The second-largest city in Sweden, Göteborg, or Gothenburg, was once a gritty industrial seaport. In recent years Gothenburg has evolved into a sophisticated 21-st-century city, with a thriving cultural life. It has even been named one of the world most sociable cities by the Legatum Prosperity Index. Read more about sociable Gothenburg in Sweden.
Gothenburg has also built growing reputation for world-class cuisine, and since Dutch architects planned the city in the 17th century for King Gustav II Adolf and grew in stature during the 18th century when the Swedish East India Company began shipping luxury goods from the Orient, it is now a sociable and green destination with beautiful parks.
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Gothenburg is still Scandinavia’s largest port: the harbor area is its soul and a good place to start for sightseeing.
The bold Göteborgsoperaen (Opera House) stands on the water just west of the commercial center. Built in ship-like style in 1994. It is well worth a visit for its architecture alone.
Near the Opera is Gothenburgs’s Maritiman (Maritime Center) on Packhuskajen. The world’s largest floating ship museum features 20 ships, including a submarine, destroyer and lightship.
Gothenburg got its own Ferris wheel, the 60-meter (200ft) high Wheel of Gothenburg, giving great views of the area.
The heart of Gothenburg lies along Östra Hamngatan and Kungsportsavenyn. Start in the northern end of Östra Hamngatan, heading south you will pass Nordstan, one of Northern Europe’s largest covered shopping centers. Along the intersecting streets of Norra and Söndra Hamngatan, are dozens of small and interesting boutiques.
Cross Stora Hamnkanalen (Great Harbor Canal) and continue south to Kungsportsplatsen, where you can pop into the Göteborg Turistbyrå (Tourist Office).
Across the street is Saluhallen, a large indoor marketplace stocked with Swedish specialties such as seafood, cheese and meats. This is a good place to enjoy a cup of coffee or a full lunch.
Kungsportsplatsen is also the place to embark on a Paddan, one of the flat-bottomed sightseeing boats that cruise through the old moat, along 17th-century canals, under 20 bridges, out into the harbor and back again (May – September).
Related: Culinary Attractions in Gothenburg
From Kungsplatsen, cross the moat into Kungsportsavenyn – known as “Avenyn”, which is a long, wide boulevard lined with trees, restaurants, pubs and cafés. Halfway along the Avenyn, you are just a block away from the Röhsska Museet, the Swedish museum for design and handicrafts.
At the southern end of the Avenyn is Gothenburg’s cultural center, Götaplatsen, with the Poseidon fountain by the Swedish sculptor Carl Milles. Götaplatsen is flanked by the Konstmuseum (Art Museum), with an extensive collection of Scandinavian art, including works by Munch, Zorn, Rembrandt and Pissarro.
Also on the square is the Konserthus (Concert Hall), home of the Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra.
Liseberg, in the middle of town, is the largest amusement park in Scandinavia with 37 attractions, including the highest freefall plummet in Europe.
Also great for families is Universeum, an impressive science and nature-center with shark tunnel and rainforest zone.
A Göteborg City Pass gives free parking, unlimited travel on city buses and trains, a boat trip and free admission to many museums and to Liseberg and is available for 24 or 48 hours.
Feature image (on top): Klippan. Photo: Visit Sweden
Sociable Gothenburg in Sweden, written by Tor Kjolberg