In Sweden nature is a serious matter.
The country is mainly covered by woods and forests, lakes and green areas, and the population density is really negligible: about 22 inhabitants per square km.
There also are big cities, like Gothenburg, for example, that after Stockholm is the second largest by population and extension.
Even within cities, however, you can find a lot of green areas and Gothenburg by itself has more than 200 hectares of natural parkland and gardens: a green and active throbbing heart.
Slottskogen, Botaniska Trädgården and Trädgårdsföreningen are the three main green areas of the city, the most central and well known by tourists.
In all districts, then, there are smaller parks mostly known by locals: one of these, the Östra Kyrkogården was the one closest to my home during the period when I lived in the city. It 's basically a graveyard, but here it is normal to jog and stroll in a park among or aside tombstones.
Slottskogen is the park where families from Gothenburg spend a lot of time outdoors: relax, practice sports and organize picnics with friends. Inside there is also a Zoo, with free admission, with activities organized for visitors of all ages.
Slottskogen Zoo is one of the oldest in Sweden and most of the animals here are indigenous, those of Sweden and the other Nordic countries: elk, reindeer, deer, goats from Öland and ponies from Gotland , to name a few.
The park is the perfect place for those who love outdoor sports, both in summer and in winter. There are both paved and unpaved trails for jogging, nordic walking, skating.
It can also work as a team or recreational activities area, in fields among a grove and the other: in fact it is not rare to see groups of young people playing frisbee, volleyball or a football match.
For children, then, it is the best: here there is one of the largest playgrounds with tools that stimulate new activities and tickle the imagination.
The picnic area is what I prefer; on top of having areas on which hanging the blankets and tablecloths to eat the sandwiches brought from home, you can also use the equipment made available to everybody to whip up a barbecue: well organized and spacious grills, tables and benches wood, drinking fountains for rinsing are available to all not far from the playground for children.
During summer the park hosts several evening events, such as concerts and music festivals: the most known is the Way Out West Music Festival held in August.
To reach Slottskogen from the center, one of the more practical tram stops is Linnéplatsen. You can take trams 1, 2 or 6 and the bus 25 or 52.
The Botaniska Trädagården [botanical garden] that is located in the south west compared to the city center, is my favorite park. It covers about 40 hectares and there you can walk through the well-tended paths among trees and bushes through different environments: from the pond to the corner of the rhododendrons, from the rock garden that encloses a majestic waterfall to the herb garden. In the Botanical Garden there are about 16,000 different species of plants and large greenhouses; a few dozen meters from the entrance you will find a wide variety of orchids, from the most common to the tropical and rare, as well as a very rare Toromiro tree, coming from Easter Islands.
The garden of the bulbs contains one of the largest collections of bulbs in the world and the varieties preserved here range from the classic European Mediterranean bulbs up to those grown in dry climates: daffodili, tulips and iris are among the best known and admired.
In spring and early summer, the garden is full of flowers of all kinds, and one is dazzled by the colors and intoxicated by the perfume.
There is a very interesting area, the one called Wood Anemone Valley: the ground is almost entirely covered with petals, as in a real colored snowfall.
About midway through the recommended route, you arrive in the area of rhododendrons, where you can find species from all over the world, from Asia to North America and Europe; in early summer flowering gives different colors paths, from deep red to pink, from pale pink to white.
The Botaniska Trädagården can be reached by tram 1, 2, 7 and 8 and the stop is named after it.
Not to move too far from downtown, but to enjoy the tranquility and green, I often find myself walking to Trädgårdsföreningen, the Garden Society, which has one of its entrances on Kungsportsavenyn.
It's the ideal place for a morning walk or to spend some time in peace.
This garden is one of the best preserved parks in Europe with a structure and a system created in the nineteenth century.
The historic buildings and greenhouses, resting between well-kept lawns and carpets of exotic and native plants, make you imagine the golden era of horticulture. A beautiful arboretum and a rose garden with a remarkable collection of plants makes the park very interesting for botany enthusiasts and for those who love garden landscaping.
Here often events and seminars are organized or even courses and exhibitions of plants and flowers.
One of the two greenhouses, with a beautiful Art Nouveau style, contains a significant amount and variety of plants, mostly tropical, and a palm grove. Imagine how enjoyable can be entering here on cold winter days: the temperature is of course always constant, thus allowing you to enjoy a pleasant warmth even on cold days when the cold wind does not let up.