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Gay Gothenburg: Sweden's Shining Second City



Photo: Dick Gillberg/Goteborg.com

After the national capitals, Scandinavia's next biggest city is Sweden's Gothenburg, a hip, arts-minded, seaside university town with fantastic culinary and shopping scenes. The hometown of Volvo and the gateway to West Sweden's beautiful coastal Bohuslan province, Gothenburg is also the center of a thriving internationally-important music culture that's produced everyone from the happy pop of Ace of Base to the doom and gloom of The Knife.

Laid out largely by Dutch planners in the 17th century, Gothenburg still sports lovely canals -- though it's often called "Little London," thanks to the many British merchants who settled here, especially during the industrial 19th century.

Gothenburg's bustling downtown area is compact and easily walked, though it's also served by a great tram system, the largest in Scandinavia. Be sure to check out Avenyn, the city's most famous boulevard, lively and lined with great shops and restaurants; and Haga, the former working class area that's now the city's hotbed of hipsterism.

Gothenburg's gay scene isn't massive, but it's pretty diverse considering the city's size of just over half a million. Thanks to Sweden's progressive mindset, people of all proclivities mingle freely here, so many bars and clubs are very mixed. Still, every June the city hosts a surprisingly big HBTQ (or LGBTQ) Festival (more info at hbtqfestivalen.se).

Note that you won't actually see the name Gothenburg very often (if at all) once you get here. That's because the city's Swedish name is actually Goteborg, with dots over the first o, giving it a local pronunciation akin to YO-te-BOR-ee. Rest assured though that the English version of Gothenburg is understood by all.

Getting to Gothenburg is easy, with direct flights from scores of destinations across Europe landing at Gothenburg Landvetter Airport, Sweden's second biggest.

To learn more about Gothenburg, visit www.goteborg.com/en.