Self Guided Walking Holidays & Cycling Holidays


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West Sweden and the Weather Islands
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Highlights

  • Explore West Sweden’s wild and beautiful Bohuslän coast and islands
  • Hike part of the ‘Soteleden’ long-distance trail, along coastlines and through forests
  • Enjoy the holiday atmosphere of the popular fishing villages of Smögen & Fjällbacka
  • Spend an unforgettable night on the remote and rugged Weather Islands
  • Indulge in a classic Swedish ‘fika’, coffee and cake, in the city of Gothenburg

The rocky west cost region of Bohuslän is a natural paradise dotted with hundreds of islands, rocky beaches and picturesque lighthouses. Stay in the appealing city of Gothenburg and enjoy one of the most exciting foodie scenes in Northern Europe. Combined with a couple of days exploring the picture-perfect town of Fjällbacka and an overnight stay on the unique Weather Islands, this tour offers the perfect balance of exploring, walking, nature, culture and glorious food.

Walk through peaceful, dreamy forests, along coastlines and through meadows on the Soteleden trail. Spend two nights in the lively fishing port of Smögen, relax with a drink on the boardwalk and tuck into some of the freshest mussels imaginable! Walk in the nearby Ramsvik Nature Reserve before heading to Fjällbacka and the Weather Islands- well worth the detour. Return to Gothenburg, your base for the last three nights and spend a day on Marstrand island, walking the coastal path and enjoying a refreshing dip in the sea.

Day 1: Arrive Gothenburg

Your West Sweden adventure begins in Gothenburg, the gateway to the Bohuslän coast. It is easily accessible by train, plane and bus. Gothenburg Arlanda Airport services many European and Worldwide destinations. From Arlanda, it’s just a 40 minute, easy bus journey to the centre of Gothenburg.


Check into your hotel and wander the city, or relax and prepare for your first day of walking . You’ll have plenty of time to explore the city later in the trip!


Overnight: Gothenburg


Day 2: Bus to Norden’s Ark, Walk to Bottna Inn

Catch a morning bus to Norden’s Ark (2 hours), the start of today’s walk. Norden’s Ark is a unique conservation zoo which specialises in the rearing and re-release of endangered and native species, particularly those native to northern climes. It’s well worth a quick visit. Follow the Soteleden trail, a long distance trail and network of paths created by a Norwegian who moved to the area and wanted to inspire the locals to spend more time in nature.


Today’s walk is mostly inland, through forests and fields. Follow the white and blue markers, enjoying the quiet and scents of the forests, and the soft underfoot woodland trails. As you get closer to Bottna, you might notice the smell of the sea in the air, before eventually catching glimpses of it.   


Walk:  15km, 150m Ascent, 150m Descent


Dinner & Overnight: Bottna Inn


Day 3: Walk Bottna Inn to Hunnesbostrand, bus to Smögen

Continue on the Soteleden, following woodland paths until you reach the village of Bovallstrand, where the trail joins the coast. Dotted with typically ‘scandi’ wooden houses and an attractive coastline, it’s a perfect place to stop and enjoy a packed lunch. The coastline is mostly rocky with large smooth granite rocks offering a perfect place to rest, especially inviting on warm days when the stone heats up nicely.


Continue to the town of Hunnesbostrand. If there’s some time until the next bus, it’s a great place to enjoy an ice-cream by the harbour. Take the bus to the popular island of Smögen, your base for the next two nights.


Walk: 17km, 100m Ascent, 100m Descent


Overnight: Smögen Hotel


Day 4: Bus to Ramsvik Nature Reserve, Loop Walk

Take the bus to Ramsvik (20 minutes), a beautifully rugged nature reserve. Relatively small at only 5km long and 2.5km wide, it’s a lovely place to spend the day and an interesting contrast from the hustle and bustle of Smögen. Follow a loop walk around the peninsula, enjoying the diverse geology, flora and birdlife as you go.


Alternatively, spend the day at leisure in Smögen. The famous ‘Smögenbryggan’ a 600m-long boardwalk along the harbour, is the perfect place to wile away the day. Take one of the popular 'Seafood Safaris’ ; help the local fisherman catch mussels, lobsters, crayfish, langoustines and enjoy them onboard for lunch—it doesn’t get much fresher than that! Seafood safaris are justifiably popular so should be booked well in advance to avoid disappointment.


Walk: 14km, 40m ascent, 40m descent


Overnight: Smögen Hotel


Day 5: Transfer to Fjällbacka, explore town

This morning you will be picked up by taxi and taken to the town of Fjällbacka (45 minutes). Fjällbacka is known as the once holiday home of Hollywood actress Ingrid Bergman, and there is even a statue of her in the centre of town. More recently, the town has found fame through Camilla Läckberg’s Fjällbacka Murders book series, which are set in the author’s hometown. True fans could even take part in a Läckberg-themed guided tour of the town.


Take a short but steep hike up the Vetteberget; the 74m high granite cliff that forms the dramatic backdrop of the town. On the way up, walk through the Kungsklyftan ravine and under four massive boulders that are wedged between the walls of the ravine. Follow the wooden steps to the top of the cliff where you will be rewarded with fantastic views over the picturesque, pastel-coloured houses and the port. On a clear day you may even catch a glimpse of the Weather Islands– tomorrow’s destination.


Overnight: Fjällbacka


Day 6: Ferry to the Weather Islands and explore

This morning you will be taken by ferry to the magical Weather Islands, or Väderöarna as they are known in Swedish. Arrive mid-morning and settle into your cosy room. 13km to the west of Fjällbacka, these are the most westerly islands in Sweden. A collection of 365 rocky and barren islands, staying here is a special experience. The climate is said to be one of the warmest and windiest in Sweden. This is the place to disconnect, relax and marvel at the forces of nature. All but one of the islands are uninhibited, and this is where you will find the Väderöarna Vardshus guesthouse.


There is a short, way-marked hiking trail to follow around the island, as well as two bathing spots. Outside the main guesthouse building there is a sauna and two outdoor hot tubs, filled with heated sea-water. Relaxing in them with a view to the horizon is not something you will forget in a hurry!


Lunch, Dinner & Overnight: Väderöarna Vardshus


Day 7: Travel to Gothenburg, Botanic Gardens and Änggårdsbergen Nature Reserve Walk

This morning, sit back, relax and enjoy the scenery as you return to Gothenburg by ferry (40 mins), taxi (30 mins) and train (1.5 hours). Check into your hotel and spend the afternoon stretching your legs through the impressive Botanic Gardens and Änggårdsbergen Nature Reserve. Located just a 20-minute tram ride from the city centre, this unique nature reserve feels a world away from the city. Enjoy a walk around the reserve. You may see the occasional local out for a run or walking the dog, but otherwise, this is part of the town that not many tourists venture to!


Walk: 9km, 130m Ascent, 130m Descent


Overnight: Gothenburg Hotel


Day 8: Bus/Ferry to Marstrand, choice of walks

Take the express bus (1 hour) to the popular island of Marstrand. The main town is spread over two islands, Koön and Marstrand. Starting in Koön, take a fun 8km trail, over granite rock and over wooden footbridges and stairs, enjoying views to the imposing Carlsten Fortress on the main island of Marstrand.


Take the ferry to Marstrand, where another fabulous coastal trail is waiting (5 km). Be sure to take your swimming costume and a towel to indulge in a refreshing dip at one of the various bathing spots along the way. Return to Gothenburg by bus.  


Walk: 5, 8 or 13km, 100m Ascent, 100m Descent


Overnight: Gothenburg Hotel


Day 9: Free day in Gothenburg

Today you have a free day to explore all that Gothenburg has to offer. The second largest city in Sweden, there is something for everyone here. Originally designed by the Dutch, masters at building on marshland, two of the original 4 canals remain.


Easily walkable, the city also has an extensive bus network and retro, blue and white trams. One of the main attractions is the Fish Church (Feskekôrka), an indoor fish market which got its name from the buildings resemblance to a neo-gothic church. As well as market stalls you will also find fish restaurants and cafés inside.


A visit to the Haga neighbourhood is an absolute must. If you only sample one cinnamon bun in Sweden, Haga is the place to do it.


Overnight: Gothenburg Hotel


Day 10: Onward Travel

Check out of your hotel and head to the train station or airport for your onward travel. If you have more time to spend in Scandinavia, you may wish to consider one of our Norway itineraries - after all, it’s just a 4 hour train journey from Gothenburg to Oslo or a short hop in a plane! Just ask one of our Destination specialists for more information.


Accommodation

9 nights accommodation is included in your trip. 7 nights are in 3 star hotels and 2 nights are spent in charming guesthouses. All accommodations have private en-suite bathrooms, with the exception of Väderöarna Vardshus, which may be shared facilities. When possible we will book an en-suite room. The accommodation on this trip varies in standard and character, but they all offer great value, food and welcomes. You will find an example of the accommodation we normally use below. If these accommodations are not available we will use a hotel of a similar of better standard than those described.


Gothenburg is an events city, and the price of hotels there can fluctuate greatly depending on what is going on at the time. If you request a booking when there is an event happening in Gothenburg, you may be asked to pay a supplement.


Single Rooms & Solo Walkers

This trip is available to solo walkers but a solo walker supplement is payable. Single rooms are also available should someone in your party wish to have their own room, again a supplement is payable.


Alternate Accommodation

We will always try and accommodate you at the hotels listed. However, if those listed are unavailable, alternative accommodation of the same or better standard than those described will be provided.


Examples of accommodations we typically use are listed below.



 

 

 




Hotel Vanilla - Gothenburg

Hotel Vanilla is a charming, 3* boutique hotel with 32 rooms located in an historical 18th century building. The influence of the sea and port can be felt in the thoughtful design of the rooms, all with a classic Scandinavian edge. Located within walking distance of all the main sites, it’s the perfect base for exploring Gothenburg and its surrounds.


 

 

 


 

 

 




Hotel Royal - Gothenburg

The Hotel Royal is one of the oldest hotel in Gothenburg, having been family-run since 1852. They have certainly perfected the art of customer service and a friendly welcome awaits. Centrally located, the hotel as all the amenities needed for a pleasant stay. Enjoy free coffee and tea all day, and delicious cakes in the aftern


 

 

 


 

 

 



Bottna Inn - Bottna



Bottna Inn - Bottna

Bottna Inn is a small independent guesthouse, lovingly renovated by the charming host, Åsa. All rooms have private, ensuite bathrooms. The tranquil location is perfect, and you have a real sense of being ‘off the beaten track’ here. All meals are prepared by Åsa herself, get ready for some delicious, home-cooked food. Åsa is an expert on the local area and even runs ‘Camilla Läckberg Murder Mystery’ tours in nearby Fjällbacka, the home of the famous Nordic Noir books.


 

 

 


 

 

 




Smögens Hafvsbad - Smögen

Smögens Hafvsbad is an historical hotel, found in a peaceful location about 10 minutes’ walk from the lively boardwalk of Smögen. The hotel’s 76 rooms are spread over two buildings. There is a spa (extra cost for treatments), a pool, jacuzzi and sauna. Breakfast is buffet-style and very generous with homemade muesli, jams, local cheese, ham, bread, eggs, fruit and veg to name just a few of what’s on offer!


 

 

 


 

 

 




Stora Hotellet Bryggan - Fjällbacka

Stora Hotellet Bryggan is a boutique hotel spread out over two buildings and benefits from a lovely waterfront location. Rooms are individually decorated in eclectic ‘explorer’ style with each room focused on a different country or location. There is a selection of restaurants on site, as well as nearby. There is also a piano bar which often has live music. It is a great place to enjoy a drink and the view over the archipelago!


 

 

 


 

 

 



 Väderöarna Vardshus - Weather Islands



Väderöarna Vardshus - Weather Islands

This unique guesthouse is bound to be the highlight of your trip. Rooms are small, cosy and comfortable. Some rooms have ensuite facilities and some shared. The guesthouse is spotlessly clean and great attention to detail has gone into every aspect of the accommodation. Relax in the outdoor sauna and hot tubs and enjoy the amazing view over the harbour! Being the most westerly islands in Sweden, it’s also a great place to watch the sunset.


 

 

 

Time of Year & Availability

This trip is available to start any day of the week, from the beginning
of May to mid September, subject to availability. Any time during this
period is ideal for walking, mid-July to mid- August is high season and
the towns along the way will be busy with local holiday makers. 


Grade & Terrain

This tour is rated easy-moderate. Distances vary from 5 – 17km, and the ascent/descent is generally negligible with the exceptions of some undulating sections on day 2 and 3 (Soteleden trail), which can be more tiring that expected! Generally the terrain underfoot is straight-forward. However, care should be taken on the granite rock paths when wet as they can become slippery. Some parts of the woodland trails can become muddy after lots of rain. Walking shoes or boots with good grip are essential.   


Navigation, Route Notes & Maps

All of the walks are way-marked to varying degrees, some walks better than others. We provide you with turn-by-turn instructions for each walk, maps and access to our GPS smartphone navigation app, so you will have no problem finding your way!


Baggage Transfers

Your bags will be transferred from Norden’s Ark to Bottna and from Bottna to Smögen. Please limit the weight of your bags to 20kg per person. You will take your bag on public transport/taxi from Gothenburg to Norden’s Ark, from Smögen to Fjällbacka, from Fjällbacka to the Weather Islands and back to Gothenburg, so you may want to keep the weight of your bag as light as possible. We recommend having a suitcase with wheels to make things easier. It will also be possible to leave any excess belongings at your hotel in Gothenburg, so be sure to have an extra bag with you if you intend to do this (a fold away tote bag would be ideal).


Travel during the trip

This itinerary makes extensive use of the public transport in order to see the best of West Sweden, without the stress of driving! The public transport in Sweden is excellent, so sit back and enjoy the ride. Public transport in west Sweden is run by Vasttrafik. For best value, we recommend purchasing the tickets individually, these can be purchased as you go from the bus driver or at the bus station. You should budget approx. 750 SEK per person for the public transport outlined in the itinerary.


Another option is to purchase 2 x 72 hour Vasttrafik travel cards per person, meaning all public transport from day 2 to day 9 (inclusive) will be covered. Simply tap your travel card on the machine by the driver as you get on the bus, no need for additional tickets or reservations! The passes cost approx. 620 SEK per person per travel card. While it’s certainly cheaper to buy individual tickets if following the itinerary as planned, with the passes you get the added convenience of unlimited use and no need to buy individual tickets.


Two private taxi transfers (from Smögen to Fjällbacka and from Fjällbacka to Munkedal Train Sation), and the ferry to and from the Weather Islands, are included in the cost of your trip. 



Meals



9 breakfasts, two 2-course dinners, one packed lunch and one sit-down lunch is included.



Breakfast is always buffet-style with various options available. For example,  freshly baked bread, jams, meats, cheese, fruit and veg, muesli, eggs, pastries. A 2-course dinner is included in Bottna Inn and Väderöarna Vardshus and is usually a set-menu. A satisfying packed lunch is also included for the walk from Bottna to Hunnesbostrand and a sit down lunch is also included on your arrival day on the Weather Islands. 


Swedes are very good at dealing with dietary restrictions, please let us know at the time of booking if you have any requirements and we will pass this on to the hotels.


Drinks are not included but available at all overnight accommodation. 


Travel Insurance

It is a requirement of booking this tour with Macs Adventure that you have suitable travel insurance which covers you for the activity, emergency evacuation and hospital care.


General Information

The distances and ascents/descents are approximations of the recommended routes. Please be prepared by packing all necessary items, for example, proper rain gear (jacket and trousers), sun hat and sunscreen. Your information pack has a detailed equipment list which includes standard walking gear such as good walking boots or shoes, warm and waterproof clothes for the cooler months and lightweight clothing for summer, and a day pack.

Getting to and from Gothenburg

By Air: Gothenburg Landvetter Airport is the best entry point for this tour. There are several low-cost and international airlines flying here. From here, it’s a 40 minute bus journey to the Nils Ericson Terminalen (Central Bus Station) in Gothenburg. The bus company is called Flygbussarna, and tickets can be purchased from a machine at the arrivals hall of the airport. Departures run as regularly as every 12 minutes during peak times.


You could also fly into Copenhagen Airport, from where there is a direct train to Gothenburg (3.5 hours)


By Rail: Gothenburg can be reached by train from any other Swedish town or city. For example, the train from Stockholm to Gothenburg takes 3.5 hours.  


Included

  • 7 nights in 3* hotels and 2 nights in comfortable guesthouses
  • 9 Breakfasts
  • 2 Dinners
  • 1 packed lunch and 1 sit-down lunch
  • Transfers as per the itinerary
  • Ferry to and from the Weather Islands
  • Bag transfers as per the itinerary
  • Detailed information pack, route notes and maps
  • GPX tracks and access to our GPS Macs Adventure smartphone app
  • 24/7 telephone support from our UK office

Excluded

  • Travel insurance (required)
  • Travel to and from Gothenburg
  • Public Transport Costs
  • Remaining lunches and dinners
  • Drinks and snacks
  • Personal equipment

Extras

  • Additional nights before, during or after the walk
  • Single Room Supplement(s)
  • Solo walker supplement

How fit do I need to be?

This tour is rated easy-moderate. Distances vary from 5 – 17km, and the ascent/descent is generally negligible with the exceptions of some undulating sections on day 2 and 3 (Soteleden trail), which can be more tiring that expected! Generally the terrain underfoot is straight-forward. However, care should be taken on the granite rock paths when wet as they can become slippery. Some parts of the woodland trails can become muddy after lots of rain. Walking shoes or boots with good grip are essential.  You should be a regular walker and be in good shape to get the most out of this trip.

Which is the best airport to fly to?

The closest airport is Gothenburg Landvetter Airport which is served by flights from throughout Europe and around the world.

How far in advance do I need to book?

We suggest you book as soon as your plans are finalised. This is a very popular area with holiday makers, especially during the high season (mid-July to mid- August)

What personal equipment do I need?

You will need good walking shoes/trail shoes with a solid sole and good grip, comfortable walking clothes, waterproof jacket and trousers a day pack and hats. Your information pack has a detailed equipment list which includes standard walking gear such as good walking boots or shoes, warm and waterproof clothes and a day pack. A detailed kit list is included in your information pack.

How do the baggage transfers work?

Bag transfer is included in this trip on Day 2 & 3. We ask that you limit your baggage to one bag per person with a maximum weight of 20kg per person. You will take your bags with you on the bus from Gothenburg to Norden's Ark where you will leave your bags to be picked up. They will be taken to your accommodation in Bottna. The following day, your bags will be taken from your Bottna accommodation to your Smögen accommodation.

When is the best time of year?

This trip is available to start any day of the week, from the beginning of May to mid September, subject to availability. Any time during this period is ideal for walking, mid-July to mid- August is high season and the towns along the way will be busy with local holiday makers.


Good time on brand new trip from Macs in an expensive land

3

We had a wonderful time, but there are challenges with this trip. First Sweden is expensive, especially food and the use of local transportation. Vasttrafik Pay as You Go will help with costs. Next, the hiking is weather dependent. Wet rocks are slippery, soil is slow to drain, you will need waterproof footwear if there has been rain in the last two or three days. Poles are useful on the coastal rock trails. Bus and train schedules are limited on the weekends. Before June 21 fewer hotel rooms and restaurants are available; after that tourist spots get very crowded. Finally, to include Norden's Ark on Day 2 you must catch an early bus. And its entrance fee is expensive. Sweden was a good country to visit. Everyone speaks excellent English and are friendly. Transportation is efficient. Food is high quality. Sweden is going cashless and debit or credit cards are essential. All of the stops on the tour were charming and enjoyable. The Weather Islands was truly unique. If you plan well you will be sure to have a wonderful time.

L&S

Vancouver, Canada

West Sweden and the Weather Islands

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