The West Coast of Sweden is filled with quaint fishing villages, colourful beach huts, some of the best seafood we have ever eaten and a coastline of rugged uninhabited rocky islands of the clearest (and surprisingly warm) warms for swimming. It's perfect for a relaxing road trip. See our post below for an easy-to-follow 4-day travel itinerary that will have you visiting all of the highlights of Sweden's West Coast.
Getting to and around the West Coast of Sweden from Stockholm:
For a 4-day trip, we'd highly recommend hiring a car. A lot of the West Coast villages are spread out along the coastline (around a 1-hour drive between most). Having a car will offer more flexibility. You can hire directly from Stockholm and drive (7 hours) or take the high-speed rail to Gothenburg and hire a car from there (Also around 7 hours total trip duration if staying in Smögen).
Where to stay on the West Coast of Sweden - Smögen:
If you're looking for a base to stay for the trip we'd recommend Smögen, situated between Gothenburg (2 hours drive south) and Fjällbacka (1.5 hours drive north). It's a charming fishing village with many restaurants, cafes and bars and a 10-minute ferry ride from Hällo Island. Basing here will minimize driving distance up and down the coast each day.
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West Coast Sweden - 5-Day Travel Itinerary:
Day 1 - Stockholm to Örebro to Smögen
From Stockholm to Smögen it takes about 7 hours of driving, which is a beautiful countryside drive, filled with green hills, red farmhouses and a few small towns along the way. We recommend breaking up the journey with a visit to Örebro.
In Örebro you can get lunch at the historic village of Wadköping, a living open-air periodic museum, home to original houses and shops from 17th and 18th century Sweden. It is also located right along the river for a walk after.
Örebro - Wadköping Historic Village:
In the evening once you've reached Smögen we recommend watching the sunset from the Smögenbron bridge. For a late dinner try the Musselbaren, located on the water.
Views from Smögenbron Bridge
Day 2 - Smögen, Hallö Island & Hunnebostrand
Morning: Of all the villages we visited on the West Coast of Sweden, Smögen was our favourite. Start the morning with a walk along the wooden boardwalk lined with colourful fishing houses. Further along, you'll find a number of restaurants and cafes perfect for breakfast. For a quick option by the water visit Skärets Korg & Cafe, try the local shrimp toast with mayonnaise and cinnamon scrolls, they are two of the most famous local dishes.
Smogen Colourful fishing huts:
Breakfast: Skärets Korg & Cafe
Afternoon - Hallö Island: After breakfast take a 10-minute ferry ride from the Smögen boardwalk across to Hallö island (ferries run every 30 mins up to 4 pm). Hällo island is an uninhabited island of all boulders formed during the ice age, the landscape feels like another planet. While there, take a tour of the iconic red and white lighthouse which is still in operation today, learn about the WW2 plane crash that happened on the island and swim in the clearest waters of the Marble Pools. The island is small enough to walk around on foot for the day. We spent around 4-5 hours there.
Hallö Island Lighthouse & Landscape
Swimming Locations Hallö Island - Marble Pools and WW2 crash site:
Evening - Hunneborstand: In the evening take a 30-minute drive from Smögen to Hunnebostrand, walk along the coastline visiting the annual summer sculpture exhibits before having dinner by the water.
Day 3 - Smögen to Käringön Island and Gullholmen, Dinner in Kungshamn
Getting to Käringön Island: Käringön is an island located in the Bohuslän archipelago and requires taking a ferry to reach the island. The public ferry terminal is Tuvesviks which takes 1.5 hours to drive from Smögen. The drive from Smögen to Tuvesviks is incredible, stop along the way at some of the viewpoints overlooking the fjords.
Views from the drive between Smögen and Tuvesviks Ferry Terminal:
Ferries depart from Tuvesviks daily every 1-1.5 hours (cost is 35kr each way) and the journey takes approximately 40 minutes to arrive in Käringon. In each direction, the ferry also makes a stop at Gullholmen Island (5 minutes from the Tuvesviks terminal), if you have time during the day, this is also worth a visit. Once on Käringon and Gullholman islands, they are is small enough to explore on foot for the day.
Things to do on Käringön Island:
Walk around the village
Swim in one of the bathing locations
Eat at one of the restaurants: There are a number of restaurants open in the summer months, for a more casual dish, try the Crêperiet, it is one of Käringöns most popular eateries, which offers both savoury and sweet crepes. Two of the more popular restaurants for a sit-down meal are Simsons Prästgård and Petersons Krog. We visited later in the summer season when not a lot of these restaurants were open and ate directly at the Hotel Käringön, which offered nice outdoor dining right by the waterfront.
Dinner in Kungshamn - Tant Anton:
End the evening a 10-minute drive from Smögen in Kungshamn for dinner at one of the top-rated restaurants in the area - Tant Anton, situated on the waterfront making it perfect for a late sunset. They do a tasting menu we'd recommend trying.
Day 4 - Smögen to Fjällbacka
Just over an hour's drive north of Smögen is the equally as picturesque seaside town of Fjällbacka, worth spending a day visiting. Start the morning with breakfast along the waterfront at one of the many cafe options. Be sure to try the local shrimp toast for breakfast.
Morning - Walk Kungsklyftan and Vëddo nature reserve
Kungsklyftan is located right in the centre of Fjällback, you'll see the signage for the steps which start the walking trail. It's a quick 10-minute hike from the centre of town uphill amongst massive boulders to the top of the hill. The viewpoint offers the most amazing views of the red beach houses in Fjällback & uninhabited rocky island coast
Vëddo Nature Reserve is a 4kms walk along the coast of a small island (accessible by driving 10mins from Fjällabacka) this was our favourite hike of the trip. There's also a small beach located on the reserve which had very clear waters perfect for swimming.
Evening - Dinner in Smögen at Göstas Fiskekrog
End the evening with dinner by the water at Göstas Fiskekrog, another great spot to watch the fisherman bring in their catches at the end of the day and for spotting seals in the bay in the late afternoon. Be sure to order the local Smögen shrimp and Swedish pickled red hearing.
End your trip by watching the sunset from the rocks by Kleven
We hope you enjoyed our summer travel guide to Smögen and the West Coast of Sweden. To see more of our other destination guides click here.
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