From seafood feasts devoured atop rocks to the gourmet Gothenburg experience, here’s how to spend a spring stay in West Sweden
What do kayaks filled with hidden cakes, mussel safaris at sea and fried herring stalls have in common? They can all be found in West Sweden, the scenic location of foodie dreams. Offering far more than just flat-pack furniture and a Lagom lifestyle, this down-to-earth destination is pure culinary gold.
From tiny village restaurants filled with local specialities to Gothenburg’s city hotspots brimming with both Michelin-star dishes and some of the freshest fast food in Europe, there’s plenty of ways to eat your way across this spring. And if the food doesn’t get your attention, the landscape certainly will.
Idyllic island life
Endless coastline peppered with rocks, picturesque villages filled with quaint little houses, roads surrounded by sprawling forests and glossy lakes – Sweden’s wild west is a postcard-worthy place. Adventurers should first hasten their way to the numerous idyllic islands for a real taste of fresh air, where the 170km coastline stretches from Gothenburg all the way up to the Norwegian border.
A must-visit for those looking to rest and rejuvenate, the peaceful fishing village of Fiskebäckskil offers visitors an escape from reality. Tucked away on the edge of the water, either wander through the rows of immaculate houses to admire the bright wooden buildings and boats, embark upon a kayak tour to explore the island via paddle or simply hire a bike and cycle your way around one of the many trails.
Alternatively, hop on the ferry to the nearby town of Lysekil to try a mussel and oyster safari – where brave foodies can hitch a ride on a local fisherman’s boat to embrace the salt and spray (raincoats are essential) before feasting on the glorious bounty for lunch afterwards. Forget the fine dining – you’ll devour the freshly prepared catch in deckchairs with outstanding sea views instead.
Where to stay
When it comes to Fiskebäckskil’s Scandi-centric accommodation, Slipens Hotel offers a stay with personality. This boutique hotel prides itself on creating ‘a place for stories, old and new.’ Each of the 12 individual rooms have been decorated in the style of different local characters, whether it be historical fishermen, formidable ladies or famous blacksmiths. When it comes to the bespoke interiors, think modern, sleek and ultra-comfortable. You’ll almost want to stay indoors just to admire it all.
Alternatively, if you’re in search of a Swedish spa experience, Gullmarsstrand Hotell & Konferens is ideal. Positioned overlooking the water, this light and airy lodging is excellent for a few days of tranquility in simple yet suave surroundings. Must-tries include a visit to the on-site sauna, spa and heated outdoor pool – plus a dip in the ocean for those brave enough.
Spa treatments here range from Japanese skin exfoliations to hot stone massages, as well as facials and hair treatments. Post-pamper, pull up a pew at the Gullmarsstrand’s gorgeous restaurant for a meal filled with seasonal dishes (and equally drool-worthy ocean views). Feast on glazed lobster, Swedish duck, baked rhubarb and plenty more.
Going gourmet in Gothenburg
Once you’ve had your fix of rustic relaxation, head to Gothenburg for a dose of culture and sophistication. The second largest of Sweden’s cities, this vibrant metropolis is filled with fabulous fish markets, excellent public transport and a charmingly laid-back atmosphere.
There’s plenty to do during a stay here, but foodies should make a beeline for the Saluhallen Market Hall, a fantastic food market that dates back to 1874 and offers produce from across the region. Stop by the Feskekôrka fish market hall (nicknamed by locals as the ‘Fish Church’ due to the building’s shape) for row after row of gleaming options.
Alternatively, catch a tram to the old district of Haga to stroll along cobbled streets whilst sampling the wares of artisan shops and cafes. Another must-see is the Linné district – a trendy area filled with cool bars, hidden courtyard eateries and bohemian style venues. If it’s nature you’re after, the city’s botanical garden is one of the largest in Europe, with over 2,500 roses alone to admire as well as a giant greenhouse.
Where to stay
The clue’s in the name – Comfort Hotel Goteborg is an ideal base to your city adventure. The 72 rooms are modernistic with fun decor, combining traditional architecture and contemporary facilities. Situated within easy reach of the city’s main attractions, it’s a mere walk or tram ride away from your next pitstop. There’s also an on-site gym, bar and restaurant for added amenities. Should you prefer something with a designer edge, make a booking at Clarion Hotel Post – a former post office turned sleek design hotel.
Where to eat
There’s no shortage of edible adventures here. Gothenburg’s coastal location means it boasts access to some of the very finest fish and shellfish, as well as seven Michelin-starred restaurants. The award-winning Sjömagasinet, found nestled next to the Klippan harbour is especially good and offers everything from three-course dinners to fun cooking courses with Head Chef, Ulf Wagner.
As well as fine dining, Gothenburg has an array of more causal bistros, cafes and wine bars. Book a table at Restaurant Gabriel in the famous fish market hall to sink your teeth into the catch of the day whilst people watching the perusers below you. For food on the move, try one of the many food trucks dotted around the city. From ceviche and pulled pork to fried herring and vegetarian delights, tastebuds are spoiled for choice.
Spring also makes the perfect season to visit one of the city’s many culinary events, where tourists and locals alike can enjoy everything from a Beer And Whiskey Fair (April 6 – 7) to a Wine & Deli (April 20-21) festival. Talk about living the Swede life.
Make it happen
• Fly from Birmingham from £88 one way. All fares are inclusive of 23kg hold luggage, complimentary drinks and snacks on board, allocated seating and speedy 30-minute check-ins. See www.flybmi.com to book.
• Ready to start the adventure? Visit www.westsweden.com and www.goteborg.com for more.