A colourful and unique stay in Bohuslän
CNN Travel profiled the Bohuslän coast as one the world’s last great wilderness areas for its deserted beaches and its stunningly beautiful archipelago of 8,000 islands and islets. One of them is the scenic island of Orust, where couple Johan Buskqvist from Sweden and Marcel van der Eng, from Holland, run waterfront boutique B&B Lådfabriken.
Creative designer Johan, who grew up in the nearby village of Edshultshall on the island, dreamed of returning to the West Coast of his childhood to live and work. Back in 2008 Johan and Marcel went looking for a property on the island and discovered Lådfabriken, a disused factory where fish crates and wooden boats were once produced for the local fishing industry. After extensive rebuilding, renovation, lots of TLC and Johan and Marcel’s flair for design and colours, Lådfabriken is now a four-room, boutique B&B set it in its own gardens with sea views to die for.
“It started out as a dream of returning to the west coast of my childhood,” Johan says. “During the renovation another idea was born and it has now become reality: decorating the house so that we can share this amazing archipelago environment with each other, and provide our guests with bikes and kayaks to explore Bohuslän’s unique nature.”
“We both really love colours,” Marcel says. “I’m from a Dutch background and Johan gets it from his work as a creative director within design. He settled down in Sweden recently after having travelled the world for companies such as Nike, Adidas and Reebok. And having a huge curiosity for other cultures, lifestyles, people; he has been seeking colours and colour combinations all over the world. Decorating Lådfabriken with a lot of colour became a natural combination with the rocks of Bohuslän. We use the setting of the accommodation as a base for creative workshops and Johan has the ambition to share his experience with others to keep on developing what always has come so natural to him. The location is also unique with the sun setting over the sea right in front of the house, and because the garden is sheltered by rocks from the wind, it gave us the opportunity to create an oasis of roses, peonies and an ocean of other beautiful flowers.”
Lådfabriken is an ideal and stylish base from which to explore and discover the gorgeous scenery of the area, as well as the culture and heritage sites dotted on the landscape. You can borrow a bike for free from the B&B and pootle along quiet country lanes, making stop offs at fishing villages, at beauty spots and for swims. There are sandy beaches, isolated coves and smooth, sun-warmed rocks for catching rays. All of this you can discover too in a kayak and there is a local company that does kayak rentals. The area’s rocky profile and lack of strong currents makes it a kayaking paradise and paddling along the coast, or out among the islands is something of a must-do.
The island of Orust sits midway up the Bohuslän coast from Gothenburg. And what a coast it is. Pink granite rock forms the backdrop to many of the fishing villages on the coast and what with being fishing villages, some of the best shellfish on the planet are landed here; lobster, oysters, prawns, langoustine, crabs and mussels. But why do they taste so good? It’s because of the deep, dark, mineral-rich and clean waters off the coast where they live and are caught. The oysters, for example are wild, not farmed and they grow in a natural oyster bank. They are literally handpicked and by the time you devour them they are somewhere between 5 and 10 year’s old and packed with flavour. The lobster and oyster on the coast are seasonal and the best time to come and eat them is at the end of September.
Not only can you enjoy eating the world famous shellfish here, you can join the crew of a local fishing boat to help them bait and catch them. Down by the harbours on the coast you will see signs for lobster, oyster, crab and langoustine ‘safaris’ which is what they call them here. It really is a great day out and usually ends with you getting to prepare and eat some of the catch. You will see signs for seal ‘safaris’ too, but they mean seal spotting, not seal catching! Other shellfish related activities on the coast include oyster shucking and tasting in the town of Grebbestad and the annual lobster premier on the first Monday after 20th September that sees every man, woman child and dog on a boat trying to pot some of the ‘black gold’ of the coast.
Other ‘coasty’ things to do includes boat trips to the islands of the archipelago, for example the wonderfully named Weather Islands, or the Koster islands that are part of the Kosterhavet National Park, Sweden’s only marine national park.
- Take the ferry to Peterson’s tavern on Käringön island and have the fresh cod, halibut or turbot! Or order the langoustine from Larsson’s fish in Mollösund and sit on a beautiful Bohuslän rock and enjoy the sunset in the west.”
- Our personal favorite is cod, traditionally cooked ‘Bohuslän style’ with melted butter, horseradish and early potatoes! We don’t really fish ourselves, but we do put in some lobster pots in the autumn for fun.
The Bohuslän coast and archipelago is a favourite summer holiday destination for Swedes. Book now or the Swedes will get there first!
Visit Lådfabriken, Edshultshall
Lådfabriken is open from Easter until New Year’s (longer upon request). It also offers a concept called 'private hotel', where you rent the whole Lådfabriken and receive a customized full service including all meals. See the website for more information and booking.