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Introducing Göteborg (Gothenburg)

Often caught in Stockholm’s shadow, gregarious Göteborg socks a mighty punch of its own. Some of the country’s finest talent hails from its streets, including music icons José González and Soundtrack of Our Lives. Ornate architecture lines its tram-rattled streets, grit-hip cafes hum with bonhomie, and must-sees include Scandinavia’s amusement park heavyweight, Liseberg.

From the Centralstationen at the northern end of town, shop-lined Östra Hamngatan leads southeast across one of Göteborg’s few 17th-century canals, through a verdant green Kungsparken (King’s Park) to the city’s ‘Champs Élysées’. The shop-lined ‘Avenyn’ culminates at the dramatic (and once scandalising) Poseidon fountain and Konstmuseet, one of many fine museums around town.

To the west, Vasastan, Haga and Linné districts buzz with creativity. Fashionistas design fair-trade threads, artists collaborate over mean espressos and street artists sex up forlorn facades. Stockholm may represent the ‘big time’, but many of the best ideas originate in this grassroots town.

When the sun shines, hop on a boat for a blissful cruise along the Göta älv (Göta river). Alternatively, catch a tram and head out to the nearby archipelago for a mellow spot of island-hopping.

Best of all, Göteborg is comparatively cheaper than its east-coast rival, making it a top introduction to Sweden that shouldn’t make your piggy bank turn up its trotters.