Fishing Villages & Sea Kayaking Around The Bohuslän Archipelago

Bohuslän Sweden

Fishing Village of Smögen

Bohuslän, Sweden

Made up of 8,000 islands, the rugged Bohuslän Archipelago is regarded as one of the world’s great wilderness areas. If you enjoy fresh seafood or sea kayaking, it’s paradise.

As part of my West Sweden road trip with Volvo to promote their cool Overseas Delivery Program (free trip to Sweden anyone?), Katie and I spent a few days exploring these beautiful islands & their quaint fishing villages.

Katie is the reader who won my West Sweden trip giveaway this past Spring. We started our adventures in the city of Gothenburg, and then began making our way North.

Stopping in the picture-postcard fishing village of Smögen first, we wandered around colorful little houses perched on pink granite boulders beside the sea.

Sweden Road Trip

Road Trip!

Bohuslän Islands Sweden

Bohuslän Archipelago in a Volvo

West Sweden Road Trip

Hiking trails cover the entire area, and after a giant fresh shrimp sandwich for lunch at Hållö Bar we explored the rugged landscape on foot.

This village is a big tourist attraction in the summer when the weather is good. We spent the night at a beautiful old historic hotel called Smögens Havsbad.

Smögen’s pier is lined with quirky little shops and seafood restaurants. Families just pull their sailboats up and pay a fee to spend the night. Sailing is a popular pastime in Sweden. It seems everyone has a boat of some kind.

Bohuslän Islands Sweden

Rugged Pink Granite Landscape

Bohuslän Islands Sweden

Freshest Oysters You Can Eat

Sea Kayaking The Coast

Next we moved on to the Swedish town of Lysekil in the morning, meeting up with Torbjörn & Cathrine from Nautopp Seakayaking. They geared us up with high-performance sea kayaks for a day of touring the dramatic coastline.

Sea kayaks are long and skinny, designed for paddling through rough ocean chop for long distances. Much different than the short whitewater kayaks I’m used to. However the waters around Lysekil are well sheltered by a network of islands, making the sea relatively calm.

The morning was filled with paddling past pink granite islands, stopping on one for a tasty lunch of oily mackerel and dark coffee. Swedish style. For dessert? Fresh oysters!

A local oyster farmer invited us over to watch him dive and harvest his catch, giving us samples of his prized product. Let me tell you, raw oysters can’t get any fresher than that unless you eat them underwater. Yum.

Kayaking Islands Sweden

Sea Kayaking in Sweden

Bohuslän Islands Sweden

Exploring the Islands

More Fishing Villages

Once our kayaking adventure was over, we hopped back into our Volvo V40 and drove South to Fiskebäckskil, another former fishing community turned tourist attraction. The drive included a scenic ferry ride from one island to another.

Checking into The Gullmarsstrand right next to the water, we were too tired from kayaking to do much other than stuff our faces with more fish at their restaurant. That was followed by sitting on the docks to watch a colorful sunset.

With a full-time population of only 400 residents, Fiskebäckskil gives you a glimpse of what rural fishing life on these islands must have been like many years ago.

Fiskebäckskil Sweden

Fishing Town of Fiskebäckskil

Sweden Sunset

Look at that Sunset!!

Bohuslän Archipelago

The small islands and villages that make up the Bohuslän Archipelago are relaxing, but can be adventurous if you want them to be. It was a nice change of pace from the previous few days in the “big” city of Gothenburg.

Island hopping around to check out the laid-back lifestyle, local fishing culture, and watersports of the Bohuslän area was a very good idea. It was easily the most scenic leg of our West Sweden road trip too.

More Information

Location: Smögen, Sweden
Accommodation: Smögens Havsbad & The Gullmarsstrand
Activities: Nautopp Seakayaking
Useful Notes: Nautopp offers guided day or overnight sea kayaking trips, but if you’re more experienced, just rent boats and a map from them to head out exploring on your own.

Suggested Reading: Lonely Planet Guide to Sweden

READ NEXT: Fun Things To Do In Gothenburg

Have you eaten raw oysters? What about kayaking?

Do you eat raw oysters? Ever been sea kayaking before?

Pin This!

Made up of 8,000 islands, the rugged Bohuslän Archipelago is regarded as one of the world's great wilderness areas. Join us for a little tour.

This is a post from The Expert Vagabond adventure blog.

Fun Things To Do In The Swedish City of Gothenburg

Gothenburg, Sweden

Welcome to Gothenburg!

Gothenburg, Sweden

The city of Gothenburg (Göteborg) is my kind of place. Urban creativity and convenience with nature nearby. Here are some fun things to do in Sweden’s 2nd biggest city.

Before I traveled to Sweden, I’d never even heard of Gothenburg. However after spending a few days exploring this important port city I can see why it’s growing in popularity.

Neoclassical architecture makes it pretty. Efficient public transportation makes it easy to get around. Surrounded by islands and forests, nature is only minutes away. The culture here breeds tasty food, cool art, excellent design, and — attractive people. Yeah I said it. Swedes are easy on the eyes!

I was visiting Gothenburg with Katie, an Expert Vagabond reader (and fellow blogger) who won my travel giveaway last spring. Volvo lent us a new car from their factory in Gothenburg for a road trip up the coast of West Sweden.

Here are some cool things to do if you ever find yourself in Gothenburg

Fortress Gothenburg

Skansen Kronan Fortress

Gothenburg

Views Over Gothenburg

Skansen Kronan Lookout

This ancient 17th century stone fortress sits on top of a hill overlooking the city. It has one of the best views of Gothenburg. Located near the trendy Haga neighborhood, the steep staircase will give you a bit of exercise. Looking over the colorful homes & old buildings from above is worth it though.

When you’re done, head back down to one of the oldest neighborhoods in the city and grab a fika, or Swedish coffee break. You’ve earned it!

Gothenburg Fish Market

Feskekôrka Fish Market

Gothenburg Fresh Fish

Fresh Fish Everywhere

The Fish Church

The Feskekôrka (Fish Church) is a large indoor fish market in the heart of the city. The market is housed in what looks like an old gothic church. Swedes are known for their amazingly fresh seafood, and all the best stuff is on display here. Salmon. Brill. Cod. Lobsters. Crayfish. Squid. Caviar. Crabs.

We ordered a few tubs of fresh fish salad and sat outside for lunch, enjoying the summer sunshine. There’s also a restaurant and cafe inside.

Gothenburg submarine

Inside the Nordkaparen Submarine

Gothenburg Maritime Museum

Main Deck of the Destroyer Småland

Martiman Museum

Gothenburg has an awesome City Card for tourists that gives you free entrance for all kinds of activities, like the floating Martiman Museum. This maritime museum has an impressive fleet of 13 different types of ships you can explore. My favorites were the submarine and the destroyer.

Crawling down a dark ladder into the submarine and playing with all the controls made me feel like a little kid. I wanted to re-enact The Hunt For Red October. The destroyer was cool too though, the largest warship in Scandinavia. It once supported a crew of 272 sailors.

Gothenburg Islands

Gothenburg Archipelago

Gothenburg Vrango

Vrångö Island

Island Hopping

Next to the city is an archipelago of 20 islands that are very easy to visit for a day trip or overnight. The ferry system is fast & comfortable. We visited 2 of the islands, Vrångö and Styrsö Skäret. Neither of these islands allow cars. The only way to get around is to walk, travel by bicycle, or jump on a flakmopeder (a moped with flatbed in front).

Vrångö has some cool nature trails and a cafe. We spent the night on Styrsö Skäret at Pensionat Styrsö, a beautiful island guesthouse that provides you with bikes. They cooked some tasty plates of crayfish too, and crayfish are MUCH bigger over here.

Volvo Gothenburg

Visiting the Volvo Factory

Volvo V40

Our Sweet Volvo V40

Volvo Factory Tour

I know what you’re thinking. Because I was thinking it too. How could an automobile factory be any fun? Well, it turns out watching a futuristic army of robots assemble a car from scratch is fascinating. Robots were even driving themselves around the factory, some stopping to let us pass!

I for one welcome our new robot overlords…

Volvo has this awesome program when you order a new car from them, they’ll fly you out to Sweden for a few days to take delivery in person and drive it around before shipping it to your home. How cool is that?

Gothenburg Bike Trails

Mountain Biking in Gothenburg

Gothenburg Mountain Biking

Leo from Hillside Cycling

Mountain Bike Adventure

Gothenburg is unique in that it’s surrounded by large forests and lakes only minutes away from the city center. In a place where the population hovers around half a million, it’s very easy to get outside and enjoy nature. It’s a mountain biking playground.

Hidden in the trees is a vast network of trails covering over 250 miles, everything from easy dirt roads to technical slickrock and root-gnarled singletrack. Leo & Natasja of Hillside Cycling took me out exploring this maze. They rent high-end bikes and lead trips through the forests.

Liseberg Gothenburg

Wooden Roller Coaster at Liseberg

Liseberg Amusement Park

I can’t remember the last time I visited an amusement park. After spending the afternoon at Liseberg, I realize it’s been way too long! Attracting over 3 million visitors a year, the park is huge with tons of rides. We rode rollercoasters, free-fall towers, and a log flume in the rain.

The most famous ride at Liseberg is called Balder, a giant wooden rollercoaster with the honor of Best Wooden Tracked Roller Coaster in the world. I wasn’t expecting much from a wooden rollercoaster, but I was pleasantly surprised, as you can see in the photo above.

Meatballs in Sweden

Swedish Meatballs!

Gothenburg Beer

Swedish Beer with Swedish Friends

Swedish Food & Beer

You can’t leave Sweden without trying their famous Swedish Meatballs. For something a bit more fancy, Barabicu Grill served delicious fish. In the past food trucks were banned in the city, but that’s changed and they’re becoming quite popular.

Hamburgers are a big deal in Gothenburg. So is mayonnaise — I think everything is made with mayonnaise in Sweden. One night local travel blogger Evelina brought us to a good place for burgers called The Barn. The city also has a vibrant craft beer industry. I sampled a lot of beer, but my favorite was a double IPA from Beerbliotek.

West Sweden Road Trip!

Katie and I spent 8 days road tripping around Western Sweden — Gothenburg was just the start. I’ll be sharing more posts from our Swedish adventures in a Volvo over the next few weeks. Hiking pink granite islands, kayaking the coastline, tipi tent camping, hanging out with a moose and more.

More Information

Location: Gothenburg, Sweden
Accommodation: Hotel Riverton & Radisson Blu
Useful Notes: Make sure you buy a City Card. It gives you free access to all kinds of attractions, free bus & tram rides (island ferries too), free public bike rentals, and free parking! Such a good deal.

Suggested Reading: Lonely Planet Guide to Sweden

READ NEXT: Whitewater Kayaking In New England

Do you prefer visiting small towns or big cities? Have you been to Gothenburg?

Volvo

Disclosure: Some of the links in this post are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers.

Save this to Pinterest:

The city of Gothenburg (Göteborg) is my kind of place. Urban creativity with nature nearby. Here are some fun things to do in Sweden's 2nd biggest city.

This is a post from The Expert Vagabond adventure blog.