West Sweden is the perfect holiday destination if you want to discover the world on two wheels. Combine active cycling days with cosy accommodation and great food.
Popular destinations for cycling holidays
Göta Canal, Ätradalsleden and the Koster Islands are some of the most popular cycling destinations in West Sweden. Read more about these and other bike trails below.
Göta Canal, one of Sweden’s most beautiful cycling trails.
- A cycling family favourite
Easy going, family-friendly cycling, right next to the water along the old towpath where oxen and horses used to pull the sail boats through the canal. Start the trip in Sjötorp, up in the north east corner of West Sweden about 200km from Gothenburg on the shores of Sweden’s largest lake, Vänern. After a café stop in Lyrestad the journey continues towards the locks at Norrkvarn where children can splash and play in the model canal and where you can stay overnight in a cabin shaped like a tree stump or a mushroom. The next stop is Hajstorp where you can check off no less than nine locks.
Along this entire section of the canal there are good accommodation options and several companies that offer ready-made cycling packages.
The cycling routes on the island of Tjörn, just north of Gothenburg, offer exciting experiences for the whole family. The island has plenty of car-free cycle paths that take you to points of interest and charming cafés.
Beaches, cliffs, watercolour museum, cosy courtyard cafés, flea markets and soaring sculptures are just some of the experiences that await you as a cyclist on Tjörn.
– Car-free railway embankment in beautiful surroundings!
Ätradalsleden, which runs almost 200km between Falköping to the northeast of Gothenburg, and Falkenberg, south of Gothenburg, is another family friendly, car-free cycle path. This one runs along a disused railway embankment and the trail has its origins as a trade route. In the areas around Ulricehamn you pass the historic landscape where the popular films about Änglagård were filmed.
Along the way you can enjoy locally produced food and sleep on a farm, or in a lakeside cottage. In Falkenberg, towards the southern end of Ätradalsleden it connects to the Kattegattleden, another cycle route that runs from Helsingborg in the south of Sweden to Gothenburg.
With more than a thousand lakes, dense forests, rich wildlife and roads lined with wildflowers, the Sjuhärad Cycle Trail, west of Gothenburg, is a pure joy to cycle. But there are also plenty of activities and sights along the way. Try your hand at blowing glass at Glasets Hus in Limmared, say ’Hi!’ to the resident ghost at Torpa Stenhus, investigate textile innovation at Textilmuseet in Borås, dig through all the second-hand shops and relax with a hot soak and a massage at the outdoor bathing house (Kallbadhuset) in Ulricehamn.
The route is about 150km long and 120km is completely car-free. It’s also very easy going because most of the trail is on the old railway embankment.
South Koster is the largest of the Koster Islands and is almost completely car free, which makes it an ideal place for cycling. The meandering cycle paths will take you around pretty much the entire island.
Cycling on Koster is particularly easy going in the spring and late summer when there are fewer guests on the island. Remember to bring your swimwear! There are plenty of attractive beaches and cliffs to choose from for a dip in the sea.
Check the air in the tyres and that they are not worn. Make sure the chain is well oiled and that the brakes are working properly.
The right clothes and a good helmet
The weather can change quickly in Sweden and go from sun to rain to wind depending on where you are and what time of year you visit. It’s always good to have an extra wind or rain jacket and if you are cycling longer distances or over several days then a pair of cycling shorts and cycling shoes can be a good investment to make things that bit more comfortable. A good helmet is essential, of course!
If you get a puncture
Fixing a puncture or changing an inner tube is not that difficult as long as you are prepared. Be sure to bring a small saddle bag with repair kit, extra inner tube and a bicycle pump, so you don’t have to stand and wait for help.
Don’t over pack
Don’t take more than you need. If you plan to cycle for a few days there are good panniers and saddle bags that can be attached to your bike, but bear in mind that filling them up might make the bike unnecessarily heavy. But do make sure you pack swimwear and a camping towel – you will almost certainly pass some great swimming spots!
Last but not least
Plan your route in advance, take your time, cycle together and have fun! And don’t forget to take plenty of rest stops and coffee breaks along the way. You will find plenty of good cafés and picnic areas in West Sweden!
More about cycling
West Sweden offers a wide variety of cycling experiences. Below are some more tips!