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6 reasons to visit West Sweden
3 Min Read
02 February 2023
6 reasons to visit West Sweden

When we think of Sweden, our minds usually gravitate towards Stockholm (maybe Abba and Ikea too). But there are so many other incredible places in Sweden that tend to fly under the radar. West Sweden is a goldmine of beautifully raw Scandinavian coastlines, twee, unspoilt fishing towns and magical landscapes that capture the imagination. Here are 6 reasons why it’s worth a visit before it becomes too popular... 

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1. A walking wonderland 


From enchanting forests and windswept coastal paths to mountain–top lookouts and craggy ridges, some of Sweden’s most spectacular hiking trails are in the west. 

  • The Soteleden Trail is a long-distance trail and network of paths along coastlines and through fragrant forests, dotted with ancient remains and quintessentially scandi towns. 

  • Ramsvik Nature Reserve walk, also known as The Kingdom of the Cliff. Follow one of the marked routes around the peninsula, through landscapes of rocky, red granite, and along pine-fringed pathways. 

  • Änggårdsbergen Nature Reserve in Gothenburg is a patchwork of hilly landscapes, stretches of heather, marshland and various types of forest. You’ll find Bronze Age monuments, idyllic lakes and over 300 species of tree throughout its 320 hectares. 

  • Koön Coastal Path is a loop walk around Koön island. Cross wooden footbridges and rocky terrain and take in views across the peninsula from the 360º lookout point. See if you can spot Carlsten's Fortress. 

  • Marstrand Coastal Path a circular route around Marstrand island filled with whimsical landmarks. Discover Trollskogen (Troll Forest), named after its crooked pines, The Giant Cauldron, formed by thawed ice which spiralled down into the rock like a drill, or the cliff-perched Skallens Fyr lighthouse.



2. The founders of Fika 

  • Whilst Fika is a national concept, in West Sweden the ‘Capital’ of fika is the charming town of Alingsås, known for its abundance of cafés.

  • Fika is a huge part of Swedish culture, where a moment is taken to socialise over a hot drink and a nibble with friends, family or colleagues.

  • However, the ritual of Fika focusses less on the food and drink consumed and more on the break and the social aspect. 



3. Fill your boots with nature  


  • There are about 8000 islands along Sweden's west coast, known as archipelago, that are accessible by ferry, bridge or even kayak. 

  • Vänern, Sweden’s largest lake, is partly in West Sweden which has a cycle path looping around it. With a total route length of 640 km, there’s a wealth of historic and natural beauty spots to experience along the way. 

  • With Gothenburg as a gateway, West Sweden consists of three different provinces. Bohuslän, the beautiful coastal area north of Gothenburg. Dalsland, located inland, awash with lakes and forests and Västergötland, positioned east of Gothenburg and made up of flatlands with a rich historic heritage. 



4. Smögen 

Gothenburg archipelago

  • A harbour town that’s been used by fisherman since the 1500’s and is home to the famous ‘Smögenbryggan’, a 600-metre-long wooden pier. Small rowing and fishing boats bob about on one side, and vibrant boathouses, many of which are now cafés, restaurants and shops line the other.

  • Tuck into the freshest seafood, including the famous shrimp sandwich, created in the 1930s.

  • Explore the Gothenburg archipelago – a cluster of small islands with tranquil walks, unspoiled beaches, chattering birdlife and endless views. 



5. Fjällbacka 


  • Named after its the large mountain backdrop, it’s mostly known as the setting for many of Camilla Läckberg's murder mystery novels.

  • This small village has plenty of walking routes to explore. The Vetteberget mountain stands 74 metres above sea level and offers birdseye views of the village.

  • Kungsklyftan gorge takes you along a rocky path and has you ducking under boulders and climbing a wooden staircase to cliff top views of the bay.

  • Vettebergsleden, a 4k loop walk with various trails to choose from, takes you past Ingrid Bergman square and up to magnificent views over the archipelago. 



6. Gothenburg

Gothenburg canal

  • Gothenburg, Sweden’s second largest city was founded 400 years ago by King Gustav II Adolf in 1621. The port city perches along the banks of the Göta älv river and is made up of Dutch-style canals and tree-lined boulevards. 

  • Gothenburg has ranked as the world’s most sustainable destination six times in a row, according to the Global Destination Sustainability Index. And in 2021, Lonely Planet named Gothenburg the world’s Best Sustainable City Stay. 




Things to do in Gothenburg 

Cinnamon bun fika


  • Explore cobbled streets lined with perfectly preserved wooden houses, built as early as 1870 in the neighbourhood of Haga. A quaint area to stop for a fika – make sure to visit Café Husaren and try their famous giant cinnamon bun. 

  • From flavour-crammed deli counters and zinging Asian street food to moreish Mexican and extraordinary Swedish sushi. Gothenburg is a hub for the culinarily curious of climate-friendly restaurants and eateries where ingredients are seasonal and locally sourced. 

  • Don't miss the chance to experience the unique Fish Church (Feskekôrka), an indoor fish market named after the building's resemblance to a neo-gothic church.  

  • Walk to the top of Risåsberget hill where the Skansen Kronan fort stands - built in the 17th century to protect the city from Danish invasion. The hill also displays epic views of the city skyline, so it’s well worth a climb.

  • A green haven in the heart of the city, Slottsskogen City Park is a popular spot with locals as well as a home to moose, deer and other wildlife. Wander weaving pathways through woodland bursting with native maple, beech, linden and oak trees. Or relax with a packed lunch on grassy carpets in the park area. 


Kirsty Schneider

Written by

Kirsty Schneider
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