Sweden’s second city
A warm and welcoming reputation, despite its chilly Nordic roots and location on the country’s west coast. For a staid and respectful place (Volvos are made here), with formal public buildings and grand avenues, it has a very youthful energy... which might have something to do with the presence of 60,000 students, who help make it Scandinavia’s biggest university town. All of which means that you can expect an austere official facade, with a very warm-hearted interior.
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Gothenburg is quickly becoming one of Scandinavia’s fashion capitals, with home-grown designers keen to emulate the likes of Nudie Jeans (Vallgatan 15) and Whyred (Södra Larmgatan 13). Seek out the latest items along Avenyn or discover vintage clothing in the charming Haga district, with its myriad of independent shops, while Linné is a good place for arts and crafts. If you prefer your shopping in one place, head to Nordstan (Norra Hamngatan), the largest shopping centre in Scandinavia. This complex houses local artists’ galleries alongside familiar names. Foodies should not miss Kungstorget’s Saluhallen food hall (Stora Saluhallen 46), a bustling hive of fruit, meat and fish stalls.
Food & Drink
Blessed with outstanding fish and shellfish, Gothenburg is a seafood lover’s paradise. Chic Fiskekrogen (Lilla Torget 1) is among the best restaurants to try the fresh North Sea catch, while Restaurang Gabriel (Feskekörka) in the fish market is a good option for lunch. It’s not all about fish however, and a great place to try Swedish game and the omnipresent köttbullar (Swedish meatballs) is the homely Smaka (Vasaplatsen 3). For budget options, try one of the good-value lunchtime menus at restaurants along Avenyn, including the convivial Brasserie Lipp (Kungsportsavenyn 8). And don’t forget to join Gothenburgers in their tradition of fika (coffee with a cinnamon bun) in one of many cafés in Vallgraven – Brogyllen (Västra Hamngatan 2) is among the best.
Gothenburg Horse Show
One of the largest equestrian events in the world, the Gothenburg Horse Show has been attracting horse lovers for more than 40 years. Housed in the Scandinavium sports arena, international competitions in jumping and dressage take centre stage, while guests can enjoy exhibitions and receive expert tuition in the disciplines.
Way Out West
A three-day mash-up of rock, electronic and hip hop music in the tree-lined Slottskogen park, Way Out West has attracted the likes of Blur, Kraftwerk and Tiësto since its inception in 2007. Its sister festival Stay Out West takes over after hours in city centre nightclubs.
Gothenburg Culture Festival
The streets of Gothenburg come alive during this six-day festival with a plethora of events ranging from opera, art exhibitions and poetry to street performances, hip hop shows and urban dance – each offering free admission.
Gothenburg Book Fair
One of the largest of its kind in Scandinavia, this four-day celebration of the written word takes place at the Swedish Exhibition and Congress Centre. Having risen to worldwide prominence in recent years, Scandinavian works unsurprisingly dominate here, and there are many seminars, book signings and stalls to enjoy.
Liseberg Christmas Market
The sights, sounds and smells of Christmas tantalise the senses at Liseberg Christmas Market. Housed in the popular Liseberg Amusement Park, you can stock up on stocking fillers, warm up with mulled wine and belt up on the various rides in this friendly festive event.
From grand, early 20th-century hotels to boutique lodgings and modern hideaways, Gothenburg does not disappoint when it comes to finding a place to stay. Many of its larger hotels are clustered around Central Station, including the Clarion Hotel Post (Drottningtorget 10). This elegant former post office mixes art deco elegance with contemporary interiors. For something a little cosier, book into the boutique Dorsia Hotel & Restaurant (Trädgårdsgatan 6) in Vallgraven. An assault on the senses, its individually designed rooms are adorned with artworks, brightly coloured furnishings and glitzy bathrooms. For a truly unique experience, opt for the mid-priced Hotel Barken Viking (Lilla Bommens Torg 10), a converted 1907 barque.