The coastline around Gothenburg is one big playground for the city’s inhabitants and should be your first stop when moving on from the centre. Remarkably, the Gothenburg archipelago, a vast array of forested islands, rocky bluffs and skerries, scattered off the city’s western shore, is still little known by visitors. Gothenburgers, however, rave about it – with good reason – and the archipelago is considerably less expensive to reach than the equivalent in Stockholm. North of Gothenburg, the rugged and picturesque Bohuslän coast, which runs all the way to the Norwegian border, attracts countless tourists each summer, the majority of them Scandinavian and German. The most popular spot is the island town of Marstrand, with its impressive fortress and richly ornamental ancient buildings, but there are several other worthwhile attractions further up the coast, not least the buzzing summer destination of Smögen and the nearby wildlife park, Nordens Ark.
Northeast of the city, the shores of beautiful Lake Vänern make a splendid backdrop for the journey to the lake region’s main town, Karlstad, a thoroughly likeable place the perfect jumping-off point for river-rafting trips through the rural province of Värmland.