West Sweden’s best wild swimming spots

23/11/2016 14:23

Written by Bradt Travel Guides

The rugged coastline of West Sweden may not immediately scream 'beach' to you, but miles of unspoilt golden sands, crystal-clear waters and the occasional private creek may just convince you to take the plunge. Here are the best places to give in to the temptation:


Koster, Sweden © Goran AssnerBeaches aplenty on this pretty island off Strömstad © Goran Assner

The rural island of Sydkoster, off the Bohuslän coast, boasts one of the best and biggest sandy beaches on the entire west coast. Its two main settlements, Ekenäs and Kyrkosund, are separated by a long and totally unspoilt stretch of sandy beach, perfect for a quick dip. Additionally, to the west, Långevik bay is a great place to snorkel - with oysters, hermit crabs and species of flat fish all at home under the sea.


Läckö slott, Sweden © Roger BorgelidThe fairy-tale castle of Läckö slott is another major attraction to Lake Vänern © Roger Borgelid

At the northernmost point of the Kinnekulle region, lies Hällekis, a charming little place with a smattering of timber houses from the late 1800s though outside the centre several unlovely buildings remain from the town’s heyday as a concrete manufacturer. However, the coastline to the west of the village is fabulous and you’ll come across several little beaches where you can take a heavenly dip in the warm waters of Lake Vänern.


Vrångö, Gothenburg archipelago, Sweden © Västgöten, Wikimedia CommonsWith an otherwise rugged landscape, you may be surprised to find that Vrångö has the best beaches of all the islands in the Gothenburg archipelago © Västgöten, Wikimedia Commons

On Vrångö's west coast, you’ll find countless small creeks and inlets which are perfectly suited to swimming and sunbathing. Alternatively, the northern trail leads from the ferry jetty to two of Vrångö’s other beaches: the first, opposite the islet of Skarholmen, features a large grassy area (great for picnics and barbecues) and a glorious sandy strand. The second beach, Vättna, a little further on, boasts an even larger stretch of perfect golden sand.


Hållö, Sweden © Jonas IngmanHållö's granite rocks have a distinct pinky colour, and are perfect for picnicking © Jonas Ingman

Smögen’s best bathing is found on the tiny island of Hållö, where smooth rocks replace sandy strands. Hållö, which has been declared a nature reserve, is composed of flat granite rocks scraped smooth by the retreating ice during the last Ice Age. The best of all the beaches is the exceptional Marmorbassängen, located on the island’s western shore, where the water is turquoise blue and exceptionally clear and the surrounding rocks bear a distinct pinky colour.

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