Eight-day road trip along the Swedish coast (part 2)

A few weeks ago, I shared part 1 of this trip. I apologise for the long gap but I’ve been busy learning Swedish and applying for jobs. And both these are almost full time jobs to be honest!

So moving on from Helsingborg, on the fourth day we headed towards the Kullaberg peninsula and nature reserve. The main attraction here is the lighthouse which stands at the tip of Kullaberg. There are clearly marked hikes that start at Molle and take you all the way up to the light house. For people like K and me, who didn’t really have several hours to spend here, there is a nice parking a short walk from the light house. From the parking, trails lead you to the cliffs and beautiful sea views.

Our next destination on the trip was Gothenburg, Sweden’s second largest city after Stockholm. We were going to be spending two nights here and I had booked an Air B&B in the south-west of the city, near the famous Slottskogen park. This gave us the freedom to check out Gothenburg’s vibrant food scene in the evenings without having to worry about Mia. In Sweden, few restaurants allow dogs unless they have outdoor seating which in September can get a little iffy weather wise.

We reached the city in the late afternoon and after a quick check in, headed to the city centre for an early drink and dinner. The next day, we took the tram to Haga and had some delicious breakfast Cafe Kringlan. Later we also waked past the famous Cafe Husaren known for their giant-sized hagabullar (huge cinnamon buns)! We spent most of the morning sauntering down the small streets of Haga and exploring the quaint little shops.

We also wanted to visit the Feskekôrka, an indoor fish market known for its design and fresh fish of course, but also for the many restaurants located inside. Unfortunately, the building was temporarily closed for refurbishment.

Whilst in the city, we loved visiting the Trädgårdsföreningen, one of Europe’s best-preserved 19th century parks. It also houses a palm house with hundreds of species of exotic plants. The giant water lilies were simply breath taking.

For us, however, the highlight was the Nordic animals enclosure at the Slottskogen park where we saw elks for the first time ! This park is called the green lungs of the city with 137 hectors of forests and tracks.

Having spent two wonderful days in Gothenburg, we continued further north. The rest of the trip was primarily along the west coast and if I’m to be really honest, also the best part of the holiday! On the sixth day, we headed towards Smögen but not before stopping at a few places before that.

Just outside of Gothenburg, to the north is the beautiful Pilane sculpture park. Spread over 2 kms, this park has about 13 outdoor exhibits and Jaume Plensa’s Anna will simply take your breath away.

An hour and a half from Pilane, we stopped for lunch at the picturesque fishing village of Lysekil – a quaint old church, a small harbour and oodles of charm. What’s not to like! Given that we were visiting in the ‘low season’, most touristy restaurants were already closed for the year. However, we did find a small cafe near the harbour where we had some amazing grilled fish. When traveling outside of the season, it’s good to bear in mind that in most small towns and villages the choice of restaurants will be limited.

Our final destination for the day, Smögen, was about an hour from Lysekil. While researching the place, a lot of people wrote that Smögen was too crowded, noisy and touristy. So when I added it to our itinerary, i was a little apprehensive. However, what I saw when we arrived, was simply beautiful. I wouldn’t have wanted to miss it….even in summer! Oh well, maybe I liked it better because it was quiet and not busy at all?! As mentioned earlier, since we were traveling in September, the summer crowds had long returned home. While we had the town much to ourselves, it also meant that the shops and cafes along Smogen’s famous Smögenbryggan or boardwalk, were all closed! We enjoyed the walk along the most-photographed and colorful fishing huts and were able to saunter down instead of having to pick our way carefully.

Smögenbryggan in Smögen

Smögen is truly the quintessential west coast fishing village. It also boasts the country’s second largest fish auction. Fishing boats bring in their catches of fresh seafood to the auction house and these can later be bought at the local fish shops or enjoyed at the numerous restaurants. You will eat some of the best fish and shell fish here in the west coast.

While most of the town is pretty built up, there is a large side that has been left untouched. Rocky cliffs dominate the horizon and you can hike across several walking paths to find some glorious and hidden bathing spots! Not to mention the unrestricted views of sea and some of the most beautiful sunsets you will see.

To be really honest, one day was enough to ‘see’ Smögen. But we could have easily spent a day or two more just indulging in the charm. Alas, my planning was water tight and did not allow us any extra time on this trip! So off we went the next day with hopes to return again soon.

For our last stop in the west coast, I had picked the island of Väderöarna (also known as the Weather Islands), located 13 km off the coast of Fjällbacka. If I was to describe our visit to this island in one word, it would be MAGICAL! And in order to do it real justice, I will cover-off our visit to this rugged island in a separate post! I promise you I won’t take as long as this one to get to it.

(click on image to view gallery)

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