Sweden has been on my to-do list for some time. It was a place I knew little about, but every photograph I had seen was the perfect picture, and I can confirm it is just that. We travelled from Gothenburg airport to Fiskebäckskil (about an hour and 40 minutes’ drive) surrounded by green fields, passing quaint houses and villages. Upon arrival at our destination, it was exactly as I imagined, the wooden, brightly painted houses on the waterfront looked like they were taken from a postcard. The air was fresh and eye-wateringly windy. The perfect escape from the city.
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We visited Fiskebäckskil, an old fishing village
Fiskebäckskil is an old fishing village so it was unsurprising we were greeted with fish soup at Brygghuset, no doubt picked from the water we looked onto. Everything about the food, our surrounds and the smell was authentically beautiful, it was like stepping back in time. We checked into Slipens Hotel, a small boutique hotel located in the 100-year-old shipyard. Slipens has just 12 rooms each designed with a different personality with a special history overlooking the harbour – what more could you ask for?
West Sweden is all about the water which is why I couldn’t wait for the opportunity to kayak along Bohuslän’s coastline. After being taught the basics of the sport we hit the water. The kayaking gave the best view of the village, passing people in their summer homes and working on their boats as we glided (struggled) with our ores. We ventured out from the harbour into the sea’s opening, the water getting choppier. After working up a sweat we took a break and tucked ourselves at the side of the coastline out of the force of the current. Our instructor had hidden coffee and cake away in her kayak and shared it around the group. We ate whilst still balancing on the water in our kayaks – a highlight of the trip.
West Sweden is all about the water
If water sports aren’t your idea of a relaxing holiday you can still experience the water with less physical exhaustion. On our second day in West Sweden we headed out to sea on a mussel-safari. I had never eaten a mussel or an oyster so I was a little apprehensive about the day. We headed to our fishermen Lars and Adriaan’s private island where we cooked and ate our catch nestled away on the cliff side with the cold sea air blowing against our eating area - my first-time oyster eating couldn’t have been more perfect and will be difficult to live up to.
Being a fisherman for the afternoon was tiring, the sea air took its toll so our evening plans were exactly what we needed. We headed to Gullmarsstrand, a hotel situated on a jetty overlooking the island and bays of the fjord Gullmarsfjorden. We couldn’t have been closer to the sea.
The hotel’s décor was Scandinavian heaven. It’s clean aesthetic and wooden detailing was the Swedish experience I had been looking forward to and it was just about to get even better. Gullmarsstrand’s pièce de résistance is its spa, with a 38-degree outdoor swimming pool elevated from the sea, I was starting to see why Swedes were so fresh faced and, well, happy. We spent the evening sat in the heated pool looking out to the sea, windsurfers put on a display in the distance. If the pool became too hot we cooled down in the freezing temperatures of the Gullmarsfjorden. Swedish heaven.
We took a break at a spa in Gullmarsstrand
Following our relaxing retreat we headed back to Gothenburg. Still in West Sweden the small city is on the water edge with Dutch style canals meandering through the streets. Gothenburg’s atmosphere wasn’t like any other city I had experienced - it was calm, had vast open spaces of green and felt fresh.
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The hotel’s décor was Scandinavian heaven
Our base was the Comfort Hotel, looking onto Gothenburg’s harbour, located conveniently between 2 bridges connecting Gothenburg mainland to Hisingen Island, it is the perfect spot to see the city and its surrounds. Full of hidden gems - café’s in hidden courtyards and fish markets - Gothenburg’s food offering is never ending so you’re guaranteed to go home full.
The easiest and 'Swedish' way to see all the sights of Gothenburg is a Paddan sightseeing tour. The boat meanders through the city’s canals and passengers must duck as the boat glides underneath Gothenburg’s many low bridges and out into the harbour. The city’s history combined with the picturesque scenery from the river beats a city bus tour any day!
The food was second to none
Your stay in Gothenburg has to be concluded with dinner at restaurant Sjömagasinet. Michelin starred and located on the small Klippan harbour looking out to sea, it is as perfect as it sounds. The food, unsurprisingly, was second to none and the sound of the water against the harbour was soothing. Sweden really knows how to relax.
For more information on West Sweden and Gothenburg visit westsweden.com and goteborg.com. Fares from Birmingham to Gothenburg with bmi regional cost from £88 one way and include 23kg baggage, allocated seats and 30-minute check-ins. For more details visit www.flybmi.com .