Five Things to do on Sweden's West Coast

Five Things to do on Sweden's West Coast

Succumb to the allure of Sweden, where travellers can experience everything from Northern Lights chasing and midnight blue archipelagos, to snow-coated lands, mouth-watering grub and chic Scandi designs. It’s a place that fuses age-old traditions with a modern pace of life, bringing with it an irresistible sense of culture. And some of our favourite experiences in the country can be found on Sweden’s west coast. Stretching from Malmö in the south up to the Norwegian border in the north, Sweden’s west coast is one of the country’s most enigmatic spots. With its magnificent granite islands, glass-like lakes and quaint fishing towns, it’s easy to see why so many Swedes find themselves gravitating west for the summer. It’s a haven on the cusp of discovery (for those that aren’t local), promising seclusion, serenity and an authentic Scandi escape throughout the seasons. Plus, there are so many things to do on Sweden’s west coast, whether it’s discovering the rugged strip between Gothenburg and the Norwegian border or exploring the epic Bohuslän coast, with its string of seaside villages and offshore islands, you’ll likely find your own slice of Nordic bliss. So, to ensure you experience the best of the Swedish west, keep reading to hear about our five favourite things to do on Sweden’s west coast...

  1. Gothenburg and the Surrounding Archipelagos
  2. Marstrand
  3. Orust
  4. Tjörn
  5. Fjällbacka and the Väderöarna Islands


Gothenburg and the Surrounding Archipelagos

Embrace the slower pace of life, while getting your Swedish fix, in the country's second largest city, Gothenburg. It’s a sprawling mosaic masterpiece, with its tram-lined streets, countless canals and neoclassical architecture. Days can be spent wandering the city (with plenty of café stops and fika breaks en route), while nights are reserved for enjoying the cities vibrant bars, as you toast to a trip well spent. Of course, you’ll want to be here for a good few days, if only to use the city as a base for the main event...the string of smooth granite islands that lie just off the Gothenburg shoreline. Dotted with rocky outcrops and picturesque harbours, Gothenburg's archipelago has 20 or so islands that’re rife for exploring. Stretching north and south of the city, both directions offer something different. The southern islands, which are nearer to the city, can be the perfect car-free excursions, just grab your bike, swim cap or trusty walking shoes instead. Whereas the northern islands are best discovered by car but offer equally appealing swimming spots, traditional red-coated buildings and some excellent and authentic local eateries, serving the freshest of fish and seafood.



Gothenburg dwellers can enjoy an easy day tripping excursion, journeying further north across a road bridge towards the postcard pretty island and former fishing town of Marstrand. Renowned for its sailing boats and seafood, this Nordic pocket of paradise is a must when searching for things to do on Sweden’s west coast. It’s a Scandi mecca for sailors and holidayers looking for swimming opportunities and the chance to relax, unwind, explore and most importantly eat, with the historic town acting as the perfect backdrop. Countless seafood eateries and Marstrand souvenirs can be found along the cobbled alleyways, as travellers explore the maze of narrowing streets and harbourfront that’s shadowed by an impressive 300-year-old stone castle: Carlstens Fästning. This mammoth stone-walled structure also offers spectacular panoramic photography opportunities of the island and is a must for those looking to appreciate this haven from above.



Up next on the list of things to do on Sweden’s west coast it’s the third largest island and woodland paradise of Orust. There’re tree clad walks, picturesque fishing villages and a strong sailing community that welcome curious visitors that’re keen to learn more. In fact, Orusts nautical roots have seen it still home a thriving boat building industry, with about half of Sweden’s sailing boats still built here. This makes all things water-based fun a given, with plenty of kayaking, yachting and swimming to be enjoyed. However, it’s not all aqua activities and no land-based exploring, with lots of cycling and hiking to be had too. Whether it’s discovering the former fishing communities of Hälleviksstrand, Stocken and Mollösund or sampling the local produce (we’re talking mussels, oysters and farm-made honey) there is something for all who journey here.



Keeping with the woodland theme, this next island is home to ancient forests, rolling hillsides, perfectly preserved nature reserves and lots of sandy bays and fishing villages. This wild stretch of coastline is a chance to reconnect with the natural world, whether that’s on foot, by bike or dipping into the waters, you’ll be sure to discover something new. Art lovers can rejoice too, with the Pilane Sculpture Park showcasing some of the biggest and best giant modern sculptural pieces, with the hauntingly beautiful landscape acting as the perfect canvas. It also boats the Nordic Watercolour Museum, where permanent exhibitions offer watercolour paintings by Nordic artists, depicting the vast swathes of wilderness this part of the world offers.


Fjällbacka and the Väderöarna Islands

Finally, it’s none other than one of Sweden’s most famous seaside spots: Fjällbacka. This small Scandinavian coastal town has beachside lounging and sun basking aplenty, plus countless walks and the Kungsklyftan hill that’s perfect for those panoramic snaps of the island. It’s also the setting for Camilla Läckberg’s murder mysteries, meaning you can do lots of book location scouting as you explore all that this magnificent honey pot of rural charm has to offer. Not to mention just a short 40-minute boat trip from here lies the remote Väderöarna Islands, also known as the weather islands, which is a breathtakingly beautiful oasis right in the middle of the ocean. Journey here throughout the seasons to see the islands ever-changing landscape and nature reserve, where you can hike, swim, seal and seabird watch and enjoy as much freshly caught seafood as you can stomach.