The second-largest city in Sweden and Scandinavia's most important port, Gothenburg (or ) is situated on the west coast of the country. Situated at the outlet of the Gota Canal that links Gothenburg to the Baltic Sea and Stockholm, Gothenburg was founded in 1621 by King Gustav II Adolf to secure access to the Atlantic, but the city was mainly settled and planned by Dutch merchants who used it as their base for trade. The numerous canals and gabled houses are evidence of this early influence. Shipping and commerce have always been important industries in Gothenburg and the port is a popular arrival point for visitors.
Today, Gothenburg is a beautiful city, with its waterside location, green open spaces, and fine architecture, as well as the wide selection of cultural establishments. The main street, Kungsportavenyn, known simply as Avenyn, is alive with edgy bars, cafes, and trendy shops. Far more down-to-earth and youth-driven than Stockholm, Gothenburg's buzz is augmented by the large student population from the University of Gothenburg. While certainly not as magnificent as Stockholm, Gothenburg is often regarded as friendlier and cheaper, and certainly has enough going on to keep even the most energetic travellers occupied.