An insider's guide to summer in West Sweden

Maypole dancing, crayfish parties and plenty of schnapps: how to enjoy summer like the Swedes

3 mins

1. Celebrate Midsummer Eve the traditional way

Celebrating Midsummers EveCelebrating midsummer in Sweden (Shutterstock)

Sweden’s west coast is at its most vibrant around the summer solstice. After winter, people are itching to make the most of long summer days, culminating in one of the most traditional Swedish celebrations – Midsummer’s Eve, which sees locals dancing around maypoles in villages throughout West Sweden and traditional feasts of pickled herring, boiled new potatoes with dill, sour cream and red onion, followed by strawberries and plenty of schnapps!

2. Island hop around the Bohuslän coast

Cottage by the West Sweden coast ( by the West Sweden coast (Shutterstock)

West Sweden is blessed with a coastline scattered with islands; in fact, there are 8,000 strung along the coast between Gothenburg and the Norwegian border. There is a wealth of traditional fishing villages set among rocky landscapes and nature reserves, with inlets for swimming and picnic spots to explore. There are plenty of seafood restaurants, hotels and cottages, too.

3. Gatecrash a Swedish crayfish party

Swedish crayfish ( crayfish (Shutterstock)

Crayfish parties are one of Sweden's most fabulous traditions, where Swedes celebrate the summer that’s almost past. They are usually rather private events but you can hop aboard a Vardskap Ivast vessel for one its seafood safaris, most of which include a sauna and a dip in a wood-fired hot tub filled with heated sea water.


4. Enter the Dalsland Canoe Marathon

Canoes on the sea in Sweden ( in the sea (Shutterstock)

Sweden’s biggest lake district has a labyrinth of rivers and lakes, making it the perfect location for watersports. The water is so pure that you can drink it and, after the challenge of the Dalsland Canoe Marathon, gulping clean water is essential! Sweden’s largest canoe event is held every August, and competitors have to complete the 55km route in three days. Alternatively, you can just enjoy the waterways at your own leisurely pace in the Open Water category.


5. Hike around Bohuslän’s car-free islands

Watching the sun set in Bohulsan ( the sun set on Bohuslän (Shutterstock)

Walking in West Sweden is a treat for lovers of natural beauty and wildlife. There are many well-marked trails, and maps available, so visitors can combine hiking trips with tours of the fishing villages. Excellent walking trails can be found throughout numerous nature reserves in Bohuslän, including the car-free Koster islands in Kosterhavet’s Marine National Park, and Marstrand, which is also known for its cultural history, charming buildings and sailing.

Main image: A traditional Swedish crayfish party (Shutterstock)

Read more about Sweden:

8 things you must do in Sweden

A foodie’s guide to spring in West Sweden

10 things to do when cycling coastal Skane in Sweden


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