Exploring the Coast of Western Sweden

How to get around Sweden by car for a Sweden road trip
Approaching one of Sweden’s stone ship.

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.

Sweden Road Trip

Gothenburg, Sweden

Western Sweden road trip.
I had a hard time navigating crossing the roads and not getting hit by the trolleys! Our GPS navigated our car onto a trolley only street in Oslo- that was even scarier!

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

Things to do in Gothenburg. Stops on our Sweden Road Trip
This church contains no Bibles, just fish!

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!

Hotel Barkin Viking

places to go in Sweden.
Our hotel for the night perfectly located for walking the grand canals in Gothenberg, Sweden.

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

Things to do in Goteberg, Sweden.
Photo by Guillaume Baviere on Flickr.

This grand canal is a perfect place to sit by the water and chill.

Fiskekrogen Restaurant

Best Seafood in Gothenburg, Sweden.
Just a peak at the amazing seafood buffet in Gothenburg, Sweden.

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.

Bohus Fortress, Kungälv Sweden

A spring road trip in Sweden.
Spring at Bohus Fortress in Sweden.

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

Cave Drawings in Western Sweden Pteroglyphs
Tanum drawings by Esther Westerveld on Flickr.

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

Stone ship in Sweden as seen on our Swedish road trip.
Do you feel like you are sailing to heaven?

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. 

Norway Road Trip

Fredrikstad, Norway

Road trip Eastern Norway. Part of the best road trip in Scandinavia.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.

Oslo, Norway

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. Fnd some offbeat sites in Oslo.

Thon Hotel Opera

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

My favorite thing to do in Oslo, Norway.
Great people were buried in their ships with everything they may need for the afterlife… even herds of horses!

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

Things to do in Oslo, Norway- a stop on our Norway Road Trip
The Karl Johans Gate is the perfect place to take a stroll in Oslo, Norway. In the background you can see a crane. Construction was constant in Norway. The population pays a high amount of taxes. Then the government uses a lot of it to keep people working by doing lots of building and improving of roads.

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

Have you explored this area? Any recommendations that I missed? Read more about Sweden and Norway or the whole 9-Day Scandinavian Road Trip!


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9 thoughts on “Exploring the Coast of Western Sweden”

  1. Beautiful pictures! I feel as if I have been on the tour with you as well. And that seafood dish (that looked like a salad) was gorgeous! I wish I was there to taste it because I’m sure it was incredible.

    Looking forward to your next adventure already!

  2. I was in Gothenburg just last month! It was my first time there but not my first time in Sweden. I loved the city! We visited many of the places you mention here. We did not make it to see Tanum Rock Paintings, though, as we didn’t have a car.

  3. This is my idea of an awesome road trip! We recently visited Oslo and loved it there so road tripping between there and Gothenburg, Sweden sounds amazing. So many great things to see and experience along this route. Will definitely use this post in the future when we experience this road trip for ourselves.


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