Things to do in Gothenburg and the West Coast of Sweden
Set sail on a fishing trawler to catch and cook your own mussels. Travel to the vast mussel farms in the Swedish fjords to learn about the life cycle of blue mussels and have a go at harvesting them yourself. Armed with your catch, head back to the Ljungskile coast where you can cook and savour a steaming bowl of mussels while admiring the Nordic scenery.
Explore the tiny village of Fjallbacka through the eyes of the famous crime fiction writer Camilla Lackberg. Join the Cosy Crime Walk for an insight into the scenes and characters that appear in her books and fascinating tales about the village. For a glamorous touch, walk the Ingrid Bergman tour to find out about this famous actress' love for the remote area and the events she organized for the community.
Disconnect from the hustle and bustle of life as you embark on a kayaking expedition and discover the Tjorn Archipelago with its hundreds of islands and shallow straits. Sail on the calm waters gently rocked by the salty breeze and discover the traditional fishing villages dotted along the coast. For a truly memorable experience, go on a night kayaking tour complete with a night swim and a sensational sunset.
The Best of Sweden
Kayaking in the Stockholm Archipelago
Stockholm is one of the most attractive cities in Europe, but to visit here without taking in the nearby Archipelago would be to miss out on a major part of Stockholmers' lives.
In summer, the 25,000 islands that compromise the Archipelago are an (extremely beautiful) adventure playground for the city's inhabitants to enjoy, with some of the bigger, inhabited islands hosting regular sailing regattas, and colourful clapboard houses used as weekend retreats dotted around in secluded bays.
It's all rather perfect, but we think there is one particularly lovely way to explore - kayaking. This easiest of activities to pick up is ideal in the calm waters that stretch between islands, and we can arrange day trips or trips including makeshift overnight camping on deserted and remote islands, all either guided, or self-guided.
On a self-guided overnight trip, we provide kayaks, instruction, camping equipment and food, and this is a truly original and romantic way to experience these wonderful surroundings.
Why We Love It
Getting well and truly away from the crowds on one of the smaller islands, watching the sunset with a well-earned beer and camping down for the night.
Skiing in Sweden
Devotees of the Alps, your attention, please. Yes, the respective resorts of Switzerland, France, Austria and Italy represent a pretty attractive snowy smorgasbord, but don't rule out the spiritual home of the smorgasbord itself - Sweden.
Why? Well, there's the fact that the season runs well into May thanks to the northerly longitude of the ski resorts and the extensive daylight hours as summer approaches. Then there are the slick hotels, the excellent (if expensive) nightlife, the delicious food, the slick service, the amazing array of alternative activities such as dog-sledding and, last but by no means least, the throngs of drop dead gorgeous young Swedes swanning around. The skiing's not bad either.
We at Original Travel particularly recommend two completely contrasting Swedish resorts - Riksgransen and Åre. Riksgransen is probably best suited to the skier who's bored of conventional piste skiing and wants a post-Alpine season hit, while Åre feels like stepping into a slick North American resort, but just a few hours travel time away from the UK.
Winter in Swedish Lapland
The winter season in Lapland is brimming with endless opportunities, and the frozen archipelago begs for adventure.
Driving a snowmobile is a must in Lapland, if not simply for an adrenalin fix. Fully equipped with thermal overalls, helmets, gloves and balaclavas, the qualified guides first talk guests through the ins and outs of riding a snowmobile. Once clued up on the art of driving, it is time to head towards the frozen archipelago first passing the fishing harbour on Hindersön before a much deserved pit stop for coffee and waffles at the stunning Jopikgården Inn. Lunch is laid out on reindeer skins around a fire - keep an eye out for moose, reindeer and other wildlife.
If you prefer to stick to what you know, driving an ordinary car on the ice is also possible. Ebbenjarka lake is the perfect setting for racing around in the old volvos, and with just over 15 miles of ice tracks on the lake, the hours of fun are endless.
After a fast paced day of driving on ice, in a snow mobile, or behind huskies, food is usually on everyone's minds. Continue the theme of the day - ice - with a 3-course dinner on the ice complete with candelabras, linen tablecloths and a crackling fire. With any luck, the Northern Lights may make a guest appearance as well.
Summer in Swedish Lapland
There is a general misconception that Lapland is a lot better in the winter months. We however have proved this not to be true, and have selected a few of our favourite activities that make the most of the stunning landscape.
Ice-fishing becomes fishing, kayaking replaces ice-driving, and the mountains provide fantastic walking trails.
The expert guides are just as hot on Lapland in the summer, and can lead mountaineering exhibitions, as well as horse riding trips.
The Treehotel is just as cool and quirky in the summer, and the location of Abisko Mountain Lodge means there is plenty to do and see. The Ice Hotel, as odd as it might sound, also has a few rooms available in the summer (the ones that haven't melted that is).
Dog Sledding in Swedish Lapland
Dog-sledding through the snowbound forests and mountains of Swedish Lapland will leave even the hardiest 'been there, done that' traveller with an indelible memory.
Siberian huskies, the breed of choice for dog-sledders, are perfectly adapted to their task - good-natured, energetic and able to withstand even the harshest conditions. Glide through beautiful winter landscapes, staying overnight in private log cabins and eating traditional Lapp delicacies such as reindeer stew with cloudberries.
The dog-sledding combines really well with a stay at the extraordinary Ice Hotel, sculpted anew each year from the frozen waters of the Torne River. Activities here include snow-shoeing, moose safaris, cross-country skiing and the chance to learn a bit about the local Sami culture. Alternatively, if you go dog-sledding nearer Lulea, you can stay in the bizarroworld Treehotel instead.
If you are lucky, the Swedish Arctic is also one of the best places in the world to see the Northern Lights, the ethereal natural light show that occurs in the depths of winter, as shimmering bands of colour drift across the night sky.
For those looking for some creature comforts and pampering after the 'rigours' of the frozen north, a couple of nights at one of Stockholm's top hotels can easily be incorporated into the journey home.
Why We Love It
Huskies just love to run, and it's amazing to see their excitement as the guide puts them into teams - carefully balanced according to the strength of each dog so that the sleds run smoothly. The dogs strain at their harnesses, desperate to get out there and start running.