West Sweden

Unspoilt beauty in Europe’s most accessible natural wilderness


Unspoilt beauty in Europe’s most accessible natural wilderness

At Team Low Season Traveller we just love getting away from it all. We can’t get enough of exploring the globe’s hidden corners without the crowds and their accompanying sky high price tags. Well, we think we’ve found the perfect place for us. Västsverige. That’s what the Swedes call the western edge of their fair nation. Think open views of the sea, picturesque fishing villages, lush, silent forests, untouched natural landscapes, and cosy cafés filled with twinkling tea lights. You’ll feel like you’ve found a secret haven, all easily reachable from the region’s vibrant city of Gothenburg.

The stunning area thrives during a peak summer season when long days invite hikers to plateau mountains and families fill the coastal resorts. But outside of July and August you’ll find you have tranquil areas with lush woodlands, historic landscapes and medieval castles all to yourself.  November sees a school holiday rise in numbers and December is big for B2B conferencing and Christmas breaks, so low season travellers should consider January to June or late August to October. At these times you can grab amazing accommodation right by the sea and good rates on cycle or kayak rental while enjoying a gentler pace of life. Some tourist focused businesses may close down, but many remain open year-round allowing you to share your experience with folk who live and work there. Once the mass of summer holidaymakers are gone you’ll eat at local cafés, take fishing trips for lobster, meet the inspiring people working in architecture, art and theatre, and have an opportunity to really feel part of the community.

Waterways of West Sweden

Jaw-droppingly spectacular the Bohuslän archipelago stretches from Gothenburg all the way to the Norwegian border. That’s some 280 kilometres of the picture postcard rugged coastline and rocky outcrops that make up a kayaker’s dream. Take a fishing boat to explore the small islands and enjoy a delicious seafood lunch. A favourite spot in northern Bohuslän is Kosterhavet, Sweden’s first marine national park where seals, birdlife and many fish species frequent the deep fjord trenches. Inland the provinces of Dalsland and Västergötland boast thousands of beautiful calm lakes like magnificent Stora Le to the north. Or from Håveru, take boat or simply sit and watch the activity at the locks on the 250 km long canal that winds its way through the region.

Explore by Boot or Cycle

Whether you’re into independent day hiking or want to join a group of guided walkers or bikers, you’ll be spoilt for choice with the many beautiful trails that criss-cross West Sweden. These can be tackled in short sections or offer the challenge of lengthy routes to be enjoyed over several days. Favourites include the Kuststigen Coastal Trail with opportunity to swim at sandy beaches; the Pilgrim’s Path in wild Dalsland covering more than 100 kilometres of spectacular nature and historic churches; and the Gotaleden trail which directs hikers from central Gothenburg to Alingså, through verdant countryside like that of Delsjön nature reserve. Take your time and join locals foraging in woods for berries and mushrooms. Or check out the many farm shops, cafés, and craft markets in the small towns, each with their own history heritage, little museums and pretty wooden churches.

Low Season Months

Jul Aug Sep
Nov Dec

Featured Hotels

Top Experiences

Winter Kayak in Bohuslän Archipelago

Paddling the archipelago in low season takes you closer to the authentic Bohuslän and lets you be at one with wildlife, such as the harbour seals that now venture to the inner islets. Be aware of wind and waves, a package with a guide, food and accommodation is recommended.

Join a Seafood Safari

Venture into the calm, barren, windswept archipelago and add a little salt to your life, heading out to catch prawns, mussels, oysters, langoustines and lobster. If you love seafood, the West Coast offers the finest. Packages may include lighthouse visits or a glass of Prosecco on the jetty.

The Cranes of Hornborga Lake

The first of the dancing cranes to arrive at Hornborgasjön is a massively newsworthy sighting each spring with 30,000 of his friends due to join en route from Germany in the weeks following to perform their ritual antics. They return in autumn also, although in fewer numbers.

Insider Tips

  • Gothenburg falls within the Västergötland region, on the small portion of the province’s territory which fronts on the sea. It’s a major port, and Sweden’s second largest city. It’s a charming cosmopolitan centre with canals, museums, and beautiful parks.
  • Smögenbryggan is a popular pier 2 hours from Gothenburg. During summer it is filled with tourists enjoying the pretty boardwalk, little sailing boats and colourful cottages. But visit in April for a completely different experience, no crowds but beautiful clear days.
  • West Sweden has excellent food and drink producers with local traditions combining with innovative contemporary gastronomy to delight the foodie in you. Shellfish is go to delicacy with prawns, crabs, lobsters, mussels and oysters thriving in the cool, mineral-rich waters.

Good To Know

  • Fika. The most popular meal of the day. Everyone in West Sweden loves the coffee and cake break with Alingsås, near Lake Mjörn, known as Sweden’s fika capital. The small town is home to more than 30 cafés and has a tradition of bakers since the 18th century.
  • We love to visit eerie 19th century Vinga lighthouse in the November mist. Head for Gothenburg's outer archipelago and capture that standout Instagram pic of the beacon set against an empty, barren landscape laden with atmosphere.
  • On a cliff by Lake Vänern stands the splendid Läckö Castle, one of the most exquisite Baroque palaces in Sweden. With foundations dating from 1298, the castle boasts magnificent treasures and beautiful gardens, designed by British gardener Simon Irvine.

Food & Drink

Salt & Sill, Klädesholmen

This floating hotel and restaurant is based on the island of Klädesholmen, renowned for its herring history. The town boasts a herring factory and a herring museum and the restaurant carries on the tradition by creating gourmet pickled dishes and flavour combinations.

Musselbaren, Ljungskile

Really experience your food, by joining a mussel expedition aboard a 13 foot trawler and catch your own lunch from the huge mussel beds. Your catch is then lovingly prepared using classic accompaniments like local cream and extra mature Swedish prästost cheese.

Bjertorp slott, Kvänum

An elegant country house in the Art Nouveau style dating from 1914. It’s steeped in history with magnificent public rooms and grand gardens. The restaurant is similarly full of personality featuring delicious flavours, local ingredients, and an extensive wine cellar.

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