Slip through Gothenburg’s winding canals and out into the Göta River on a Padden boat to see the shipyards and harbours that made Gothenburg a great trading city. Take a camera for views of the cranes in the huge docks and the oddly shaped Fish Church market and remember to duck down under the “cheese slicer” bridge.
Kungsportsplatsen, 411 10
Order a coffee and a waistline-busting pastry on an outdoor terrace. For the best people-watching – at a price - try the chic venues along Kungsportsavenyn. To the west, Linnégatan’s pavement life is more relaxed. Blow the budget on a meal at the River Café at Eriksberg looking over Gothenburg.
River Café, Dockepiren, 417 64
Clamber up and down the precarious ladders for an impression of the hazardous life of sailors in the past. Nineteen historic boats permanently moored at the Maritima Centrum ship museum present life on board, from small fishing vessels to the cramped spaces and claustrophobic living conditions on the submarine Nordkaparen.
Maritima Centrum, Packhuskajen 8, 411 13
The knuckle-clenching Balder wooden roller coaster at Liseberg takes the intrepid up to 36m (118ft) and hurtles them around at 90km/h (56 mph). The less adventurous can try gentler rides, walk through the leafy paths of the waterside garden and stay on for an evening summer concert.
Liseberg, Örgrytevägen, 412 51
With a picnic from the deli stalls at Saluhall Briggen in Linné, head to Trädgårdsföreningen, the Garden Society Park bordering the canal. The Palm House is comfortingly warm if it rains.
Trädgårdsföreningen, Slussgatan 1, 411 06
A short stroll from the city centre brings you to the pedestrianised cobbled streets of former working-class Haga, Gothenburg’s oldest quarter. After shopping for vintage clothing and antiques, pamper yourself in the 1870s, neo-Romantic-style Hagabadet spa. Then join the locals at Café Husaren for a giant cinnamon roll.
The vintage tram moves at a slow and sedate pace, befitting a form of transport that began in 1879 with horse-drawn vehicles. In summer, catch the No 12 tram which runs from the Central Station along fashionable Avenyn to Liseberg.
The islands hugging the coastline outside Gothenburg are the locals’ holiday playgrounds. Hop on a ferry to the tiny communities where yachts sit moored beside wooden summer cottages. There’s a certain magic to the three-hour boat trip from Lilla Bommen to Marstrand with its busy harbour, old buildings and Carlstens Fästning castle.
Just 6km (3.7 miles) from the centre of Gothenburg, Delsjön lake’s outdoor activities are the kind most cities can only dream about. The blue waters merging into the dark green of the forest form a perfect backdrop to swimming or canoeing while fishermen try their luck for pike or perch.
Gothenburg sparkles like a jewel around Christmas when the snowy streets glow with decorated trees. Those after typical Nordic presents make Liseberg amusement park their one-off shopping stop. Over 80 stalls sell gingerbread figures, traditional toys, clothes and handicrafts. Keep amused with sleigh rides, carol concerts and ice-skating and keep the cold out with mulled wine.
Liseberg, Orgrytevägen, 412 51