Gothenburg Archipelago: Explore the Best Islands of Öckerö

The Gothenburg Archipelago consists of 20 islands, divided into two groups of ten each in the north (Öckerö) and south. There are a few distinctions between these two:

The Gothenburg Archipelago consists of 20 islands, divided into two groups of ten each in the north (Öckerö) and south. There are a few distinctions between these two:

The southern islands can only be reached by a passenger boat and there are no cars on these islands. They are also considered residents of Gothenburg.

The northern part is accessible via car ferry and has its own kommun (community). There are two islands in the northern part that are car-free zones: Grötö and Kalvsund. You can reach both islands by taking a passenger boat from Björkö.

There are no ferries linking the north and the south. Therefore, you need to schedule two separate visits unless you are travelling by your own boat. This article is focused on the northern part, the Öckerö community.

Both are easily accessible from Gothenburg and would be ideal for a day trip or weekend break.

Despite minor distinctions, all islands have some characteristics. They are all well-known for their scenic beauty, rich cultural pasts, and lovely fishing communities.

As someone who was born and raised on Björkö, these islands have a special place in my heart. I’m going to share some local insights and tips that will make your trip here smooth and enjoyable.

How to get to the northern islands

To go to the northern islands, there are different alternatives. You can take the ferry from Lilla Varholmen’s docks. You may take the “Röd Express” bus from Gothenburg Central Station there, which takes around 30 minutes. There is also an alternative to taking bus 291, which leaves from Central Station and goes with the ferry all the way to Hönö and Öckerö. 

You have two alternatives once you reach the docks:

  1. Take the right ferry to Björkö, or, as previously noted, take the boat to the smaller islands of Grötö or Kalvsund.
  2. The alternative option is to take the left ferry to the larger islands of Hönö and Öckerö, as well as Fotö and Hälsö. These four are linked by three bridges, making this part of the archipelago feel more like a tiny town. You may take a smaller car ferry from Hälsö to the smaller islands of Knippla, Hyppeln, and Rörö.

The third option for getting to the islands is to take the passenger boat from Stenpiren to the port of Hönö Klåva through Eriksberg. This path takes around an hour and is the one I recommend for the best island experience.


Gothenburg Archipelago | Öckerö | Fika with Sha

The most populous island and its harbour, Hönö Klåva, serve as the community’s focal point in many ways. Its fishing history is extensive, and fishing is an important element of the harbour today. Several of the former fishing grounds have been turned into charming stores, restaurants, and motels that are open all year. Here you can enjoy the original archipelago atmosphere amid fishing boats and boathouses. There is also a fishing museum, fishing trips, and a seal safari.

The harbour has roughly 10 restaurants and cafés. They are open all year and provide a diverse assortment. Anything from solely farmed fish restaurants to Swedish cuisine, Italian, children’s menus, dog meals, fish stores, pizzerias, and Thai restaurants can be found here.

When it comes to lodging, the island has a hotel, a hostel, cabins, and places to book on AirBNB.


The name of the community (Öckerö Kommun) reflects the community’s past as a major island.

The municipal hall, dentist, and other municipal institutions are located here.

Öckerö is full of things to discover, and the harbour is ideal for walking in a shipyard environment. As on many other islands, the west side is untouched and undeveloped; here you can hike on the Skärgårdsleden.

You should also visit the cosy Öckerö farmstead with authentic 19th-century dwellings that depict how people on the island lived and worked in the past. This is a perfect spot for a fika and relaxing in the garden. A favourite trip site for both children and adults,

The island also has a lot of great places to swim. The Jakobs Bratt cliffs, which are on the west side of the island and rise 13 metres above the water, are the most famous of these places.


Gothenburg Archipelago | Björkö | Fika with Sha

This is the island where I grew up and lived until I was 23 years old, as mentioned. 

I visit the island frequently because my family still lives there. Many things have changed over the years but I think many will remain the same. 

Björkö is the second-biggest island in terms of land area. The whole northern part of the island was once a military protection zone, and there are still vestiges of ancient, closed Cold War bunkers.

In my opinion, this feels like an island because it has a lot of trees. Certain parts of the northern section of the island feel more like Sweden’s calm heartland than an island. There are pine trees and a few tiny lakes to add to the atmosphere. With this in mind, this island is the best choice for island trekking. 

The island also includes a harbour, which houses the majority of the enterprises. The Seaside restaurant, for example, is well-known for hosting weddings. There is also a fish store where you can buy fresh fish and see dishes being prepared.  


This is the smallest island, and because it is car-free, it is incredibly peaceful, and you can feel the island calm here. The streets are tight in space since these were not designed to accommodate vehicles.

The viewing tower is a feature of Kalvsund and one of the island’s attractions. It is a sea mark built atop the island’s highest point, Valen. The view from here is breathtaking.


Grötö is the other car-free island, and like Kalvsund, this lends the island a serene and tranquil atmosphere. At the northern end of the island is one of Bohuslän’s few sandy beaches.

It is somewhat larger than Kalvsund, and the inner section of the island is covered with a smaller forest, as well as a smaller hotel and conference centre with a restaurant.


This is the most southern island in the Öckerö Community, with the well-known lighthouse Vinga as a neighbour. The archipelago settlement is charmingly clustered around the historic dock. Spending a warm evening at the harbour’s charming café, watching the boats dock, is both restful and entertaining. There are several walking routes to select from in Fotö.

The island’s desert cemetery, Klätten, dates back to the 16th century. Sailors who had been brought ashore to be buried were buried there. Klätten was located on one of Northern Europe’s most significant trade routes, and the harbour served as an anchoring point for the departure route to Gothenburg.


Charming, tiny passageways in the old shipyard area harken back to a period when Hälsö was one of the most significant boat manufacturing areas on the west coast.

On the west side of the island, there is a beautiful outer archipelago that rises out of the water. There are also many old stone enclosures and plots on the northwestern part of Halso and Stuvo, as well as on the islets outside.

From the northern side of the island, you take the smaller vehicle ferry to the three smaller islands in the archipelago’s northern part.


Knippla is home to a true Bohuslän village. The residences are close together, and nature has chosen the roadways. As on the other islands, the port area is the hub, with restaurants, hostels, and other facilities.

Knippla Hamnfest (Knippla Harbour Party) is a tradition of joy, community, and celebration for the whole family. During the day, there are lots of activities for the whole family, especially the children! During the evening, there will be a party with live music for the slightly older ones.

Here is the place to go if you want to experience a true Swedish island party. It is generally held on a Saturday in the middle of July.


 The island presents itself as a genuine archipelago island. A vibrant society. So close, but undiscovered even by the majority of Gothenburg residents. Both a storm and tranquillity are breathtakingly lovely. With a populace that has created a name for itself as uneducated, open, and action-oriented.

 I know the latter is correct since the grocery store on the island is managed as a cooperative by the residents. Isn’t it amazing? I’ve visited numerous nations around the world, and it’s very rare to hear about such things. At least in the Western world If you visit Hyppeln, you should stop by this store to discover that these things are still achievable in today’s ego-centric, individualistic society. The store also has a café, so you can have your daily fika there.

There is also a typical island restaurant in the middle of the harbour. They serve a delicious fish soup that I recommend you try if you visit them.


The island is the northernmost of the inhabited islands in the municipality.

Because the nature of Rörö is unique, it is protected to some extent. The majority of the island is a natural reserve with diverse vegetation and some endangered species.

The island serves as a stopover for migrating birds, with a considerable number of species passing through each year.

If Björkö is the place to go for trekking on the islands, Rörö is the place to go if you appreciate birds and plants.

With their wide views that are always changing because of the sea, the northern and western parts are very popular all year.A trail leads to the west side and the pebble beach.

The harbour is located in the eastern part of the island, and this is where the society is located. It features a café, a fishing store, and a small park.

Gothenburg Archipelago | Öckerö | Fika with Sha

Final Thoughts

If you want to experience the island atmosphere of Sweden, you should definitely visit these islands. There aren’t many locations more stunning in the summer than here. The bathing places t are also less congested than those closer to Gothenburg. 

If you want to enjoy some Swedish fika in Gothenburg, these are our recommended cafes.