Island-hopping in Gothenburg's southern archipelago
Are looking for good food, spectacular natural scenery and somewhere to unwind? Then head to the islands of Donsö and Vrångö. And it’s an easy journey from there to nearby Styrsö so take the opportunity to do that while you’re in the area. Here are some tips on the top things to do on Donsö and Vrångö.
Remember that the choice of activities, and opening times of restaurants, shops and hotels vary over the year. Check the companies’ own websites for current information.
Departure to Donsö
Take the 281 ferry service ending at Vrångö out to beautiful Donsö. The ferry makes the round trip every day of the week, all year round. It runs twice a day (every weekday) from Stenpiren in central Gothenburg. You can also choose to catch the ferry that runs more frequently from Saltholmen. Trams run to Saltholmen from the city centre and the journey takes 35 minutes.
The first sight to greet you at the ferry landing on Donsö is the red fisherman’s huts. Donsö is one of the largest islands in the archipelago and fishing and shipping have been an important part of life here. From the harbour it’s a just a short walk to some lovely walking trails. Some of the island’s most scenic spots are furthest up on the island’s northern side and down on the southern side. One lookout point that is well worth a visit is Radarberget, where you get a fantastic view of the entire archipelago.
Photographer: Johannes Bern
Lunch at Isbolaget
Walk directly south along the pier and you’ll soon get to Isbolaget, an archipelago restaurant, housed in a warm, rustic old warehouse. Enjoy the view of the sea, the rocks and the island’s beautiful wooden buildings from the pier. In summer, the restaurant offers a varied menu of fish, shellfish and meat. In winter, you can enjoy an Advent fika, lunch or Christmas buffet. In between the venue also hosts live music gigs. You’ll find more information about that on their website. In 2019 Isbolaget was starting up with a hotel in the same building as the restaurant. So stay over the night and get the whole guest experience at their new hotel in the same rustic industrial style as the restaurant!
Boat trip to Vrångö
Vrångö is just 10 minutes by ferry from Donsö, the most southerly all year round inhabited island in the archipelago. Vrångö is known for its stunning scenery. Small settlements are scattered all over the island and are surrounded by walking friendly nature reserves in the north and south.
To get here take the 281 ferry service, which stops off at Mittvik on the east of the island.
In Mittvik you’ll find Skärgårdens Café & Restaurang. If you like carefully selected ingredients then it’s a must try. Top quality delicious home cooked food is served here, and while you eat you can enjoy the view and watch the boats coming and going from the jetty. Occasionally there’s live music as well. Both the café and restaurant are open most of the year. Just make sure you check the website for current opening times before you set off.
Photographer: Maja Nylander
To reach the fishing harbour walk along Byvägen across to the other side of the island (around 15–20 minutes’ walk). The uninhabited parts of Vrångö are made up of a beautiful nature reserve and several nature trails that are easy to walk. If you want to go hiking on the island there are two round walks: the south and the north. The south trail starts in Mittvik, then heads left towards Nötholmen, on into the forest and up the hill, where you can enjoy the view of Kungsö and Parternoster. The north walk starts in Vrångö harbour. The first stage is the 2 km long Tärnstigen path, where you can see Vinga lighthouse towards the west. From there you can walk 3 km further to get to Vrångö’s nature reserve.
Stay overnight in a fishermen’s shack with sea views
On the west side of the island, at the far end of the fishing harbor, lies Kajkanten – 11 white-painted fishermen’s shacks. Each is equipped with a bathroom, dining table and small cooking area where you can make the breakfast provided. You don’t want to make your own breakfast? No problem! Just book a ready made breakfast bag via Kajkanten’s website, where you can also book a seafood plate to enjoy at lunch or dinner. There’s also a shop nearby - Måsens Livs. Relax with a sauna at Kajkantens Bastu and then enjoy a good night’s sleep to the sound of the waves lapping against the rocks.
Find your island-hops
Bohuslän's archipelago is something special. To help you get a really genuine archipelago experience we've put together both ferry companies and route suggestions that will make your island hops happen.