Called one of the top 10 last great wilderness areas, Sweden’s west coast is a playground for active travelers and adventure enthusiasts. A treasure trove of outdoor pursuits, the landscape here was made for exploration. Get to know the islands and rocky shores by foot, by bike, and by paddle because each will show you a new perspective of this breathtaking paradise.
Get Your Paddle On
According to CNN, Bohuslän is one of the world's best coastlines to kayak. To begin your journey, take the ferry from the town of Strömstad to Kosterhavet National Park, the country’s first and only marine park. More than 12,000 species call the area home, and flora and fauna are plentiful. Paddle toward the Koster Islands, the Fjällbacka archipelago or the 365-island string called the Weather Islands, another marine nature reserve teeming with harbor seals. You can either rent a vessel and go at it on your own, take a guided tour or opt for a multi-day expedition.
Follow the Pilgrim Trail
The Pilgrim Trail is a 102 km scenic route that stretches along the coast all the way to Norway. It follows the path of the original Scandinavian settlers from 1050 AD, winding through forests, valleys, farmland, and small villages and towns. You could spend days channeling your ancestors while getting lost in the wonders of nature.
Take a Hike
The more than 40 mile Soteleden trail is one of the most impressive walking trails in the country. It stretches through the rolling countryside all the way from Hunnebostrand in the north to Smögen in the south. The route is divided into 20 different regions of nature and culture with incredible panoramic views the whole way through. If you want to make it a multi-day trek, there are a variety of accommodations to choose from along the route, as well as shelters and huts where you can bunker down for free. The route crisscrosses a number of towns and villages so there are plenty of places to break up the trip, grab a good meal, and get a feel for the local culture.
Explore on Two Wheels
Sweden is such a haven for road and mountain biking that it’s impossible to recommend just one area to cycle. There are shorter jaunts (from 12-18 miles) up the coast of Bohuslän or take a ferry to the islands near Orust where the weather is calmer and ideal for pedaling. Up north, Lysekil is another area worth discovering for the rock carvings, a UNESCO World Heritage Site the Vitlycke Museum. Another must-see is to pedal along the car-free Göta Canal where the locks and the boats are your only company. If you’re in search of a longer trip, the beautiful area around Lake Åsunden is home to the Ätradalsleden route, 125 miles of open meadows that traverse a string of small towns along flower-lined country roads.
Go on a Shellfish Safari
A fishing expedition like no other, one genuine must-have West Sweden experience is to catch prawns, mussels, oysters, langoustines, and lobster. Boat trips depart from the fishing village of Bohuslän in search of the area's “big five” edible delicacies. After baiting, potting, catching, and hauling in the deep, dark, mineral-rich waters off the coast, you can prep, cook and devour some of your bounty on a deserted island. Foodies will love the opportunity to sample the world’s best seafood while tasting their handiwork.