My husband and I both work with a lot of Swedish people, I even had the chance to go to Stockholm for work, and it made us want to see more of Sweden. Funnily enough when I was fairly young I would always say to my parents that I wanted to go on holidays in Scandinavia but my parents wanting some sun – and way cheaper destinations – we would often drive to the south of France, Spain or Italy. So nearly 15 years on, I got as a Christmas surprise plane tickets to Stockholm, coming back from Gothenburg. It seems to have become our thing, to land on one side of a country and leave from the other and then just figure out the in between.
The reason why we chose to leave from Gothenburg was mainly that the west coast of the country had been highly recommended to us as being absolutely stunning. So the plan was to start with a few days city break, drive across the country and enjoy the coast. I am not sure anymore how we decided specifically to go to Orust, if it was recommended to us or if we read about it. But once we were settled on the idea, we booked a remote Airbnb, staying in a cabin in the forest near Henån beach. What really sold it to me was having our own sauna.
We drove from Stockholm, leaving in the morning, and it was a very easy drive though not the most exciting. We found out that the reason why it actually takes so long to drive across a fairly narrow country is that there is one lane on each side with an alternating take over lane, you don’t have long to take over so we got stuck behind quite a few trucks. But as everywhere else, people were patient and respectful and it was a stress free journey.
The main road is mostly encased by pine trees and you suddenly stumble on the coast and the scenery is completely different. The water was incredibly dark blue contrasting with the grey rocks and we were lucky to have absolute perfect weather. As we crossed the bridge to enter Orust, I knew it was going to be my favourite part of our stay. I loved Stockholm and it is such an enjoyable city with sea air coming in but this was different to anywhere we’ve been.
Our Airbnb was only fifteen minutes away from the coast but even with specific coordinates, the GPS couldn’t find the place. We had to call our host who directed us and it turned out we needed to drive ten minutes on a dirt road. The place was perfect, our hosts and three dogs welcoming us and the location was beautiful.
From there we could walk to a lake through a glorious forest of gigantic pine trees. Unfortunately, we couldn’t find any access to go for a swim. Henån harbour was also only a short drive away and there you have all the convenience you need. Including a Systembolaget where you can buy alcohol, if you like Swedish cider they had a good selection. I wouldn’t recommend cactus cider though… Bear in mind that they close quite early and you will always need ID.
From Henån you can just drive around and stop wherever you want. Our host told us that in Sweden it’s ok to go through someone’s property as long as you don’t go in the house basically. We were still very cautious but as long as there are no barriers, you can stroll anywhere. We just pointed to a place on the GPS and explored. Some roads where just dirt paths again and we were quite surprised to bump into the mailman. At some point we just parked the car in the middle of pine trees, went up a slope and the most beautiful landscape appeared, facing the sea standing on grey rocks. The sky and the water were incredibly blue.
After a couple of days in Henån, we drove down to Gothenburg, crossing all of Orust and Tjörn. The latter is a smaller island and was very quick to drive through, it was also lovely and we went through a small fishing village. We passed a beach and people were sunbathing but it still felt a little bit too cold for us.
So, is Orust worth is? If you want a break from the city, it definitely is. It ended up being one of my favourite parts of this trip and felt like a proper break. The landscapes are truly beautiful and all the people were friendly and welcoming everywhere we went. Trains can take you to Orust but then you will need a mode of transport on the island. If you are comfortable cycling around, bikes are a good alternative to cars.