Plan your visit
A visit to the archipelago is a must, and with more than 20 islands all with their own unique charm, there’s something for everyone.
The archipelago is divided into a southern and a northern part. If you’re short on time, choose the southern islands, it generally takes less time to get there than to the northern islands. If you’re bringing a car however, then it’s the northern islands you should be aiming for, the southern islands are car free.
In summertime, the southern islands can get crowded, you might find the northern islands a bit calmer. In the winter, visit the larger islands, where shops and restaurants are more likely to remain open all year round.
A guide to the southern islands of the archipelago
Curious about what the southern archipelago has to offer? If you’re looking for good food, impressive outdoor experiences and relaxation then this is the place to go. Get inspired and explore through our guide.
A guide to the northern islands of the archipelago
The Gothenburg archipelago – with several islands within short distance of each other – is perfect for a weekend trip. Here you’ll find inspiration for a tour of the northern islands of the archipelago.
Getting to the archipelago
From Lilla Varholmen you can take a car ferry to Hönö and Björkö, from where you can reach the rest of the northern islands in the Gothenburg archipelago. You can also get the ferry M/S Kungsö to Hönö from Stenpiren at certain times of the year. The car-free islands in the southern archipelago are easily reached with Styrsöbolaget’s boats from Stenpiren Travel Centre or Saltholmen boat terminal.
Getting to the archipelago
You’ll reach the car-free southern islands by ferry from boat terminal Saltholmen or from Stenpiren Travel Centre. To get to the northern islands you take the ferry from Lilla Varholmen on Hisingen. Both the northern and the southern archipelago are beautiful and well worth a visit. Here a few tips on how to get there.
Anniversary tours to the Gothenburg archipelago
As part of the anniversary initiative A more accessible archipelago, this summer M/S Kungsö will run nine anniversary tours from Stenpiren to some of the islands in the archipelago. Each tour departs from Stenpiren at 10 am and returns again at 3 pm. The boats will be decorated with flags and there will be an exhibition about Gothenburg’s 400th anniversary on board. To make the trip extra comfortable, food is also served on the boat.
The southern islands of the Gothenburg archipelago
If you get the ferry from Saltholmen, Asperö is the first stop, and if you’re after a truly idyllic archipelago island you don’t have to go any further.
There are many great swimming spots which makes Asperö perfect for a quick visit on a sunny day.
Brännö was made famous through the songs of Lasse Dahlqvist but the island has more to offer than dancing on the pier. Experience great swimming spots, wonderful nature and cosy cafés and restaurants.
If you’ve got the time, cross the small bridge to neighbouring island Galterö, and enjoy the uninhibited island and its nature reserve.
Donsö is one of the major islands in the southern part and one of Sweden’s most important ports.
The island has a number of restaurants, cafés and accommodations. Climb to the top of the hill Radarberget for a great view of the archipelago.
The small island Knarrholmen has been an idyllic summer resort for many Gothenburgers during the last 70 years.
Originally the island was donated to the yard Götaverken’s workers and the island was built with small summer homes. On Knarrholmen there are many fine beaches and rocks to relax on.
Kårholmen och Sjumansholmen
Kårholmen and Sjumansholmen are small islands in the southern part of the archipelago.
The two islands were founded by political labour organizations and are recreational islands with a limited number of trips by ferries.
Köpstadsö is located in the southern part of the archipelago, also called Kössö. It’s the smallest island in the archipelago with around 100 full-time residents. During the summer, that number rises considerably up to 300 residents.
The island consists of narrow, winding alleys and the only allowed vehicle is the wheelbarrow.
Stora Förö is a quiet island, mostly populated with houses from the 1930s.
Just as the islands Knarrholmen, Sjumansholmen and Kårholmen the island is mainly visited by those who have holiday homes on the island. Therefore the ferry traffic isn’t as frequent to these islands.
Styrsö is the main hub of the southern islands. Here you can find a post office, shops, cafés, guesthouses and restaurants.
There are plenty of places to swim, from child-friendly sandy beaches, to piers and flat cliffs. There are also great fishing spots on the south side of the island.
Vargö is a nature reserve and located the furthest out to sea. There are several plants that offer that genuine west coast feeling, and around the pier honeysuckle grows among partially planted trees in memory of a small park.
The island has good swimming and fishing spots. Remember there are no stores on this island/nature reserve so bring your own picnic and water bottles.
Vinga is Gothenburg’s most westerly point. The childhood home of Swedish music legend Evert Taube and well worth a visit for its stunning nature.
The island is well worth a daytrip but is not part of the regular public transport system. Instead you can get here through boat tours by several different operators from the island of Hönö.
Vrångö is the southernmost island of the Gothenburg archipelago. Around 380 people live there the whole year round.
On the island you’ll find a post office, shops, restaurants and accommodation. The island is most famous for its beautiful nature reserves and excellent sandy beaches.
The northern islands of the Gothenburg archipelago
Björkö is one of the larger islands in Gothenburg’s archipelago. There are restaurants, B&B, child-friendly swimming spots and a guest harbour.
The harbour area has a handful of places to check out including a small convenience shop and a pizza place.
In the middle of Gothenburg’s archipelago lies Fotö. The island is busy during the summer and a visit to the cafe with a view over the sea and the boats is an unforgettable experience.
Fotö offers swimming spots equipped with diving boards, diving towers and jetties.
Grötö is a serene and car-free island with only about 100 residents year-round, which makes Grötö the island of tranquillity.
There are no cars and to get to the island you first go to Björkö and then hop on the ferry from there.
Hyppeln is also known as “the mackerel paradise” and is located the northern part of the Gothenburg archipelago. Here you can walk on the trail along the water and get an unbeatable view of the sea.
Take the opportunity to visit the “giant head” which is a high steep hill where you get a nice view of the Carlsten Fortress on Marstrand.
Hälsö is situated in the northern part of the archipelago and offers nice harbour walks along small and winding roads.
There are also ancient remains on the island, mainly stone circles from temporary fishing camps. On the northern part of the island there are good fishing opportunities.
Hönö is a popular island with restaurants, shops and activities open all year round. The harbour Hönö Klåva is always buzzing with activity.
Northwestern Hönö is made up of the nature reserve Ersdalen.
Kalvsund is a small, car-free island with a lot of character.
It’s located between the islands Björkö and Öckeröa and at the centre of the island rises “Båken”, the old “lightless lighthouse” / beacon/ watchtower that gives the island its famous silhouette.
Källö-Knippla is a picturesque island, with a popular guest harbour and a lovely hiking trail.
The island was once two islands, Källö and Knippla, but today they’re connected and considered one island.
Rörö is located at the northern end of the Gothenburg archipelago. The island’s beautiful nature reserves invite you to walk along their trails.
Rörö is a well-known destination for nature lovers and bird watchers, as the nature of the island is unique with almost completely treeless moorland.
Öckerö is the main island of the northern part of the archipelago (it’s also the name of the municipality of all the 10 islands in the northern part). It has accommodations, a pharmacy, a post office and a grocery store.
The nature on the island invites you to take beautiful walks in the lush greenery by the water. There are also plenty of swimming spots.