I visited Western Sweden as part of my Scandinavian road trip. We didn’t research or plan for this day, but just landed where the car led us. We were lead to ancient ruins and drawings, mysterious monoliths and medieval towns. This area has history from as far back as the bronze age. Historical markers are indicated with square daisy signs and we spent our time randomly visiting as many as we could fit into our day. We started driving from Gothenberg, Sweden and slept in Oslo, Norway. Here is some of the interesting things we saw along the way and a map to get you oriented.
A seaside town on the Göta älv River, we mainly just walked around exploring the shops and grand boulevards. The neighborhood of Haga is a cute place to sit in a coffee shop and take a traditional Fika, or coffee break. Sweden has the third highest coffee consumption in the world, so I guess they are enjoying a lot of Fikas! We stayed at the Clarion Post Hotel, an upscale hotel right by the train station, perfectly located for walking. The property restaurant was the perfect way to become acquainted with Swedish food.
Liseberg Amusement Park
The roller coasters of this park were the first thing we saw as we drove into town. We couldn’t go since it was closed for the season.
Feskekôrka, or Fish Church
Just the name of this large fish market entertained us. There is every kind of seafood you can imagine in a building that looks a lot like a church. Yum!
The second night we stayed in Gothenburg, we slept in a unique place- in a room on a docked 1907 trading ship! The location let us walk through another area of Gothenburg near the Opera House, a bit more modern and upscale.
Canal Stora Hamnkanalen
This grand canal is a perfect place to sit by the water and chill.
On recommendation of a local, we ate an elaborate, upscale seafood buffet and it was definitely one of the best meals I have had in my life! We began with a plated fish soup, then ate many kinds of fresh seafood in many different ways. I will definitely return to this buffet when I am back in town and have it on my list of favorite things.
This fortress was built by Norway as a way to defend its then border against Sweden. Apparently, that was unsuccessful, as the land is now tin he Swedish province of Bohuslän. Hour-long tours are available in season.
Singlefjord leading to Iddefjord
The western coast of Sweden has a few fjords. They are much shorter than the stunners we saw on the west coast of Norway, but are unique in their own way. The Iddefjord delineates the countries of Norway and Sweden in this area.
Tanum Rock Paintings
In an area of about 126 acres, there are thousands of bronze age petroglyphs or drawings. This has been a World Heritage Site by UNESCO since1994 and is visited by 100,000 people a year! They are a little tricky to find. You can read more about them on worldheritagesite.
Blomsholm Stone Ship
This was one of our favorite spots and we came upon it randomly. We visited in April and were completely alone here among this stone age artifact sitting on a small, green hill along a meandering creek. There are stone ships all around Scandinavia, but this is one of the largest in Sweden. Like monoliths throughout the world, it is not completely understood why the stones are shaped like a ship on top of a hill. Some theories are that it is a burial site or a site of a tragedy. In Oslo, we learned that the Vikings buried great rulers in their ships with everything they need for their time in the afterlife. Perhaps these ships were vessels to transport the departed to Valhalla. It is fun to imagine… Here is the address to help you find it: Blomsholm Foss 2, 452 92 Strömstad, Sweden.
I could easily spend a few days walking along the cobble-stoned streets and exploring the cute little shops in the medieval section of this town. It is northern Europe’s best preserved fortified town. The bridge and ancient water-mill are quite impressive.
I will write a whole post on this city, the capital of Norway at some point, but here are some of my highlights from Oslo.
We stayed at this hip, upscale Scandinavian chain of hotels a few times during our trip to Scandinavia. This location was perfect, right across from the harbor and opera house and the included buffet breakfast was the biggest we experienced.
Viking Ship Museum
This was by far my favorite museum in Scandinavia. I had no idea that there was so much history and culture to learn through Viking Ships. One of my favorites facts is that there were strong, female Viking leaders!
Karl Johans Gate
Walk from the Opera House to the Royal Palace on Karl Johans gate. The walk will take you along the waterfront, through the city’s main pedestrian thoroughfare with shops and restaurants. It will end at the palace of Norway’s HM King Harald V and HM Queen Sonja. The grounds are a park which is open to walk around. During the summer you can tour the residence