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You don’t need reasons to visit West Sweden. You just need to pack.

You don’t need reasons to visit West Sweden. You just need to pack.

To people who don’t know West Sweden, some of the place names risk sounding like a tour of an IKEA showroom. Think backpack rather than flatpack, however, in this eclectic and exquisite region which stretches from the city of Gothenburg up as far as the border with Norway. In between are the cultural and natural riches of Västra Götaland County, which is a lot more pleasant to navigate than the endless and inescapable corridors of IKEA. It is also a lot more soothing for the soul. We have listed some of its highlights below, but one of the other reasons to visit West Sweden is that it’s just over three hours by train from Stockholm, 4.5h to Copenhagen and 3.5h to Oslo. So you can start building an adventure that takes you even further afield too. It will be easier than constructing a bookcase, we can assure you. 

Bohuslän Archipelago, West Sweden

There are thousands of islands off the west coast of Sweden, an archipelago of granite rocks, worn down to smooth islets and island idylls, perfect for hiking and adventuring. Also known as the Bohuslän region, our walking holiday in these western isles takes you via quick ferry trips to the likes of Marstrand and Koön Islands, with a population of over a thousand people, albeit a lot more in summer, many arriving by yacht. Further north is the much quieter Dyrön Island, car-free and carefree, with a walking trail through coastal woodland and rocky shores. And a gorgeous sauna. One of the mainland gateways and very gorgeous towns to the islands is Smögen, where you can catch a ferry to Bohus Malmön, famous for its pink granite rocks and turquoise swimming lagoons. 

The island of Smögen is a smörgåsbord of prettiness, just one of many in the Bohuslän Archipelago.

Gotaleden Trail 

This walking trail is a fine example of regenerative tourism, where the industrial environs north of Gothenburg have been returned to nature. The 71km Gotaleden Trail starts in the heart of Gothenburg, so you have plenty of time to explore this lively metropolis before you head off. Spend five days exploring nature and culture, such as the delightful former mill of Jonsered, or Tollered, where you stay in a beautifully-restored textile factory on the shores of Lake Sävelången. Perfect for swimming, saunas and stand-up paddleboarding. There are several other waterscapes en route, such as Lake Aspen, where it’s worth checking out the Humlebadet public swimming area. 

Gothenburg 

A buoyant city not only because it sits on the west coast and is an important port, but also because it is a university city, brimming with youthful energy. Top and tail our walking holiday in the Bohuslän Islands with a stay in this city which has repeatedly ranked as the world’s most sustainable destination on the Global Destination Sustainability Index. Cultural and historical highlights include the timber houses and cobbled streets of the Haga district, the Gothenburg Museum of Art and Nya Älvsborg Fortress in the middle of the harbour. Gothenburg also boasts its own idyllic retreats, with just a 20mins ferry journey to go walking on Brännö Island, which is connected to the even more tranquil walking on Galtarö Island by a small bridge. 

You can see just how close Gothenburg is to some glorious treks straight out of town.

Saunas in West Sweden

The tradition of saunas is well known all over Sweden and West Sweden is no exception. It’s a wonderful way to immerse yourself in Swedish culture at its most stripped back form! Prepare for nudity, as this is normal in Sweden, although bringing a towel in to cover yourself is also acceptable, as people use them for sitting on anyway. For full immersion, you want to combine saunas with some swimming, and you’ll nearly always find somewhere to sweat and then shiver on our West Sweden tours. Such as at your coastal hotel on Koön Island on our walking holiday of Bohuslän Islands, this beauty on Dyrön Island, or at the traditional cold bath houses in Gothenburg on our Gotaleden Trail holiday

Food in West Sweden 

From the tradition of fika, meaning coffee and cake time, to the smörgåsbord of seafood on offer, West Sweden’s food scene is slow and sustainable. In fact, the town of Alingsäs, on our Gotaleden Trail holiday, is considered the fika capital of Sweden. Prawns, mussels, herring, mackerel and salmon are regulars on the menu while walking in the Bohuslän Islands. And if you time your trip with the first Thursday after 08 August, this is Crayfish Premiere day, the beginning of the season to fish for this important food source in the region’s lakes.

As our trips in West Sweden continue as late as the end of September, you will just about catch the beginning of the lobster season, which starts on the first Monday after 20 September, when you’ll see local people and professional fishers dropping their pots. There is no shortage of beer to accompany these feasts from the sea, with Gothenburg falling down with craft breweries, including Barlind and Hönöbryggeriet, and you can’t miss a cooling glass of Brännöl, from Brännö Island’s own microbrewery, which features on our Bohuslän Island-hopping holiday

The table is all set for a traditional crayfish party in West Sweden.


We hope you’ve enjoyed our tour of West Sweden and that it’s given you a taste for Scandi living of a green and sustainable nature. For another superb Scandi saunter, you may enjoy our blog on The Skåneleden Trail, in Sweden’s beautiful south. You can see all of our Swedish tours here, and please don’t hesitate to contact our adventure specialists for more information.