Top ten – West Swedish visitor gardens
For anyone who likes to wander round beautiful castle gardens, find their way to small country gardens, visit a cafe in a flower filled garden, dreams about getting a better grounding in how to grow organically or wants to visit historic gardens in exciting cultural heritage areas, then West Sweden is the right place to come. There are lots of gardens to discover, so we’ve hand picked 10 of the loveliest ones that we think are especially worth visiting.
Jonsered Gardens, Partille
In the lovely estate grounds by Lake Aspen, outside Gothenburg, lie popular Jonsereds Gardens, a lavishly recreated 19th century manor house garden with four diverse areas – the Formal Garden, the Kitchen Garden, the English Rose Garden, and the Show Garden with the Ruins. The gardens are completely organic, and an environment where useful fauna thrives and pests are kept in check naturally has been created, as well as other schemes to increase biodiversity. Jonsered Gardens was opened in 2014, and as well as admiring the beautiful grounds you can enjoy a fika at the Garden Café, and visit the little garden shop.
Combine your stay with a dip in Lake Aspen which is right next to the gardens, or walk one of the two lovely trails passing by Jonsered: the Gotaleden and the Bohusleden. There’s also a good selection of accommodation just a few minutes walk from the estate.
Gothenburg Botanical Garden, Gothenburg
This is one of Europe’s biggest botanical gardens and one of Sweden’s foremost visitor attractions, where wild countryside meets formal gardens. Stroll around the garden’s 16 000 plant varieties, see Sweden’s largest collection of tropical orchids, and the award winning rock garden. The Botanical Garden is also home to the famous Sophora Toromiro tree, once indigenous to Easter Island, and you’ll also be able to see different kinds of nature inspired art.
This large nature reserve is in the centre of Gothenburg, and can easily be reached on foot or by tram. Have a fika in the cafe, surrounded by flowers. There’s a great selection of garden accessories in the in the lovely shop – and everything is organic, fair trade and locally produced.
Photographer: Eva S. Andersson
The Garden Society of Gothenburg, Gothenburg
The Garden Society of Gothenburg – one of Europe’s best preserved 19th century gardens - couldn’t be more central. A green oasis right in the middle of the city, which is for open for everyone! During summer the Rosarium is filled with thousands of colourful scented roses, and in the Palm House, the elegant glass house constructed in 1878, you’ll find palms and other tropical plants. There are several paths going around the park and the historic buildings, and you can relax and enjoy your picnic on the large lawns, surrounded by beautiful flower borders.
The Garden Society was founded in 1840 and gained listed status in 1992 as the first park in Sweden. It also has been awarded one star in the Michelin Green Guide. There are two cafes, Rosencaféet and Café Grindstugan, and every year seminars and exhibitions are arranged in the park, as well as concerts.
Photographer: Jennie Smith
Little Castle Garden, - Läckö Slott, Lidköping
The Little Castle Garden is sheltered by high, whitewashed stone walls, and is in the grounds of beautiful Läckö Castle, on the shores of Sweden’s largest lake, Vänern. The kitchen garden has been designed by legendary head gardener Simon Irvine, who for the last 25 years has seen to it that the garden is cultivated organically and sustainably. All work is done by hand and everything edible is harvested and used straight away in the award winning kitchen of the Hvita Hjorten restaurant, listed as one of the best in Scandinavia in the White Guide Nordic restaurant guide.
Läckö Slott, with its 700 year long history, is a popular attraction, where apart from being able to stroll around the castle gardens you can also see the well preserved and unique baroque rooms in the castle on a guided tour, eat fantastic food in the Hvita Hjorten and stay overnight in the Naturum Vänerskärgården – Victoriahuset. The latter is also a visitor centre where you can learn about local animals, plants and the history that helped form the surroundings. You’ll find lots of opportunities to explore the area on foot, by bike or kayak.
Gunnebo House and Gardens, Mölndal
Just half an hour from Gothenburg lies Gunnebo House and Gardens, an 18th century estate with a formal garden decorated with statuary, alleys of topiary and exotic plants. There are two large kitchen gardens where plants and herbs are grown to be used in the restaurant. All this is framed by a lovely English Park, with pathways leading to peaceful lakes.
Go on a guided tour of the house, have something tasty to eat at Gunnebo Coffee House and Restaurant with its organic and Swedish KRAV certified menu, or time your visit so you can take part in one of the many activities held there. You can also book one of the unique Edible Country tables here, and enjoy delicious fresh ingredients from the kitchen garden.
Photographer: RALF TURANDER
Kosters Gardens, South Koster
Kosters Gardens on South Koster is a small nursery where things are grown according to permaculture methods. Their ambition is to build a healthy soil environment through long term planning, and chemical pesticides which could harm the pets and wildlife there, are never used. Vegetables are grown in a bed system where crops are rotated on a 9 year growing cycle, and work on the vegetable plot includes everything from sowing to harvesting.
On site are garden shops where you can buy everything from freshly harvested vegetables to ceramics and garden equipment. In the restaurant you can enjoy meals made from their own produce, and other locally produced ingredients. If you want to learn more about sustainable gardening, or get some tips on your own garden go on a course, or join a guided tour of the garden. You’ll also find lots of ways to explore nature on the Koster Islands – it’s easy to paddle, walk or cycle around these inspiring surroundings.
Photographer: Åsa Dahlgren
Hellekis Manor, Götene/Kinnekulle
Historic Hellekis Manor park is known for its many lovely and unusual deciduous trees. There are walnuts, sweet chestnuts, tulip trees and a stately, over 100 year old, ginko biloba. You’ll also find fantastic perennial borders and a scented rose garden with old roses, laid in 1934. The garden is in the grounds of Hellekis Manor, on the slopes of Kinnekulle, the “flowering mountain”. The lime rich soil there makes it an ideal spot for rare orchids to grow, and in spring the wild garlic spreads like a sea of white, scenting the air with its light oniony smell.
You can have a tasty meal or snack at Hellekis Garden Cafe and Restaurant, in the Orangery as well as in the garden, and there are fine walking and cycling trails and other exciting historic attractions like the ancient rock carvings at Flyhov, and Husaby Church, to explore close by.
Photographer: Jesper Anhede
Nyhagen’s Garden and Nursery, Berghem/Mark.
A rural garden with many perennials and bulbs, and interesting shrubs and trees. In the kitchen garden you’ll find fruit bushes and trees, and productive raised beds. Lovely ceramics are dotted around the garden, created by the owner, both decorating and enriching the garden experience. Nyhagen’s Garden is the perfect place to visit if you’re looking for inspiration for what to do in your own green space. There are also pretty meadows and a wooded area to explore here.
You can buy home made ceramics in the little shop to decorate your own garden, and on Open Garden days can go on a guided tour of the grounds.
Sundby Säteri, Tjörn
The manor at Sundsby Säteri dates back to the 1500s, and the area is now a public park, with large open lawns, parkland trees, fruit trees, perennial borders and a kitchen garden. Much of the character of the park and garden that we see today was formed towards the end of the 1800s, when the lawns, flower beds, trees, meadows and smooth winding gravel paths covered in sea shells were laid. In the kitchen garden from 2013 old varieties of heritage plants and other tasty things are grown, which are used in the Manor café, open for visitors.
As well as the garden there’s an interesting exhibition about the history of the Manor and its former owner Margareta Hvitfeldt, who lived there during the 1600s. There are also lovely walking trails of varying grades of difficulty, and many outdoor public events. There’s a fun nature play area for little ones.
Photographer: Maria Johannessen
Here in the tranquil countryside just 25 minutes outside Gothenburg the Samuelsson family have lived and worked for five generations. The 2000 m² garden consists of fruit plantations, a greenhouse with vegetable beds, a peaceful kitchen garden, and borders planted with seasonal flowers. Vegetables and fruit grown in the garden are for sale in the farm shop, and before you leave, a visit to the Garden Café is a must. Home made buns, fruit pies, Swedish biscuits and other delicious things can be enjoyed in the cafe or out in the garden.
Find more gardens to visit in West Sweden on Trädgårdsresan