Three hiking trails that include beautiful gardens
Hiking is a calm and refreshing way to experience nature. Here are some tips on three hiking trails that will take you through natural landscapes and to lovingly tended gardens. In other words, the best of both worlds.
1. Pilgrimsleden Läckö-Kinnekulle
There are many old pilgrim routes in West Sweden, and one of them goes from Läckö to Lidköping and then on towards Husaby and Forshem on the flat-topped mountain of Kinnekulle. Along the trail there are plenty of worthwhile stops, not least the many and varied gardens open to visitors.
Lilla Slottsträdgården at Läckö Slott
Inside Läckö's whitewashed stone walls nestles a hidden oasis. Over three decades, the gardener and landscape architect Simon Irvine and his team have turned the castle garden into something extraordinary. The cultivation is organic and everything edible is harvested and taken directly to the restaurant Hvita Hjorten a stone's throw away.
In addition to strolling around the garden you can of course book a table at Hvita Hjorten and enjoy the freshly prepared produce. There is also a café, nature centre and accommodation - and of course the castle itself, which frames the entire visit.
Photographer: Katrin Bååth
If you walk the pilgrim trail up on Kinnekulle, Handens Hus is an essential stop. The old stone barn with its traditional, red-painted timber extension and large sash windows makes for a picturesque and welcoming pause. Sit for a while in the shade of an umbrella and soak up the tranquillity.
Around the house the Rundqvist family has cultivated plants that perfectly match their environment. The flower beds are richly diverse and include lavender, roses, mallows, livelong and daylilies. In the yard there is a garden shop, antique shop, and a weaving studio.
Photographer: Monika Manowska
Kuststigen, The Coastal Path, is a popular hiking trail that boasts a variety of landscapes along its many sections, stretching all the way from Tjörn in the south to Oslo in the north. One section starts from Sundsby Säteri and runs between Tjörn and Orust. Hiking here offers an unbeatably beautiful coastal environment along the Sundsbyleden, with views of the Stigfjord. There are routes of varying difficulty, from easy walking paths to adventurous trails that even include a little bit of climbing.
Ever since the wealthy landowner Margareta Hvitfeldt (whose name was given to Hvitfeldtska High School in Gothenburg) lived on the manor in the 17th century the area has been a green paradise. The park's current character was developed towards the end of the 19th century, with large lawns, flower beds, mature trees, meadows, and cultivated gardens. Today, Sundsby Säteri is owned by Tjörn Municipality and is open to the public.
Add flavour to your hiking with something good to eat. Sundsby Säteri has a restaurant, a café, bakery, and farm shop. It’s the perfect place to eat or to buy something good for a picnic stop at some vantage point further along the trail.
Photographer: Södra Bohuslän Turism, Anders Jonsson
Gotaleden is a recently inaugurated hiking trail with the great advantage of being close to the city. It is easy to make shorter day trips by taking the train to one of the stations between Gothenburg and Alingsås and starting from there. The trail offers beautiful countryside with lakes (don’t ever forget your swimsuit in West Sweden!), rivers and picturesque valleys.
Gotaleden starts in central Gothenburg, right from Kungsportsplatsen, about a hundred meters from Trädgårdsföreningen. This public garden was founded in 1842 and today is one of Europe's best preserved 19th century parks. It is perhaps best known for Rosariet, The Rose Garden, which during the summer is filled with the colours of several thousand roses. In the middle of Trädgårdsföreningen is Palmhuset, The Palm House, a large, elegant greenhouse that is home to lots of tropical plants.
If you want to fika, you can do it at Rosencaféet or at Café Grindstugan.
Photographer: Per Pixel Petersson
The award-winning manor garden in Jonsered really has something for everyone. British gardener Susie White has designed a classic English rose garden as part of an international cultural exchange. There is also a formal garden, kitchen garden and exhibition garden.
In Jonsereds Trädgårdar there is constant life and movement with a programme of theatre, temporary exhibitions, sales of plants and handicrafts, and a café that is open in summer.
Photographer: Monika Manowska
Växtrum i Lerum
The name Växtrum i Lerum, which translates literally as ’Growing Room in Lerum’, says everything about the project. Around Lerum you will find about ten separate ’rooms’ where garden designers and a team of volunteers have created small gardens. Each place is unique, and they have been given names such as Aluddengläntan (Alder Glade), Snödroppslunden (Snowdrop Grove) and Solens öga (Sun’s Eye).
All the growing rooms are in central Lerum and there is a walking trail that takes you to them all. Most definitely worth a visit!
Nolhaga Park in Alingsås is a popular destination for families. Central to the park is a magnificent white patrician villa in Italian Renaissance style, surrounded by green areas, ponds, and plantations. There are ornate bridges and sculptures, and even a swamp forest area if you want to experience a Swedish rainforest.
Inside the villa you will find a small café and art exhibition. The park also has a farm area with animals to pet, a frisbee-golf course, and a large playground.