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Island hopping along the coast

West Sweden is blessed with a coastline full of idyllic islands. In fact, there are no less than 8,000 islands along the coast between Gothenburg and the Norwegian border.

Starting with Styrsö in the south and continuing north all the way up to Koster Island, there is a wealth of traditional fishing villages, rocky landscapes, nature reserves, inlets for swimming, picnic spots, seafood restaurants and attractive hotels and cottages to get to know.

Many islands can be reached by ferry from the mainland. It also is possible to drive right on to some of the larger islands via bridges.

kappsegling på Marstrand


Marstrand , about 45 minutes' drive north-west of Gothenburg, is one of the most famous islands on the West coast and a hive of boating activity. Crowds of 100,000 line the cliffs and quaysides to follow the GKSS Match Cup sailing races, which attracts competitors of Olympic and America's Cup calibre. Visitors to Marstrand can also hire sea kayaks, dive and take boat trips.

For a touch of class opt for a break at the Grand Hotel Marstrand. Built at the turn of the last century to provide high society with comfortable accommodation, it features 22 lovely rooms and the excellent Restaurang Tenan. Marstrand Island is still a playground for the Swedish royals.

Färjan till Marstrand, Bohuslän

Marstrands Havshotell is found at the outermost quay before the sea takes over next to the boat at Koön. From Koön you take the ferry to Marstrand (5 min)


Carlsten's Fortress is well worth a visit. King Carl X Gustaf ordered its construction at the top of Marstrand Island in 1658. It took some 202 years to complete but became one of Europe's strongest maritime defences. Guided tours will explain its colourful history and there is a stunning view from the top of the castle.

Sommar på Gullholmen


Gullholmen is a unique island, with a history which dates back to the 13th century. This is probably one of Sweden's oldest fishing villages. Today, Gullholmen and Härmanö is a car-free, living community with around 120 permanent residents, and many times more during the summer months. Härmanö has one of Bohuslän's largest nature reserves, where a variety of rare plants grow. The most typical feature of the landscape on Härmanö is the fissured and broken gneiss bedrock, and you can walk through the "Hell's Corridors" of black dolerite.

Gullholmen offers an amazing coastal environment, with an active yachting community, a nature reserve, swimming, fishing, interesting buildings, and a beautiful natural landscape. Today, Gullholmen is considered to be Sweden's most densely populated island. Worth a visit is Gullholmen's oldest house, Stenstuga, which is now a museum, and the Skepparhuset (the Skipper's House) from 1893. In the Skepparhuset the rooms and contents have all been kept in their original condition and the house, as well as its boatsheds, is now a maritime and fishing museum. Accommodation in the form of hotels and cabins is available on Gullholmen at Gullholmsbaden and Skottarn.

Travel by ferry (about 15 min) from Tuvesvik on Orust to Gullholmen Harbour.



On Käringön you'll find the typical fishing village and a vibrant island scene. Walking from the harbour up to the pilot's lookout tower, you pass by red fishing sheds, small outhouses and gardens that have changed little since the 19th century. Käringön is home to the much-renowned restaurant Peterson's krog, and the unique Oyster Bar, where you can enjoy fresh oysters and champagne at the outer limits of the island, while sitting in a tub full of seawater heated by a wood fire. They can also give a presentation of their oyster farm, or arrange an oyster tasting.


The history of Käringön goes back hundreds of years. The first fishermen came to the island in the 16th century. During the great herring years of the 18th and 19th centuries they also caught cod and ling. All the fish was salted and dried by the island's fishermen. When the herring stocks decreased in the 19th century many families left the island, but some stayed, and their descendents are the fishermen of today.
Also, holidaymakers started visiting the island as early as the 19th century. Hotels on the island includes hotel Stephans Käring.

Travel by ferry (approx. 30 min) to Käringön depart from Hällevikstrand on the island of Orust. The carpark is located just as you enter Hällevikstrand and it's a 500 metre walk from there to the ferry.

Flygbild på Åstol


Visit Åstol to experience a thriving island community. Like most of the islands in Bohuslän, Åstol sprang to life during the mid-18th century herring boom. Visit the well-known smokehouse, Åstol Rökeri, to dine at its restaurant, Perrys Bar, and pick up some smoked eel, mackerel, herring, rainbow trout or shrimp at the smokehouse's own fish shop.

An island of contrasts, one side of Åstol is covered with picturesque white wooden houses, almost all of which neatly face the same direction. The other half has been left to its natural rugged state with windswept rocky hills made of metamorphic rock.

Get to Åstol by taking a ferry from the island of Tjörn, about one hour north of Gothenburg

Hållö fyr

Hållö Island

You'll find fabulous swimming from pink granite rocks, crystal-clear - water excellent for snorkelling and diving - wild and beautiful nature reserves and virtually non-existent crowds.

Utpost Hållö is a hostel providing charming accommodation with six four-bed 'boathouses' and a sunny summertime cafe.

Hop across to the island by boat from the quay at Smögen, about an hour and a half's drive north of Gothenburg; departures every half hour during daytime.


Väderöarna Islands

The wonderful Väderöarna Islands (the Weather Islands) number in the hundreds and are scattered across the coast near Hamburgsund.

The Weather Islands have one of Sweden's warmest and windiest climates, which means lush vegetation as well as a barren, exposed landscape. Visitors are drawn to the islands to swim, dive, fish, paint and explore the rocky landscape. It is also a great place to watch the wildlife - the islands are home to one of the coast's largest seal colonies.

Spegelblank kväll på Väderörna

Stay at Väderöarnas Pensionat, a 30-bed guesthouse with breathtaking views across the ocean – it's the only accommodation on the islands.

Väderöarna can be reached by a half-hour boat journey from Hamburgsund or Fjällbacka, which are an hour and forty-five minutes' drive north of Gothenburg.

Hus på Ursholmen, Kosterhavets Nationalpark

The Koster Islands

Step on to the Koster Islands for a walking and cycling heaven. Virtually car-free and covered in nature reserves, it is easy to see why the Koster Islands are popular with outdoor enthusiasts. Koster is Sweden´s first marine national park, has opened marking the creation of a protected 450 sq km zone which is home to the country's most species rich marine life.


South Koster in particular is a dream to pedal around, and bikes can be hired at every pier on the island.

The Kosters are Sweden's most westerly inhabited islands and visitors can see the changing landscapes unfold as they look around. Lovely swimming beaches, moors, small forests, orchids and rocky outcrops, left bare since the Ice Age, are all found within the islands.

Sydkoster Hotell Ekenäs.

Seafood is part of the culture on North and South Koster – buy it as fresh as it comes, straight from the fisherman's net. For seafood prepared to mouth-watering standards, stay at the Sydkoster Hotel Ekenäs on South Koster.

Reach the Koster Islands by ferry from Strömstad's north harbour, two hours' drive north of Goth