Epic west coast road trip Sweden - 1 week itinerary
Taking an epic road trip in Sweden and along the country’s west coast will give you endless coastline, cute little fishing villages, traditional red houses, vast green forests and incredible views.
It only takes 1 week to explore some of the most beautiful places Sweden has to offer. Of course you can spend a lot more time in the country of meatballs, herring and moose, but this itinerary makes sure you get a glimpse of Swedish nature, life and traditions.
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Day 1 - Gothenburg, Sweden’s 2nd largest city
Start your Sweden road trip in Gothenburg, Sweden’s 2nd largest city, and awarded the most sustainable destination in 2020.
There are a lot of great things to see and do in Gothenburg, so here is a quick list.
An oasis in the middle of the city, Palmhuset is a large glass greenhouse containing 5 different sections. Each one exhibits different plants from across the world.
The entry is free and there is even a little cafe where you can enjoy a traditional swedish fika.
Haga, Gothenburg’s oldest neighbourhood
Established in 1642, Haga is Gothenburg’s oldest (and cutest) neighbourhood. Full of little shops and cafes, there are a lot of places where you can enjoy your morning coffee or mid-day fika.
Food Tip: try the hagabulle at cafe Husaren, a giant delicious cinnamon bun the size of your face! (and it’s vegan)
Frihamn, the free port with the most unique sauna
The area of Frihamn in the center of Gothenburg is being developed into an area focusing on social, economical and environmental sustainability.
It has the most unique sauna, made from recycled material, featuring a gorgeous view over the river.
Day 2 - Smögen + Hållö
After checking out of your hotel, leave Gothenburg and let your road trip in Sweden take you to Smögen, one of the most picturesque fishing villages along the west coast.
Famous for Smögenbryggan (the Smögen bridge), the colourful little fishing huts attract lots of tourists every year.
From Smögen, catch the small ferry boat to Hållö, a tiny island just 10 minutes away. Walk around and explore the rocky island, have a swim in the sea, and enjoy fika at the cafe before heading back to Smögen to continue your road trip in Sweden.
Return tickets from Smögen to Hållo cost 100 SEK (around 10 €) per person, and you can pay directly on the boat (cash or card). It takes around 10 minutes, and the ferry boat goes multiple times a day (check out the timetable before you go).
Smögen is explored quickly and easily by foot, and in the evening walk past the colourful houses of Smögenbryggan to watch the sunset over the water.
Day 3 - Fjällbacka and Väderöarna, the weather islands
Head to the coast town of Fjällbacka next. It’s a beautiful little fishing town with amazing views over the water, especially from Vetteberget, a small hill close to the city center.
Enjoy a stroll along the main street full of cafes, restaurants and delicious ice cream shops.
From here take a ferry boat to Väderöarna (the weather islands). Return tickets from Fjällbacka to Väderöarna cost 400 SEK (around 40 €), with lunch at the only restaurant on the islands included (don’t worry, just because it’s the only one doesn’t mean it’s not delicious).
Money saving Tip: Some departure times are less expensive, you can check all times and prices here.
Visiting Väderöarna is one of the most incredible experiences on this road trip across Sweden’s west coast. Located 13 km off the coast, it’s a group of 365 islands.
There are a few hiking trails that take you across the main island, with beautiful views of the sea, rugged landscape and traditional red swedish houses.
Enjoy lunch at the only restaurant on the main island (don’t worry, it’s delicious) or hop in the sauna with a view of the harbour and watch the boats come and go.
Food Tip: the restaurant can create a vegan lunch if you ask, it’s delicious!
Day 4 - Tånum rock carvings
The rock carvings in Tånumshede date back to the Bronze Age and have been declared a World Heritage Site in 1994. More than 600 panels, stretching over 25 km, depict the daily life of people during that time.
Entry to the rock carvings is free, and there is a museum nearby with more information about carvings in other areas of Dalsland as well.
Day 5 - Håverud Aqueduct and Sörknatten hike
Leaving the coastal area, this road trip of Sweden takes you into the province of Dalsland, known for its vast forests and thousands of lakes.
Fun fact: did you know Sweden has over 100.000 lakes, some of which don’t even have names?
On the way to Sörknatten, a nature reserve in Dalsland, make a quick stop at the aqueduct in Håverud. It’s one of the most visited places in Dalsland, made of steel and is one of a kind. What makes it even more impressive is the fact that both a rail and a road bridge pass over the aqueduct.
Once in Sörknatten, hike the 14 km trail from end to end. Park your car on either side and take a walk through Dalsland’s dense forests to the top of the mountain. From here you have a fantastic view over the whole area.
Day 6 - Läckö Castle
Enjoy a Cinderella moment when visiting Läckö Slott, a medieval castle on the shore of lake Vänern, Sweden’s largest lake. Stroll around the castle and learn about its history, smell the beautiful flowers in the large garden, or rent a kayak to see the castle from a different perspective.
Good to know before you go on a road trip in Sweden
When doing a road trip in Sweden there are just some things that are good to know, usually the not-so-fun stuff like renting a car, travel insurance etc. But you’ll be glad you read this part if something happens.
Renting a car for your road trip in Sweden is easy, simply take your pick from many services like Hertz, Sixt or Europcar. You have to be at least 18 years or older and have a valid driver’s license.
Despite the simplicity of renting a car, it doesn’t mean it’s cheap.
Also make sure you always get insurance when you rent a car. Nobody wants anything to happen, but accidents do happen. When we drove out of the parking lot at the Tånum rock carvings, somebody backed into the side of our car. Luckily nobody got hurt, we exchanged contact information, emailed our car rental company and it was taken care of for us.
Of course nobody wants anything to happen on vacation, but even if it’s not your fault, accidents happen. So having travel insurance gives you ease of mind.
When I travel I use World Nomads because they give you the option of not only customizing what kind of activities you’re insured for, but they also let you choose the amount of days or weeks you’re incurred depending on the length of your trip.
Where to stay during your west Sweden road trip
There are many places you can stay during your road trip in Sweden, choose from budget or mid-range or luxury accommodation.
One of the most budget friendly options is to sleep in your car. Wild camping in Sweden is completely legal (as long as you follow some basic rules) and can be a lot of fun if you know how to do it right.
What to pack
Along the coast the weather can change in an instant, so prepare with layers, even in the summer. Still, keep it light and simple when packing for your road trip in Sweden. Unless you decide to camp or sleep in your car, you don’t need much.
Make sure you bring warmer clothes for the evening, once the sun goes down it gets quite chilly. Also bring sturdy shoes because the west coast of Sweden is mostly rocks.
And definitely pack your swimsuit for a refreshing dip in the sea (especially after a traditional Swedish sauna).
Sustainability Tip: use packing cubes like these ones from Travel Dude. Packing hand luggage only can reduce your CO2 footprint by 150 kg, plus they’re made from recycled plastic!
Sweden is not the cheapest country for traveling, but you can easily cut costs when doing a road trip in Sweden.
Choose accommodation that has a kitchen so you can cook your own meals!
That way you also don’t have to worry about finding restaurants or cafes that have vegan or vegetarian options, which are hard to find in this part of Sweden.
Stay Tip: find cheap places to stay on booking.com!
Camp or sleep in your car, wild camping is totally legal in Sweden and if done right is a great experience! Read my Car Camping Guide for all the details.
Money saving Tip: use the Park4Night app to find parking spots!
Plan to spend around 500 SEK (around 50 €) per person per day for accommodation, 400-600 SEK (40-60 €) for food, 500 SEK/day for a rental car (50 €) and 1600 SEK (160 €) for gas.
Hi, I’m Nadine
Part-time traveler with full-time wanderlust.
I explore the world one weekend and one vacation at a time and share my experiences, travel and photography tips, and food recs on this blog.
I believe the answer to (almost) any question is traveling.
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