Gothenburg is a naval city, and it shows… #tourism #sweden #

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Gothenburg has a special relationship to ships

If you live in Gothenburg, you most likely have an affinity for water. The way the river meets the ocean, with its open views toward the west, and the promise of whatever lies out there, has drawn people westward for centuries.

In the nineteenth century, almost a million Swedes left our country to emigrate to the promised land of America. They all left via Gothenburg, and our big port, and the vessels connecting us to New York. Gothenburg is a naval city, always has been, and  I see no signs of that changing.

We still love ships, big ships, fast ships, tall ships

Still, in the fifth decade, after the big shipyards closed down and that part of town has transformed into a hip neighborhood filled with fancy condominiums, Gothenburg is still a naval city. The city made its fortune based on trade with China, and our East India traders were so profitable that even a sunken one, just off the coast, was still profitable, even though the majority of the goods were lost. A replica of the Götheborg sailed to China and back in the latter half of the first decade of this century, stirring emotions from Kanton all the way around the world.

When the Göteborg returned from China, on June 9, 2007, the harbor basin was filled with boats. We were one of them. Photo: private
When the Götheborg returned from China, on June 9, 2007, the harbor basin was filled with boats. We were one of them. Photo: private

When the Götheborg returned, on a gloriously sunny summer’s morning, it seemed as if the entire city was welcoming her back home, with tens of thousands of people watching her sail into the harbor and thousands of small and bigger boats and ships awaiting her and accompanying her in the harbor. You could’ve walked from Hisingen to the Archipelago that day. I was one one of those boats, and it’s a memory I’ll cherish for the rest of my life. Goosebumps don’t begin to describe the emotions when the Gothenburg sailed past us!

Tall Ships Race

Tall Ships are always a sight to behold. Photo: Arne List, CC

There’s something majestic about tall ships, these reminders of a time when sailing the seven seas was a true adventure. I am a big fan of cruise vacations, and I love the comfort of modern cruise ships, but I’ll be honest, the sight of a tall ship makes my heart skip an extra beat.

These tall ships, often maintained by associations and military training units often compete in friendly giant races under the name of Tall Ships Race, and they’ve been to Gothenburg more than once since I moved here, last in 2016.

Not only do we have two permanent tall ships in our beautiful skyline, the aforementioned Gothenburg, but also the hotel barge Viking downtown, a four-mast beauty that is one of the most unusual hotels you can find in Gothenburg. And very reasonably priced.

Volvo Ocean Race

The Volvo Ocean Race Vessels near Cape Town, South Africa. Photo: Volvo Ocean Race.

One of the toughest sailing races out there, if not the toughest, is the Volvo Ocean Race. Sponsored by our local car and truck manufacturer, these ships are out on some of the most difficult waters for almost two years, a true test of engineering prowess and human courage. Next month, on the tenth leg of the 2017-18 race, the ships will reach Gothenburg, undoubtedly cause for yet another huge celebration here in town. You can learn more about the race and the stopover here. A week before we celebrate midsummer, this is a great time to pay Gothenburg a visit…

Our sunsets are for the history books, and the beckon to the west, Denmark, the Atlantic and the promise of America. Photo: private.
Our sunsets are for the history books, and they beckon to the west, Denmark, the Atlantic and the promise of America. Photo: private.

Gothenburg, a naval city

It comes with the territory, and this city owes everything to the sea, our history is one with the ocean, the islands lining our coast are pearls you don’t want to miss, and our sunsets late at night (as late as 10:12 pm) on a beautiful summer’s day are quite something. Why not visit us soon and let us show you around? Contact us today!


Getting ready for a trip… is half the fun! #GothenburgTours #Gothenburg #tourism #Sweden

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Doing research, looking at images is part of the fun of getting ready for a trip

I travel a lot. In fact, as I type this, I have trips scheduled to the UK (2), the Netherlands, Switzerland (2), and the US (3) until the end of the year. Some destinations are new, others I’ve been to before. But no matter what, one of my favorite past-times is getting ready for those trips, researching online about what to do, what to expect, and – last not least – indulging in images.


Guidebooks, I used to buy one for most of my trips. These days? I'd rather use my phone. But that isn't practical everywhere.
Guidebooks, I used to buy one for most of my trips. These days? I’d rather use my phone. But that isn’t practical everywhere.

Long gone (it seems) are the days when you’d venture to a local bookstore and buy a guidebook. I still have an entire bookshelf filled with guidebooks from journeys all over the world. But those books had their challenges: updates! While they’re still being produced (and manually updated every now and then), for those of us who own them, they’re quickly outdated, at least with regards to the important sections about restaurants, hotels and other more volatile information.  The Colosseum will always be in Rome, but that quaint restaurant on the corner around the Fontana di Trevi? Who knows.

No matter how old-fashioned a guidebook may be: they don’t require to be online to work. Worth considering in the roaming day and age…

Online guides

Instead, we use places like TripAdvisor, LonelyPlanet, Yelp or just plain good old Google to find information about the places we want to visit. I’ve been a frequent contributor on TripAdvisor, reviewing the hotels and restaurants I visit during my trips, and I often use it to find places during my own trips.

Here’s a tip though: Don’t disregard a place just because it has a few one-star reviews. Look at the reviewer. If it’s their first review, it’s likely just a one-off disgruntled customer. Disregard such reviews. instead, look at the reviews from people with dozens, hundreds of reviews even. They wouldn’t be there if they weren’t trusted contributors. Those are the views you can trust more but don’t just focus on the star-rating. What some people dislike may be exactly what you look for, e.g. casual dress v formal dress in a place.

Maps & Images

This is where I live, or a good twenty minute walk from my house, on the very west coast of our small island, looking back. Now you tell me it doesn't make you want to see this for yourself?
This is where I live, or a good twenty minute walk from my house, on the very west coast of our small island, looking back. Now you tell me it doesn’t make you want to see this for yourself?

I could lose myself in pictures. I love to look at pictures from our beautiful planet. If you have an Instagram account, looking for your destination is easy using appropriate hashtags, e.g. #gothenburg. We have this amazing account here in town, a woman who takes pictures for fun, all over our city, and just looking at a couple of them (I follow her), makes me feel proud about living here, and makes me want to visit a particular corner of it. You can follow her here.

I’m not a big fan of Pinterest, but that is also a place where you can find a ton of pictures (and links) about places to visit. Or Twitter, although it tends to focus more on verbal aspects, you can follow places you’d like to visit.

I love to use maps, be it Google Earth or just any map application. It helps me get my bearings, understand where I will stay, where the best restaurants are, what is within walking range etc. It just helps me sort the world. I’m a bit OCD that way, I like a certain order. An example: a few years ago, we visited Disney World and we booked times (FastPass) for certain attractions. Our son was two-years-old at the time and the attractions he could go on, limited. So we booked them online ahead of time. What we had failed to do was make sure we could get from a) to b) in time. We learned that lesson the hard time. Don’t make the same mistake, booking a restaurant you can’t reach after that museum visit across town.

Whatever you do, take time to get ready…

It doesn’t really matter if you prefer an old-fashioned guidebook, or if you go all ‘social media’ in your preparations. In fact, none is better/worse than the other. Just different. My point is this: be sure to actually get ready, not because I don’t like to keep some of the mystery until I get there, but because part of the enjoyment of visiting a new place is anticipation. And nothing helps us build anticipation like looking at images, reading menus and maybe even meeting people online, friends to be. For all the other stuff, you can contact me. I’d be happy to help you prepare an unforgettable stay.