There's a lot more to Sweden than Stockholm and Lapland. We particularly recommend the charms of holidays to Gothenburg, the country's second city, and the beautiful west coast archipelago of some 8,000 islands. To many outside Sweden this is secret Scandinavia, and long may that last - it's an area made special by its wide open spaces inhabited by a small population, the downright beautiful scenery and the range of wholesome activities on offer. Add in enough culinary highlights to sate the appetite of the most demanding of gastronauts and Gothenburg holidays are the perfect way to settle into a slower pace of life.
Explore the second city, and then take off on a West Coast Sweden road trip. When the summer sun shines, spend your days hopping from one small fishing village to another, kayaking and wonderful seafood platters and traditional fish dishes from well-worn family recipes using freshly-caught-that-morning produce. Extending from the Norwegian border on the west coast, to Gothenburg in the south, this archipelago of Swedish islands offers a relaxed getaway to nature. From the upmarket resort of Marstrand to Sweden’s first marine national park - Kosterhavet - in the Koster Islands, these islands have something for everyone, alongside buckets of charm and a warm and lively atmosphere.
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What can you expect on Gothenburg and the West Coast holidays that you won't find anywhere else?
Free from the pressure of being a capital, second cities tend to be less self-conscious and a whole lot more relaxed than their first-born siblings. And Gothenburg fits into the ‘chilled second city’ category very snugly. Rapidly making a name for itself as Europe’s most sustainable city, it wears its eco badge with pride; the majority of Gothenburg’s public transport runs on renewable energy, the centre has a low emission zone and there’s a huge emphasis on ethical fashion, recycling schemes and locally-produced, organic food and drink. Located across both banks of the River Göta, old canal ways criss-cross the city and locals get around by bike, on foot or via the well-established tram and ferry services. Gothenburg is a truly cosmopolitan destination that’s enjoying its growing spotlight; home to an increasing number of first-class boutique hotels, an elegant nightlife scene, Michelin-star restaurants and a ton of history and culture – its popularity is only set to soar. Gothenburg is also a gateway city to the charms of Sweden’s West Coast archipelago. Strike out on a road trip across the country’s wild west and encounter its striking islands, inlets and charming towns. The region, known as Bohuslän, offers an endless holiday to-do list depending on your whims. Spend a morning kayaking around inhabited islands, then visit the Nordic Watercolour Museum on Skarhamn’s waterfront, before heading to dinner for award-winning Swedish cuisine. Gothenburg and the West Coast holidays are anything but ordinary.
Who are Gothenburg and the West Coast holidays best for?
Anyone interested in sustainable travel will be enthralled and inspired by Gothenburg’s eco credentials. In addition, its restaurants, hotels, shopping, notable galleries and museums will attract travellers searching for a city break with a difference. Add the natural magnetism of the islands of the West Coast to Gotherburg’s magic and you have all the elements for a trip that ticks every ‘dream holiday’ box there is. Foodies with a penchant for seafood will be in heaven discovering the delights of Bohuslän’s ocean fare. The region’s ‘Big Five’ of lobster, langoustine, prawns, mussels and oysters are as good as seafood gets. In fact, much of Gothenburg and the West Coast holidays revolve around its excellent gastronomy - whether it’s sampling Michelin-level dishes in Gothenburg’s finest restaurants or digging out fresh mussels from the seabed of lyckorna on the West Coast. For travellers always on the move, the small fishing town of Fjallbacka offers swimming, walking and kayaking galore, while explorers will adore the beautiful Koster Islands – they’re car-free and walking trails take in the best of the islands, from ancient forests and fishing harbours to numerous spots for wild swimming.
Special things to do in Gothenburg and the West Coast
Go on a seafood safari in West Sweden
Discover the ultimate banquet on Sweden’s West Coast during a seafood safari. From the harbour town of Lyckorna, join a local fishing crew and catch some of the continent’s finest mussels - help haul in the chains and harvest the mussels, then your captain will either cook them on board or stop at a nearby beach for you to sample the delights.
Explore Gothenburg’s Haga district
Stroll the beautiful cobbled streets of Haga, Gothenburg’s oldest neighbourhood, and head to the 17th-century Skansen Kronan fortress. Due to an influx of creative types from Sweden’s capital, Haga is full of trendy boutique shops and hip cafes, perfect for enjoying a fika, which is the local pastime of indulging in coffee and a little cake.