Tourists from all over the world flock to Sweden's west coast to discover the best islands in Gothenburg, which are simply brimming with unique rural charm, wind-cut landscapes and majestic sunsets. Many fascinating islands lie within a comfortable distance from Gothenburg, some even within the city limits. Others entail a more adventurous voyage out towards the horizon where craggy rocks, open waters and vast skies await.

    So what are you waiting for? Grab a map and find your own personal favourite! Just outside Gothenburg lies paradise on earth, whether you're on the lookout for pensive and enriching experiences in nature, wild swimming in salt water, picturesque fishing villages, art, culture or nightlife.

    1

    Orust

    Explore a large island with lots on offer

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    The large island of Orust is a popular summer destination for many Gothenburgers thanks to its charming coastal communities and many options for sun, sea, fishing and paddling. Orust is a good bit away from Gothenburg but visitors can make their way there on the same comfortable buses as the island's regular commuters.

    Among the most interesting villages with outdoor terraces and services are Hälleviksstrand, Ellös and Mollösund, which was once the largest fishing village in the whole province. There are 4 must-see landmarks in Mollösund: the lighthouse, the old lady, the church and the windmill. Orust is surrounded by boats and many different ferry lines, as well as popular and fabled islands such as the remote Käringön, the densely populated Gullholmen and popular Malö.

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    2

    Marstrand

    Walk around a fortress, among luxury yachts and along craggy paths

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    Marstrand close to Gothenburg is a Swedish summer paradise where everything revolves around sailing, the fortress, swimming and leisure. To get here, take one of the city buses or your car to Koön and then take a short ferry ride over to the car-free island.

    The actual town of Marstrand is characterised by its historic wooden structures, beautiful community buildings and picturesque cobblestone streets. From up on the hill, the majestic Carlsten Fortress looms over town, and is famous for being the prison where notorious Swedish thief Lasse-Maja spent 27 years in incarceration. Exciting trails will take you along the windswept rockface to destinations with thought-provoking names like the Eye of the Needle (Nålsögat), the Smugglers' Groove (Smugglarrännan) or the Skull Lighthouse (Skallens Fyr).

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    3

    Brännö

    Feel the beating heart of this bohemian island

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    The beloved island of Brännö offers salt baths, smooth and sun-kissed rocks by the water and cosy restaurants, but is known above all else for its warm and friendly inhabitants. Here the people exchange favours, tend to their homes and simply take each day as it comes. This jovial atmosphere also extends to the island's cafés and restaurants, guest houses and local museum.

    Head out towards the west and visit the uninhabited natural paradise of Galterö via the country road that leads there. Or set your sights on the ferry berth at Husvik and visit the famous Brännö Jetty where Swedes have been waltzing at sunset every summer for decades and decades. However, the fastest way to get there is by taking the ferry to Brännö's second ferry berth of Rödsten, departing either from Stenpiren or from Saltholmen.

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    4

    Tjörn

    Explore an extensive island and its bridges, artwork and history

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    Tjörn is big enough to house both gorgeous countryside and windswept coast as well as picture-perfect fishing villages. You can reach the island via the majestic Tjörn Bridges and then head towards the Pilane Sculpture Park.

    Each year, enormous outdoor sculptures are placed out on this beautiful landscape, attracting international attention and appreciation from art critics and ordinary folk alike. Tjörn is also known for the gorgeously located Nordic Watercolour Museum (Nordiska Akvarellmuseet) in Skärhamn and for the Sundsby Manor (Sundsby Säteri) with its cute café, pleasant park and walking trails. From the island you can easily reach other beloved islands of a more modest size such as Klädesholmen, known for its herring, and tiny Åstol, a volcanic island which emerges up from the North Sea.

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    Käringön

    Venture to the outer reaches of the archipelago and reap a rich reward

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    Käringön is a cherished and remote island in the Bohuslän Archipelago where you can truly become one with the sea and the forces of nature. The journey here is an adventure in and of itself. Begin by heading west towards Orust and then take a half-hour ride on one of the ferries which run all year round. Once there, you'll find a car-free and postcard-perfect island with century-old wooden buildings and smooth-cut bathing rocks.

    Käringön is relatively small – it takes just an hour to circumnavigate the island – but the wide range of bathing spots, restaurants and activities make it feel much larger. If you'd like to learn something on the way, take one of the digital guided walks around the island.

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    6

    Hönö

    Discover bare rocks and salt baths without travelling too far

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    Handy Hönö is perfect for a quick visit to the Bohuslän Archipelago with its shimmering rocks, cosy fishing communities and majestic bathing spots offering views out over the Kattegatt Strait. Buses depart from the city centre and roll straight on to the large yellow ferries at Lilla Varholmen before then setting off into the northern part of the Gothenburg Archipelago. They stop off at Hönö, Öckerö, Fotö and Hälsö where smaller passenger ferries are waiting to take visitors farther north.

    Once on Hönö, simply take your pick among the many pleasant bathing spots, like Lappesand, or head out on one of the gorgeous walks, such as the trail out onto the bare, craggy peninsula of Ersdalen. Then pull up a chair at one of the restaurants, such as those found in the fishing port of Hönö, where you can gorge on seafood and try the local flat bread.

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    7

    Smögen

    Enjoy an unforgettable combo of summer pulse and sea swimming

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    Smögen is an epicentre for summer residents in the Bohuslän Archipelago but also offers fantastic swimming spots with deep and fresh waters. The rocks are large, smooth and warm and in certain places they descend right into the sea.

    If you take the boat over to the neighbouring island of Hållö, you'll be able to enjoy a 20-metre view down into the amazingly clear waters of the so-called Marble Pool (Marmorbassängen), but even on Smögen it is possible to appreciate a seldom seen view of life under the water. Life above the surface, on the other hand, revolves around the long Smögen Jetty which is packed with restaurants, breezy flâneurs and real-life sailors. If you prefer not to travel over choppy waters, you can also make your way here by taking an 80-mile bus journey from Gothenburg which reaches the island via a bridge at Kungshamn on the main land.

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    8

    New Älvsborg Fortress (Nya Älvsborgs Fästning)

    See Gothenburg and its port from a whole new perspective

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    New Älvsborg Fortress (Nya Älvsborgs Fästning) is not just rich in 400 years of history, but it's also the perfect place to look out over the impressive entryway to the Port of Gothenburg. This large military installation is located on an island, and the half-hour-long boat journey to get there will take you through large parts of Gothenburg, making it an experience in and of itself.

    In the summer time, boats carry visitors from the city centre to the island several times per day. Eat your packed lunch on the ledge of the wall or buy a snack on site. The dramatic guided tours on offer tell stories of war and imprisonment and are completely free of charge. And what was that they said? Could there really be a secret tunnel to the fortress which stretches under the water?

    أوقات العمل: Opening hours vary depending on the season

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    9

    Styrsö

    Discover an island with picturesque alleys and craggy rocks

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    Styrsö is unique among the Gothenburg islands in its variety, offering everything from bathing spots to viewing points and fishing villages to mini-forests. Because Styrsö is the main island of the southern archipelago, there are plenty of boats coming in and out of its berths. Departures mainly operate from Saltholmen although it is sometimes possible to go straight from Stenpiren in the city centre. There is also a bridge over to the island of Donsö which, just like Styrsö, offers a wide range of things to do, even in low season.

    No matter which island you visit, you'll be free to choose between the busy harbours or heading out into a gorgeous craggy landscape with wet meadows to discover. If you don't feel like walking then take the ferry to the busy and distinguished Styrsö Bratten where everything is round the corner.

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    10

    Vrångö

    Visit an archipelago paradise with sandy beaches and dramatic vistas

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    Vrångö is the southernmost of the large Gothenburg islands and home to winding trails which will take you down to sandy beaches, natural landscapes and open views of the North Sea. Take the fast ferry from Saltholmen and enjoy some great views of the local boating life and many other well-known islands, such as Brännö and Styrsö, along the way.

    Vrångö is home to a number of permanent residents as well as a few small hotels and eateries, but it is also car-free and has a stunning nature reserve with unique flora. Around 60 different bird species nest in the area and if you're lucky you may spot some seals down on the southern islets.

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