- Explore the best of West Sweden’s wild and beautiful North Sea coast
- Hike part of the ‘Soteleden’ long-distance trail, along coastlines and through forests
- Enjoy the lively, holiday atmosphere of the small fishing village of Smögen
- Walk around the car-free island of Marstrand, stopping for a dip along the way
- Indulge in the fresh sea food and enjoy a classic Swedish ‘fika’
Explore the best West Sweden has to offer on this self-guided walking holiday. The rocky west coast region of Bohuslän is a natural paradise dotted with hundreds of islands, rocky beaches and picturesque lighthouses. Combined with the appealing city of Gothenburg, and one of the most exciting foodie scenes in Northern Europe, this tour offers the perfect balance of walking, nature, culture and glorious food.
Start with two days of walking along the Soteleden long-distance trail. Walk through peaceful forests, along scenic coastlines and through fields and meadows. Spend two nights in the fishing port of Smögen, relax with a drink on the boardwalk and tuck into some fresh mussels. Walk in the nearby Ramsvik Nature Reserve before heading back to Gothenburg, your base for the next three nights. Explore the city’s unique Nature Reserve, just ten minutes from the city centre by tram. Spend a day hiking around picturesque Marstrand island, and finally enjoy a free day to soak up the city vibes in Gothenburg.
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!
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 while 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: 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 bus (2.5 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 6: 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 7: 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 8: 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.
7 nights accommodation is included in your trip. 6 nights are in 3 star hotels and 1 night is spent in a charming guesthouse. All accommodations have private en-suite bathrooms. 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.
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 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!
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!
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 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 7 (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.
7 breakfasts, one 2-course dinner and one packed 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 is usually a set-menu. A satisfying packed lunch is also included for the walk from Bottna to Hunnesbostrand.
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.
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.
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.
- 6 Nights in 3 star hotels and 1 night in a comfortable guesthouse
- 7 breakfasts
- 1 dinner
- 1 packed lunch
- Detailed information pack, route notes, maps and access to our navigation app
- 24/7 support from our UK office
- Travel insurance (required)
- Travel to and from Gothenburg
- Public transport passes (to be bought locally)
- Remaining lunches and dinners
- Drinks and snacks
- Personal equipment
- 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.