On our surprise visit to Gothenburg, we weren’t sure what we were in for, but when I think of Sweden, I think of snow, ice, lots of coastline and gorgeous views. And our little excursion to Gothenburg didn’t disappoint either. Even though we were there on some of the shortest days of the year, the temperatures were not that low (mid-30s), and which encouraged us to be outside more than in.
We like cities, but we’d rather be out in the countryside, where the real people live so we took the jeep and headed out of town to see what the countryside of western Sweden had in store for us.
Plenty to outside of Gothenburg no matter what time of year. Here’s our top pick for four excursions to do from the city.
Excursions from Gothenburg
Number One- Marstrand
Marstrand is a quaint little coastal town with a pretty impressive fortress guarding it. The Carlsberg Fastening took over 202 years to build, and it still is provides and imposing presence over the town. Pastel houses in blues, greens, and yellows line the docks between the two islands.
The island that the fortress is on doesn’t allow cars, so you must take the walk on ferry to go. I enjoyed watching all the locals pull their shopping trolleys to the other side to prepare for the night’s dinner. Along with visiting the fortress, there are plenty of walks and a few cafe’s to enjoy in Marstrand as well.
Number 2 -Ride the Ferries and Island Hop
Just jump on the ferry with the grocery delivery truck and the mail as they go from island to island on the Northern Archipelago. Not since living in Alaska and traveling to many islands in the bush, have I seen such sparsely inhabited places. Unlike Alaska, all the communities are easily accessible all year round.
The Swedish ferry system is efficient and best of all…free! We drove south to Lilla Varholmen where we took the first ferry to Öckerö. From there we drove a couple of scenic kilometers north to Burövägen (just Burö for short on the schedules).
And then we wanted to explore some of the really small islands and went to Källö Knippla and Hyppeln as well. We did all this in a matter of a few hours. The ferries were running, the mail was being delivered, and the supply truck was bring Sprite to the masses, but the whole day we saw three people on the two small islands.
If the people live there, they were probably working, but nothing except the grocery store was open. To circle any of the islands (by car) and take as many photos as we wanted, it only took 20 minutes and we were back at the ferry.
Number Three – Hönö
Walk around the port of Hönö and have a great lunch, mainly because it’s the only thing open on the entire archipelago. Hönö was bustling, though. We were not the only day trippers looking to get out of the city, braving the wind to find a warm little café or shop to idle away the hours in. In fact, there were at least five open cafes there. We ate in one that was half decorating and flower shop and half lunch café. Our lunch came with complimentary coffee and a homemade truffle. Yum!
Number 4 – Kungälv
Bohus Fastening, another fortress, and the town of Kungälv are worth an afternoon excursion as well. The wooden buildings are not only beautifully painted and decorated with antiques or in our case, Christmas decorations, there were some great restaurants and plenty of small boutiques to wander around.
The fortress was built in 1308 and never fell to its invaders. Tourists love the old stone dungeons and casements and the fortress hosts some important events around National Day, and in the summer a great medieval festival.
After jumping the ferry and heading to Gothenburg, we had to figure out what there was to do during the first week of January. We had a blast ferrying to various islands and exploring western Sweden. Last minute travel can be wonderful.