From the sandy beaches of Halland to the bustling city of Göteborg and the rocky shores of Bohuslän, the Swedish west coast has long been a summer playground for Scandinavians.
The west coast of Sweden, generously dotted with beaches and fishing villages, is 400km (250 miles) of glorious coastline divided in two by the city of Göteborg (Gothenburg). It has been a favorite holiday spot since the early 20th century for Swedes as well as Norwegians. The beaches are on the southern province of Halland. North of Göteborg, in Bohuslän, is a majestic coast of granite rocks and islands.
The E6 connects all larger cities, but you should choose the small coastal roads to discover the gems. Starting along the coast in the northwestern corner of the county of Skåne, a number of small towns offer views into the past.
Gamla Viken, 15km (9 miles) north of Helsingborg on Highway 22, is a picturesque fishing village.
Torekov, at the tip of the next peninsula, has a sea side golf course and boats to the island of Hallands Väderö, where you can spot seals basking offshore.
Related: Shellfish Safaris in West Sweden
The Halland Coast
Halmstad, the larger town in Halland and Sweden’s ‘golf capital’, lies on the river Nissan. Halmstad Castle, the provincial governor’s residence, was built in the 17th century by the Danish king Kristian IV. In front of the castle is moored the old sail-training vessel Najaden, built in 1897.
Other sights include St. Nikolai, a 13th century church. Tylösand, 8km (5 miles), west of Halmstad, is a popular holiday resort with a predominantly sandy beach and two golf courses. There are good beaches at Östra Strand, Ringenäs and Haverdalsstrand.
Falkenberg, 40km (25 miles) north of Halmstad, is on the Ätran, a river famous for its salmon. The old part of the town with the 18th-century wooden houses and cobbled streets is centered on the 14th century St. Laurence Church. There is an old toll bridge (tollbron) from 1756 and Sweden’s oldest pottery, Törngrens Krukmakeri, run by the Törngren family since 1789).
Related: Summer on the Swedish Coast
Good beaches are found at Olofssby (north of the town and Skrea Strand (south of the town).
Continue 30km (19 miles) north of the E6 to Varberg, a bustling place combining spa, resort, port and commercial center with a ferry service to Grenå in Denmark. Varberg Fortress stands beside the water and houses a youth hostel, restaurant, apartments and a museum.
Pride of place goes to the Bocksten Man, the only preserved figure in the world wearing a complete costume from the Middle Ages. Reminders of Varberg’s late 19th century development as a spa-resort, include Societetshus (1883), an elaborate wooden pavilion in the park, and a bathing station (1903), a rectangular wooden structure open to the sea, with changing huts and deck chairs round the site. After a quick plunge in the pool, bathers can relax over coffee and waffles.
Feature image (on top): BohusMalmön. Photo Lukas vastsverige.com
A Summer Playground for Scandinavians, written by Tor Kjolberg