Celebrate Swedish Midsummer...
Take part in a very Swedish tradition by marking the arrival of summer there on Midsummer Eve (22 June 2012). After the country’s dark winters, this National Day is well deserved, with Midsummer Eve one of the lightest of the year and a magical occasion. Maypoles are raised in villages and cities across Sweden and everyone tucks into a traditional Midsummer feast, including pickled herring, boiled new potatoes with fresh dill, soured cream and red onion – as well as fresh strawberries and schnapps!
Here are some of the best places on Sweden’s west coast to toast Midsummer Eve (all around an hour’s drive north of Gothenburg)...
At the splendid guesthouse and Taste of West Sweden-accredited restaurant Villa Sjotorp in Ljungskile, boasting a blissful garden that overlooks the sea - a serious contender for one of the most peaceful spots in Sweden. Devour fresh strawberries on the terrace, take a short stroll along the shore to watch the Maypole dance at Victoriaparken in Lyckorna and then indulge in a three-course Midsummer feast. Arriving 22 June, one night’s accommodation with breakfast and a Midsummer dinner costs £150 pp (two sharing). Call 00 46 522 20174 (www.villasjotorp.se/eng).
At the characterful coastal retreat of Strandflickorna Havshotell, set in Lysekil. Witness a traditional Midsummer morning at nearby Kungstorget as part of Strandflickorna's Romantic Midsummer Package. Arriving 21 or 22 June, two nights’ B&B, a traditional seafood lunch at Havsbads Restaurant, a three-course dinner at Norra Hamnen 5 restaurant (admiring the beautiful sunset across the ocean!) and a glass of sparkling wine and strawberries cost £204 pp (two sharing). Call 00 46 523 79750 (www.strandflickorna.se).
At the famous floating hotel and restaurant Salt & Sill on scenic Tjörn Island. Perhaps watch the Midsummer celebrations in Klädesholmen or borrow bikes and cycle to the festivities in Skärhamn or Rönnäng. Spend the rest of the day relaxing in the hotel’s outdoor hot tub and enjoy traditional cuisine at the Taste of West Sweden-accredited restaurant. Arriving 21, 22 or 23 June, one night’s B&B, a herring lunch, a three-course dinner, bike hire and a glass of sparkling wine costs £141 pp (two sharing). Call 00 46 304 673480 (www.saltosill.se).
Please note: prices stated above don’t include flights.
Summer holidays and tours in West Sweden – all NEW for 2012...
Four-day captivating coastal cruise
Feel relaxation levels reach new heights and tuck into fantastic cuisine on a new four-day cruise that journeys from Gothenburg to Fjällbacka. Step on board M/S Svea and stop en route to explore some of West Sweden’s coastal highlights – staying on land and dining in quality accommodation, either the Marstrands Havshotell or Grand Hotell Marstrand on the royal island of Marstrand, Fiskebäckskil (stay at Gullmarsstrand Hotell) and Smögenbryggan (stay at Smögens Havsbad). Four days of cruising, three nights’ B&B, four lunches, three dinners and a return bus journey to Gothenburg cost £519 pp. Several other cruises are available throughout the year, starting from or finishing in Gothenburg. Call 00 46 311 01015 (www.kulturbatarna.se).
Island hop the archipelago
Explore some of the region’s greatest islands on a new eight-day island hopping adventure. Take in Marstrand Island, Klädesholem (Herring) Island, The Weather Islands and Koster Islands, spending two nights on each in gorgeous accommodation, including Sydkoster Hotel Ekenäs. Be sure to pack your bathing costume - there are loads of swimming hotspots, from rocky inlets to sandy beaches. For departures from May to September, seven nights’ B&B, flights (London), car rental, lunch and dinner on The Weather Islands, cost £1460 pp (two sharing). Call 0845 8900 300 (www.simplysweden.co.uk).
Swedish crime fiction news...
New Läckberg crime fiction tour of Fjällbacka
Follow in the footsteps of Camilla Läckberg’s crime fiction characters on a new guided tour of Fjällbacka – where her novels are set (90 minutes’ drive north of Gothenburg). Led by certified guides, the tour shows fans exactly where the characters played out the crime fiction tales including Kungsklyftan gorge (where three fictional murder victims were found!). Learn about Fjällbacka’s fascinating history too, including the herring fishing period, and have the chance to climb Vetteberget Mountain for a jaw-dropping view. Available all year, the tour lasts 1.5 hours and costs 150 SEK (£13) pp. To book call 00 46 768 111 021 or email email@example.com.
New Läckberg gourmet evening
Camilla Läckberg doesn’t only write detective stories - she also pens cookbooks with her old childhood friend, Christian Hellberg, Head Chef at the Taste of West Sweden-accredited restaurant and hotel, Bryggan Fjällbacka. Spend the night there and tuck into a three-course dinner based on recipes from the pair’s Flavours from Fjällbacka cookbook. The package, including one night’s B&B and a three-course dinner costs from £129 pp (two sharing). Call 00 46 525 310 60 (ww.brygganfjallbacka.se).
New Taste of West Sweden restaurants – visit the South Koster Island
12 more restaurants that make the most of West Sweden’s first-class produce became Taste of West Sweden accredited in May, raising the number of gastronomic eateries in the scheme to 36 restaurants. The new highly-regarded foodie hotspots include Kosters Trädgårdar on the South Koster Island, serving up organic homegrown produce from the surrounding green houses and allotments. Set in Sweden’s first Marine National Park - Kosterhavet - the South Koster Island is a wonderful place to detox. Enjoy walks, cycling, seal safaris and relaxing on the sandy beaches. Stay at Sydkoster Hotel Ekenäs, where a double room costs from £49 pp including breakfast (two sharing). Call 00 46 526 20250 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ancient Chinese temple showcased at Pilane Sculpture Park 2012
Admire fascinating contemporary sculptures created by some of the world’s best artists at Pilane Sculpture Park - a beautiful historic setting on Tjörn island (open until 16 September). This year’s exhibition includes Zhang Huan’s 400-year old Chinese temple - an enormous, complex installation that touches upon both Buddhism and politics in modern-day China; Claes Hake’s Wall Street - made up of 100 tonnes worth of enormous pieces of rock; and Jaume Plensa’s famous tree huggers. This is a truly unique site, the eclectic art contrasting with sheep grazing freely amongst thousand year-old ancient remains in the Swedish countryside that include stone circles dating from the Iron Age. Tickets cost £7 pp (free if under 15 years old). Visit www.pilane.org/drupal/en.
Looking forward to the famous Shellfish Journey...
The shellfish in West Sweden is among the best in the world and Autumn/Fall is the perfect time to eat and learn all about it during the Shellfish Journey. Kicking off at the start of the lobster season on the first Monday after 20 September every year, the Shellfish Journey runs from 24 September until 4 November in 2012. Set off on an educational and mouth-watering seafood safari, available along the spectacular coastline, including lobster and mussel experiences.
Sample Shellfish Journey packages – NEW for 2012:
Experience a lobster safari and cooking class with Väderöarnas guesthouse on Sweden’s most westerly islands – The Weather Islands. This car and TV-free zone is also a wonderful setting for indulging in the freshest seafood, sea kayaking and relaxing by the sea in an outdoor hot tub. Two nights’ B&B, lobster safari, cooking class, lunch, two dinners – including a three-course lobster feast –and boat transfer from Fjällbacka, cost £722 pp (two sharing). Call 00 46 525 32001 (www.vaderoarna.com)
Or partake in a lobster safari and oyster experience from a restored 19th century boathouse in the fishing village of Grebbestad. The lobster safari lasts for 2.5 hours and treats voyagers to the village’s very own seaweed crisp-bread with horseradish cheese and warming coffee along the way. The package includes two nights’ B&B at the four-star TanumStrand hotel, lobster safari, oyster-opening classes and tastings, lobster dinner, return flights (London) and car hire, and costs from £649 pp. Call 0844 8092599 (www.seasonedtravel.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.
Fans of West Sweden’s Facebook page now have the chance to win their dream holiday in the region. Entrants have to create their dream holiday by simply picking three favourite accommodation examples, three favourite activities and describing what makes it a dream holiday. Connect with us on Twitter, too: www.twitter.com/westswedentb.