Suggestion for a self-drive and hike circular tour
This round trip is perfect for anyone wanting to get the most out of exploring West Sweden’s many natural beauty spots – it takes you up past the coast of Bohuslän, through the forests of Dalsland and the open landscapes of Västergötland.
It offers fantastic and varied hiking routes combined with unique, off the beaten track accommodation and locally produced food, both saltwater and freshwater paddling, cultural experiences, Swedish fika and maximum enjoyment levels!
Spring and autumn are the best times to travel, and you can plan the route in the way that suits you best. Our recommendation is to select your favourite bits and stay a little longer in these places so you can take your time to appreciate the variety of hiking, cultural and taste experiences on offer all over West Sweden.
Welcome to Gothenburg – Sweden’s second biggest city. There’s masses to experience here in a relatively small area, and to get a genuine feel of the place we suggest you let an expert help you: a local. Meet Peter and explore Gothenburg on foot – hear about history of the city, see hidden gems and enjoy a Swedish fika together. If you’d rather explore by yourself you could go for a walk in lovely Änggårdsbergen, fika in quaint Haga or take a trip to historic Gunnebo House and Gardens.
There’s a huge selection of great restaurants and lovely accommodation. Maybe start with dinner at Natur, followed by a cosy stay at Hotel Eggers. You’ll find more tips here.
With Gothenburg as your starting point you’ll drive north, along the coast of Bohuslän, to Sweden’s seventh largest island – Tjörn. The island’s diverse landscapes includes smooth granite cliffs and winding gravel roads, lush valleys and flower filled coastal meadows – perfect for cycling, hiking, paddling and salty archipelago adventures.
Regular boat trips depart from the jetty in Rönnäng to neighbouring islands like Åstol and Dyrön, where you can hike the 5 kilometre long Dyröleden with its fantastic views of the idyllic seaside resort of Marstrand and the Pater Noster lighthouse. Along the trail leafy thickets are interspersed with spectacular cliff faces and you can also book a stop at Sweden’s probably most scenic electric heated sauna. Don’t miss a fabulous seafood lunch at Trålverket!
If you want to sample Tjörn’s cultural offer you should visit the Nordic Watercolour Museum or Pilane Sculpture Park. Stay in Sweden’s first floating hotel, Salt & Sill, on Klädesholmen, and eat at their renowned restaurant with food straight from the sea. A herring platter, anyone?
An hour north of Uddevalla, in a beautiful setting between the coast and Lake Vänern, lies historic Ulkeröds Gård, which dates back to the 17th century. Organic thinking permeates everything the hotel does, and as well as the beautiful surroundings you’ll also find a deer enclosure in the grounds, which means that the hotel can offer their own locally produced venison in the restaurant. The best hike nearby is stage 16 of the Bohusleden, a riverside stretch with rushing streams and shingle beaches.
You’ll be given a lift to the start of the walk, with a packed lunch in your rucksack, and after 6 km you’ll be picked up and driven back to the hotel where dinner awaits.
Head west to the coast again, and arrive in picturesque Grebbestad. Have a wander around the town with its lovely harbour, and don’t forget to enjoy a delicious fika and cinnamon bun at Sjögrens in Backen. Skärgårdsidyllen offer hiking and kayaking tours, with or without guides. The waters around Grebbestad are among the best in the world for paddling, and when it comes to hiking you can choose between stages on the Bohusleden and the Kuststigen or why not on the islands and skerries?
Stay overnight and eat at Skärgårdsidyllen or Everts Sjöbod – wherever you decide we guarantee you’ll get a genuine west coast atmosphere.
It’s time to leave the coast and head inland to explore the lakes in beautiful Dalsland. Just outside Mellerud lies the unique hotel Upperud 9:9, which was converted from a hundred year old grain silo into modern studio accommodation on two floors. Magnificent scenery surrounds Upperud 9:9. Lace up your walking boots and set out on the Pilgrim Path that passes just outside the door. You’ll be given a packed lunch and can choose between a 7 or 18 kilometre walk with a guide if required. There’s lots to discover along the way, not least the fascinating landscapes with different forest types and masses of small lakes (did you know that 25% of Dalsland’s surface area consists of water?).
Drive south along Lake Vänern to Trollhättan and the Göta Älv river. Here in Trollhättan the centrepiece is the old canal basin where three different lock systems meet. The mighty waterfalls and impressive locks are without doubt one of the town’s most spectacular attractions. The Edvidsleden Trail can also be found here, which in places is part of the Pilgrim Path Göta Älv. Go on a lovely 14 kilometre hike, with a lunch pack provided by the Albert Hotel which will also provide your evening meal and accommodation.
The kitchen serves modern Swedish food with exciting flavours, inspired by the simplicity characteristic of Nordic cuisine.
Drive through the porcelain town of Lidköping and on to Lundsbrunn Resort, a health spa with historic buildings, good food and, of course, a spa to enjoy after a great day out in the fresh air. The hotel kitchen also provides a packed lunch to take on your hiking adventure.
The Hällekis-Trolmen stretch of the Kinnekulle Trail takes you along the shores of Lake Vänern (Sweden’s biggest lake), and also through Kinnekulle’s beautiful scenery, past Råbäck Castle and Hellekis Säteri, a manor house with gardens and café.
With two destinations left on this wonderful round trip, drive south through Falköping to Ulricehamn, a town with a beautiful setting on the shores of Lake Åsunden. Our recommendation here would be to hike a section of the Åsundenleden Trail. Outdoor Support provides transport and you can add a guide if you wish. The 12 kilometre route passes through pretty deciduous woodland and alongside lakes, and is quite hilly in parts.
Stay in the centre of Ulricehamn at Hotel Bogesund, and enjoy your evening meal at Restaurant Lago. And if you want to enjoy a lovely sauna experience during your stay, Ulricehamns Kallbadhus is right next to the restaurant.
Spend your last day at historic Kvarnen i Hyssna, just 40 minutes from Gothenburg. Your accommodation is in the old village smithy, and you’ll feel as if you’re stepping back in time in the little hamlet. It couldn’t be more authentic.
The Hyssnaleden, a 40 kilometre hiking trail winding through several nature reserves, is right on the doorstep. Choose one of the several circular walks along the trail, with different lengths and grades of difficulty. Afterwards you can relax in the woodfired sauna, bubble spa or hot tub.
Time to bring your trip to a close, and head homewards. Drive back to Gothenburg. If there’s time before you leave you can explore a bit more of the city.
Photographer: Per Pixel Petersson
If you want to do more hiking through West Sweden.