Sweden // Around Gothenburg //

The Bohuslän coast

A chain of islands linked by a thread of bridges and short ferry crossings make up the region of Bohuslän where, despite the summer crowds, it’s still easy enough to find a private spot to swim. Sailing is also a popular pastime among the many Swedes who have summer cottages here, and all the way along the coast you’ll see yachts gliding through the water. Another feature of the Bohuslän landscape you can’t fail to miss is the large number of churches here. The region has a long tradition of religious observance, fuelled in the early nineteenth century by the dogmatic Calvinist clergyman Henric Schartau, who believed that closed curtains were a sign of sin within – even today, many island homes still have curtainless windows. The churches, dating from the 1840s up to the early twentieth century, are mostly white, simple affairs, and look like windmills without sails. Once you’ve seen the inside of one you’ve mostly seen them all, but the few that are exquisite or unusual have been highlighted in the guide. Each church is usually open between 10am and 3pm, but the clergyman invariably lives next door and will be happy to unlock the building at other times.