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  • Photographer: Jonas Ingman

Romantic island-hopping in Gothenburg's southern archipelago

Curious about what the southern archipelago has to offer? If you are looking for good food, spectacular natural scenery and somewhere to unwind then this is the place to head for. We offer some tips on what you will find in the southern archipelago and the gems that you should not miss. If you would like to stay longer it is easy to continue on to nearby Styrsö.

You can see a lot in 24 hours. The following trip combines great food, walks through beautiful nature reserves and a chance to relax to the sounds of the sea.

Departure to Donsö

Take the 281 ferry service for Vrångö island out to beautiful Donsö. The ferry makes the round trip every day of the week, all year round. It runs twice a day 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 fishermen’s shacks. Donsö is one of the largest islands in the archipelago and fishing and shipping have been an important part of life here for many years. From the harbour it is a just a short walk to the island’s small boutiques and studios, as well as several wonderful nature trails and fine bathing spots. One lookout point that is well worth a visit is Radarberget, which gives you fantastic views over the entire archipelago.

Photographer: Johannes Bern

Lunch at Isbolaget

Walk straight south along the pier and you soon come to Isbolaget, known locally as a skärgårdskrog, or archipelago restaurant, housed in a warm, rustic warehouse. From the pier you get views over the sea, the rocks and the beautiful wooden buildings on the island. In summer, the restaurant offers a varied menu of fish, shellfish and meat. In winter, you can enjoy an Advent season coffee break, lunch or Christmas buffet dinner. There is also occasional live music. See the website for current opening times.

Boat trip to Vrångö

Vrångö is just 10 minutes by ferry from Donsö and is the most southerly year-round inhabited island in the archipelago. You get here on the 281 ferry service, which stops off at Mittvik on the east side of the island. To reach the fishing harbour you walk along Byvägen 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. Take a break at the pilot watch tower or fishing harbour to get a sense of the tranquillity of the island. There are also large coastal meadows and a shallow bathing spot that is perfect for families with kids in the summer.

Enjoy a coffee or early lunch at Skärgårdens Café.

After a lovely walk around the island, which is surrounded by broadleaf forest, you come to Skärgårdens Café & Restaurang, close to the quayside on the east side of the harbour. You can enjoy home-cooked meals here made with carefully selected produce, while watching the boats come and go. The café and restaurant is open daily between June and August, and most days of the week at other times of the year (closed in January). There is often live music as well.

Stay overnight in a fishermen’s shack with sea views

Take the short walk over to the west side of the island. At the far end of the fishing harbour you come to Kajkanten – 11 white-painted fishermen’s shacks. Each has a bathroom, dining table and small cooking area where you can cook breakfast. At the nearby grocery stores – Måsens Livs and Fiskeboa (open daily between June and August, and on some weekends before and after summer) – you can buy ingredients for breakfast, as well as local fish and shellfish delicacies. 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.

The next day you can take the 281 ferry service back to Saltholmen, or continue island hopping on the same ferry to nearby Styrsö.

Inspiration guide and map

You can download an inspiration guide with a map for island hopping here.

Read more about Island-hopping in West Sweden.