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Gothenburg and West Sweden - Summer 2013

10th April 2013 Print

The latest selection of inspirational new holiday ideas and travel news from Gothenburg and West Sweden – including crayfish parties on the archipelago, new canoeing weekends in Dalsland, the Way Out West music festival and relaxing summer escapes.

Summer foodie traditions

The Day of the Herring, 6 June

Swedes go crazy for herring, especially on Sweden’s west coast where it’s an important part of the region’s history. Locals started to make a living out of it a thousand years ago – and, between the 1500s and 1800s, fishing communities started to emerge and flourish. Celebrate The Day of the Herring (a national holiday in Sweden) in Klädesholmen - known as ’Herring Island’ because 40% of Sweden’s herring comes from there. Tuck into a herring lunch on the pretty harbour and take a tour of the herring factory or a heritage walk around the island. Arriving 6 June, B&B at the Salt & Sill floating hotel costs £148 pp (two sharing), including a traditional herring lunch and a delicious three-course dinner right on the water’s edge.

Midsummer Eve, 21 June

Take part in a very Swedish tradition by marking the arrival of summer on Midsummer Eve. After the country’s dark winters this National Day, with its long, light-filled hours, is much celebrated. Maypoles are raised in villages and everyone tucks into a Midsummer feast, including pickled herring, boiled new potatoes with fresh dill, soured cream, red onion, fresh strawberries and schnapps. One of the best places to spend Midsummer Eve is at the delightful coastal guesthouse Villa Sjötorp, in Ljungskile. Devour fresh strawberries on the terrace, take a stroll along the shore to watch the Maypole dance at Victoriaparken in Lyckorna and then indulge in a gourmet three-course Midsummer dinner. Arriving 21 June, B&B and a Midsummer dinner costs £164 pp (two sharing).

Crayfish parties on The Weather Islands, 17 August to 22 September

Sweden’s summertime crayfish parties are one of its greatest traditions. Unfortunately they are usually private affairs – but not at Väderöarnas Värdhus guesthouse on The Weather Islands. Here, visitors have the chance to catch the seafood delicacies fresh from the ocean before a big crayfish feast is cooked up, accompanied by schnapps and traditional Swedish drinking songs. Guests can enjoy hot tubs by the sea, kayaking and relaxing walks, too. Available from 17 August until 22 September, the trip costs from £269 pp (two sharing), including one night’s B&B, boat transfers to the islands from Fjällbacka, lunch and a crayfish party.

Summer sporting and music events

Canoeing weekends in Dalsland, 31 May and 28 June

Spend an energetic weekend perfecting your paddling skills in scenic Dalsland’s lake district (an hour’s drive north of Gothenburg). Led by expert kayakers, Christian Dietz and Oscar Ahlgren, the course is suitable for all abilities, offering professional advice on the best technique, nutrition and equipment. Participants can even learn how to prepare for the Dalsland canoe marathon (10 August). Kicking off at 5pm on 31 May or 28 June, the weekend course costs from £348 pp (two sharing), including two nights’ full-board accommodation at the Hotel Dalia.

Stena Match Cup, 1-6 July, and Lysekil Women’s Match, 5-10 August

Witness the Stena Match Cup from historic Marstrand Island in July (a 45-minute drive north of Gothenburg). Over 100,000 visitors gather on the cliffs and quaysides of this picturesque island setting to follow these gripping yacht races which attract competitors from the Olympics, World and European sailing championships. Or head a little further north to the coastal gem of Lysekil for another sailing spectacular in August - the world’s biggest match racing competition for women, the Lysekil Women’s Match. Visit or

Way out West music festival, 8-10 August

Some of the biggest names in music will once again take to the stage at one of Europe’s leading festivals - Way Out West - held in Gothenburg’s centrally-located Slottskogen Park. The line-up includes Solange, Azealia Banks, Haim, James Blake, The Knife and Alabama Shakes, with more A-list acts to be added. The eco-certified festival also sees eclectic ‘Stay out West’ performances at clubs and culture hubs around the city. A three-day festival ticket costs £195 pp, including access to all Stay out West gigs. Visit

Dalsland Canoe Marathon, 10 August

Take on the challenge of the annual Dalsland Canoe Marathon, Sweden’s largest canoe event. Glide along the 55km route, crossing sparkling lakes and waterways. All ages and abilities take part and there’s a well-deserved crayfish party for participants afterwards. Registration costs from 600 SEK (£62) pp.

Dreamy summer holidays

Family coastal cottage escape – from £900 pp with Simply Sweden

Spend a blissful summer holiday with the family on Sweden’s west coast, exploring its archipelago of 8,000 islands. Stay on Tjörn Island (a 50-minute drive north of Gothenburg) in your own beautifully-decorated cottage, offering panoramic views of the ocean. Enjoy swimming, boat trips, kayaking and sun bathing and sample top-notch cuisine at the nearby Taste of West Sweden-accredited Salt & Sill restaurant, overlooking the water. A seven-night stay costs from £900 pp (four sharing), including flights (London), car hire and accommodation for four. Valid for stays from 22 June to 18 August.

City and coastal exploration – from £2,359 pp with Solos Holidays

Take in some of the greatest highlights of Sweden’s west coast on this relaxing group tour. Experience the museums, restaurants and independent coffee shops of Gothenburg, a Camilla Läckberg crime fiction tour of Fjällbacka fishing village, a crayfish party on the untouched Weather Islands and a cycle trip around the UNESCO World Heritage listed Vitlycke museum. Departing 24 June or 12 August, the trip costs from £2,359 pp, including seven nights’ B&B, three lunches, four dinners, flights (London), transfers and an array of added extras, including guided tours.

Two-centre lake and city stay – from £1,099 pp with Off the Map Travel

Combine the buzzing city of Gothenburg with the glittering lakes and dense forests of Dalsland (an hour’s drive north of Gothenburg). Take in all that the city has to offer, including the quaint canals, outdoor café culture, intriguing food markets, design shops and impressive museums. And then move onto Dalsland’s lake district, a wonderful outdoor setting for wild swimming, horse riding, kayak paddling and elk safaris. The trip costs from £1,099 pp (two sharing), including three nights in a traditional red lakeside cottage, two nights at the Elite Plaza Hotel in Gothenburg, car hire, a horse riding trip and a guided kayak trip.

Relax along the iconic Göta Canal ¬ – from £71 pp at Norrqvarn guesthouse

Stretching from Gothenburg to Stockholm, the Göta Canal is a historic landmark in Sweden that includes 66 locks, as well as rivers, vast lakes and, briefly, the Baltic Sea. In West Sweden, the canal runs between the region’s largest lakes – Lake Vänern and Lake Vättern. Enjoy a calming canal cruise, set off on a cycle trip, hire a canoe and see the canal at water level or simply stroll along the canal path and marvel at this man-made wonder. B&B at the Taste of West Sweden-accredited Norrqvarn guesthouse costs from £71 pp (two sharing).

For more information about visiting West Sweden and Gothenburg, go to and

For an insider’s guide to events and experiences in West Sweden, follow the latest blogs at

Holidays to West Sweden are available through numerous specialist tour operators, including Inntravel, Solos Holidays, Best Served Scandinavia, Black Tomato, Discover the World, Nature Travels, Off The Map Travel, Original Travel, Seasoned Travel, Simply Sweden, Sunvil Discovery and Taber Holidays.

West Sweden can be reached by a short two-hour direct flight to Gothenburg with British Airways (Heathrow), Ryanair (Stansted and Edinburgh), SAS (Heathrow), Norwegian (Gatwick), British Airways/Sun-Air of Scandinavia (Manchester) and bmi regional (Birmingham – from 13 May 2013).