding the mouth of the Göta River, the island fortress of Nya Älvsborg was built in the 17th century to protect the city against Danish invaders and boasts a long history of warfare, coming under siege several times during the 18th-century Great Nordic War. Acclaimed as one of Sweden’s best-preserved castles, the sizable sea fortress has served a number of roles throughout the years, used as a prison in the 19th century and later as a storage facility during the First World War.
Since 1971, the castle has been maintained as a tourist attraction and boat cruises to the island are a popular choice for visitors to Gothenburg. Visits to Nya Älvsborg typically take the form of a dramatized guided tour, narrated by historic figures like King Christian IV of Denmark and Admiral Peder Tordenskiöld, while the castle’s prison cells, square tower and chapel provide an atmospheric backdrop.
Nya Älvsborg is located on a small Göta River island, 8km downstream from Gothenburg and is reachable by boat from the city. Boats for the island depart three or four times a day during the summer season from Lilla Bommen harbor and typically cost around SEK 170 for adults (including entrance to the fortress). Free boat tours are also available for holders of the Gothenburg City Card.