Europe > Nordic countries > Sweden > Götaland > Västergötland > Gothenburg Archipelago
- Brännö - This island is quite easily accessible with the two stops Brännö Husvik and Brännö Rödsten, so you can get here with the ferry lines 282 and 283. The island is equipped with a supermarket and a restaurant/hotel, the Brännö värdshus (website in English). There is also a lookout point on the hill on top of the island with amazing views of the archipelago. If you're into a longer hike: Brännö is connected by bridge with the uninhabited island of Galterö, you can easily get there following a hiking path. The nature there is very well-preserved and beautiful. You shouldn't walk too far, though, as the westernmost part of Galterö is used by the Swedish military.
- Styrsö - On Styrsö there are three ferry stops: Bratten, Skäret - which is closer to Donsö, and Tången. The first two stops are generally served by ferry every hour during the week, less often on the weekend. Next to the "Bratten" ferry stop, there is also a restaurant and cafe called Båtebacken (website only in Swedish). The best part of Styrsö are the bays on its south coast, though. Styrsö is surrounded by a hiking trail, so make sure to hike this tour if you want to see some of the best sceneries of the archipelago. The coastline there is really picturesque and worth a swim. Skäret is the closest ferry stop to this landscape and can be reached with line 281.
- Donsö - On Donsö there is a short nature trail in the southeast of the island. Right at the ferry station, there is a bigger ICA supermarket (M-F 09:30-19:00, Sa 09:30-14:00 and Su 11:00-14:00). Donsö is connected to Styrsö with a bridge. Ferries generally run every hour during the week and less often on the weekend.
- Vrångö - Ferries to/from Vrångö generally run every hour during the week and less often on the weekend.
The archipelago is most easily accessed from Gothenburg. Take tram 11 (or 9 in summer) to Saltholmen, and then one of the Styrsöbolaget ferries to Styrsö, Köpstadsö or any of the other islands. Three ferry lines are in operation all year: Saltholmen - Vrångö (Line 281), Saltholmen - Brännö Husvik (Line 282) and Saltholmen - Brännö Rödsten (Line 283). The time tables are (like trams) searchable on the Västtrafik web site or phone app.
The same ticket you used for the tram is also valid on the Styrsöbolaget ferries (if you board within 90 minutes). The tram is packed with people on sunny summer days, especially when the 9 doesn't run, and going by car isn't better since you are unlikely to find a parking place. The ferries, however, usually make extra tours such days. Additional parking is available close to the Långedrag tram stop which is about 1.3 km from the ferry terminal and costs 15 kr/24 hr.
There's a resident population on most islands, so ferries run all year. Private cars are not allowed.
Bicycles are free of charge on the ferries provided there is enough space.
Most of the ferries also have places to sit outside, which can be nice, provided the weather is too. They even have a little shop onboard selling coffee and ice cream.
As cars are banned on the islands (with some exceptions for the post offices, supermarkets, etc.) locals mainly use bicycles and mofas to get around. As mentioned above, it is possible to bring your bicycle with you on the ferry from Göteborg. On Brännö, you can also rent bicycles at the Rödsten ferry station on Brännö year-round. During high season, bikes are also available at other locations.
- 1 Koster Islands (Kosteröarna) (10 km (6.2 mi) west of Strömstad. Connected to Strömstad by ferry.), ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. One of the sunniest places in Sweden with long sand beaches. It consequently doesn't come as a surprise that Koster Islands a well-visited tourist hotspot with plenty of bars, restaurants and hotels. Kosterhavet National Park was the first marine national park in Sweden. The areas brackish water and mild climate has popular among many rare species of animals and plants, including one of only two coral reefs in Sweden.
- 2 Vendelsöarna, Vendelsöarna (Located in Varberg Municipality. Connected to Stavder on the mainland by ferry). A group of islands which have been pastured for centuries, creating an open landscape which is a popular breeding space for several different bird species. Most of the area is protected as a natural reserve.
- 3 Väderöarna (Weather Islands) (Off the coast from Hamburgsund, Tanum. Ferries are available from Hamburgsund and Fjällbacka), ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. A part of the archipelago designated a natural reserve, with a large colony of seals. The local inn offer food and accommodation.
- Simply enjoying nature
Even though the three biggest islands, Dönsö, Styrsö and Brännö each have a supermarket and a restaurant, you can not always count on those being open, especially on weekends. As the islands have a lot of great picnic spots, it might be a good idea to bring some food bought in Göteborg. Also, due to the transportation costs, supermarkets on the islands tend to be slightly more expensive than usually in Sweden.
The island of Brännö has its own microbrewery: Brännöl. This is a word joke, as ö means "island" in Swedish, and öl means 'beer". The bottle has a beautiful label and can be a good souvenir. Also, it is pretty unique as you can only buy the beer on Brännö island. The two spots to get it are either the restaurant (Brännö värdshus) or the supermarket on Brännö. Because of the alcohol restrictions in Swedish supermarkets, the version from the supermarket has a lower alcohol content than the version in the restaurant, so they are in fact different beers.
Don't swim too far out, as there is a lot of boats passing through the region and they might not always see you.