The West Sweden archipelago is made up of over 8000 islands, each with their own unique offerings and charm. Gothenburg’s archipelago and the quaint Bohulsän coast is filled with lush forests, crystal clear blue waters, rocky shores, amazing accommodation and food options, and enlightening cultural festivals.
With so many options, it can be hard to know which of these islands will suit your taste and travel style the most. So, to help you with your research, we’ve compiled ten of our favorites to share with you!
10 Best Islands to Visit in West Sweden
An easy bridge away from the larger island of Tjörn, Klädesholmen is one of the most picturesque islands in West Sweden; think cute little red and white cottages set against brilliantly blue water.
At one time, the claim to fame on the island was that it was home to over 30 herring processing factories. Today, this number has dwindled down to five, yet you’ll still find an adorable little herring museum that celebrates this piece of Klädesholmen history.
For our time on Klädesholmen, we stayed at the Salt & Sill, Sweden’s first floating hotel, and took full advantage of the floating sauna just a few steps from our room!
Situated just a hop from the mainland, the small island of Stenungson is located in the municipality of Stenungsund, and is home to less than 300 inhabitants.
During our time on the island, we stayed in a gorgeous suite overlooking the water at the Stenungsbaden Yacht Club. The Club has an impressive spa with a view on the third floor and is also home to a floating sauna. Definitely have a bite at the Kookaburra restaurant while you’re there!
Read more: 7 Things You Should Know Before You Visit Sweden
Marstrand is a popular trip for island hoppers heading through West Sweden, and for good reason. This car-free island is connected to the mainland by a quick two-minute ferry and is home to fabulous shopping, the Carlsten fortress, and scenic hiking.
On Marstrand, we stayed at Marstrand Havshotell, and, while there are plenty of restaurants to choose from on the island, we recommend making dinner at Grand Hotel!
The sixth largest island in Sweden, Tjörn is home both to one of the biggest sailing competitions in Sweden, the Tjörn Runt, as well as an amazing watercolor museum that further exemplifies Tjörn’s stunning landscapes.
For accommodation on the island, we took part in a program called Meet the Swedes; an organization for small companies that offer accommodation and are willing to give guests a glimpse into their lives as locals. Learning firsthand about the culture from our lovely hosts was an experience that can’t be beat.
Also, when you’re on Tjörn, be sure to take advantage of the awesome nature, whether it’s by hiking, sailing, kayaking, or cycling!
A hub in the south part of the Gothenburg archipelago, Styrsö is home to roughly 1400 people, a post office, and cute little shops, café’s, guesthouses, and restaurants.
On Styrsö, definitely take a hike up to Stora Ros, the island’s highest point. From there, on a clear day, you’ll get a stunning view of all the surrounding islands and the colorful fishing villages below.
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Easily reached by ferry from Orust, this car-free island has been inhabited for over 400 years, and has a well-developed tourist trail. The island boasts pristine hiking trails, swimming spots, and even separate sunbathing areas for men and women.
In the summertime, Käringön is the point place for ferry service around the whole archipelago.
Orust is the largest island in the entire Bohuslän province, and Sweden’s third largest island overall. The island not only features lush forests and pretty fishing villages, but a great tourism infrastructure. Accommodation options on the island include AirBnb’s, hotels, and even hostels.
Spend your time exploring the island by renting a bicycle or a kayak, and stop off at one of the many cute little café’s for a traditional Swedish sweet.
This little car-free island just off the coast of Tjörn is a scenic wonderland filled with hiking trails, a sauna, a picture-perfect harbour, and incredible views! Inhabited for the last 3000 years, this island is also home to remains of an early settlement.
To get to Dyrön, catch the Hakefjorden passenger ferry at Rönnäng jetty. This ferry will take you through the sound and towards the Marstrand Fjord, before offering a magnificent view of Dyrön and its rugged neighbour, Åstol.
Read more: 10 Reasons to Visit Gothenburg, Sweden
Skaftö is a bustling island just off the North coast of Orust featuring excellent swimming spots, golf, luxurious spas, and awesome hiking trails. This cute island is also home to year-round cultural events such as film, horse jumping, dance nights, and art fairs.
Bohus-Malmön features quaint little villages filled with red and white colored wood buildings set against a backdrop of blue ocean. A short ferry ride from the mainland, the island features centers such as Malmön, Bohus-Malmön, and Stallen; the latter of which boasts a cute little art gallery.
Expect to spend your time on Bohus-Malmön enjoying nature and sipping on delicious coffee from a local café.
How to Get to West Sweden
If you begin your Sweden trip in Stockholm, plan to head to the West Coast-hub city of Gothenburg to start off your island visits; by car this trip will take roughly five hours, or if you opt for a train, about three. You also have the option of flying directly into Gothenburg’s Landvetter Airport.
Once you’re in Gothenburg, many of these islands are easily accessible by ferry, but be sure to check ferry routes and seasonal times to ensure the ease of your travels. Alternatively, many of the aforementioned islands are joined to bigger centers by bridges, so you’ll be able to reach them by car.
Sweden Packing Essentials
Winter Gear: For any wintertime excursions in Sweden, you’re going to want a plush down jacket, thick gloves or mittens, and a beanie that covers your ears.
Layers: The trick to a comfortable Sweden trip is layers. Be sure to pack fleece-lined leggings, thermal underwear, a moisture-wicking base top, and a few cardigans.
Waterproof Gear: To ward off the Swedish rains, bring along a pair of water-resistant shoes or boots, a raincoat, rain cover for your backpack, and a travel umbrella.
Sun protection: No matter what time of year, I never go on a trip without sunscreen and a pair of sunglasses.
Swim Gear: Pack a swimsuit and quick-drying towel so you can fully indulge in those Swedish spas and saunas!
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