Just a few minutes’ walk southeast from Götaplatsen, Liseberg Amusement Park is a riot of party lights and bubblegum-pink paintwork. Opened in 1923, this is Scandinavia’s largest amusement park, and with its flowers, trees, fountains and clusters of lights, it’s great fun for adults as well as children, and leagues away from the neon and plastic mini-cities that constitute so many theme parks around the world. The old and the young dance to live bands most evenings, and although the park is louder and more youth-dominated at night (especially on Saturdays), it’s all good-humoured. Pride of place at Liseberg goes to its two roller coasters: “Kanonen”, which reaches its top speed just two seconds after being fired bullet-like from its start point, before plummeting 24m at a ninety-degree angle; and the equally hair-raising Balder, a wooden construction that’s twice been voted the best of its kind in the world – travelling at up to 90km per hour, it includes a seventy-degree drop.
If you’re around between mid-November and late December, head for Liseberg’s enjoyable Christmas market, where stalls selling handicrafts and presents are lit by around three million fairy lights. This being Sweden, the commercialism is remarkably low-key, and the pervasive smell of glögg (mulled wine), roasted almonds and freshly made waffles adds to the enjoyment. This is also a good place to sample the traditional Swedish julbord, a Christmas smorgasbord full of hams, cheeses and heavenly cakes (booking required for the julbord, t 031 40 02 00).