If you’re only on the west coast of Sweden for a short break, it can be tempting to spend most of your time in Gothenburg, checking out museums, going shopping and tucking into fresh prawns and crayfish.

Crayfish buffet Crayfish buffet

Take time to explore offshore, however, and you’ll discover a wild expanse of low-slung granite islands where the pace of life steps down a notch and nature begins to take over. You could easily spend weeks hopping between the different islands, getting a flavour for their unique personalities. But if time is short and you need a couple of suggestions for places where you cycle, sightsee or go wild swimming, the following islands are ideal. Note that although these islands can be visited during the wintertime, they are at their best from May–September, when there’s a good chance of blue skies and warm sunshine.

Islands around Styrsö Islands around Styrsö

Styrsö
One of the largest islands in Gothenburg’s southern archipelago and one of the easiest to reach from town, Styrsö sees a steady stream of visitors. There are a couple of excellent places to stay, and there’s a real sense of community around Bratten, the largest of three ferry docks, where you’ll find tennis courts, a café and a small cluster of shops. The southern part of the island is covered by rocky forests and edged by fine beaches: perfect for long summer walks.
Getting there: Take ferry #281 or #282 from the boat dock at Saltholmen, a 35-minute tram ride west of the centre.

The lookout on Bränno The lookout on Bränno

Brännö

Just north of Styrsö, the serene island of Brännö is the kind of place that seems like it was designed for two-wheeled exploration. Bright yellow bikes are available to hire beside the dock at Brännö Rödsten (including tandems, for any couples who fancy a challenge), and the car-free trails make for effortless cycling, winding past mature gardens full of apple and pear trees. Take a dip in the shallow waters off the north coast, or climb up to the lookout that crowns the island’s highest peak for views across the archipelago.
Getting there: Take ferry #283 from the boat dock at Saltholmen, a 35-minute tram ride west of the centre.

Marstrand

Firmly on the tourist trail (for Swedes, anyway), Marstrand is a picture-perfect, mound-shaped island where brightly painted houses and wooden sailboats are watched over by a vast stone fortress. Carlstens Fästning was originally constructed in the 1600s when the island, having been wrested from Norwegian control, became an important base for Swedish ships. For the next 200 years the fortress was expanded and today, visitors can wander through the sprawling complex learning about its bloody history, or retreat downhill for oysters by the harbour.
Getting there: Marstrand is a 40-minute drive to the northwest of Gothenburg. The road stops just short of the island, but frequent ferries are on hand to make the final crossing.
The harbour in Fjällbacka The harbour in Fjällbacka

The Weather Islands

For a real edge-of-the-earth experience, look no further than the remote Weather Islands (Väderöarna). These 300-or-so humpbacked rocks, a 30-minute boat ride from the fishing village of Fjällbacka, provide excellent opportunities for seal-spotting and are all but deserted – save for a cluster of old fishermen’s huts and an excellent hotel with its own wood-fired sauna.

 

The Sunvil Family

By The Sunvil Family

7th July 2014



The Sunvil Family
The Sunvil Family
The Sunvil Family

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