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Made up of 8,000 islands, the rugged Bohuslän Archipelago is regarded as one of the world’s great wilderness areas. If you enjoy fresh seafood or sea kayaking, it’s paradise.
As part of my West Sweden road trip with Volvo to promote their cool Overseas Delivery Program (free trip to Sweden anyone?), Katie and I spent a few days exploring these beautiful islands & their quaint fishing villages.
Stopping in the picture-postcard fishing village of Smögen first, we wandered around colorful little houses perched on pink granite boulders beside the sea.
West Sweden Road Trip
Hiking trails cover the entire area, and after a giant fresh shrimp sandwich for lunch at Hållö Bar we explored the rugged landscape on foot.
This village is a big tourist attraction in the summer when the weather is good. We spent the night at a beautiful old historic hotel called Smögens Havsbad.
Smögen’s pier is lined with quirky little shops and seafood restaurants. Families just pull their sailboats up and pay a fee to spend the night. Sailing is a popular pastime in Sweden. It seems everyone has a boat of some kind.
Sea Kayaking The Coast
Next we moved on to the Swedish town of Lysekil in the morning, meeting up with Torbjörn & Cathrine from Nautopp Seakayaking. They geared us up with high-performance sea kayaks for a day of touring the dramatic coastline.
Sea kayaks are long and skinny, designed for paddling through rough ocean chop for long distances. Much different than the short whitewater kayaks I’m used to. However the waters around Lysekil are well sheltered by a network of islands, making the sea relatively calm.
The morning was filled with paddling past pink granite islands, stopping on one for a tasty lunch of oily mackerel and dark coffee. Swedish style. For dessert? Fresh oysters!
A local oyster farmer invited us over to watch him dive and harvest his catch, giving us samples of his prized product. Let me tell you, raw oysters can’t get any fresher than that unless you eat them underwater. Yum.
More Fishing Villages
Once our kayaking adventure was over, we hopped back into our Volvo V40 and drove South to Fiskebäckskil, another former fishing community turned tourist attraction. The drive included a scenic ferry ride from one island to another.
Checking into The Gullmarsstrand right next to the water, we were too tired from kayaking to do much other than stuff our faces with more fish at their restaurant. That was followed by sitting on the docks to watch a colorful sunset.
With a full-time population of only 400 residents, Fiskebäckskil gives you a glimpse of what rural fishing life on these islands must have been like many years ago.
The small islands and villages that make up the Bohuslän Archipelago are relaxing, but can be adventurous if you want them to be. It was a nice change of pace from the previous few days in the “big” city of Gothenburg.
Island hopping around to check out the laid-back lifestyle, local fishing culture, and watersports of the Bohuslän area was a very good idea. It was easily the most scenic leg of our West Sweden road trip too.
Location: Smögen, Sweden
Accommodation: Smögens Havsbad & The Gullmarsstrand
Activities: Nautopp Seakayaking
Useful Notes: Nautopp offers guided day or overnight sea kayaking trips, but if you’re more experienced, just rent boats and a map from them to head out exploring on your own.
Suggested Reading: Lonely Planet Guide to Sweden
READ MORE TRAVEL STORIES
Have you eaten raw oysters? What about kayaking? Let me know in the comments below!