We were extremely excited here at Off the Map Travel to be returning to what can only be described as one of our favourite places in the world! Personally and for business we have travelled all over the planet and West Sweden is one of the only places we want to return to again and again. Each time we visit this wonderful region we discover new places, meet great people, eat delicious food and fall a little bit more in love with the lakes, forests, coastline and nature it offers. It is in fact the only place where we almost feel tearful to leave!

This trip started inland visiting people we already knew and suppliers we already use. It was great to revisit these places and reconfirm how wonderful they are and what a fabulous destination Dalsland offers. Lakeside cottages where you can sleep with your doors unlocked or even wide open (although be prepared for visits from farm cats in the middle of the night, which surprised us!), great hiking routes, fresh lakes to swim and paddle in and activities which include canoeing, horse riding, high ropes, elk parks and rowing as well as nights under the stars in a tepee. The weather was glorious and we enjoyed a delicious 6 course local restaurant meal which included locally caught pike-perch, white asparagus with caviar, moose steak, salmon and blueberry sauce.

After reconfirming the greatness of the Dalsland area we headed to the coast and our first stop was Fjallbacka and the Weather Islands. Fjallbacka has definitely become more popular with the rise of scandi-crime. Camilla Lackberg is from Fjallbacka and with many of her books set in the village it is not uncommon to see people sitting along the water with their nose in one of her books. From here we set out on a boat trip to the Weather Islands. The trip itself was interesting and we saw lots of wildlife. Arriving in Väderöarna we were instantly struck by the calm atmosphere and you can see that spending a day or 2 here would allow for complete relaxation and rejuvenation. The hotel is tastefully decorated and has some great facilities including 2 outdoor hotubs with views out to sea and one of the best sauna views we have ever experienced (and we have experienced a lot!). In the summer it offers live music and an outdoor bar. After a delicious fish lunch we headed back to Fjallbacka where we enjoyed a walk to the top of the cliff which is well worth it for the stunning views out to the islands. We then settled into our hotel room and enjoyed a drink in the late sunshine soaking up the wonderful sea air and warmth of the village.

We woke up early and prepared for the day ahead. Today we were going kayaking! Looking out of the window we did not have much enthusiasm as the rain was falling and it seemed to be getting harder! We sat in the lovely Fjallbacka Bryggan’s cafe, drinking great Swedish coffee and waiting to meet our guide. When he arrived we decided to drive further south and hopefully by then the weather would be improving. An hour down south and the rain had stopped and we found a great place to launch our kayaks. We had a wonderful day. We felt safe and comfortable and got to see West Sweden from a completely different perspective. We were especially pleased to see a beaver as this is quite rare. We enjoyed lunch on the beautiful island of Bassholmen and then kayaked back in the warm sunshine. Considering the day started out quite wet we now returned with rosy cheeks from the glorious sunshine! We spent the night in the small town of Lysekil at an interesting little hotel where we ate more delicious local fish and enjoyed a walk along the harbour.

Waking up feeling refreshed we were all ready for the day ahead which entailed a crayfish safari! After visiting a few more hotels including a great spa hotel with a swimming pool with a fire in and a lovely lunch of …….you guessed it, fish, we headed to Smogen. Smogen is one of the liveliest towns on the West Coast in the Summer and its seaside village charm makes it easy to see why! We had a wonderful time on our crayfish safari and managed to collect around 4 – 5kg! It was hard work but great fun and all made worthwhile when we got back to the typical red fishermans cabin and boiled them up and ate them there and then with a cold can of beer in the warm sunshine, looking out to sea! We have never eaten such huge, delicious and fresh crayfish! As we had caught so many we even took some back to the hotel chef and he baked them in garlic for our dinner! Feeling tired we were very happy to head back to the hotels spa for a relaxing swim and sauna before dinner.

Our last day in Sweden meant that we had to get up and have a swim! With hundreds of lakes and a beautiful coastline it would be a wasted trip not to fit in at least one dip! So with our dressing gowns on we headed straight down to the water and threw ourselves in the crystal clear and just a tiny bit nippy sea! Needless to say it didn’t last long but we felt good and thoroughly enjoyed our time in the jacuzzi afterwards! Our last day included a visit to a couple of great hotels and a visit to the infamous salt and sill restaurant where we experienced the renowned ‘herring – 6 ways!’. A great experience and well worth a visit for anyone in West Sweden. We spent our last afternoon in Marstrand, a striking town which is great for hiking, sailing, swimming or simply wandering around the shops or enjoying an ice-cream on the harbour. With close proximity to Gothenburg and the airport this is a perfect place to while away the last few hours of your holiday.

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