The breeze picked up as we took ferries to the islands. Gothenburg Archipelago is actually made up of two, the northern archipelago and the southern archipelago. An archipelago means that it is a cluster of islands. My mom, doggie, and I ventured to the northern archipelago since you can take a car on the ferries. The southern archipelago is car free! So, the only way to get there is by taking a ferry on foot or with a bicycle. As the ferry neared the first island, boulders popped out of the water. Scattered on top of the rocky ground are houses. I kept thinking, “How can you have a garden?” But as we hiked around, we found an area with a lush forest.
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All troubles washed away as we arrived to the first island. It was amazing seeing how close the houses are and some of the places that they have houses on the stoney ground! I mean, we saw one that was on a rocky cliff and in the yard, was a car parked on a very steep side. This Gothenburg archipelago has 10 main islands. Personally, my favorite is Rörö. There’s a nature reserve and it’s gorgeous! Below are the islands we had a chance to visit! Learn more about them here!
Menacing clouds took over the sky as we made it to this island. We found the Öckerö hamncafé (port café) before the rain pelted down. The Ö in Öckerö means, island in Swedish. This is the main island and has over 3,000 inhabitants year-round. Back in the Viking age, these 10 islands were owned by Norwegian kings. One of the kings had built a house on Öckerö since he had his navy there most of the time in the 13th century. But, sometime in the mid-1600s, it became Sweden’s islands.
The feeling of this town was friendly but small, especially for being the largest island. We were in awe as we drove through the town and began to picture life on an island. This town has great places for fishing and feels welcoming to tourists!
I took a quick left and followed a sign. We had no plan here, so we will see where we end up. The clouds began clearing and we made it to a church with a cemetery that was well maintained and felt more like a garden. Connected to the cemetery is a hiking trail that leads you into a beautiful forest. The paths are flat and nicely taken care of. We walked through this maze of trees and found hidden gems. It brought us to the shoreline and a grill out spot. There were wild roses spread out and other wonderful wildflowers. A tranquil feeling washed over me as we hiked. What a magical place!
This is the island from the northern Gothenburg archipelago to go to for outdoor activities like scuba diving and kayaking. Hönö is one of the more popular islands because of the activities, restaurants, and shops it has.
The seagulls squawk and fly through the sky claiming this area as home. I look at the clear water and can see the bottom near the shoreline. This is a great place to see for the swimming spots. They have diving boards, towers, and bridges. When it’s summertime, this island can get pretty busy and it’s in the middle of the other islands. There are over 600 locals on the island and you’ll get to see the scattered houses across the stony island as you get to it.
We stumbled upon a nature reserve as we drove around Rörö. It is such an enchanting place with its rocks spread out on grassy lands. You don’t have to walk too far from the entrance to find a pristine sandy beach with water hitting the rocks effortlessly. They have sheep and other farm animals lingering on this land. Be considerate and close the gates after yourself. This island, by far is my favorite! I felt like we had drove into a story where a new adventure was waiting for us to begin our journey! If you love nature, then this is maybe the right island for you. There are many trails through its nature reserves and the land is almost treeless making it an interesting wilderness to see!
With fishing galore and great swimming places, it’s no wonder people would gladly visit this island. Towering above in the northern part of the island is a mountain that you can wander up and take in the view of a fortress in the distance. Or enjoy a relaxing swim on some of the nicest beaches. You can check out Tjolmen, the popular beach on the southern side of the island. There’s even a great spot for paddling in the western side of the island!
Grötö (car-free island)
Kalvsund (car-free island)
Hyppeln (great place to hike)
Källö-Knippla (old Bohus buildings)
You can learn more about these islands at Gothenburg’s website.
Explore the islands that are car free, making it a great getaway from the bustling streets of a city. Listen to the water lapping on shore and just relax. The delicious smell of cook food wafts in the air as you walk near some of the restaurants and stores. You’re in for a treat, the food here is amazing! Plus, there are beautiful views in almost every turn. Check out some of the nature walks or just enjoy swimming or fishing in this Gothenburg archipelago. These islands are nice to visit to help to disconnect from stress in a daily life.
The smell of newly bloomed flowers overtake the air. As we hiked in nature, wildflowers were in abundance. They were spread across the grassy areas showing their colorful hues as the wind picked up. We visited Gothenburg archipelago in the Summertime. So, we saw several colors of flowers and seeing that the islands had a lush green to its nature. Spring is another great season to come! But it’s best to come late in spring. That’s when the flowers begin blooming and the new life in the wilderness is waking up from its slumber. The coldness isn’t as bad. So, mother nature is actively beginning new life within the outdoors.
The 10 popular islands can be reached by ferries that transport cars, busses, and bikes on highway 155 to Hisingen/Öckerö and the Lilla Varholmen ferry terminal. This can take up to 25 minutes or so. It depends where you get on and off. Many of the islands are connected by ferry. The two car ferries are free to use! Which makes it a lot easier to venture to the islands with a car.
Check out more and make sure that the rampaging virus hasn’t affected the time schedule of the ferries or buses for your trip. You can find it here at Västtrafik.
Since the southern archipelago is car-free, you’ll get there by ferry. There are two different boat terminals you can take. There’s Saltholmen or Stenpiren Travel Center. Styrsöbolaget company is in charge of all boat traffic to the southern islands. You can take these all year round and it works like any other transport system. So, tickets used on buses or trams also work on these boats. You can take a bike with you if there is space. Otherwise, it’s not allowed.
The Stenpiren ferry all the way to Vrångö will take around 1 hour and 40 minutes. But check the schedule. This ferry departs only twice a day. From central Gothenburg, you can take the Saltholmen ferry. If you visit during the peak season, the ferries run more often. They can go every hour to the larger islands. Styrösbolaget has a time table to help you see when the ferries are going. Its in Swedish, so have a translator in your search bar so you can switch it over to your language. You can check that out here.
Walking, bicycling, bus, or tram are you’re best options for venturing to the southern islands. But if you have a car, there are three choices of where to park before you wander onto a ferry. There is Saltholmen visitors parking lot, but that’s rarely empty. That leaves two other options, Långedrag and Hinsjolmen. These two places you can take a tram to get to Saltholmen (where the ferry is). Don’t forget, you’re tram ticket works for the ferry as well!
You can take a bus to the ferry terminal and begin journeying to the islands. There is Röd Express (Red Express) from the central station and then there’s bus 24 that’s from Hjalmar Brantingsplatsen. There are even buses that go to Hönö island. Take bus 290 or 291 from Nils Erisson terminal. But be prepared, it makes a lot of stops on the islands since locals and other tourists use it.
A great way to plan your trip with the public transport system is making a travel plan. You can do that on Västtrafik Travel Planning.
There are places to rent a bicycle on Hönö and Björkö if you’re wanting to cycle around. You can take a bus or just ride on the ferry to the northern or southern archipelagos. If you’re venturing out in the summertime, it’s best to reserve a bike beforehand.
If you want to find out even more information about these beautiful islands, then check out Gothenburg’s website. There you can find out about activities happening or some of the things that you can see on each island.
Within the bustling streets, is a hidden gem. Near the middle of the city is Gothenburg Botanical Garden. This is one of the best botanical gardens in Europe. Venture through 430 acres of land and take in plants from all over the world! Learn more about the Gothenburg botanical garden here.
If you’re an outdoorsy person like me and you love trying new things, then check out Adventures in Sweden. It breaks down a lot of the different kinds of activities and outdoorsy things you can see. Learn about National Parks, Nature Reserves, canoeing in Sweden, and several other outdoor activities and the wilderness in Sweden. Check it out here!