Your guide to the Gothenburg archipelago

In the foreground is the rocky island with low plants, and in the background is the sea

I spent a long weekend on the Gothenburg archipelago, and this is where I stayed, how I got around, and what I did. I found there were few articles that answered everything in one place, so consider this your English guide to the Gothenburg archipelago.

How to get to the Gothenburg archipelago

Getting there is actually quite easy! Do yourself a favour and download the Västtrafik app. You can buy public transport passes and easily plan your trip using the app. The archipelago is considered in Zon A. First, figure out where you’ll get the tram from in the city, and then figure out which island you want to go to (recommendations below). Then, you can plan your travel. You’ll get the tram from the city centre to Saltholmen, and then walk just a few metres to the ferry port. Your app will tell you which platform your ferry is leaving from, and at what time.

Keep an eye on when the boat is leaving from Saltholmen, and only buy your ticket when it’s within 1.5 hours so that you don’t have to buy a second pass. Your Västtraffik ticket gets you on the trams and the boats in one go, so actually quite affordable to get there! But, some ferries only go once or twice a day, so definitely plan ahead.

Where to go for just one day

If you’re short on time but you still want to see the archipelago, fear not! The ferries to and from Brännö run very regularly (every half hour or every hour), and only take 15 minutes from Saltholmen. That means you can get from the city centre to the archipelago in under an hour if you plan ahead!

Brännö has a population of around 800 year round inhabitants. There’s a cafe, and a number of nature walks. You can take a walk up to a lookout that gives a great view of the archipelago, and looks back on Gothenburg. To find the lookout follow the signs to the nature reserve and turn right at the street before the turn up to the nature reserve. Follow the road until you find a path, and then keep climbing until you’re at the Old Pilot Lookout. You’ll see a little red house on top of a rock when you get there!

Getting to Galterö from Brännö

You can also walk to the neighbouring island of Galterö by following the nature reserve signs. Once you reach the path, just stay on it until you reach a little bridge. Once you’ve crossed, you’re on Galterö! Galterö is entirely a nature reserve, so wander at your leisure and enjoy the stunning views. I ran into a little troop of sheep while I was there, but only one other group of humans!

Where to stay on the archipelago?

I stayed for a weekend in an Airbnb on Asperö, the closest island to Gothenburg. The Airbnb was in a cabin on a family’s land and their home was very near. This was a nice place for me to be able to easily get back to the city as the ferries on this route run often, or go further into the archipelago. In the future, I think I would stick to the Asperö/Brännö islands for this reason. Larger islands like Styrsö and Brännö also have Bed and Breakfasts if you prefer that kind of accommodation, but I found it very useful to have access to my own kitchen while staying there as there are few restaurants.

What’s the best time of year to visit the Gothenburg archipelago?

The archipelago really comes to life in summer. The communities are booming and there’s a lot of events and activities. You can go swimming and kayaking and enjoy all that the archipelago has to offer best at this time. That being said, it’s also very enjoyable in the spring and fall, but you would likely stick more to hiking and nature walks at this time. In the winter the weather can be quite cold, so if you’re not used to this kind of weather it’s best to avoid.

And that is your guide to the archipelago! Any questions? Please leave them below and I will try to answer. You may also be interested in…

A weekend away in Gothenburg

It’s so easy to get to Gothenburg for a weekend, and it’s a great city to visit if you want to see Sweden on a tighter budget! I’ve visited twice now, and I’ll definitely be back again. It’s one of my favourite cities to visit, year round. Here’s your guide to Gothenburg for a weekend getaway:

Flights to Gothenburg

Ryanair does a ton of cheap flights between Gothenburg and Dublin, Edinburgh, Milan, and a number of other European cities. From where I live in Edinburgh, I’ve gotten flights for as little as £17 return for a weekend trip! Many people I know have never gone because they think Sweden is super expensive. I’d say Gothenburg is to Stockholm what Edinburgh is to London in terms of prices. I certainly didn’t find it anymore expensive than it would have been to travel within the U.K.

A few weekends ago, I flew out on a Wednesday evening and back on a Monday evening. It was just a long weekend – but it felt like a proper break from work!

Where to stay in Gothenburg

It can be quite expensive to stay in the most central part of the city where most hotels are. Definitely have a look on and see if you can get any deals if you prefer staying in hotels. However, my favourite part of the city is on the other side of the big park called Slottskogen. I’ve rented Airbnbs in areas like Masthugget and Majorna, and absolutely adore it. It’s only a 20-30 minute walk in the morning through Slottskogen to the city centre, and you can easily get the tram in a matter of minutes. The neighbourhoods are so stunning and cosy, and I definitely feel like you get more of the “Swedish” experience to speak staying in these areas, and it’s usually a lot cheaper. If you’re staying for a longer weekend, you can even split your time between the city and the archipelago.

On my last trip I stayed in this Airbnb in Majorna. We walked into the city via Slottskogen every morning, and got the tram to Majvallen every evening. On Friday we even popped back to the Airbnb mid-day for a break, and it didn’t feel like a long trek to do so.

The Gothenburg archipelago

You can get to the archipelago via tram and boat in less than an hour from the city centre. It costs just a few pounds to ride public transport for an hour and a half, and that includes both the tram and the boat so it’s quite affordable. The Gothenburg archipelago will get it’s own blog entirely, and I recommend checking it out if you’re in the city for more than a few days!

What to do in Gothenburg

Years ago after my first visit I wrote 10 Things To Do In Gothenburg, Sweden – it still stands. My absolute favourites from the list include visiting Slottskogen and the cafes and petting zoo inside of it, and going to Haga for fika. You can also easily visit the archipelago even just for the day. Getting to the island Brännö is quite a quick trip. The island reflects much of the rest of the archipelago; around 800 people live there year round, there’s a wee cafe and restaurant, and a number of nature walks. It has a large nature reserve as well, which leads to a bridge to the neighbouring island of Galterö, an island that is entirely a nature reserve.

Any questions? Leave them in the comments below! I’ll definitely be back to Gothenburg for a weekend soon. I think I’ll even plan a bit of a longer trip next time and get the train to Stockholm, or somewhere else in Sweden so I can see a bit more of the country.

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