West Sweden’s Best Road Trips

No Swedish city blends with nature as seamlessly as Gothenburg. Its archipelago of quaint fishing villages and untouched islands promises one adventure after another. The city grew up as a hub for trade and industry—it’s the hometown of Volvo—and that spirit of innovation drives the local art and music scenes. Among the canals and tree-lined streets, you’ll also find award-winning restaurants. It’s just a few hours from Stockholm and puts the magical coastal region of West Sweden in easy reach.

456 50 Smögen, Sweden
Gothenburg is making waves for its locavore dining scene, notably Michelin-starred seafood spot Sjömagasinet and Norda Bar & Grill, which won the world’s best bartender award in 2015. Norda also showcases the talents of chef Marcus Samuelsson, who was born in Ethiopia, grew up in Gothenburg, and now lives in New York City. He spent childhood summers in Smögen, a postcard-perfect fishing village that’s well worth a detour. First, fuel up the Swedish way: with a fika (coffee break), preferably at Café Husaren, famous for its oh-so-generously-sized cinnamon buns. Then hit the road; it’s about a 90-minute straight shot up the west coast to Smögen. Brightly painted wooden homes, restaurants, and shops line the small town’s pier, and a fish market waits at one end. You can make an easy, satisfying meal out of fresh prawns in a paper cone and a cold beer. After all, the cool, pristine water here in the Bohuslän archipelago is rich in minerals and makes West Sweden practically unrivaled as a source for quality seafood. One of the most authentic ways to experience the region’s bounty is by joining local fishermen on a seafood safari. Don a windbreaker, and spend an invigorating afternoon hunting for crayfish or lobster, raking oysters, or visiting mussel farms. You’ll learn to prepare your catch, perhaps over an open fire, and savor dinner in a picturesque setting. Smögen is just one of many coastal villages that host these shellfish outings in spring, summer, and autumn.
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