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

Holiday tips in Gothenburg

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.

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!

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.

The most convenient way to get to Marstrand is on the M/S Göteborg, a vintage archipelago boat built in 1915. This is a guided boat tour, so all the interesting facts you learn about the sights you pass are an added bonus. The tour includes coffee and cake, as well as a dinner consisting of West Coast-inspired dishes. Prebook for a guaranteed place.

The idyllic archipelago island of Källö-Knippla

Källö-Knippla is an island blessed with authentic West Coast archipelago charm – an idyllic place of picturesque houses and winding roads. You can play tennis, crazy golf or Petanque here. There are also cafés, restaurants, and small shops selling design and gift items. Naturally, there are also lots of great places for sunbathing and swimming – sandy beaches, floating jetties or natural rocks.

If you take the boat trip to Marstrand described above, you’ll call in at Källö-Knippla on the way. The Marstrand tour stops here so you can go ashore for a 30-minute guided walk. If you’d prefer a longer stop, please catch the bus here from the Nils Ericson Terminal in Gothenburg.

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.

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.

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