Witness the Shellfish Journey
Attention seafood fans! West Sweden’s famous Shellfish Journey will once again take place this autumn/fall, kicking off at the start of the lobster season (first Monday after 20 September every year, i.e. 24 September- 4 November 2012). The shellfish in West Sweden is among the tastiest in the world – especially during this time when the water is cooler and the delicacies come closer to shore. As well as eating your way through the ‘big five’ of the seafood world - lobster, mussels, oysters, crayfish and prawns - learn how to catch and cook them on an exhilarating seafood safari.
Sample Shellfish Journey packages:
New for 2012, set off on a seafood safari along the sheltered Gullmar Fjord, fishing for Gullmar Prawns; they differ from the common prawn because they are redder, sweeter and bigger! Participants will also get the chance to haul up pots of lobsters. Relax in a soothing spa afterwards, before tucking into a three-course dinner. The package includes one night’s B&B at the Vann Spa, Hotel and Conference centre, free entry to the spa, a three-course dinner plus the three-hour seafood safari with coffee served on board, and costs £218 pp. Call 00 46 523 44200 (www.vann.se).
Set off on a mussel and oyster safari from the coastal haven, Lysekil. See for yourself how these delicacies are harvested and have the chance to perfect your oyster-opening technique with an expert demonstration. The package includes one night's B&B at Strandflickorna Havshotellet, a three-course dinner at Brygghuset restaurant and a two-hour mussel and oyster safari, and costs from £175 pp (two sharing). Call 00 46 523 79750 (www.strandflickorna.se/engelsk/html/enindex.html).
Experience a lobster safari and cooking class on Sweden’s most westerly islands – The Weather Islands. This car and TV-free zone is a wonderful setting for indulging in the freshest seafood, sea kayaking and relaxing by the sea in an outdoor hot tub. The package includes two nights’ B&B at Väderöarnas guesthouse, a lobster safari, a cooking class, lunch, two dinners – including a three-course lobster feast – and boat transfers from Fjällbacka, and costs from £722 pp (two sharing). Call 00 46 525 32001 (www.vaderoarna.com).
Embark on a lobster safari from the incredibly peaceful South Koster island, set in Sweden’s first marine national park, Kosterhavet. Dotted with small fishing villages, the island is an unspoilt landscape of beaches, plants and flowers. After the safari, relax in a wood-fired hot tub on the cliffs before tucking into a sublime lobster supper. The package offers two nights’ full-board accommodation at Sydkoster Hotel Ekenäs - including a four-course lobster dinner - and a guided cycle tour of the island, and costs from £350 pp (two sharing). Call 00 46 526 20250 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Partake in a lobster safari and oyster experience from a restored 19th century boathouse in the fishing village of Grebbestad. Along the way, lobster safari voyagers are treated to the village’s very own seaweed crisp-bread with horseradish cheese and good-quality coffee. The package includes two nights’ B&B at the four-star TanumStrand hotel, a lobster safari, oyster-opening classes and tastings, a lobster dinner, return flights (London) and car hire, and costs from £649 pp (two sharing). Call Seasoned Travel on 0844 8092599 (www.seasonedtravel.co.uk).
Explore the idyllic west coast from a sea kayak
Sea kayaking is one of the best ways to explore Sweden’s captivating coastline. There is paddling for all levels of experience – calm, sheltered waters for people who have never tried kayaking before, and exposed deep-sea stretches for the more experienced adventurist.
The unique coastline, with its 8,000 islands, islets and rocks, offers perfect conditions for sea kayaking. There are no strong currents or tidal waters and the water is warm during the summer and early autumn, combining to make Sweden’s west coast archipelago one of the most spectacular kayaking environments in the world. Breathe in the fresh sea breeze and take ‘getting-away-from-it-all’ to a whole new level...
Sample sea kayaking packages:
Self-guided paddling around Orust and Tjorn Island
Go on a self-guided kayaking adventure around the scenic islands of Orust and Tjorn, a blissfully-sheltered area with varied scenery. Begin your journey from a kayak centre just outside of Uddevalla and wild camp every evening - with no shortage of islands to choose from, paddlers very often get to camp on their own private island! There are three to six-day trips available. For example, a six-day trip includes all kayaking equipment, map package, pick-up at end point of tour and induction lesson, and costs £255 pp. Call Nature Travels on 01929 503080 (www.naturetravels.co.uk).
Guided-paddling around Koster and Fjällbacka archipelago
Or how about paddling the idyllic Koster and Fjällbacka cluster of islands with an experienced guide? This three-day adventure is an excellent introduction to kayaking, taking in the solitude of the Koster Islands – set in Kosterhavet Marine National Park and enjoying more hours of sunshine than anywhere else in Sweden – as well as the Fjällbacka archipelago, which is one of the region’s most sheltered settings. The three-day trip includes guide, all kayaking equipment, camping stove and cooking equipment, tent (two sharing) and sleeping mattress, and costs £383 pp. There are also one-day guided kayaking trips available for £108 pp. Call Nature Travels on 01929 503080 (www.naturetravels.co.uk).
New hotel in Gothenburg
The sophisticated new boutique Dorsia Hotel and Restaurant opened its doors in June 2012, located in the heart of Gothenburg. The hotel’s colourful art nouveau-style interior is exquisite, featuring hand-picked art and antiques throughout. It boasts 37 unique bedrooms and a top-class restaurant where its team, from the very best restaurants and bakeries, pledges that ‘every dish shall be an object of beauty'. What’s more, there are plans to open a trendy roof terrace and open-air café in spring 2013. One night’s B&B costs from £114 pp (two sharing). Call 00 46 31 7901000 (www.dorsia.se).
New restaurants in Gothenburg
The Clarion Hotel Post, which opened in early 2012, is set to unveil an eclectic new restaurant that mixes Scandinavian and Japanese cuisine. Opening on 5 September, vRÅ Raw Food has the famous Swedish sushi connoisseur, Frida Ronge, as its Head Chef. It’s a delicious addition to Clarion Hotel Post’s other renowned restaurant – Norda Bar and Grill - which serves up a fusion of Scandinavian and North America food and is managed by the famous New York based chef Marcus Samuelsson. Call 00 46 31 619050 (www.restaurangvra.se or www.clarionpost.com)
The Gothia Towers hotel has recently unveiled its new Restaurant West Coast, serving the finest seafood fresh from the Gothenburg coast. The slick bistro offers hotel and outside guests a truly nautical experience, equipped with seafood aquarium and oyster staircase. Krister Dahl is the Executive Chef behind its creation, the only person in the world to win three gold medals at the ‘Culinary Olympics’ - The International Exhibition of Culinary Art. The Gothia Towers is also home to Heaven 23 on the hotel’s 23rd floor, offering a fabulous view of the city and serving gigantic prawn sandwiches. Call 00 46 31 7508805 (www.gothiatowers.com).
Previewing a wintery West Sweden
Mixing a warm sense of tradition with contemporary Swedish design, Gothenburg lights the way to Christmas – literally. From 16 November, walk the unique 3km ‘Lane of Light’ through the city, beginning at the new Wheel of Gothenburg by the harbour and taking in shimmering outdoor light displays and the main boulevard’s Winter Wonderland. The magical journey ends at Liseberg Amusement Park, decorated with a million lights and famous for hosting Scandinavia’s biggest Christmas market.
Sample festive season package – new for 2012:
Two nights’ B&B at the trendy five-star Rica 25 (two sharing), set in the heart of Gothenburg, return flights (London) and 48 hour Gothenburg City Card (which offers free public transport and entry into an array of attractions and sites, including Liseberg Amusement Park) costs from £209 pp. Valid for travel until 31 December. Call Best Served Scandinavia on 020 7838 5956 (www.best-served.co.uk).
For more information about visiting West Sweden and Gothenburg, go to www.westsweden.com and www.gothenburg.com.
For an insider’s guide to events and experiences in West Sweden, follow the latest blogs at www.explorewestsweden.com.
Coming soon - your chance to win a Shellfish Journey holiday on Sweden’s west coast through West Sweden’s Facebook page! Test your seafood knowledge by answering the Shellfish Journey quiz and you could be the lucky winner. Connect with us on Twitter, too: www.twitter.com/westswedentb.
West Sweden can be reached by a short two-hour direct flight to Gothenburg with British Airways (Heathrow), Ryanair (Stansted and Edinburgh), SAS (Heathrow) and Norwegian (Gatwick), British Airways/Sun-Air of Scandinavia (Manchester).