SWEDEN'S MOST BREATHTAKING PLACES
West Sweden - The perfect region for a road trip in the great outdoors
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Driving is a great way to experience the most breathtaking places in Sweden with its ever-changing scenery. From north to south, Sweden stretches almost 1600 km from the wilderness above the arctic circle in Swedish Lapland all the way down to the farmlands of the south. In between, you’ll find plenty of breathtaking views, picturesque cities, and scenic routes, all while enjoying the tranquil Nordic ambiance.
West Sweden, a less-traveled region is the perfect laid-back getaway. The landscape – which stretches from Gothenburg all the way up to the border of Norway – varies from rocky coastlines dotted with picturesque villages to open fields, vast forests and thousands of beautiful lakes. Sweden’s west coast is also home to no less than 8,000 islands. It’s, therefore, no surprise that this is one of Scandinavia’s best regions for outdoor activities. CNN Travel rightly named it “one of the ten great wilderness areas left in the world” and in 2017 AFAR named West Sweden to Europe's most Instagrammable road trip.
Start your Sweden road trip in Stockholm – the capital of Scandinavia with a car rental at Stockholm Arlanda Airport. How go get here? Check out SAS and Norwegian – the two airline companies both have several direct flights to Stockholm from plenty US airports departing every day!
Stockholm is the city where modernity meets tranquility. The many public buildings, palaces, museums, and scenic natural surroundings all tell the history of the 700-year-old city in a beautiful and unique way. A great way to spot and discover some of that history is in Old Town with the narrow cobblestoned alleys and since you have a car why not spend a day visiting some of the stunning castles open to the public around Stockholm? Sweden’s capital is filled with trendsetting restaurants, classic sightseeing like the royal palace and arty indie districts like Södermalm (SoFo) just waiting to be explored.
NEXT STOP: 4 HOURS & 39 MINUTES
Characterized by its deep forests, mountains, lakes, white beaches, and the Dalsland Canal, this is a place with beautiful views and a great place for outdoor activates when you need to stretch those legs. Enjoy fishing, paddling and moose sightings at Dalsland Moose Ranch. Why not stay at The Baldernäs Manson, a cultural and historical treasure dating from the 18th century with a modern hotel and restaurant of high class, overlooking the lake Laxsjön where you also can go for refreshing morning swim.
NEXT STOP: 1 HOUR & 21 MINUTES
3) KOSTER ISLAND
This is Sweden’s first marine national park in the Koster Sea and the Koster Islands; above and below the waterline some 12,000 species live here. This breathtaking part of the archipelago makes a perfect place for kayaking and hiking. As both islands, North Koster & South Koster, are basically car-free take the ferry from the town of Strömstad to reach them. Koster's Local Heritage Museum at Långegärde is a popular visitor destination where you can see and learn about life on Koster during the last few centuries. From the ceiling hangs a huge jaw bone from a blue whale that once beached in these waters, and they have even managed to find space for an old rowing-boat, fully equipped for fishing.
NEXT STOP: 29 MINUTES
Being on the west coast, famously known for its seafood, you have the opportunity to join plenty of unforgettable adventures and experiences like an oyster safari or a lobster catching trip in Grebbestad. Here restaurants like Everts Sjöbod offer an exclusive eco-friendly seafood experience where the menu varies depending on what the local fishermen (or you) catch. This fishing village is also one of Bohuslän's most popular seaside resorts where several interesting ancient monuments, such as a stone labyrinth and an ancient castle can be found. For those interested in history, Tanums Hede is located just a few miles away from where you can see exhibitions of rock carvings and the Bronze Age, the period of time they were created together with a Bronze Age farm which comes alive in the summer.
NEXT STOP: 1 HOUR & 20 MINUTES
Here you can mix kayaking with culinary experiences by paddling to Klädesholmen Island, a former fishing community. The houses here are packed like sardines, or herring as they say down here, as this humble fish was the mainstay of Klädesholmen and the entire Bohuslän coast for hundreds of years. And herring, as well as other delicacies are served in the several quality restaurants here.
Want to add some art to your journey? Paddle over to the village of Skärhamn for the Nordic Water Colour Museum and be mesmerized by the works of the artists on a show; including Salvador Dali, Louise Bourgeois, Anders Zorn, and Bill Viola. There is also Sculpture at Pilane, which showcases the work of world-leading contemporary artists in an ancient landscape and is nominated as one of Europe's 10 best sculpture parks.
Listed as one of the best boatels in the world, Salt & Sill Hotel can provide you with perfect accommodation at one of the West Coast's best locations. Its sea view provides you with an almost surreal closeness to the sea and they also offer you a splendid cuisine based on local raw materials and strong influences from the coast and ocean.
NEXT STOP: 49 MINUTES
Sweden's second-largest city has everything you need. Go on a shopping spree and explore small indie shops where local design meets global trends at the neighborhoods Magasinsgatan and Haga. Enjoy a stroll in one of the beautiful parks, visit The Garden Society of Gothenburg and their spectacular Palm House located right in the city center.
To find out more about the city’s rich history, take a tour with the classic boat Paddan and get a fantastic view of the city from through the many canals.
Gothenburg is also becoming known as the foodie gem of Scandinavia. Places like the market hall known as Fiskekôrkan (‘the fish church’) and restaurants like Michelin starred Sjömagasinet will give you firsthand experience of the region's famous cuisine.
Auto Europe is proud to have forged partnerships with industry-leading rental car suppliers throughout Gothenburg, including at Landvetter Airport to ensure you have the right car for your journey. To reserve a Gothenburg rental car, simply utilize the Booking Engine at the top of the page.
NEXT STOP: 2 HOURS & 26 MINUTES
7) SÖDERÅSENS NATIONAL PARK
After a bustling time in the city, what better way to unwind than a drive down to Skåne, the most southern region of Sweden, and paying a visit Söderåsens National Park. Here you can hike, bike and even go horseback riding. Its landscape dates 70-80 million years back in time and is characterized by soaring cliffs and precipices that plunge dramatically into rocky ravines to create dramatic scenery together with the deep, virgin forests that are unique in their kind. The National Park’s most known viewpoint, “Kopparhatten”, provides an amazing view over the valley that Swedish hikers refer to as “Skånes Grand Canyon”.
NEXT STOP: 1 HOUR & 26 MINUTES
8) ORESUND BRIDGE TO DENMARK & COPENHAGEN
What better way to end your road trip than driving across the outstanding Oresund Bridge that connects Sweden to Denmark and finish up in Denmark’s Capital Copenhagen! Be sure to schedule a day to explore the city before you return your Copenhagen rental car