Rocky coastlines, colorful fishing cottages and home to some of the best open-top shrimp sandwiches in the country – Smögen is definitely the most charming seaside town in Sweden. Smögen is great to visit year-round, but the island really comes to life in summer, when the town’s population grows from its 2,000 inhabitants to a whopping 30,000! Smögen makes for a perfect day trip from Gothenburg, or as a stop on your road trip through West Sweden. The island itself is not big and if you plan your trip well, there are plenty of things to do in Smögen on a day trip. Here is everything you need to know about your visit to Smögen!
Everything you need to know about Smögen
Best time to visit Smögen
Smögen is definitely most popular between June and August but be prepared for the crowds of tourists during the high summer. If you happen to be visiting for the Swedish holiday Midsummer (usually mid to end of June), make sure you book a place to stay at least 2 months in advance.
I would say the crowds make Smögen more charming, so if you are okay with not being the only one there, then you’ll definitely love Smögen in summer!
You can visit Smögen year-round, but there won’t be as many shops or restaurants open.
How to get to Smögen
From Gothenburg to Smögen by car
Getting from Gothenburg to Smögen by car is the easiest, fastest and cheapest way to travel. The journey takes approximately 1h 40min. Smögen is connected to the mainland via a 500-meter long bridge, called the Smögen Bridge (“Smögenbron”). Before you drive over the bridge make sure you stop by the parking areas on the mainland and take a few pictures of the stunning views of the island.
Parking in Smögen, especially by the Smögen Pier, is very expensive and costs up to SEK 50 per hour. You are better off parking just across the bridge and then walking to the touristy part – especially if you plan on spending a whole day in Smögen. The one I found most worth parking at was Sandöns Parking, at SEK 190 per 24 hours.
From Gothenburg to Smögen by bus
There is a direct connection from Nils Ericson Terminalen (Gothenburg Central Station), arriving at Smögen bus station. The journey takes about 2h 30min and the services depart daily. For travel planning on the West Coast, make sure you download the app To Go, so you can see exactly when your bus departs – the most common route is taking the bus 841 and then changing to 860. In this app, you can also purchase a bus ticket and one way from Gothenburg to Smögen is SEK 102. If you are more than two people, I would definitely recommend renting a car.
Smögen camping – Where to stay
Since Smögen is quite small, there aren’t many hotels on the island, and those that are tend to be quite pricey, with not much bang for buck and at least USD 150 per night for a room. Instead of staying in a hotel on the island, I would highly recommend you spend your night off the island and a little further away in a camping place instead.
We stayed at First Camp Solvik-Kungshamn and they are a great choice for camping Smögen. We booked a bungalow by the water, but they also have camping spots and a place to park your campervan if you happen to be traveling by one. The bungalow we rented also sleeps 6 people, so it’s perfect for a family and makes for a great budget stay.
Best Restaurants in Smögen
Since Smögen is located on the West Coast of Sweden, the best choice is definitely getting fresh seafood! I would definitely say it’s not a visit to Smögen unless you tried an open-top shrimp sandwich, so definitely scout out a good place for a ‘räckmacka’. The prices in Smögen are definitely higher than you’d experience in Gothenburg, but the island is a popular tourist destination even for the locals and Norwegians, so they know people don’t mind spending a little extra for good quality seafood!
Göstas Fiskekrog Restaurang
This is where you’ll buy your shrimp sandwich and get a real taste of Smögen.
This is a slightly more casual seafood bistro bar and often features live music, which makes for a great vibe in the summer days!
If you’re in for something more classic, then this burger joint will not disappoint.
If you happen to be in the company of people who like different food, then Ocean Smögen is the place. They have everything from pasta, burgers to seafood and are located just a few meters, by those famous Smögen cottages.
Best things to do in Smögen
See the Smögenbryggan
Smögenbryggan is by far the most popular thing to do while in Smögen, and for a good reason. The colorful fishing cottages make for the most photo-perfect spot on the West Coast. In the summer the place gets quite packed, but you’ll also see plenty of small boats parked in the harbor.
Walk on the Smögen boardwalk
Definitely one of the main things to do while visiting Smögen is walking on the Smögen boardwalk. The boardwalk winds along the sea in the middle of the main/touristy part of town and here you’ll be walking past many tourist shops, restaurants, and cafes. In the summer you’ll also see plenty of luxury boats, plenty of Norwegian flags, and just as much striped clothing as you can probably imagine.
Take a dip at one of the swimming spots
Smögen is the perfect one-day destination and after a walk on the boardwalk, a photo-op at the harbor, and a yummy shrimp sandwich lunch, don’t forget to take a dip at one of Smögen’s many swimming spots!
Vallevik, Smögen’s largest and most popular bathing spot is perfect for those of you who love a good rocky beach. A great spot for sunset watchers as well.
This bathing place is adjacent to the large parking lot at Smögenbryggan. Perfect bathing spot for the whole family, with a small sandy beach and bathing stairs. Here is the exact location since it’s not marked on the map.
Located on the west side of Smögen, the Makrillsvikens bathing place has the jetty and ladder on site all year round. Inside the bay, you’ll also see Makrillviken’s hostel, where you can book the sauna by the jetty for a true Swedish experience in the wintertime.
Smögen’s only natural sandy beach, located in the nature conservation area Sandön, a short walk from Sandöns parking. Sandön also offers a fantastic hiking trail, so if you plan on spending more than a day in Smögen, definitely give it a check!
Kleven is an island just next to Smögen and offers very nice opportunities for swimming and sunbathing. On Smögen there are two diving centers and at Kleven you’ll be able to both get a certificate and buy individual dives with a guide at Smögen Dyk & Upplevelse.
Visit Nordens Ark
Nordens Ark is a private, non-profit foundation that works to ensure endangered animals have a future. They are engaged in conservation, rearing, research and training, as well as doing what we can to increase public awareness of biological diversity. The wildlife park and conservation center are open year-round and the perfect place for a family trip if you’re staying in Smögen for longer than a day.
Take the ferry to Hållö
Hållö is an island located near Smögen and Kungshamn. Here you’ll be able to find Bohuslän’s oldest lighthouse, take a swim or perhaps a hiking tour, or simply enjoy the west coast’s most charming feature – the rocky landscape. The island is located just 10 minutes away from Smögen by ferry and the ferry leaves every 30 minutes from the harbor. I would also say it’s slightly reminiscent of the Weather Islands, but on a smaller scale.
The Sandön Nature Reserve makes for a nice walking area on a rocky peninsula. There is a 2 km long path and here you’ll be able to see plenty of interesting plants and vegetation, as well take a swim or do a little bit of fishing.
I hope you enjoyed this ultimate guide with everything to do in Smögen in Sweden. For more travel guides to Sweden, click here!