You kind of lose count of how many Venices of the North there are with the many coastal, almost submerged cities that only have probably a lifetime to wade the rising sea levels. But yes, as they say, enjoy them while they last. Gothenburg is one of them. Once a Dutch territory, the city is built with an Amsterdam-like vein of canals and a myriad of petite bridges to traipse. And just like its counterparts, one of the best ways to enjoy the city is through its waterways. It’s definitely not a romantic gondola ride but the Swedish Paddan tour boats sure are fun waterbuses driven by animated tour guides and equally enthusiastic passengers.
The tour begins and ends near the Stora Theater, passing through the verdant banks of the famous botanical garden (whose collection of roses is impressive by the way), it then takes you to stoop under 20 low-lying, previously bascule, tiny steel bridges. Some actually quite risky if you don’t pay much attention but like the rides in the nearby Liseberg themepark, it could spur a bit of some adrenaline. Okay, not that exaggerated but you get the point. You will also see the jolly tour guide transform into a monster when you get so preoccupied with the selfies to the point of almost decapitating your head, so yeah, you will always get a warning. Sorry I should tell this nicely but yes, there are no reported casualties. Ok, forget the morbidity, it’s a fun fun ride, awesome views, flowers, ducks…
The tour finally takes you (if you manage to survive…LOL) to the port where the canals empty to a treat of gargantuan ship museums and remnants of once active container cranes. The harbor views are quite an eclectic mix of modern and old Gothenburg showing pretty much the dynamism of the city – on one end a ‘lipstick’ tower and on the other the 1900’s hilltop Masthugg Church, both polarizing emblems of the city.
The tour pretty much gives you a satisfying taste of Gothenburg for a measly price. Most of the main attractions are discernible from the canals and the port so for a limited time in the city, it’s a good one-hour-kill-them-all-in-a-go trip. There should be a short adjective for that… but yeah, it’ll come to me… time-saver perhaps? Anyway, yes, take the Paddan tour when it’s not freezing cold of course. You’ll never regret it. It’s also not life-threatening.