Visiting the west coast of Sweden
Guest Post by Kate Hickson
Having never visited Sweden before I couldn’t wait to see what the West Coast had to offer. The Bohuslän coastline was our destination for the week.
We flew into Gothenburg and spent the day exploring this pretty city. Sweden’s West Coast is known for its seafood with renowned French chef Paul Bocuse claiming Gothenburg has the best oysters in the world! Excited to try the city’s gastronomic delights we headed to a family-run seafood restaurant. We weren’t disappointed and tucked into a delicious meal of mouth-watering oysters, freshly caught mussels and delicately flavoured prawns. A fabulous start to our holiday. We stayed at the Hotel Vanilla a stylish converted 19th century building right in the heart of the city. The hotels ground floor café is famed across Gothenburg for its gigantic cinnamon rolls and home-made apple pies which of course we had to try.
In the morning we headed to south Koster one of two traffic-free islands on the beautiful Bohuslän coastline. A short boat ride from mainland Strömstad and we got our first glimpse of the northern Bohuslän archipelago. The Koster islands make up part of Sweden’s first ever Marine National Park.
We were feeling energetic so hired bikes and headed along the north coast to the scenic village of Långegärde and then south to visit the tiny idyllic island church. After parking the bikes we headed up the gentle incline Valfjället to enjoy the stunning views all across south Koster and over to nearby north Koster the smaller of the two islands. Back on the bikes we cycled along the flat winding lanes to the sleepy fishing hamlet of Breviks Hamn. The perfect spot for a picnic of fresh langoustine prawns, crusty bread and a glass of wine (or two). A leisurely cycle back to the hotel and we passed a cluster of charming traditional red and white wooden houses. After an outstanding evening meal of locally-produced food at Koster Garden it was time to retire to our waterfront hotel, Ekenäs Hotell and enjoy the views over the Koster fjord with a glass of chilled white wine.
Day 4 began with a walk into Långegärde to catch the ferry across to north Koster. This unspoilt little island is just over 4km from one end to the other and has a number of well-defined paths to explore. The trails took us past secluded bays and across fragrant heather-strewn outcrops. After a memorable day’s walking we returned to south Koster for dinner. The next day we moved on from south Koster to the colourful fishing village of Fjällbacka our location for the next three nights. Our charming guesthouse Bryggan Fjällbacka had a restaurant, pub, seafood bar, coffee shop and even a piano bar! Another mouth-watering meal of fresh seafood straight from the Skagerrak Strait enjoyed overlooking the sea. Bliss.
The next morning we headed to the nearby Veddö Nature Reserve, the peninsula sits north of Fjällbacka. A stunning mix of meadows, leafy woodland and granite outcrops. We climbed up to one of the highest points and were treated to a stunning panoramic view of the enchanting Fjällbacka archipelago – a view I will never forget! Early evening we caught the boat back to mainland Fjällbacka and relaxed on our hotel terrace watching the sunset over the harbour.
Our final full day was spent on Väderöarna which translated means the Weather Islands, a marine reserve situated on the archipelago’s outer edge. A short 30 minute boat ride away the islands are the most westerly point in Sweden. We couldn’t believe our luck when we spotted seals sunbathing amongst the rocks – a definite highlight of our trip. There is a short way-marked trail on the islands which took us around 1 ½ hours to complete. The old pilot’s lookout tower dominates the area and adds to the atmosphere of this intriguing collection of islands. Strolling around we spotted an astonishing range of wildlife and birds. The spectacular scenery on Väderöarna makes it somewhere we will certainly be returning and next time I would plan to spend a night on one of these enthralling islands.
Author Kate Hickson is a freelance travel writer, food and white wine lover.
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Just anywhere in Scandinavia is on my list. It all looks so photogenic.