The Western Archipelago can be reached by ferry from Gothenburg and many points along the Bohuslän coast. For landlubbers and boating enthusiasts alike nearby Marstrand Island, and its more northerly neighbour Åstol, are both good introductions to the archipelago. Marstrand is the yachting and racing centre of the west coast, with a large guest harbour, some excellent restaurants and Carlsten fortress on a hill overlooking the island and out to see. Åstol is much smaller, with a smaller harbour, and typifies many aspects of the west coast island with its charming, uncrowded and unhurried atmosphere, just a single one shop, a B&B and a smokery with live music; what else!
Back on the mainland, Smögen is a picture-postcard-perfect town with Sweden’s longest boardwalk and a half-mile stretch of brightly coloured sea huts selling lip-smacking prawn sandwiches. It also offers a beautifully situated harbour and all the amenities of a small Swedish town. If you are eating out – go for the seafood. Just off Smögen lies Hållö Island with its pink granite rocks and crystal clear waters making it an ideal place for swimming, water sports. Explore the wildlife in the nature reserve too. Reached by ferry from Strömstad, the Koster Islands are part inhabited and part stunning nature reserve, and lie at the centre of 450 square kilometers that form Sweden’s first marine national park. The islands are also reputed to be the sunniest in Sweden. Well worth a visit, for the walking and cycling alone.
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