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 ther 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 summer time, 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.
24 hours in the southern 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 by these examples on how you can spend 24 hours experiencing great meals, beautiful nature reserves and luxurious relaxation to the sound of the waves crashing.
Av: Anders Storm
48 hours in the northern 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 48 hour tour of the islands of Hönö, Källö Knippla and Hälsö.
Av: Anders Storm
Getting to the archipelago
There are ferries from Lilla Varholmen to Hönö and Björkö in the northern part of the archipelago all year round. You can also get the ferry M/S Kungsö to Hönö from Stenpiren. 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.
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 throught 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 neigbouring 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 accomodations. Climb to the top of the hill Radarberget for a great view of the archipelago.
The small island Knarrholmen have been an idyllic summer resort for many Gothenburgers during the last 70 years.
Originally the island was donated to the yard Götaverkens 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 was founded by political labor 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 it’s 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 accomodation. 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 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 jettys.
Grötö is a serene and car-free island with only about 100 residents year round, which makes Grötö the island of tranquility.
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 situatued 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 is located between the islands Björkö and Öckeröa and at the centre of the island rises “Båken”, the old “lightless lighthouse” / beacon/ watch tover 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 pof the northern part of the archipelago (it is also the name of the municipality of all the 10 islands in the northern part). It has accomodations, 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.