In 2011, Joe and I found our way to Gothenburg’s archipelago not because we were prepared and informed tourists, who would have easily learned that the archipelago (skärgård) is perhaps the city’s most valuable natural asset. We found our way there because we took a random tram to the end of its line (it must’ve been the 9 or 11, in hindsight), to Saltholmen. There, we found boats!
And we learned we could take any of the ferries there to any of the islands in the southern archipelago (The northern part can be reached at Hisingen.) for no extra charge on our Västtrafik transit passes. It was early in the day, so we rode around all day.
Each island had its own character, but all we saw were idyllic. The small islands encouraged walking or riding bicycles, often ones with small carts on the front to get groceries from the local shop. Homes sprouted from hillsides built of rock and lined with bushes, peeking out over the sea. We felt like we were in the Shire.
We returned in 2014, knowing my dad would just love to see what we saw. But it was raining that time, and his knee needed a rest. We made it only to Vrångö, but we watched the rain from a small café, ate lunch and met a cute cat out front.
This week, we were determined to revisit the area only on the sun’s schedule. We had our day planned. Armed with sun screen and a camera, we set out. It took almost an hour to get to Saltholmen via tram from Kålltorp, but we caught a few Pokémon along the way. This time, we again made it only to one island:
After getting lunch at the eclectic sea-shanty Brännö Varv café, we walked a loop around the entire island, admired a few lovely homes, fed an apple to a goat, met three cats, tried to figure out what all those berries were, and generally had a great time just wandering around.
We didn’t know then that the swimming area is the island’s main attraction, but it became obvious when we stumbled upon it. The beach was enclosed in walls of rock, which, once scaled, yielded tremendous views of the shores nearby. The water pooled inland just enough for the sun to warm it.
It wasn’t long before we realized it’d be another 2 hours until we made it home, so we’d have to leave. Resigned, we trekked back to the port and caught the ferry back to Saltholmen, then the trams home.
Here are a few of the scenes from our day in Brännö. Enjoy!