A three-day family trip to Koster and Hvaler
Are you thinking of taking the family to the archipelago paradise on the border and wondering what you can do there? Here are some tips for a three-day experience in Kosterhavet and Ytre Hvaler national parks. We promise an idyllic time!
Photographer: Fotograf Synøve Dreyer
Day 1: Explore Koster by bike
We start our trip at the ferry dock in Strömstad. The ferries to Koster depart regularly from north harbour, with even more departures in summer. Leave your car in Strömstad, because the Koster islands are almost car-free. Whether you bring your own bike or rent one on Koster, the principle is the same: Koster is best explored on two wheels!
It’s up to you if you want to explore the Koster islands all on your own or with a guide. You can book a wide range of guided experiences on www.gransguiderna.com – including cycling, kayaking and historical tours.
We recommend lunch at Kosters Trädgårdar, an inspiring venue with food production, a farm shop, animals and all kinds of local products, all organic, locally sourced and in harmony with nature. The food here smells and tastes genuine, pure and natural – because it is!
And don’t miss a visit to naturum, the national park’s visitors’ centre, which offers a touch-tank aquarium, guided tours, films and lectures.
When your stomach starts growling, you have a wide range of restaurants on Koster. For your sleeping arrangements, you’ll find affordable camping, fancy hotels and everything in between. It’s all up to you and the size of your travel budget. More information visit kosteroarna.com
Photographer: Kristina Gillerstedt
Day 2: Snorkel trail and Strömstad prawns
After a good breakfast, we recommend earmarking your morning for outdoor activities in the archipelago paradise. Cycle out to one of the many glorious beaches, swim in the refreshing sea, go snorkelling and discover the rich plant and animal life in the Kosterhavet national park! The Koster Fjord is well known for its wealth of species – over 6,000 known species above and another 6,000 below the water’s surface. If you are particularly fond of snorkelling, there is an exciting snorkel trail at 1–1.5 metres’ depth, like an underwater nature trail with information signs. It’s located at the Rörvik shore.
Download bike map Koster
Download Koster map
Once you’ve had your fill of swimming and outdoor activities, you can take the Koster boat back to Strömstad and explore the varied shopping streets. Strömstad also has many good restaurants and cafés offering dinner in a wide range of price classes. Make sure to eat some fresh prawns while you’re here – prawns are a true delicacy in Strömstad and a symbol of the town. We recommend spending the night at one of Strömstad’s excellent accommodation.
Photographer: Fotograf Synøve Dreyer
Day 3: Island hopping in the archipelago idyll of Hvaler
The third day of the trip starts with a ferry trip with M/S Vesleø II from Strömstad to Skjærhalden, a lovely ride that takes 50 minutes. For this day, we recommend island hopping on the Hvaler islands. The regular ferries between the Hvaler islands are the perfect way to explore this gorgeous maritime region with its beautiful, varying landscapes – disembark at the ones you like best! You could take the ferry to the fun-filled Nordre Sandøy, getting off at the ferry stop Nordre at Sanne, where you’ll find excellent beaches nearby, for example in Tresvika. From here, it’s a pleasant walk to Makø for lunch at the little gem Makø sommercafé. There is also a petting zoo here with alpacas, hens, cats and much more – and beds available for those who get hooked and don’t want to leave.
If you don’t have any more time to spend, you can take the last ferry back to Skjærhalden, and possibly on to Strömstad, if you come from that direction.
If you’d like a set itinerary for island hopping on Hvaler, you’ll find excellent tips on the Visit Fredrikstad & Hvaler websites. Read more: Hvaler national park