Experience Swedish Island Life in the Happy Little Harbor of Hönö

Spend a weekend away in West Sweden amidst the Gothenburg archipelago

Sharing a little taste of Sweden’s island life out in Göteborgs skärgård. This is Gothenburg’s archipelago. A string of islands sitting in cool clear waters off the west coast of Sweden. Direct ferries take you right from the city out for the day or better yet – overnight stays.

What awaits you on Swedish island time? Days slowing down. Summer dips in the crisp, but not freezing sea. Tasty dishes plucked fresh from local waters or having a go at pulling up your own dinner. Cycles to natural spaces for long strolls across rocks dotted with wildflowers as terns flitter and chirp overhead. It’s dreamy out here. You should give it a try. Come to Hönö, she said. Or any of the other little plops of land in the Gothenburg archipelago. Of the near twenty island choices in this part of Sweden, this is the one we visited.

So many islands in Sweden

Did you know Sweden touts more islands off its shores than any other country? While only about 1000 of the over 200,000 islands are inhabited, there are plenty of opportunities to explore Swedish island life.

The city of Gothenburg (Göteborg in Swedish) is the country’s 2nd largest and boasts a bunch, easily reachable within an hour or so by ferry. We picked adorable little Hönö – I’ll explain why in a minute.

What to do When on Hönö
ENJOY NATURE

The Swedes believe that access to nature should be free for everyone to roam (allemansrätten) and that proximity to the outdoors affords health benefits and a restored sense of well-being. An island is a brilliant way to feel it. Borrow (or rent) a bike to walk nature trails all over the island. In Ersdalen, a nature preserve on the island’s north end, you’ll find the region’s characteristic granite rocks sprinkled with meadows and heather, home to local fauna.

Ersdalen | 475 41 Hönö, Sweden


Related: Fall in Sweden | Everyman’s Right to Roam

GO FISHING

The historic industry of this region has almost always been fishing. And when visiting, you can experience fishing with a local. This was a big reason for steering our Swedish island visit toward Hönö. Here you can book fishing outings with Kastor Boat Trips, daily sailings right from the main harbor.

We spent a few hours on a krabbtur (crab tour) last summer, pulling up feisty Scandinavian rock crab with Lasse – owner and storyteller extraordinaire. He can also take you trawling for silvery and delicious mackerel or just a sightseeing trip to meet the resident seal colony. Looking to pull up some lobster? You can do that too. Come back in October.

Kastor Boat Trips | Västra Vägen 15, Hönö Klåva

Fishing for Scandinavian rock crab with Kastor Boat Trips, Hönö Sweden

Read more: Where to go Crabbing in West Sweden

GO SWIMMING

When in Sweden, do as the Swedes do. Especially in summer, you must go swimming. While this is seawater, it truly isn’t super salty. Temperatures in the summer range between 17-20°C (62-68°F) which might frighten off more fragile visitors, but I can assure you that the crisp water is the perfect refresher. The Scandinavians swear by its health benefits.

There are many spots around the island where you can jump in from the rocks and ladders have been planted to help you get out. Look for the locals sunning on the rocks. Check current water temps and if any safety issues like possible algae blooms on Allabadsplatser.se. We jumped in at this spot, a short walk at the end of Hönö klava. (Harbor.)

Swimming area near Hönö Klava (Harbor)
TASTE THE SEAFOOD

Fish and shellfish are as fresh as it gets in West Sweden, plucked straight from the boats that moor in the harbor, here in Hönö. Look for havskräftor – what the locals call sea crayfish or langoustine or spiny lobsters. However you name them, they are some of my favorites. You’ll also see Blåmusslor, or blue mussels, popular up and down the Böhuslan coast. Räkor is peel-and-eat shrimp. All are traditionally served with lemon to squeeze and a side of mayonnaise. If the weather warrants, don’t miss a chance to sample the Swedish fiskesuppe – a creamy, herby fish soup, often with salmon or cod.

For non-seafood eaters, you can still taste the ocean as lots of foraged seaweed works its way into menus. The Skärgårdshotellet serves tång bröd, a bread baked with seaweed for their brunch. Top it with local cheese and their unique house-made preserves made with sugar seaweed, rosemary, tomato, and vanilla. Sound funky? Don’t knock it ’til you try it. Tangy and umami filled delicious.

Tullhuset Restaurant | Västra Vägen 3, 475 42 Hönö, Sweden

Skärgårdshotellet Hönö Café | Västra Vägen 17, 475 42 Hönö, Sweden

Local seafood platter from Tullhuset Restaurang on Hönö Harbor
LEARN LOCAL HISTORY AT THE FISKEMUSEET | FISHING MUSEUM

Hönö was once home to one of the largest fishing fleets in these abundant waters. Learn more history, industry, the old fleet and the fisher peeps themselves. Or just wander through and enjoy the nautical paraphernalia. I love the old painted wood ship name signs that adorn the walls. Littles will love pretending they’re taking dinner on board in the ship’s hull dining room. Or learning the names of the birds and creatures that flit in these seas.

Fiskemuseet | Västra Vägen 3, 475 40 Hönö, Sweden
Open: Tue – Fri | 11.00 – 15.00
Price: Adult 45 SEK, Child (7-15) 10 SEK, Family 2 adults + x number of children 100 SEK

How to get to Hönö

Via public transportation | Västtraffik

Göteborg Centralstation to Hönö Klava

You’ll take the Röd (Red) route bus from Gothenburg Central Station towards Lilla Varholmen. Walk across the street to the ferry terminal and enjoy the wind in your hair on the 13-minute ferry across to the island. From here, you’ll grab another bus heading towards the tiny island of Fötö, but you’ll exit at the main harbor, Hönö Klava. A 90-minute, single-zone adult ticket purchased on the bus will cover the entire route and run 35 SEK (about $3.50 USD.) Check Västtraffik website for up-to-date times.

You can also download Västtraffik To Go app to pre-purchase tickets for all public transportation.

Price: 35 SEK
Where to catch: Gothenburg Central Station | Drottningtorget 5, 411 03 Göteborg, Sweden

Via Kungsö ferry:

In the summer, the Kungsö ferry is a direct route from Gothenburg’s waterfront Stone Pier (Stenpiren) right to Hönö’s main harbor. A little pricier, but the trip affords views of the city’s waterfront on your way out. The onboard cafe offers locally-produced craft beers, cold rosé, and snacks for your ride. When the Swedish summer sky has the sun shining, definitely enjoy the blue skies from the upper deck.

Kungsö Ferry

Price: Adult 95 SEK, Youth (8-16) 55 SEK, Children under 8 years travel for free with an adult
Where to catch: Stenpiren | 411 21 Gothenburg, Sweden
Available: 21 June – 11 August 2024 | 3 sailings daily, Tuesday through Saturday

Where to stay on Hönö

We adored the Skärgårdshotellet Hönö right on the waterfront. Pick a room with a little balcony for midsummer sunset views of little boats puttering in and out of the harbor. The Interior is filled with calming Scandinavian design and friendly accommodating service. Rooms come with a delicious local breakfast you can enjoy looking over the water.

Skärgårdshotellet Hönö | Västra Vägen 17, 475 42 Hönö, Sweden

Skärgårdshotellet Hönö waterfront restaurant


We adored our two nights on idyllic little Hönö. Want to explore more of the Bohuslan Coast and Western Sweden? Check out my other posts about this region:

Spend a Weekend Away in the West Sweden Archipelago on Tiny Åstol Island

Find Your Way to Fjällbacka Sweden

Tiny Torekov in Southern Sweden

Planning a trip for summer? Save this post. Pin it for later. Cheers from here.

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