Gothenburg, Sweden Content from the guide to life, the universe and everything

Gothenburg, Sweden

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Gothenburg, or Göteborg as it's spelled locally, lies on the west coast of Sweden and is the country's second largest city with a population of 450,000. People have lived in the area for thousands of years, but after the Danish burnt it down, the King of Sweden, Gustav II Adolf, decided to rebuild the city in 1621. His statue of him pointing1 at the ground exactly where he wanted it, can be found in the centre of the city. Gothenburg is built up around the mouth of the river Göta Älv as it pours out into the sea. Previously, the harbour was key to the city's development, but Gothenburg today is known mainly for Volvo, being the city where this car first rolled off the production line. The company headquarters are still there.


The climate is very pleasant in spring and summer. Spring starts at Easter and summer ends in the middle of September. Winters are wet and moist with cold winds. The average temperature in July is 23°C and in December it's about 1°C.

Café Culture

Gothenburg has cafés, opera and theatre. It also has a number of festivals every year, the film and jazz festivals being the most famous.

The cafés are mostly open late or all night and they normally have a variety of sandwiches on offer with fillings such as Meatballs with Beetroot Salad, Chicken Curry or West Coast Salad. West Coast Salad is a seafood mayonnaise speciality. The cafés do not serve alcohol but you'll find tea or coffee. Tea is never made from tea bags and you'll more than likely be asked to choose from the café's special selection. One refill (påtår) is usually included in the price and sometimes even two (tretår).

Most people go to cafés on Fridays and Sundays to prepare for, or to recover from, Saturday nights. If you've grown out of wild Saturday nights, you'll still enjoy the atmosphere in the cafés, meeting people and relaxing.


  • Like London, UK, Gothenburg also has a Regent Street, which can fulfil all the needs of the enthusiastic shopper.

  • Kungsgatan is pedestrianised and caters for all possible shopping tastes. The side streets of Kungsgatan are also full of shops selling everything from pasta to designer wear.

  • Nordstan is a huge shopping mall near the train station.

Leisure and Pleasure

Gothenburg has the second largest theme park in Sweden, Liseberg. Liseberg is a successful park, which combines all the fun of the fair with gardens and trees.

The largest park in Gothenburg is Slottsskogen. It has a collection of Nordic half-wild animals, a museum, Plikta, a large playground, gardens and everything else you would associate with a park. From one of its hills there are excellent views of Gothenburg and its river.

The park covers an area of 200 football fields and most of it is on hills.

The archipelago shouldn't be missed either. People in Gothenburg love the sea and sailing, and picnics by the sea are a major favourite pastime. The beaches around Gothenburg are rocky but there are a few places nearby which are more child-friendly with lots of sand.

And Finally

When travelling in Gothenburg go by bus or tram. While people do drive to work, many people also cycle. The traffic problems at rush hour are nothing compared to bigger cities and are much less than for cities elsewhere of a similar size.

To get from the edge of the city to central Gothenburg in rush hour shouldn't take more than 35 minutes.

Gothenburg has two main universities, Chalmers Technical University and Göteborgs Universitet. Chalmers has a campus close to the centre of the city and most of the research is carried out there. GU's different institutions are spread around central Gothenburg and there is no major campus.

1He is saying, 'Build me a city here'.

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