BOHUSLÄN: A PARADISE FOR KAYAKERS

Fjällbacka, Bohuslän
Per Pixel Petersson/imagebank.sweden.se

A SWEDISH NATIONAL TREASURE

Known as a Swedish natural treasure, the Bohuslän Coast stretches from Gothenburg, all the way to Norway, a total of around 280 kilometres of stunning coastline, perfect for a sea kayaking holiday.

The rocky coast of Bohuslän with its remote outer archipelago and sheltered inner islands, is known as one of the most beautiful areas for sea kayaking in Europe, and with its varied landscape it perfectly suits beginners and more experienced kayakers alike.

Along the way, you will find crystal clear waters, an abundance of gorgeous beaches, majestic rock formations sloping down to the sea, and picturesque fishing villages neatly nestled amongst a vast archipelago of over 8,000 islands, islets and skerries. You can swim in sheltered coves, cook on an open fire and fish from the rocks.

'A PARADISE FOR KAYAKERS' - CNN TRAVEL

cnn travel

CNN Travel recently named Bohuslän coast as a 'paradise for kayakers', due to it's sheltered coves, unspoiled natural beauty and abundant wildlife. It also named it as one of the top 10 last great wilderness areas in the world.

lonely planet

Lonely Planet also describes Bohuslän Coast as 'Dramatic, stark and irrepressibly beautiful', and in a way far more eloquently than I ever could, James Kay (Lonely Planet) writes; 'Drifting across the mirror-still surface of a shallow bay in Kosterhavet, Sweden’s first national marine park, the reason why the Bohuslän Coast beguiles visitors becomes as clear as the water barely stirring beneath the kayak'.

bradt travel guide

Bradt Travel Guide describes Bohuslän Coast as 'one of Sweden's most enchanting and alluring regions'.

Långeskär, Bohuslän
Henrik Trygg/imagebank.sweden.se

A VARIED, UNIQUE LANDSCAPE

What makes Bohuslän Coast such a perfect destination for your sea kayaking holiday, is the varied trip which it can offer. Head west towards the outer islands of the archipelago for a rougher, challenging but rewarding trip or stay within the sheltered inner archipelago for an easier trip, which offers it's own reward of drifting, silently among the many sheltered islands and coves which line the coast.

Bohuslän Coast offers solitude, along with an opportunity to spot some of the abundant wildlife which can be found along the coast and islands. Alternatively, for a more lively scene, head towards Fjällbacka which is one of the larger fishing villages in the area, Here you can find some fantastic restaurants among the traditional red wooden buildings and fishing huts. Don't forget to try the seafood which Bohuslän coast is so famous for.

Bohuslän landscape is unique in Sweden with it's unusual colouring of the rock - pink. Known as Bohus Granite the smooth, weathered rocks found between Fjällbacka and Lysekil bear a distinctive pink hue which glow with warmth during the spectacular sunsets which can draw close to the long Swedish summer days.

 

 

BOHUSLÄN WILDLIFE

If you are interested in wildlife then Bohuslän Coast is a fantastic place to spot a diverse range of animals both on land and underwater. Kosterhavet is Sweden's first marine national park and the only place in Sweden with a coral reef. It famously has over 6000 species in the waters around the Koster islands alone. With snorkeling trails setup under water, you can easily look out for painted goby, the Baltic prawn, cockles and hermit crabs along with the other thousands of species in this underwater paradise.

Of course you do not have to snorkel to see the fantastic wildlife which can be spotted all along Bohuslän Coast. Below are just some of the animals, which with a keen eye, you can spot along the coastline and islands.

Common Seal
Charles J Sharp

COMMON SEAL

The rich sea life along Bohuslän Coast not only attracts tourists but also hungry seals. Common Seals inhabit the waters of Bohuslän Coast and are often spotted resting on rocky shores, sandy beaches and mud flats. They are known to swim up stream into large rivers and fjords when in pursuit of prey but will generally be spotted resting on the granite rocks or bobbing around in sheltered harbours. They often follow kayaks, purely out of curiosity.

Common Seals feed upon fish, mainly herring, cod, flatfish, sea bass, anchovy, menhaden, sand eels, gobies, hake and whiting. They will also occasionally feed on squid and shrimp.

White-Tailed Eagle
Yathin S Krishnappa

WHITE-TAILED SEA EAGLE

Not easy to spot but always easy to identify due to there sheer size. The white-tailed sea eagle - also known as the sea eagle or white-tailed sea eagle - is a huge bird and are Sweden’s largest bird of prey, 70-90cm long with a wingspan of up to three metres with broad wings up to 245 cm wide.

They are most likely spotted when in flight, sea eagles hover over water, plucking fish from the surface with their strong talons and often eating them in flight. Any fish which is close to the surface will become food for the Sea Eagle. They will also eat other birds, mammals and often scavenge, pirating food from other seabirds.

Great Cormorant
Andreas Eichler

GREAT CORMORANT

Watching the Great Cormorant dive is a fascinating sight and what better way is there to observe it than sat at sea level in a kayak. Another one of Sweden's large birds, which is found all along Bohuslän Coast. Cormorants are generally gregarious, nesting in colonies, gathering in flocks and often also hunting together in groups.

They feed almost entirely on fish, which they catch by diving from the surface, chasing their prey under water and seizing it with the hooked bill. They can typically dive to a depth of around 10 meters. They also eat small numbers of crustaceans and marine worms.

After a long day fishing they are often seen drying their wings on the smooth granite rocks by spreading their wings out to the sun.

Moose
Ryan Hagerty

MOOSE

More likely to be spotted along the roadside when travelling to the coast but it is hard not mention the moose when writing about Sweden. In fact, there are more Moose in Sweden per square kilometer than any other country in the world. The Summer population of Moose in Sweden is estimated to be 300,000–400,000 individuals. 

Moose is the largest of all the deer species. They reach 170 – 210 cm height at shoulder. Bulls weigh weigh 380 – 850 kg and cows weigh 200 – 360 kg.

Their diet consists of both terrestrial and aquatic vegetation. During Summer when food is plentiful they typically feed on herbs and leaves. During Winter they survive on shrubs and buds from Pine trees.

 

 

FISHING VILLAGES

You can find quaint fishing villages dotted all along Bohuslän Coast, each with their own unique characteristics and charm. One of the great things about paddling Bohuslän Coast is exploring these hidden gems.

They are ideal places to stop for a look around the surroundings, take a dip in the sea and sample the delicacies of the sea. Freshly caught fish, crabs, crayfish, oysters, lobsters, mussels and more are on sale, either straight from the many fishing boats or from the quaint traditional wooden restaurants, often found in the harbours of these pretty little fishing villages.

Below are some of the highlights which can be found along the coast.

Smögen, Bohuslän
Bengt Nyman

FJÄLLBACKA

Fjällbacka is a small fishing village in Tanum and a favourite to start any kayaking trip in Bohuslän Coast, due to it's central location and position near the best of Bohuslän Coast.

The resort takes its name from the large rock mountain that characterizes the village. The old Fjällbacka turns beneath the mountain to the sea, while the newer buildings located on the fields towards land and on the mountains. Offshore, Fjällbacka archipelago rests and all the way out to the west is where the Weather Islands are located. Fishing, shipping and trade was formerly important industries which today has been replaced by manufacturing and tourism.

Fjällbacka is best known for the books by crime writer Camilla Läckberg, all set in this idyllic seaside community, and the fact that our perhaps best known actress ever, Ingrid Bergman, spent her summers here.

GREBBESTAD

Grebbestad is a village along the coast and one of Bohuslän's most popular seaside resorts. As in so many other places in Bohuslän, fishing and seafaring has in the past been significant industries, and even today there are still several fishing trawlers left in Grebbestad. In fact Grebbestad is famous for producing 90% of Sweden's oysters. Fresh fish, shrimp, lobster and of course oysters can be enjoyed in most of the restaurants in Grebbestad.

Grebbestad and the surrounding area offer a wide and varied range of activities and sights. The resort has many ancient remains from the Iron Age.

Langoustine at Grebbestad, Bohuslän
Henrik Trygg/imagebank.sweden.se

SMÖGEN

Smögen is located as close to the sea as you can get. It is best known for its long picture perfect wooden pier, the Smögen Pier, which runs along the side of its old fishing harbour. During the summer months this is one of Sweden’s most popular visitor destinations, with a large range of shops, cafes, pubs and restaurants. The Pier has something for everyone.

Smögen is also home to one of one of a small number of Swedish fish auctions, where the local fishermen’s catches are auctioned – a fantastic experience for anyone interested in seafood! As soon as the boats dock, their catch is unloaded and taken straight into the auction. Next door, private individuals can buy fresh fish or shellfish; or you can delicacies from the sea in one of the many restaurants in the harbour.

HAMBURGSUND

Hamburgsund is a village in Tanum and is located both on the mainland and the island Hamburgö. In the village there is a large proportion of the older buildings still stand in the form of boat houses and old residential buildings.

Hamburgsunds marina is quiet and family friendly, close to the city center and the range of restaurants and shops. One part of the marina is located on the mainland and the other on the island Hamburgö.

Hamburgsund and the surround areas are full of history. Don't be surprised if you come across a Viking ship, whilst paddling in the surrounding waters, as just south of Hamburgsund is a replica Viking village. Here you can also find the ruins of Hornborgs castle perched high on the cliffs, a worthwhile stop off point if you are interested in history.

Fjällbacka, Bohuslän
Henrik Trygg/imagebank.sweden.se

HUNNEBOSTRAND

The coastal community Hunnebostrand belongs to the municipality of Sotenäs, dating back to the 13th century. For much of the 20th century, this was one of the main centers for the Swedish stone industry. Nowadays, during the summertime there is a thriving resort with a wide range of shopping, restaurants, nightclubs and attractions. Hunnebostrand has something for everyone!

At the stone hut museum you can try life as a stonemason together with skilled professionals. Here a living museum building has been built to show how it was possible to break Bohuslän granite in the past.

LYSEKIL

The first thing you notice about Lysekil are the amount of boats scattered around the surrounding archipelago. Around Lysekil, these tend to be pleasure craft rather than fishing boats, as the surrounding islands with their beautiful smooth rocks in red Bohus granite offer a fantastic location for boaters and kayakers alike.

Lysekil is one of the more attractive areas for swimming. The area has a large number of bathing areas and beaches.

There are plenty of areas around Lysekil with protected paths to paddle between the islands and in the fjords, and the amount of boats dotted around mean you are never too far from someone, making it a nice place for beginners to explore.

 

 

BOHUSLÄN MAP

Below you can find a map of Bohuslän Coast highlighting just some of the best places you can stop off at on your visit to this beautiful coastline.

To download a high quality version .PDF click here.

Photo Credits:

Per Pixel Petersson/imagebank.sweden.se, Henrik Trygg/imagebank.sweden.se, Malin Skoog/imagebank.sweden.se, Bengt Nyman, Benreis.

Image Credits:

Freepik