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Holiday tips in Gothenburg – visit the West Coast’s lovely islands


Tips for summer daytrips by boat in the archipelago

Gothenburg’s archipelago offers salt-sprayed rocks and refreshing swims, white-painted wooden houses, charming marinas and freshly caught shellfish. We help to guide you through the archipelago to find the best excursion islands – regardless of whether you want to admire the natural scenery, shop in summer boutiques, swim from salty rocks, or squeeze all of this into one unforgettable guided boat trip.

The sailing community’s favourite island of Marstrand

Teeming Marstrand is one of the West Coast’s most popular summer destinations. Stroll along its busy streets and admire the picturesque wooden houses. Browse all the summer shops and buy gifts items, interior design and fashion, or relax at one of the island’s many restaurants, bars and cafés. Carlsten Fortress is also well worth a visit! Join a guided tour to experience the Walk of Sighs, Gallows Hill, Lasse-Maja’s kitchen and the Fortress Church. You can also just wander around by yourself.

Take the car or the bus Marstrands Expressen to Koön. Go with the Ferry from Koön to Marstrand, departures around the clock.

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Take a daytrip to the lighthouse island of Vinga

On the far reaches of the archipelago lies the island of Vinga. This rugged island was the childhood home of one of Sweden’s most famous poets and composers, Evert Taube, whose father worked as the lighthouse keeper here. You can still see the family’s house on the island and it’s now a museum – sadly closed this summer, due to the Coronavirus pandemic. The island is about 1,000 metres long and 500 metres wide. Stroll around the island, enjoy the stunning views, invigorating sea air and admire a legendary lighthouse. Buy a souvenir from the island’s kiosk, which sells T-shirts, caps, backpacks, bags and lovely mugs.

The best way for you to experience Vinga is by joining a guided tour with the M/S Carl Michael Bellman. There’s a café on board serving light refreshments and snacks, coffee, tea, wine and beer. Our top tip is to order the boat’s delicious shrimp open sandwich for lunch! Prebook for a guaranteed place!

Vrångö – possibly Gothenburg’s best island for swimming

Car-free Vrångö is famous for its lovely sandy beaches and many people in Gothenburg will tell you it's the best island for swimming in the archipelago. Large parts of the island are protected nature reserves: its diverse flora and fauna and rich bird life make it very popular with nature-lovers and bird-watchers. Be on the look out for black guillemots and kestrels, as well as the rare and scarce plants wild asparagus, willowleaf yellowhead and sea holly. The beautiful walking trails are the best way for you to explore the island. There’s a shorter trail – Tärnstigen – that’s accessible for strollers and people living with disabilities. Our top tip is to walk from the ferry landing straight across the island to the guest harbour, where you’ll find boutiques, shops, kiosks, a fish wharf and fish stalls. You can also challenge your friends to a game of crazy golf.

You can get to Vrångö with Styrsöbolaget’s boats from Saltholmen. Take a tram from Gothenburg city centre to Saltholmen. The tram journey takes about 30 minutes and the boat journey takes between 20 and 40 minutes. You can also take the 281 ferry service from the Stenpiren Travel Centre in the city. Please note that the boat from Stenpiren to the archipelago only has two departures a day, one in the morning and one in the evening.

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The idyllic archipelago island Brännö

The archipelago island Brännö is one of the most famous islands. Take a dance at Brännö jetty like in Lasse Dahlquist's famous waltz "De' ä' dans på Brännö brygga". Brännö is a vibrant archipelago island with year-round residents. The island differs from other islands in the archipelago thanks to the agriculture, pilot history and shipping that have provided the main livelihood.

Go with M/S S:t Erik and enjoy a summer brunch cruise. The boat makes a short stop at the island Brännö and you got the possibility to see the island. Do you want to stay longer - take a boat from Stenpiren in Gothenburg instead. 

Styrsö – a lovely island the southern archipelago

Come here to swim and enjoy archipelago life at the island’s cafés and restaurants. Styrsö has 1,400 permanent residents and is the regional centre of the southern archipelago - a perfect blend of island and urban culture. The island’s four villages each have a unique historic character: Byn has a church from 1753, Tången is a huddle of fisherman’s cottages, Halsvik was once home to affluent ship captains and Bratten acted as a magnet for the upper-class summer visitors.
You’ll find it easy to get around the car-free island – short distances on narrow roads lined with charmingly rustic houses. If you want to swim, there are plenty of child-friendly sandy beaches, rocky outcrops and jetties. If you’re a keen sea angler, there are lovely fishing spots on the south side of the island.

Styrsöbolaget’s boats depart from Saltholmen and dock at three different landings: Styrsö Bratten, Styrsö Tången and Styrsö Skäret. To get to Saltholmen, take a tram from Gothenburg city centre.
You can also take the 281 ferry service from the Stenpiren Travel Centre in the city. Please note that the boat from Stenpiren to the archipelago only has two departures a day, one in the morning and one in the evening.

Map with holiday tips in Gothenburg’s archipelago

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