A Swedish staycation under sail
It’s an inspiring exploration of some little-known island gems that brings an altogether different perspective to the staycation handcuffs many of us have felt subjected to this summer, and it’s also a lesson in responsible travel under sail.
Niki lists 10 magical destinations on her own blog, so we thought we’d publish an extract to whet your appetite:
“The beauty of living in Sweden? When it comes to breathtaking scenery and great deserted swathes of nature you’re spoilt for choice. And, perhaps my favourite place of all is the Göteborgs skärgård (Gothenburg archipelago). Spanning over 280 kilometres of Sweden’s west coast – from the city of Gothenburg in the south to the Norwegian border town of Strömstad – the rugged coastline encompasses over 8.000 islands.
The dramatic scenery is dominated by deep grey granite rocks, which fade into pink as you travel north. Heather, fern and other hardy flora squeeze through cracks and crevices and warm rock pools swirl with critters and small fish. Little wonder CNN Travel referred to this region as ‘one of the ten great wilderness areas left in the world’.
This little car-free gem is well off the beaten track – and perfect for an afternoon adventure, especially if you’re staying on Sweden’s sixth largest island of Tjörn. Easily accessible by ferry, pack a picnic and explore some of the trails leading you through meadows, fairy-tale woodland and the cliffs to the ‘jättehöllera’ (great water holes). On the Southern tip, you’ll be rewarded with magnificent views over the Marstrand fjord and the islands of Åstol and Stora Dyron. Enjoy the atmosphere around the sheltered harbour before taking the path behind the pretty fishing huts and waterside cottages to a bathing place with a great diving board!
Where to eat / stay: There are no shops, restaurants or hotels on this island, however it is perfect for a day / afternoon adventure. Tjörns Havspensionat is situated just over the water in Rönnäng and makes a great base from which to explore Southwest Tjörn and Tjörnekalv.
Getting there: Take the Hakefjord ferry from Rönnäng jetty (although you can access the island all year round, the ferry goes more frequently in the summer months). Tjörnekalv is a request stop only – so make sure you tell the captain where you’re headed!
2: Stora Dyron
Many visitors opt for Marstrand, a haven for sailors and swimmers alike. This party island comes alive in summer with lively bars, great restaurants and boutique shops. It is indeed, well worth a visit, with its historic stone fortress, but if you’d like to experience a road less travelled – I absolutely love the island of Stora Dyron. Steeped in history from the Second World War and incredibly welcoming, this little island has so much to offer. Take the coastal trail made up of a series of wooden boardwalks which wind through staggering crevices and cling to the cliff edge before enjoying fresh seafood on the quay.
Where to eat: Tuck into fresh seafood whilst overlooking the bustling harbour at Trålverket or pick up a picnic from the ICA grocery store and enjoy it on the cliffs with views over the Marstrand Fjord.
Where to stay: Annika på Dyron – or rent a wonderful Airbnb on Tjörn and use it as a base to visit Stora Dyron, Tjörnekalv, Astol and other islands in the area.
Getting there: Take the passenger ferry from Rönnäng jetty on Tjörn.
Top tip: Cleanse your mind, body and soul at the Dyron public sauna. Perched on a section of the cliff with spectacular views over the sea, it’s available to book for a private party or shared with others. Needless to say, it’s extremely popular especially on colder days, so make sure you book well in advance!).
When to visit:
The Gothenburg archipelago has something to offer in all seasons – rugged, wild and deserted in winter, to a buzzing paradise in summer. Be warned that many shops and restaurants are only open in high season (Mid-June to Mid-August), but if you’re looking for solitude, an off-season visit might just suit you well.
The ever-changing weather is what makes this part of the world so dramatic. One day you’ll awake to bruised skies, the sea lashing against the stubborn, ancient rocks with great plumes of foam spewing from their crests. The next, you’ll be greeted with gentle waters, sparkling like diamonds, a faint ripple beckoning you in!”
To discover the other 8 island treasures, check out Niki’s full guide here at My Scandinavian Home
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