Gå - is getting to a place usually by walking (not always) Åka - is getting to a place by riding in something, like a boat, a car, train or a plane.
They don't work 100% the same. In German, they can actually say things like Ich gehe ins Ausland, whereas you can't use gå like that in Swedish.
OK, but does that imply that "åker" means something more like "drive" (operate a vehicle) or "ride" (be transported by a vehicle) than "go" (move yourself somewhere)? Or am I misinterpreting something?
Yes, åker implies that you use some means of transportation. But it still translates go in many cases. We go abroad -> Vi åker utomlands.
Only in some cases, not generally.
fahren can mean 'drive', but åker cannot. Kannst du Auto fahren? -> Kan du köra bil? -> Can you drive a car?
laufen can mean both 'run' and 'walk', but gå cannot mean 'run'.
I don't know if you can just give it one definite main meaning, but I guess it would be "rides" (as in riding a vehicle)? I'm assuming that's what you mean by "literally", since it's not a compound verb or something.