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Gothenburg, a festive city with new markets and cool design

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Gothenburg is a smorgasbord of festive fun during the festive period. Home to the largest Christmas market in Sweden, at Liseberg amusement park, the city is transformed into a light and food filled extravaganza over the festive period, making it ideal for a short break to soak up the festive atmosphere.

Gothenburg, Sweden’s second largest city, is located on the west coast and is fast becoming a creative hub for innovation. During the festive period you can spend time shopping for unique gifts in the Haga district or at one of the many Christmas markets dotted around the city, before walking the Lane of Light, 3km of illuminations and enjoying Christmas ‘Fika’ – a sociable coffee and something sweet.

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NEW for 2013: London-inspired Christmas Design Market

Inspired by London’s street markets, the Christmas Design Market promises visitors an array of handmade and custom designed Christmas gifts from some of Gothenburg’s hottest designers and artists of the moment. Visitors to the market, housed in the Pustervik arena, will find one-off clothing, art, craft and designs – perfect for unusual Christmas presents. It is open from 11am until 4.30pm.

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NEW for 2013: Christmas at Röda Sten Art Centre 

Visitors looking for unique works of art and crafts as gifts should visit the Christmas market in the Cathedral exhibition room at the Röda Sten Art Centre. Located at the entrance to the harbour, this imposing former boiler house brings a suitably Scandinavian ‘industrial chic’ to the festive season. All the products at the market are created by local designers, artists and art students, whilst there’s also the opportunity to get creative at a Christmas decoration workshop.

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Scandinavia’s largest Christmas Market

For six weeks each year, the Liseberg Amusement Park is transformed into Scandinavia’s largest Christmas market – with 700 Christmas trees, decorated with over five million fairy lights! More than 70 market stalls sell Swedish arts and crafts, decorations and gift ideas in a wonderfully Swedish setting. Shoppers can also expect traditional festive foods, ranging from marinated herring and roasted reindeer meat served by the indigenous Sami people, through to seasonal Swedish goodies, such as marzipan pigs and ‘glögg’.

The market also features an ice skating rink, the chance to meet Santa Claus and hitch a sleigh ride with white reindeers from Sweden’s far north. The Liseberg Christmas Market is open daily from 4 to 23 December, and 26 to 29 December.

Dazzling light installations

Visitors to Gothenburg will be entranced by the city’s magical festive light installations including the Lane of Light – which, quite literally, leads the way to Christmas. The 3km lane stretches from the central harbour with its illuminated wheel, along the main boulevard Avenyn, to the Christmas market at Liseberg. The showcase combines innovative lighting design with the atmosphere of a traditional Christmas, and this year’s theme focuses on dreams. The city will be lit up until 5 January 2014.

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Travel essentials: Gothenburg

Getting there

Two international airports serve the city with a range of connections with destinations from around the world. Both Gothenburg Landvetter Airport and Gothenburg City Airport is conveniently located close to the center. Airport buses operate both airports and the trip takes about 20-30 minutes.

The city is also well-connected to most cities in Sweden, and its neighbouring countries Norway and Denmark, by an extensive route network of bus and train services.

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Sleeping and eating

Elite Plaza Hotel a member of the Design Hotels group, and can be found in downtown Gothenburg. Formerly the home of the Svea Fire & Life Insurance Company in the 1800s and later the University of Gothenburg, the hotels offers elegant rooms designed by designers Christer Svensson and Lars Helling.

Forget vol au vents and cheese and pineapple – Swedes may traditionally forgo the Christmas roast for a festive Julbord buffet but these are typically grand affairs, featuring roaring fires and tables heaped with smoked fish, caviar and warming glögg. Experience the magic at Michelin star, Sjömagasinet, one of Gothenburg’s finest restaurants, which recreates the ‘homely’ Swedish Christmas experience, complete with ‘lovely smells from the kitchen’ and offers a Christmas buffet lunch.

Images courtesy of Sofia Sabel, Göran Assner, Martin Jakobsson, Joachim Brink, Stefan Isaksson, Image Bank Sweden and Design Hotels

About

Assif is a luxury travel and design aficionado currently working as a BBC content producer. He holds an MA in journalism from the University of Leeds. He is partial to tea and cake - Yorkshire Tea Gold Blend please. His favourite trips include island hopping in the Seychelles, a mountain escape in Kashmir and getting lost in Hong Kong.

Assif is the current editor of Adelto Magazine. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram: @journolista.

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December 18, 2013 | Europe Gothenburg Sweden Travel Western Europe | View comments

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