The old docks on the north side of Gothenburg’s Gothia River form a backdrop to the Maritima Centrum, the world’s largest ship museum. Marine enthusiasts can scramble around tiny fishing boats, explore the claustrophobic innards of the submarine Nordparken and board the vast Småland destroyer. Emigrants once started their voyages to the New World from Stenpiren docks on the south bank of the river. Today crowds catch boats to the 17th-century island fortress of Nya Alvsborg, which guarded Gothenburg against the Danes. On a Gothenburg city break seafood lovers can visit the Gothic-style ‘Fish Church’ to look, buy and eat the catch of the day at the first-floor Gabriel restaurant.
Venture out from your Gothenburg hotel to explore the grand 18th- and 19th-century merchant houses that line the tightly gridded streets of the Old Town. Admire the silks and Chinese ceramics that made their fortunes at the powerful Swedish East Indian Company building, now the City Museum. Stroll around the cobbled streets of former working-class Haga which is now home to a myriad of alternative cafés and vintage clothes shops. Gothenburg’s cityscape has been transformed with modern architecture. The views from the top of Utkiken, resembling a half-used red lipstick, are spectacular. Architecture buffs seek out the post-modernist riverside Opera House which rivals Stockholm’s in repertoire and reputation.
Since 1923, families have flocked to Liseberg amusement park, swooping around rides like the huge wooden rollercoaster and dancing to live bands. At the largest Botanical Gardens in northern Europe, herb and kitchen gardens vie for attention with the spectacular rock garden. Every Gothenburg city break must include a meal of fish and shellfish from the north Atlantic whose cold waters give an extra rich taste. Book a table at Gothenburg’s first fish-restaurant Fiskekrogen, or order the five-course menu at the Michelin-starred 28+. Café society tucks into Swedish pastries at traditional bakeries like Ahlströms Konditori.