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  • Photographer: Amplifyphoto/ Markus Holm

Colorful kayaking adventure in September

The picturesque coastal community of Skärhamn has swapped fishing industry for international art experiences, spearheaded by the Nordic Watercolour Museum. Combine a visit to the museum with some sea kayaking to experience an unforgettable September day on the coast.

A genuine day in the archipelago must naturally start with a true classic – the famous ‘sillplanka’ (herring platter). The small island of Klädesholmen was once home to 25 canning factories; today just one active factory remains. But the legacy lives on and the production is booming. Today, more than half of all ‘matjessill’ herring supplied to the Swedish canning industry comes from Klädesholmen, known as ‘herring island’. Start your visit with a classic ‘sillplanka’ (herring platter) at Salt & Sill, Sweden's first floating hotel with a restaurant where you sit almost unbelievably close to the ocean.

Some of Sweden's best kayaking waters

No longer hungry after a satisfying meal, you can cross the bridge to Bleket on Tjörn where an ocean adventure awaits. Here, the activity company Kajaktiv is situated, offering knowledgeable guides and a brief introduction course on how to navigate sea kayaks among skerries and islands. The coastal landscape around Tjörn is among Sweden's most beautiful kayaking waters and every weather has its charm. Sure, the vast majority certainly want to kayak under blue skies and a sun-soaked, glittering water surface, but even a gray day with fog that mysteriously dances over the water surface, as if in a horror movie, can be a magical experience.

Turn your kayak to the west, past Klädesholmen and then further north towards Flatholmen, which was once classified as the country's smallest municipalities. A while later, you will pass Sandholmen – a great spot for a well-earned break where you can cool off in the sea by the lovely sandy beach and enjoy a picnic on the rocks.

Guided watercolour tour

After 2-3 hours of kayaking from Bleket, you will reach Skärhamn, a community that used to depend mainly on the fishing industry. Times have changed though, and today the void left by the shipping industry has been filled by the Nordic Watercolour Museum (closed between exhibitions from 9-21 Sept), whose rich cultural offerings attract visitors from all corners of the world. The museum is a gathering place for colourful art based on water, pigments and paper. Here, you can see inspiring exhibitions from all over the world and on selected occasions enjoy concerts, theatre and dance. Join a guided tour and listen to the stories behind the works. In the open workshop, both adults and children can realise their artistic dreams and try watercolour painting. Upstairs, there’s a cosy corner where the children can build Lego while you relax with a book.

When you are ready to leave the museum, it's time to discover the surroundings. Start by crossing the footbridge to Bockholmen. There, opposite the museum and right by the water, five architectural guest studios sit right by the bridge. Enjoy a moment of breathtaking views and the tranquil atmosphere. Then walk back over the bridge and further along the marina towards the centre. Skärhamn’s streets offer a lovely stroll along picturesque boathouses and magnificent coastal villas.

Food from the sea

Round off your day with a lovely dinner at Vatten Restaurang & Kafé, which offers panoramic windows of the archipelago and a menu characterised by sustainable delights from the ocean.