March 30, 2016 | West Sweden
The latest selection of new holiday ideas, travel news and events in Gothenburg and West Sweden – including a new three-day cruise along the Bohuslän coast, a new guided fika tour in Alingsås, a new cultural cycling trip with Salt & Sill, and a new stand up paddling package on Gothenburg’s waterways, as well as Way Out West’s 10-year anniversary.
Gothenburg Green World – a whole year of green experiences
Scandinavia’s leading parks are investing heavily in a joint green project this year, Gothenburg Green World, which promises a full programme of events and fantastic exhibitions for every season. The city has a great variety of green spaces and gardens – from 18th century parks such as Gunnebo, historic city parks like The Garden Society of Gothenburg (with its unique Palm House) and Gothenburg Botanical Garden (ranked among the best in Europe) to the newly-created Jonsered Gardens (Jonsereds trädgårdar).
Hipster street art project introduced in the city
Artscape is an international street art project which officially begins in Gothenburg this summer, bringing eye-catching art to the local people. There will be numerous international artists participating, creating inspiring pieces of public art on buildings dotted around every district of the city. The artists will start to paint in July this year and will aim to finish their pieces in August.
‘Way Out West’ music festival’s 10th Anniversary, 11 – 13 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 – which is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year. Held in Gothenburg’s centrally-located Slottskogen Park, the festival will see a fantastic line-up which includes Jamie XX, Sia, Seinabo Sey, Massive Attack and PJ Harvey. 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 £149 pp, including access to all Stay Out West gigs. Visit www.wayoutwest.se/en.
AirDine – the new Airbnb for food lovers
AirDine is a brand-new innovation from Gothenburg that invites users to dine in people’s homes. The social app encourages those who would otherwise probably never meet, to get together and have a great time over food. AirDine transforms every home into a little restaurant. Hosts make money and meet new people, while guests get to socialise and enjoy great home-cooked meals. The app was made available to download from App Store in Sweden in late February and should be available worldwide at the end of 2016.
Stand up paddling through Gothenburg’s waterways
From May until September, visitors can discover the beautiful Säveån waterway and all of Gothenburg’s river channels by riding a stand up paddleboard from Partille, just outside Gothenburg. You’ll weave past cosy boathouses in Gamlestaden and continue along the river Göta älv, all the way to Lilla Bommen in the city centre. If you’re lucky enough, you might also spot fish, seabirds and beavers, so don’t forget to take a waterproof camera with you. The trip takes around two to three hours and costs £43 pp (490 SEK). Call +46 031150103 (www.paddlagbg.se).
New guided fika tour in Alingsås
In Swedish culture, fika is simply part of everyday life and means a coffee and cake break with friends. The Café Town, Alingsås, has a flourishing fika culture and is known for its authentic history of long-established cafés and bakeries, which date back as far as the 1700s. Today, the town is renowned as Sweden’s café centre with around 30 cafés, three of which are in the prestigious White Guide Café guide. Join a guided fika tour (1.5 hours) through Alingsås, learn about the old Swedish tradition of fika and experience the enviable Swedish lifestyle. The tour includes visits to two cafés which are listed in the White Guide: Ekstedts Bakery & Café and Nygrens Café. Guests will also get to taste cinnamon buns, truffles, pastries and cookies, and to take a little goodie bag of samples away with them. The tour costs £29 pp (330 SEK) and is available every Saturday at 11am from 2 April until 29 October.
New three-day cruise along the Bohuslän coast – from £630 pp with Stromma
On this new three-day cruise, guests stay aboard the classic Göta Canal boat M/S Wilhelm Tham, which dates back to 1912 and still has all of its delightful original features. This is the first time the boat has cruised along the west coast of Sweden (rather than the Göta Canal) and will enable guests to experience the picturesque journey between Gothenburg and Grebbestad (and vice versa). There will be stop-offs at the ’quarantine island’ of Känsö, the mythical lighthouse Vinga, Gullholmen (one of Bohuslän’s oldest fishing communities), Smögen (the heart of Bohuslän), the island of Marstrand (which has become Sweden’s great sailing centre), and Fjällbacka, where the world-famous author Camilla Läckberg’s detective novels are based. The new cruise costs from £630 pp (two sharing) and includes two nights’ full-board accommodation on the boat, all excursions and coach transfers. Gothenburg to Grebbestad sailings are available on 13 & 20 August, while sailingss from Grebbestad to Gothenburg are available on 16 & 23 August. Flights extra. Call +46 031806315 (www.gotacanal.se/en/cruises/west-coast-cruise).
New biking break plus the Nordic Watercolour Museum – from £148 pp with Salt & Sill
Salt & Sill – Sweden’s first floating hotel, on the island of Tjörn (otherwise known as ‘Herring Island’) – is offering a brand-new cycling package, combining cycling with great local food (in particular herring) and visits to the Nordic Watercolor Museum and Sculpture of Pilane. The Nordic Watercolour Museum is the first European venue to host the new animation exhibition, Disney’s ‘Art of Storytelling’ (until
4 September), showcasing original drawings and watercolours from the early films of Walt Disney Animation Studios. Sculpture of Pilane is one of Sweden’s most beautiful cultural landscapes, where modern sculptures are subtly mixed with traces from the Stone Age and Viking Age. The one-night package costs from £148 pp (two sharing) which includes a night’s B&B at Salt & Sill, a three-course dinner, entrance to the Nordic Watercolour Museum and Sculpture of Pilane, bicycle hire for one day and map. Call +46 304 673480 (www.saltosill.se).
Witness 10,000 dancing cranes
Witness the breathtaking display of 10,000 cranes dancing around Lake Hornborga (until mid-April), one of Europe’s most important wetlands. The birds ‘dance’ as part of a mating ritual in search of their life partner, flying in from Spain to their traditional breeding grounds. Every year, the lively dance steps of the resting cranes attract crowds of spectators. Stay nearby in Hotel Andrum’s tree-houses, Seventh Heaven and Andrum, with private balconies for star-gazing and breakfast with sparkling wine hoisted up in a large basket every morning. Guests can also combine this with a tasting of delicious local cheeses on a nearby tour, which ends with a delicious cheese buffet. A one-night stay costs from £167 pp (1,950 SEK), two sharing. Call +46 10 2245010 (www.hornborga.com).
Indulgent crayfish safari weekend in Smögen – from £185 pp with Hotel Smögens
Treat yourself to a unique culinary weekend this spring at Smögens Havsbad. Start with a tour of the fish market, where guests will get to know all about how crayfish are caught and how a fish auction takes place. Then set out to sea with a local fisherman on a crayfish safari (three hours) before enjoying a feast on your very own island, where the fisherman will cook your catch and pair it with other local goodies from a picnic basket. Once back at the hotel, indulge in an exquisite three-course supper, perhaps after relaxing in the hotel’s soothing spa. This trip costs from £185 pp (two sharing) including one night’s B&B at Hotell Smögens Hafvsbad, a tour of the fish market, the crayfish safari, a three-course supper and use of the spa and fitness centre. The crayfish trips are available every Saturday from now until 17 September. Call Hotell Smögens on +46 523 668450 (www.smogenshafvsbad.se).
Nordic Championships in Oyster Opening, 6 – 8 May
Spring in West Sweden marks the arrival of the oyster season, when the delicacies are at their most divine, thanks to the cold, fresh coastal waters. It’s also time for the Nordic Championships in Oyster Opening (6 – 8 May), held in Grebbestad, where 90% of Sweden’s oysters grow (90 minutes’ drive north of Gothenburg). Watch contestants race to shuck 30 oysters at impressive speeds and present them to the judges in the most attractive way – then feast on seasonal seafood to your heart’s content.
Dalsland Canoe Marathon, 13 August
This summer, why not take on the challenge of the annual Dalsland Canoe Marathon, Sweden’s largest canoe event, which takes place on Saturday 13 August? Paddle the 55km route, crossing sparkling lakes and waterways; all ages and abilities can take part. For the first time this year, there will be a new relay race where a team of four each take turns to paddle a section of the race. Registration costs from £59 pp (700 SEK) for adults and £17 pp (200 SEK) for juniors (12 – 18 year olds).
Hike or run West Sweden’s Bohuslän coast – from £137 pp with Icebug Xperience
The Icebug Xperience (2 – 4 September) is a three-day, 80km outdoor expedition in the stunning region of Smögen in Bohuslän, West Sweden. You can choose either to walk or run along a scenic path, weaving through sparkling pink granite rocks, whilst experiencing fantastic views of the sea’s horizon. The challenge is for all abilities, and competitors can enjoy delicious locally-produced food and stay at charming accommodation along the way. The race is split into three stages and guests can choose between three packages starting from £137 pp (1,600 SEK). Flights extra. Call Icebug Xperience on +46 031 81 70 90 (www.icebugx.com).
Holidays to West Sweden are available through numerous specialist tour operators, including Discover the World, Green Traveller, Inntravel, Nature Travels, Magnetic North Travel, Off The Map Travel, Simply Sweden, Sunvil 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).