Gothenburg the Christmas City
Gothenburg, Sweden's second largest city, is located on the west coast. The fantastic archipelago is easily reached by a 30-minute tram ride from the city center. Gothenburg was founded in 1621 by Gustav Adolf II and has since then undergone an exciting journey from being a shipping and industrial city to also becoming a creative hub for innovation.
Today, the city boasts a number of internationally successful companies within marketing, architecture, web design and special effects for film. Local fashion from Nudie, Velour and Monki is becoming increasingly common in international press.
As most tourist brochures and handbooks will tell you, the main boulevard Avenyn is the heart of Gothenburg. On this majestic boulevard you will find most of the city’s famous landmarks such as the grand statue of Poseidon, the Gothenburg Museum of Art and Röhsska - Sweden’s only museum of Fashion, Design and Decorative Arts. Close by you also find Liseberg Amusement Park and Universeum Science Discovery Centre.
For greenery and flowers visit the Garden Society of Gothenburg with the Palm House or visit the Botanical Gardens next to the big city park Slottsskogen. But to provide a city like Gothenburg with enough fresh and creative blood it takes more than just one big heart. If you look beyond the high street and start exploring the city you will find hundreds of small, pulsating muscles bursting with creativity and energy.
Gothenburg the Christmas City
Central Gothenburg is transformed into the Christmas City from Mid-November each year, kicking off with the opening of the traditional Christmas market at Liseberg Amusement Park and the illumination of fairy lights along the Lane of Light - 3km of festive magic stretching from the central harbor along the main boulevard Avenyn, to the glimmering Liseberg.
Shops and boutiques along the Lane of Light and adjoining shopping districts are open every day of the week, decked out in their Christmas finery. As well as the Christmas market at Liseberg, there is an array of other markets across the city and surrounding countryside. City restaurants get into the seasonal spirit too, serving a mouth-watering julbord - a festive smorgasbord - and being Gothenburg, it is often served with a maritime twist.
Shopping, Music and Food
The atmosphere in the city is one of easy-going genuineness. A strong coffee culture reveals itself in the tons of cafés which often serve their own roasted coffee. Gothenburg fashion is characterized by a relaxed but stylish tone. There is a bewildering variety of clothing and design boutiques, with a large number of local designers and vintage stores too. What’s more, they are all within walking distance from each other.
During the summer, Gothenburg hosts a number of international music festivals and concerts right the center of town: Way out West (listed top ten best music festivals in Europe by The Independent 2012), Metaltown and Summerburst, just to mention a few. Intimate club gigs and DJ performances can be found at the city’s bars and nightclubs.
Gothenburg was appointed the Culinary Capital of Sweden 2012 and thus strengthened its reputation as a gastronomic hotspot in Northern Europe. Closeness to the sea results in top-quality, fresh fish and seafood and there is a strong tradition among local chefs to work with locally-produced and seasonal raw ingredients. A culinary tourist attraction is the Fish Market hall, also known as the Feskekörka.
The Islands Outside Gothenburg
Gothenburg’s southern archipelago is made up of postcard-pretty sheltered bays, fishing communities, smooth rocky shores and open horizons. But there is much more to discover, including a lively cultural scene centered on music and local crafts, fresh produce straight from the sea and opportunities to explore Sweden’s secret military past.
In less than an hour, and for just over 20 kronor, you can get from Gothenburg central station to the heart of the archipelago. Trams to Saltholmen and the ferry to any of around ten islands are all part of public transport. The first thing that strikes you when you step off the passenger ferry is how unspoiled the islands actually are. Most of them are car-free and goods are moved about on old flatbed mopeds or wheelbarrows. Life follows its own gentle rhythm here and no big companies have yet invested in tourism in Gothenburg’s island world. One reason is that the archipelago was a restricted military zone for many years. Right up until 1997 foreign citizens were not even allowed to visit the islands! The combination of more or less unspoiled nature, intriguing traces of the Swedish armed forces’ covert activities, a fast-growing selection of restaurants, local food producers, cultural attractions, artists and the people who live here, make this a totally unique destination.
West Sweden has its own 'Big 5' safaris with the chance to see (and taste!) lobsters, oysters, prawns, mussels and crayfish from the clear blue waters off the coast during the Shellfish Journey.
Cobbled streets, covered lanes, vintage hot spots, handicraft heaven, the biggest shopping mall in Scandinavia and independent design boutiques. Like.
There is nothing to beat the mackerel, cod, turbot, hake and whiting caught here and skilfully prepared by some of the best fish restaurants in Sweden
If you can drag yourself away from the sights, sounds, shops and fantastic eateries of the city, take in the city’s wild and wonderful parks or take a boat trip out to the nearby West Coast islands on Gothenburg’s doorstep.