Saltwater swimming, gorgeous islands and delicious shellfish - our summer guide to Sweden's west coast!
Craving a west coast escape this summer? We know how you feel. You can never have too much of the salty North Sea, the remote archipelago, the endless supply of fresh seafood and all the great things to do. No wonder people call it the "best coast".
The west coast stretches from Strömstad in the north to Halmstad in the south, and is usually divided into the north and south west coasts, with Gothenburg in the middle. Here are our top tips for a week or two's summer holiday on the west coast!
Have you heard of Orust, Fjällbacka and Marstrand?
In the northernmost part of the west coast, you'll find the holiday paradise Bohuslän amongst an idyllic archipelago landscape. If swimming and boating are on the agenda, there are more than enough charming islands here to keep you busy. Many of them can be reached by car, but the most common means of transport is of course ferry.
If you start from Gothenburg, Silvertärnan is one of the many boats you can take out into the archipelago. Photo: Pontus Wellgraf, Unsplash
Pack your picnic basket and rent a bike, or sit down at a terrace beside a jetty that overlooks cliffs and glistening water. With the North Sea on their doorstep, many west coast restaurants specialise in seafood delicacies, so seafood fans have a lot to discover. Can we get you a chilled glass of white with that?
Crayfish are a delicacy sold in many places on the west coast. These ones are from Smögen. Photo: Jonas Jacobsson, Unsplash
Not familiar with the Bohuslän archipelago? No problem. Here are some destinations that won't disappoint you!
Orust, Sweden's fourth largest island. You can get there by boat or car! The perfect daytrip.
Gullholmen, Sweden's most densely populated archipelago island. Wander along winding alleyways and take a closer look at beautiful boathouses and fishermen's cottages.
Marstrand, the island at the far end of the archipelago, is a real sailing and swimming community. Don't miss Carlsten, a fortress which has been in Marstrand since the middle of the 17th century.
Strömstad, one of the country's oldest seaside resorts, and around the corner from Kosterhavet National Park.
Smögen, and the world-famous Smögenbryggan, is perhaps Bohuslän's most popular destination.
Fjällbacka, a charming and picturesque fishing village with archipelago-style buildings and the mountain that gave the city its name.
Each island in the Gothenburg archipelago has its very own natural beauty. This one is called Tjörn. Photo: Foto: Drahomir Posteby Mach, Unsplash
Restaurants, entertainment and culture in Gothenburg
Will it be a quick pit stop or a longer stay in Gothenburg? No matter what's on the agenda for your west coast vacation, it's hard to resist the entertainment and the bustling activity on offer in the city. Especially if you've had enough of lazy days on the archipelago's cliffs. In Gothenburg, you can fill up on art, culture and great restaurants and nightlife.
Get around using the charming trams that have become one of the city's most famous features. Or why not take a sightseeing tour from the water with the Paddan? If you want even more speed, Liseberg is an excellent choice, with thrilling attractions for visitors young and old.
Gothenburg is a big city with lots of activities and attractions. Don't know where to start? Check out some of our guides to Sweden's second city:
- Sights and things to do in Gothenburg
- 5 tips for families spending a weekend in Gothenburg!
- Gothenburg’s best bars & restaurants
- Universeum – a favourite amongst adults and children
- 5 reasons to visit Liseberg in Gothenburg
- The best museums in Gothenburg
Long beaches, a great after-beach scene and adventures in nature
If you choose to go south from Gothenburg, you'll come to Halland! On the southwest coast, you'll find a couple of truly great summer towns, such as Halmstad, Tylösand and Varberg. Here, the sandy beaches are long and white, and the party-goer is guaranteed to find a few after-beach parties to choose from.
A white and very long sandy beach in Halmstad. Photo: Steven Erixon, Unsplash
Nature offers lots of options for the active, including surfing, hiking in beautiful national parks, kayaking and gorgeous bike rides. Those interested in golf can take their pick of beautiful golf courses on their way south. Craving retail therapy? Then you'll find great prices at shopping mecca Ullared, just outside Varberg!