The best family holiday on the Swedish West Coast in spring
A tour of the West Coast is beautiful in all seasons, but secretly, it’s at its best in spring. The iconic archipelago of Bohuslän with its thousands of islands is wonderfully quiet in April and May - ideal for the May holidays. Especially for families, because what could be more fun than island hopping together?
We have listed the best tips, routes, activities, and accommodation for you.
Hönö: discover island life
Gothenburg - Hönö 25 km
Big, small, inhabited, uninhabited and with more than 10,000 to explore there is no shortage of islands off the coast of West Sweden. If your journey starts in Gothenburg, you can be in the archipelago outside the city within half an hour. Take the (free) car ferry from Varholmen to the island of Hönö, which is connected to its two northern neighbours by bridge.
Make the most of island life on Hönö: There is a lot of wildlife to see so explore by bike or follow some hiking trails on foot. At Kastor Boat Trips you can take a guided boat tour to see the seals, or you could join a crab catching trip with Hönö Båtturer and take the boat to Sweden's westernmost point, Vinga Lighthouse, before tucking into a lunch of fresh seafood at Restaurant Tullhuset or Lilling Cottage. Once lunch has settled relax in the sauna while the kids take a dip in the sea.
- The family rooms at Skärgårdshotellet Hönö are right on the quayside. Hiking the Skärgårdsleden trail? Bring a picnic basket from the hotel.
- Nimbusgården has beautiful stugor - wooden houses - on the water, and moderately priced rooms in their youth hostel. You can rent a bike, a kayak or use the sauna here. It’s an ideal lunch stop too.
- Havskatten has 12 rooms, including family rooms for 4 people. Go fishing on their boat and get your catch of the day.
Ljungskile: the best of both worlds
Gothenburg - Ljungskile 65 km
Ljungskile is an ideal base from which to discover the larger islands of Tjörn and Orust, right in the heart of the Bohuslän region with adventure to left and right. On one side, the sea, on the other, the woods. Ljungskile is an old seaside town and spa destination where you can still glimpse the grandeur of days gone by. With all that forest and all that sea there is plenty to do for the kids. You might like to walk part of the Kuststigen hiking trail, climb the Bredfjället mountain or clamber over the large rocks along the coast.
You can enjoy great food at Musselbaren, where – as you might have guessed – they are famous for their mussels. If your children are not really mussel fans, they might be persuaded after going on the mussel expeditions organised by the restaurant to their own mussel farm. Dinner doesn’t get any fresher than this.
- You will sleep soundly at Anfasteröd. You could opt for one of the beautiful historic houses, or if you fancy a bit of adventure, why not one of the safari tents in the forest, equipped with all home comforts. Or maybe the Eagles Nest, 40 metres up at the top of a cliff where you can wake up to a beautiful view of the sea. Anfesteröd offers various activities: fishing, kayaking, bicycle and boat rental. They also have their own restaurant, or you can borrow a bike and work up an appetite by cycling to Musselbaren.
Ramsviklandet: sniff the sea air
Ljungskile - Ramsvikslandet 65 km
Look, if you get the nickname Kingdom of Rocks as a nature park, you know it's going to be adventurous. The impressive rocky coastline of Ramsviklandet is endless fun. The large rocks are wonderful for climbing, scrambling, relaxing and for picnics. It’s not just ideal for the kids, while they are working off all that energy you can enjoy beautiful walks, a refreshing sauna and swim, breath in that fresh sea air or simply enjoy the beautiful views of the archipelago.
Fancy something different? Norden's Ark is not just a great family destination, your visit also contributes to their important mission. The park supports 60 endangered species that live here in a natural habitat, and that means that sometimes you have to look carefully to spot the animals.
Photographer: Jonas Ingman
What? You want more fun? Then head to the coastal town of Smögen. This iconic fishing village is still slightly sleepy during the May holidays, which means you can enjoy a peaceful stroll on the famous Smögenbryggan. This jetty meanders along the harbour under the high granite rocks. Stroll past the small shops and cosy restaurants: very lively and popular in the summer months, and wonderfully quiet in the spring.
Smögen is where you will get the taste of the West Coast. At Skärets Krog, the menu is filled with the freshest local seafood and fish, and everything is prepared with a delicious modern twist by their talented chef. At Klevens Tre Kök a little further on they serve almost everything: from pizza or mussels to Swedish classics. Ideal for the whole family.
- Ramsvik Stugby & Camping is a fifteen-minute drive from Smögen. If you find camping a bit too chilly during the May holidays, rent one of their cute wooden houses. Ramsvik really is a family campsite full of activities for young and old: from crab races to boat and bicycle rental and trips around the area. The camping season starts on April 28.
Tanum: a place full of history
Ramvsikslandet - Tanum 45 km
Tanum is located a little further north along the coast, where you will be on historic ground. The famous petroglyphs - dating from the Bronze Age - are on the Unesco World Heritage List. You can visit the sites dotted around the area and learn more about them at Vitlycke Museum, which comes complete with its own recreation of a Bronze Age Village.
Digested enough culture? Then it’s time for some action and the West Coast never fails to deliver. At Skärgårdsidyllen you can rent kayaks and SUP or book a multi-day trip out in the archipelago, on foot, or by kayak.
- At TanumStrand they have everything you need for an enjoyable day or two. A hotel with spa and pool, restaurant with beautiful views of the sea, cosy family-friendly houses at the water’s edge and a lot more activities. You can kayak, walk, catch crabs, dive, cycle, cook in the open air. What to do first?
- Saltviks Camping is a family campsite with a choice of accommodation. You can spend the night in a cabin or bring your own caravan, mobile home or tent. Eat at their bistro or have a barbecue on the beach. There are lots of activities on land and water, so boredom is definitely not an option.
Kosterhavet - the Koster sea: a unique world above and below the water
Tanum - Strömstad 80 km
Bohuslän stretches from Gothenburg to the Norwegian border and not so far from that border is Strömstad, a great base to discover the famous Kosterhavet Marine National Park. The clue is in the name and most of this park is under water. The Koster Islands sit in the middle of the park and on South Koster is The Naturum Visitor Center, open from Thursday to Sunday and the perfect place to get an introduction to the unique flora and fauna of this beautiful National Park.
The Koster Islands are car-free, which makes them not just nice and quiet, but also safe. So take the kids for a long bike ride or a nice walk. There is accommodation on the islands, or the ferry to and from Strömstad is a scenic 40 minutes.
- Lagunen is just outside Strömstad. This family campsite offers a package that includes overnight stay, boat tickets to The Koster Islands, entrance to Naturum, and lunch. Their cabins are very comfortable and they also have glamping tents with outside kitchens and fire pits. There is plenty to do for children, with fishing, boating, cycling, and of course minigolf.
- Daftö Resort is also perfect for young and old. Book a room in the Pirate Hotel, a cabin, or come with your own camper, caravan, or tent.
More family fun in West Sweden