Emelie Persson, from the West Sweden Tourist Board, lists eight things you must do when you visit the wild west coast of Sweden
The region’s shellfish is among the tastiest in the world because the delicacies grow slowly in the cold, clean waters. Set out to sea with an expert fisherman to learn how to catch and prepare the ’black gold’ of the sea – lobsters! Finish in style by enjoying a mouth-watering lobster feast. Lobster not your thing? There are mussel, oyster, crayfish and prawn safaris available, too…
Challenge yourself by taking on the annual Dalsland Canoe Marathon, Sweden’s largest canoe event, held on 10 August 2013. Glide along the 55km route, across sparkling lakes and waterways, surrounded by forests. All ages and abilities can take part, with fellow competitors aged anywhere from 12 to 75 (there’s a shorter course available for kids). Toast your achievements at the crayfish party afterwards!
A ‘must’ for Scandi-crime fiction fans – set off on a new Camilla Läckberg-themed guided tour of Fjällbacka fishing village (launching in April). The top-selling Swedish writer sets her detective stories here and visitors can follow in the footsteps of the crime fiction characters. The tours also offer participants the chance to walk up Vetteberget Mountain, towering over the village and providing one of the best views of the region.
Join the Swedes in sampling their favourite pastime, fika. This coffee break is a national institution, usually accompanied by friends, a coffee and something sweet. While away hours in cosy, candle-lit cafés, with local Gothenburg favourites including Café Husaren in the trendy Haga district, which serves the country’s biggest cinnamon buns.
Connected to the country’s largest lakes – Lake Vänern and Lake Vättern in West Sweden – and stretching all the way from Gothenburg to Stockholm, the Göta Canal is an important part of Sweden’s history. Journey along it on an historic steamship, or enjoy cycling or walking along its banks.
Take part in a very Swedish tradition by marking the arrival of summer on Midsummer Eve (21 June 2013). After the country’s dark winters, this National Day is eagerly anticipated. Maypoles are raised in villages and everyone tucks into a Midsummer feast – washed down with schnapps! One of the best places to spend Midsummer Eve is at a delightful coastal guesthouse with acclaimed cuisine, Villa Sjötorp in Ljungskile.
Witness the breathtaking display of 10,000 cranes dancing above Lake Hornborga (from mid-March to mid-April). The birds perform as part of their mating ritual, flying in from Spain to their traditional breeding grounds. Stay nearby in Hotel Andrum’s tree-house, Seventh Heaven, with a private balcony for star-gazing and breakfast hoisted up in a large basket every morning.
Eat your way across West Sweden by touring the region’s fine local producers, Taste of West Sweden-accredited restaurants, hotels and farm shops. Dalsland provides a variety of game, berries and fresh fish; Västergötland offers fine cheeses, beer, fertile agricultural land for high-quality grain production and animals raised in the best organic traditions. The grand finale has to be the west coast’s abundance of shellfish, among the best in the world.
Emelie Persson works for the West Sweden Tourist Board . For more information about visiting this pristine region of Sweden, visit their website at www.vastsverige.com