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Sweden’s 2nd largest city and the 5h largest in Scandinavia. Gothenburg is home to over 500,000 people in its urban area and around 1 million in its greater urban area.
Founded as a Dutch trading colony in 1621, and it wasn’t until 1652 until it became under Swedish control. The founding of the Swedish East India company in 1721 cemented the city’s status as an important port town- many Swedes who emigrated to America left from this port.
Nowadays the port is as important as always and is the busiest in the Nordic countries. It is a centre of education and industry, with Volvo having their headquarters here. Tourists come here for the friendly welcome, wide range of cultural activities and modest gay scene.
For information about gay rights in Sweden, please check out our Gay Stockholm City Guide page.
Compared to Stockholm, the gay scene in Gothenburg is relatively modest. In typical, liberally Swedish fashion all venues are welcoming and popular with LGBT travellers but you will find a handful of Gay Cruise Clubs, Gay Bars & Dance Clubs.
Despite the lack of gay venues, there are a wide variety of specialist gay club nights catering for all inclinations throughout the year. In 2018, the annual West Pride merges with Stockholm Pride and becomes the host of EuroPride for 6 days in August.
Göteborg Landvetter Airport (GOT) is Sweden’s second largest airport and is situated 13 miles south east of the city centre. It is well connected by scheduled flights from budget and flag carriers to destinations in Europe and the Middle East with long-haul charter flights available.
The Flygbussarna bus service takes you into the city centre. The journey takes 30 minutes with several calling points and runs every 15-20 minutes. When bought online, singles cost 95 SEK with returns costing 185 SEK. If bought in person, you will need to pay an additional 10 SEK.
Taxis can be hailed outside the terminal or ordered in advance. You can expect to pay around 500 SEK into the city centre as many drivers have a fixed price. The major car hire companies can be found at the airport. It takes around 20 minutes to drive to the airport.
The Port of Gothenburg is 20 minutes drive by taxi or bus to the city centre. It is a popular destination for northern European cruises Stena Line offers scheduled ferry services to destination in Germany and Denmark. There are limited connections to the UK for those with private vehicles.
Centralstationen is Gothenburg’s main rail station and offers many national services including a night train to northern Sweden. It offers international connections to Oslo and Copenhagen and also stops at their respective airports. One can connect to Europe’s rail network at Copenhagen.
Gothenburg is a relatively compact city, so getting around on foot is a good way to take in all the sights. That being said, the winter weather isn’t the most welcoming so pack appropriate clothing or be prepared to fork out on public transport.
By public transport
Gothenburg has an integrated public transport system of trams, buses and ferries operated by Västtrafik. Journeys in the city centre are fast but slow down when travelling in the suburbs. Download the travel app for live up to date journey information (many stops do not have maps!).
Tickets cannot be purchased from the driver and instead can be bought at customer service centres, 7-elevens or machines on the tram. Singles start at 24 SEK with day tickets starting at 80 SEK for 1 day. Pre-pay cards are available which provide discounts. Ticket inspections are common.
There are 12 tram lines in Gothenburg with a frequency of 8-10 minutes on a weekday and 15-30 minutes on a weekend. Night services tend to be twice in one hour (on the lines that run). Buses are less convenient but are the best way of reaching the suburbs.
Ferry services operate to the islands in the archipelago. It is a good way to take in the city all year round as the sea does not freeze (although summer would definitely be nicer!). The river services operate during work hours and are free to ride.
Taxis can be hailed from ranks or ordered in advance. There are several reputable taxi companies operating in Gothenburg (Taxi Göteborg, Taxi Kurir et al) however they are expensive as taxi fares are not regulated. Be wary of illegal taxis at weekends as muggings have been reported.
Gothenburg has an excellent choice of hotels to suit all budgets. A list of great-value hotels in Gothenburg city can be found on the Gothenburg Hotels page.
Skansen Kronan – an iconic hilltop tower that overlooks the city. There is a restaurant here and great photo opportunities.
Volvo Musuem – not just for car lover’s. Here you can trace the history of one of Sweden’s most popular exports and see some vintage models.
NK – a mecca for fashionistas after a designer steal. Expect Dior, YSL and Prada jostling for space with Swedish brands such as Orrefors.
Feskekôrka – Gothenburg’s fish market (called the fish church due to the shape of the building) is a bustling location and a great spot to eat fresh seafood.
Gothenburg Art Museum – a great spot for culture vultures to check out some prime examples of Nordic art.
Liseberg – not just for kids. Liseberg is Scandinavia’s biggest theme park and has been open since 1923. It also hosts performances by major Swedish and international artists.
Gothenburg Cathedral – now in its third incarnation. Gothenburg Cathedral is a stunning example of Classical architectural style. Be sure to check out the ornate interior.
Göteborg Opera House – one of the world’s most modern opera houses. It has a varied programme of dance, music and performance throughout the year.
Moderated by the Gulf Stream, Gothenburg’s climate is moderate in comparison to other cities on the same latitude. Summers are warm and pleasant with 18 hours of daylight and winters are cold, dark and windy. The city doesn’t get particularly busy with tourists in the summer.
There is a wide programme of events throughout the year. In February, film fanatics flock to the city for the international film festival. May’s Hammarkullekarnevalen is the largest carnival in Sweden. Christmas is taken very seriously in Gothenburg with many events at this time.
Stockholm is within the European Schengen visa area. If travelling from outside Europe, check to see if you require a Schengen visa.
The local currency is the Swedish krona (SEK). It’s a fairly expensive city, so make sure you have enough finances for the duration of your trip. Cash machines and currency exchanges are available, and the majority of places accept credit card payment.
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