Tuesday, January 24, 2012

2012 in Gothenburg and West Sweden

Here’s an overview of new holiday inspiration and travel news in 2012, from crime fiction holidays to swanky new hotels, archipelago retreats, culinary experiences and music festivals.

New hotel:

Clarion Hotel Post in Gothenburg
The new Clarion Hotel Post in Gothenburg is set to open on 26 January 2012, and is a listed former Post Office from the 1920s which has been restored and extended into a sleek 500-bedroom hotel. Designed by the international architects Magnus Månsson of Semrén and Månsson and Erik Nissen Johansen of Stylt Trampoli, the hotel retains its original awe-inspiring grand hall and high ceilings.

It also boasts a trendy rooftop pool and bar, spa and the top-class ‘Norda Grill & Bar’ restaurant, managed by the famous Gothenburg-born (New York based) chef Marcus Samuelsson. A standard double room will cost £58 pp (based on two sharing).

The hotel will host the official launch party of Gothenburg International Film Festival (27 January - 6 February), as well as Sweden’s annual fashion fair and competition (9-11 March). Call the Clarion Hotel Post on +46 31619000 (www.clarionpost.com).

Crime fiction:

Investigate the Fjällbacka murders
West Sweden has its very own Stieg Larsson - the top-selling Swedish writer Camilla Läckberg, whose crime fiction tales, including The Ice Princess, are set in her childhood home of Fjällbacka – a dreamy fishing village on the west coast (90 minutes’ north of Gothenburg). The production company Tre Vanner is currently turning the crime novels into feature films and a TV series, called The Fjällbacka Murders, which will be screened around the world, including in the UK.

Sunvil Discovery’s seven-night ‘Archipelago and Culinary Tour’ takes in Fjällbacka, including four nights at the Bryggan Fjällbacka, three nights at the Hotel Royal in Gothenburg, car hire, flights (Heathrow) and day trips to The Weather and Koster Islands, costing from £1,046 pp.

Call Sunvil Discovery on 020 87584722 (www.sunvil.co.uk).


Blissful walking holiday 
Embark on an eight-day walking holiday that combines the tranquil Koster Islands with the green open spaces of Gothenburg. Led by expert local guides, explore the natural beauty of the South Koster, Trossö, Kalvö and Lindö Islands, whilst staying in cabins a stone’s throw from a small beach. Highlights of Gothenburg include a visit to the Botanical Gardens and neo-classical Gunnebo House.

The trip includes four nights’ cabin accommodation (Koster Gården Stugby), three nights’ half-board hotel stay (four star Riverton Hotel), travel within Sweden, guides and flights (Heathrow), costing from £1,119 pp. Departures from May to September.

Call Ramblers Worldwide Holidays on 01707 331133 (www.ramblersholidays.co.uk).

Foodie scene:

Gothenburg, the Culinary Capital of Sweden 2012
With Gothenburg the Culinary Capital of Sweden 2012, there’s no better time to indulge in its thriving foodie scene. The city was awarded the prestigious title at the end of 2011 by Sweden’s Minister for Agriculture, Eskil Erlandsson, in recognition of the wealth and quality of its natural produce.

Highlights of Gothenburg’s cuisine scene include its five Michelin-starred restaurants - unusual for such a small city – plus the famous indoor fish market, ‘Feskekorka’, and a buzzing café scene that serves up some of the best coffee in the world. Visit www.gothenburg.com.

Eco credentials:

Green holidays in West Sweden
Many companies in Gothenburg and West Sweden work in a sustainable and environmental way, supported by the West Sweden Tourist Board’s delivery of a national Swedish pilot project, focusing on quality and sustainable tourism. Greentraveller.co.uk has recently published a guide to eco holidays in the region, including the best environmentally-friendly accommodation, foodie hotspots where sumptuous local food can be found and a wide range of outdoor activities.

Some NEW trips for 2012:

Explore the great outdoors across West Sweden
Experience an active eight-day family holiday that takes in some of the top highlights of West Sweden, from visiting Liseberg Amusement Park in Gothenburg to sea kayaking near Lysekil, and from a guided cycling trip around South Koster Island on Sweden’s west coast to horse riding in Dalsland’s lake district.

The trip includes seven nights’ B&B accommodation (two at Hotel Vanilla in Gothenburg, two at Lysekil Havshotell, one in a traditional log cabin in Dalsland and two at Sydkoster Hotel Ekenäs on  South Koster Island), flights (Heathrow), car hire and activities and costs from £1,048 pp (based on family of four sharing).

Call Simply Sweden on 0845 8900300 (www.simplysweden.co.uk).

Self-guided canoeing adventure in Dalsland
Spend an energetic week canoeing around Dalsland lake district (an hour’s drive north of Gothenburg) on a new self-guided adventure available with Nature Travels. Suitable for adults and active families, glide along glittering lakes and past deep forests, whilst setting up camp in the great outdoors along the way. Available from May to September, the trip includes canoe and camping equipment, sleeping bag and maps and tickets for locks which connect the lakes, costing £167 pp.

Call Nature Travels on 01929 503080 (www.naturetravels.co.uk).

Kayaking, horse-riding and tipi in Dalsland
Or enjoy a guided kayaking and horse riding trip in Dalsland as part of a six night stay in a self-catering suite at the Kroppefjall Hotel - complete with a restaurant and spa. Spend an additional night in a tipi overlooking Lake Ivag, sleeping beneath the stars on a bed of fir twigs covered with warm and comfortable reindeer skins.

The Adventure Tour Company’s new Active Sweden package includes six nights at Kroppefjall Hotel and one night in a tipi (breakfast included every morning), car hire and guided kayaking and horse riding trips, costing from £575 pp (based on four sharing).

The Adventure Tour Company also offers the chance to stay in a traditional Swedish ‘stuga’ wooden lakeside house in Dalsland, with seven nights costing from £280 pp (based on five sharing), including car hire.

Call The Adventure Tour Company on 0800 5668901 (www.theadventuretourcompany.co.uk). 

New flight route:

Norwegian launches new Gothenburg route
Gothenburg is set to become even more accessible this year, with Norwegian introducing new flights from London Gatwick to Gothenburg from March 2012.

Flights for this period can be booked now. Visit www.norwegian.com.

Some major events in 2012:

Gothenburg International Film Festival, 27 January - 6 February
Scandinavia's largest film festival will showcase more than 450 films from 70 countries, with Draken at Järntorget the festival’s main venue. There will be a strong focus on Nordic films and Arabic films, giving insight into the lives of those involved and affected by the current political situation across the Middle East.

Visit www.giff.se/us/public/the-festival.html. The day after its launch, the new Clarion Post Hotel will host the official launch party of the film festival. The hotel’s film festival package costs 1070 SEK (£100) pp, including one night’s accommodation (sharing double standard room), two-course dinner, entry into the hotel’s spa and film festival pass. Visit www.clarionpost.com.

The Passion for Food Festival in Gothenburg, 24 - 26 February
Taste West Sweden in many ways at ‘The passion for food festival’ in Gothenburg, held at Eriksbergshallen. Reaffirming the city’s growing reputation as the ‘foodie’ capital of northern Europe, this annual event will showcase the region's best food producers and restaurants. Buy and taste top-notch cuisine and pick up insider tips from Gothenburg's star chefs.

Nordic Championships in Oyster Opening, 27 - 29 April
Witness this oyster opening extravaganza, held in Tanumstrand on Sweden’s west coast. Watch contestants race to open 30 oysters at the fastest jaw-dropping speed and present them in the most attractive way. Visitors can also taste fresh seafood, drink top-quality champagne and even embark on a boat trip.

The Day of the Herring, 6 June
Swedes are so passionate about herring that there’s a National Day dedicated to it. Head to Klädesholmen on Sweden’s west coast to celebrate ‘The Day of the Herring’, devouring a delicious herring lunch on the pretty harbour and partaking in unique activities, such as learn how to make a midsummer herring, a tour of the herring factory and a heritage walk around the island. Stay nearby at the famous Salt & Sill floating hotel and restaurant, where a double room costs from £65 pp (based on two sharing), including a three-course breakfast and dinner.

Visit www.saltosill.se

Dalsland Canoe Marathon, 11 August
Tackle the 55km course through the lakes and waterways of Dalsland lake district, with 1,000 competitors taking part in Sweden’s largest canoe event (an hour’s drive north of Gothenburg). Glide across sparkling lakes and waterways, surrounded by deep forests, with fellow competitors aged 12 to 75 (shorter course for children).

Way Out West, 9-11 August
Some of the world’s biggest names in music will once again take to the stage at one of Europe’s leading festivals - Way Out West - held in Gothenburg’s centrally located Slottskogen Park. Last year’s A-list acts included Kanye West, Coldplay and Pulp, with the much anticipated 2012 line-up to be confirmed later in the year. The eco-certified event also sees eclectic performances at central clubs and culture hubs around the city. Tickets are available from 26 January 2012. Visit www.wayoutwest.se

The Shellfish Journey, 24 September - 4 November
The shellfish in West Sweden are among the best in the world and Autumn/Fall is the perfect time to eat and learn all about them during the renowned Shellfish Journey - kicking off at the start of the lobster season on the first Monday after 20 September every year. Set off on an educational and mouth-watering seafood safari, available along the spectacular coastline, including lobster and mussel experiences.

Sculpture at Pilane, June - September
Admire fascinating contemporary sculptures at one of most beautiful historical sites - Pilane sculpture park on Tjörn island on Sweden’s west coast. Admire thousand year-old ancient remains in the countryside, contrasted with sculptures created by some of the world’s best artists. Visit www.pilane.org/drupal/en
Gothenburg Christmas City, mid November – end of December
Gothenburg is majestic during winter, lighting the way to Christmas – literally. From the Wheel of Gothenburg at the harbour, a three kilometre Lane of Light guides visitors through the city with stylish outdoor lighting displays, from the Winter Wonderland on the main boulevard to the million lights of Liseberg Amusement Park and its famous Christmas market - Scandinavia's largest.

For more information on major events in West Sweden in 2012, click here.

For more information about visiting West Sweden and Gothenburg, go to www.westsweden.com and www.gothenburg.com, as well as www.facebook.com/westsweden and www.twitter.com/westswedentb

For an insider’s guide to events and experiences in West Sweden, follow the latest blogs at www.explorewestsweden.com.

Holidays to West Sweden are available through numerous tour operators, including Sunvil Discovery, Simply Sweden, Best Served Scandinavia, Ramblers Worldwide Holidays, Nature Travels, Discover the World, The Adventure Tour Company, Orignal Travel and Taber Holidays. 

West Sweden can be reached with a short two-hour direct flight to Gothenburg with British Airways (Heathrow), Ryanair (Stansted and Edinburgh), SAS (Heathrow), Skyways (Manchester and Birmingham) and Norwegian (Gatwick)




For more information contact Malin Nyberg, VisitSweden,

Malin Nyberg

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