West Sweden, with Gothenburg as its gateway, is one of Europe’s most popular getaways where forest paths mingle with cosmopolitan excitement and travelers will find a nonstop selection of activities and events for 2010. Happenings in West Sweden as well as information and venues one can use to plan and book visits are a click away on www.westsweden.com, which was just reformatted to be intuitively interactive, more informative and fun to explore.
Here’s a sampling of 2010 happenings in West Sweden:
‘And There Was Light’ – Leonardo da Vinci’s recently discovered painting ‘La Bella Principessa’ will be on display for the first time in this exhibition of three Renaissance masters da Vinci, Michelangelo and Raphael in the seaport city of Gothenburg (March 20 – August 15).
Kosterhavet marine national park – Expeditions aboard marine research vessels, seal safaris, diving excursions, sea kayaking, and island cycling top the list of ways one can commune with nature at this vast Swedish park that opened last September. Visitors help protect and share a unique marine environment. Special tour packages are available for the park’s first spring and summer seasons.
Getting ever greener – For those inclined to “eco-tred” when they travel, 2010 is the year to visit West Sweden. This year an increasing number of products bearing the ecologically sanctioned Nature’s Best accreditation for eco-friendly holidays will be launched in the West Sweden region.
Culinary holidays – Gothenburg and West Sweden form one of Europe’s top culinary destinations thanks to the exceptional produce of its local farms, forests and waters, as well as the talents of innovative chefs of international acclaim, Those who favor great cuisine give a delicious nod to the region’s Michelin-starred restaurants and the Taste of West Sweden program. The Taste is a collaborative effort by more than 30 eateries that are committed to using high quality local ingredients, offer knowledgeable service, and bring a respect for the environment – right to the table. They also take pride in making new culinary inroads such as lobster safaris and oyster tastings -- in a hot tub.
Lighthouse stays – Secluded lighthouses such as Pater Noster, Nidingen and Hållö offer accommodation, sanctuary, and an immersion in natural island beauty along the west coast of Sweden. Guests will find deluxe amenities amidst rustic settings. And the options are plentiful. One can enjoy champagne and oysters on a guided tour of Pater Noster on Hamneskär, and evening meals are sumptuous. At Nidingen, Sweden’s first lighthouse dwelling, one can sleep in the lighthouse keeper’s room decorated with period antiques and memorabilia. The lighthouse tour traces Nidingen’s history back to the 17th century, reveals its role during WWII, and provides a first hand look at the island’s birdlife from a watchers’ shelter.
Events - Highlights in the 2010 calendar include:
Mid March – April – Crane Dance: witness the spectacle of the dance as 10,000 cranes fly into the Lake Hornborga Nature Reserve from Spain to bow, hop and flap, to one another at their spring breeding grounds.
May 1 - Nordic Oyster Opening Championships, Grebbestad: see chefs from across Scandinavia battle it out to become the speediest opener, and enjoy a host of other tasty oyster activities.
May 28-30 – Gothenburg Jazz Festival, a parade along the main boulevard Avenyn kicks off the annual celebration of jazz that attracts more than 30 bands.
June 25 – Midsummer: celebrate the height of summer the traditional Swedish way with events at Gunnebo House and Gardens in Mölndal, Nääs Castle and some of Gothenburg’s finest parks.
July 26-31 - Lysekil Women’s Match, Lysekil: watch world championship sailing action at this women’s match racing event on the stunning Bohuslän coast.
August 10-15 - Gothenburg Culture Festival: a free event taking place across the city for all ages offering live music, open air dance floors, great food, arts and crafts market and entertainment.
August 12-14– Way Out West music festival, Gothenburg: listen to a top line-up of international and Swedish acts at the laid-back, eco-friendly festival in the city’s main park.
August 14 - Dalsland Canoe Marathon, Bengtsfors: tackle the 55km (34 mile) course through the lakes and waterways of the wilderness with 1,000 competitors.
September 20 – Lobster season begins along the Bohuslän coast. Partake in a culinary adventure: harvest, help cook and savor second-to-none lobster, the black gold of Sweden.
Mid November – late December – Gothenburg Christmas City: experience the magic of a Swedish yuletide when the festive markets open and Gothenburg transforms into a Christmas city with thousands of lights and Christmas trees, mulled wine to enjoy and gifts to buy.