Gothenburg travel guide
The second-largest city in Sweden, and Scandinavia's most important port, Gothenburg (or Goteborg) is situated on the west coast of the country, at the outlet of the Göta Canal which links Gothenburg to the Baltic Sea, and indirectly to the country's capital, Stockholm.
Positioned on the Göta River, Gothenburg, or Göteborg, was founded in 1621 by King Gustav II Adolf to secure access to the Atlantic, but the city was settled and planned by Dutch merchants who used it as their base for trade. The numerous canals and gabled houses are evidence of this early influence. Shipping and commerce have always been important industries in Gothenburg and the port is a popular arrival point for visitors.
Gothenburg is also a stunningly beautiful city with its waterside location, green open spaces and fine architecture, and boasts a wide selection of cultural establishments with no shortage of theatres and museums. The main street, Kungsportavenyn, known simply as Avenyn, is a hive of restaurants, bars, cafes, hotels and shops and is at the centre of life in the city. Gothenburg is also well-known as an event city, hosting major international events and artists, yet despite its sophisticated feel it still maintains a small town charm with its own special character, augmented by the large student population of the University of Gothenburg. In many people's opinion, Gothenburg is more beautiful and entertaining than Stockholm, and also provides a better introduction to the people and the Swedish way of life.
Göteborg Botanical Garden
The Botanical Garden in Gothenburg is one of the largest in
Europe and generally considered the most beautiful in Sweden,
boasting about 13,000 different species of plant. The area covers
175 hectares (432 acres), most of which is a nature reserve
including an arboretum. Inaugurated in 1923, on the city's 300th
anniversary, the garden is one of the most popular tourist
attractions in Gothenburg and indeed in Sweden.
Pride of the garden is the Rock Garden, but other worthwhile areas to visit include the Japanese Glade, the Rhododendron Valley and the greenhouses. The greenhouses display an impressive collection of about 1,500 orchids, among many other remarkable and rare plants, including extensive collections of Australian and South African flora. They host a series of exhibitions throughout the year - check the official website listed below to see what's showing during your visit. Well-maintained and extensive walking trails make the gardens a pleasure for hikers, and there are many beautiful nooks for picnics and relaxation. Kids will enjoy all the space! There is also a lovely cafe for refreshments.
Travellers should note that although the botanical garden is open all year, in the cold months there is not much to see outside of the greenhouses.
Address: Carl Skottsbergs Gata 22A
Liseberg Amusement Park
One of the most popular tourist attractions in Sweden, Liseberg
Amusement Park has been welcoming millions of visitors a year for
almost 80 years. Besides popular rides like the wooden roller
coaster Balder and tamer rides for the children, there are more
than 30 different attractions, restaurants and entertainment venues
where concerts and shows attract huge crowds. Apart from all the
fun rides, Liseberg Amusement Park offers many diversions in the
form of games, shops and scenic or themed areas. Adults may enjoy
strolling through the attractive garden area, with waterfalls and
sculptures. There is a good range of restaurants and eateries in
the park, with some fine dining options and plentiful fast
Besides the ever-popular summer season, Liseberg is also open over the festive season for the biggest Christmas market in Scandinavia, as well as food specialities of the season, an ice bar and Christmas entertainment. This is a must for travellers in Gothenburg during the festive season; in fact, many locals feel that Liseberg is at its most special over Christmas. As opening times, dates and prices all fluctuate according to season visitors are advised to check the official website in advance to plan their trip.
The well preserved, 17th-century Elfsborg Fortress (or Älvsborg Fortress) is located on a small island at the entrance of the harbour, at the mouth of the Göta River near Gothenburg. With a fascinating history of battles against the Danes, the fortress was once the mightiest citadel in Sweden for coastal defence and is said to be the best preserved of its kind in the country. A boat trip to the fortress is one of the most popular activities for tourists in Gothenburg. Boat tours of the archipelago offer passage to the fort, along with views of the pretty waterways. There is also a good view of the harbour from the island and some walking trails around the fortress to explore independently. A dramatized tour explaining the history of the castle is included in the admission fee; the tour is in English and Swedish and takes visitors through the history of the region from the 1600s to the present, introducing them to kings and other colourful characters. There is a cafe and a small craft shop on the island for refreshments and souvenirs (it is also possible to bring your own picnic). The boat trip to the island takes about 30 minutes each way, and travellers should note that the boats only run seasonally.
Address: Byggnad 29
Transport: Boat tours depart daily to the fortress island from Lilla Bommen jetty between July and August, and weekends only in September. Boats sometimes also depart in May but it is recommended to confirm availability.
One of the most famous attractions in Sweden, the Göta Canal was
an important transport route for passengers and goods between
Gothenburg and Stockholm throughout the 19th century, until the
building of railways and roads. The construction of the canal was
also one of the biggest civil engineering projects to ever take
place in the country. The canal stretches 118 miles (190km) from
Sjötorp on Lake Vänern to the Baltic Sea at Mem and has 58 locks.
Gothenburg is linked to the canal at Lake Vänern by the Göta
The picturesque tree-lined channels are popular for cruises, which pass through the beautiful lakes of Vättern and Vänern, usually lasting about five to six days. Many boat trips are available on the canal, but they are almost always seasonal and often only operate in the summer months. A good option for travellers visiting in spring or autumn is a cycling trip along the banks of the canal. Canal trips are wildly popular with visitors and locals and provide a glorious way to traverse the pretty countryside, but couples should be warned that locals laughingly refer to the canal as the 'divorce ditch' due to the difficulty of traversing all the locks alone.
The official website listed below gives details on the different cruises, activities and accommodation options along the Göta Canal.
Boat trips to the southern and northern archipelago of
Gothenburg are popular with both visitors and residents. The
southern archipelago includes eight car-free, sparsely inhabited
islands that boast sandy beaches, good swimming, beautiful nature,
walking paths and a charm of their own. The southern islands
frequently feature in Viking mythology, adding to their wild
mystique. The island of Brännö is thought to be the location for
the famous Anglo-Saxon poem Beowulf. Vargö is a nature reserve and
a great spot for bird watchers. Köpstadsö is a small island with
picturesque, narrow walking trails. Styrsö is more developed and
boasts some accommodation for holidaymakers, having been a kind of
bathers resort since the 1830s. The northern archipelago is more
heavily populated and offers numerous hotels, restaurants and
Although the islands can be explored independently by those who hire boats, and some travellers choose to spend some time staying in the archipelago, most tourists simply join the general boat tours of the archipelago, which take roughly four hours and show passengers the beauty of the River Göta, River Nordre, Björkö Fjord and Göteborg's harbour as well as some of the islands.
Göteborg-Landvetter International Airport
Location: The airport is located 15 miles (24km) east of Gothenburg.
Time: GMT +1 (GMT +2 from the last Sunday in March to the last Sunday in October).
Contacts: Tel: +46 (0)11 19 20 00.
Transfer between terminals: The airport used to have two terminals, but they have now been combined.
Getting to the city: An airport bus departs frequently to the city centre; a local bus network is also available. Tickets are available from self-service machines.
Car rental: Car rental agencies at the airport include Hertz, Avis, Budget and Europcar.
Airport Taxis: Taxis are available outside the Arrivals Hall. Fares to central Gothenburg are usually charged at a fixed price.
Facilities: A full banking service and foreign exchange are offered, ATMs are available in the Arrivals and Departures halls. There are several bars, cafes and restaurants in the airport. Other facilities include an internet café, safe deposit boxes, children's playgrounds, tourist information and various stores and duty-free shops. Those with disabilities are well catered for.
Parking: Long- and short-term car parking options are available. Lots P2, P3 and P4 are adjacent to the terminal while P5, P6 and P7 are a bit farther away.
Departure tax: None
Getting around in Gothenburg is fairly simple thanks to the city's organised layout. The city centre is pedestrian-friendly, and walking is considered the best way to take in all the sights. Bicycles are also available for hire, and a network of bike paths make it a pleasant and convenient mode of transport.
Public transportation is made up of a network of buses, trams, and ferries. Tickets are sold at 7-Eleven shops, transport service centres, and Pressbyrån shops. Single tickets are also available on trams; however, one, three, or 30-day tickets, or the Gothenburg City Card, are generally more economical options for busy travellers.
Bicycle and tram traffic can make driving in Gothenburg a bit confusing, and renting a car is generally only necessary for trips outside the city centre. Taxis are available by phone but they are not regulated and are considered rather expensive.
Gothenburg is located on the west coast of southern Sweden and has an oceanic climate, enjoying milder weather than one might expect, due to the moderating influence of the warm Gulf Stream. In summer, between June and August, the city gets as much as 17 hours of daylight, but in the winter months, between December and February, Gothenburg only gets about seven hours of daylight. Summers are warm with average high temperatures of 72°F (22°C) and lows of 55°F (13°C), but temperatures of up to 86°F (30°C) can occur. Winters are cold and windy with average temperatures around freezing, but seldom dropping below 14°F (-10°C). Snow falls mainly between December and March, but it is not unusual in November and April, and can even fall in October and May. Gothenburg is a rainy city, with moderate rainfall possible at any time of year. Every month the city experiences between 10 and 18 rainy days.
The best time to visit Gothenburg is between May and September, with the peak tourist season being the short summer, between June and August. Even at this time, rain and cold weather is possible and travellers should pack layers to prepare for both sunny warm weather and cold wet weather.
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