Set off in your campervan on this south west Sweden road trip. Begin with Gothenburg, Sweden’s second-city, before heading up the coast, popping into Norway, and then inland to Europe’s largest lake.
Fun fact: ö means island in Swedish. And on this itinerary, you’ll explore a coastline with 8,000 of them. Combine that with a pinch of contemporary cool in two of Scandinavia's best cities, along with a huge great lake, and you have yourself a fantastic family getaway.
Enjoy parks and museums in Gothenburg. Next up, beachside bliss in the pretty fishing village of Strömstad. Pop into Norway to see how Oslo mixes epic nature with cutting-edge culture. And top it all off with some relaxation time in Karlstad and Lake Vänern.
Feeling the call of sandy beaches? Fancy some spectacular seafood too? Looking for a bit of city sophistication thrown? Get ready for this and more on Indie’s south west Sweden itinerary.
Capital cities tend to be heavy on the tourists and tradition. But second cities? They’re something else. Just like Gothenburg, the first stop on your south west Sweden road trip.
The perfect combination of easygoing and outgoing, with its canals, parks, and creative edge, Gothenburg has it all. This trendy destination offers cosmopolitan vibes and a friendly face for visitors. It’s also far more affordable than Stockholm, making it a great choice for families.
Park up the campervan and start by taking in the beautiful architecture and food markets of the old town. Visit the Stadmuseum to learn about the city. Follow up with the floating maritime museum — which includes a submarine. And the Konstmuseum will please parents yearning for some high-culture.
Relax in Kungsparken or Trädgårdsföreningen or check out the boutiques and fancy bistros on Avenyn boulevard. But only once you’ve checked out the Liseberg, Scandinavia's largest amusement park.
from Gothenburg depot
Scandinavia's largest amusement park.
Science museum with rainforest zone, great for kids.
Lively summer resort on the way to Strömstad.
Old auction house with wine bar and gallery.
Family-friendly with colourful interior.
Casual dining with a Michelin star.
Göteborgs Stad Trafikkontoret 18
Uncovered parking near centre.
Lisebergs camping Askim Strand
40 mins from centre on public transport.
Heading out of Gothenburg, trade urban cool for seaside charm in the sweet fishing harbour of Strömstad. Formerly one of the most fashionable spa towns in Sweden, today it’s a lively resort and the perfect place to stop on your south west Sweden road trip.
With its wooden buildings and granite cliffs, the next stop on your itinerary has more than a passing resemblance to nearby Norway. In fact, it’s a popular holiday spot for Norwegians who come here to enjoy beach time on the islands Blötebogen and Öddö, or further up the coast in Capri.
Part of a marine national park, the Koster Islands are a car-free paradise. They’re also perfect for swimming and snorkelling as the clear waters are some of the warmest in Sweden.
Explore hiking trails and cycling paths, or sunbathe in secluded sandy bays. Nordkoster is a great choice, taking only 2 hours to explore on foot. Oh, and be sure to make the most of the seafood. This stop is known for its shrimps and lobster.
Stunning marine park.
Charming Renaissance city.
Ancient archeological site.
Rökeri i Strömstad
Big bowls of freshly caught fish.
Lexö på Resö
Delicious food and great views.
Organic farm-restaurant on the island of Sydkoster.
Uncovered parking by the waterfront.
Lagunen Camping & Stugor
Short drive from town.
In Oslo, boundary-pushing modern culture meets some of Europe’s most striking nature. The result? A lively and vibrant city with a love for the unique and a big imagination. It’s also the next waypoint on your south west Sweden road trip.
The ideal stop on a family road trip, Oslo is located in between the waterways and islands of Oslofjord and the green forests and hills of Nordmarka. The birthplace of Edvard Munch, it enjoys a thriving contemporary art scene and is also one of the most eco-friendly cities in Europe.
Explore the centre with its neoclassical buildings and squares. Check out the art in the Nasjonalgalleriet. Explore military history in the Hjemmefrontmuseum. Finally, head over to the Viking Ship Museum — sure to be a hit with the kids.
Then hop on a train inland into Normarka. Up in these rocky hills, you’ll feel a million miles from the city. There’s even a ski resort nearby. Or, if you’re feeling hungry, you’ve got a choice of Michelin-starred restaurants or authentic local cuisine like shrimp and hot dogs.
Museums and hiking trails.
Vigeland Sculpture Park
Large bizarre outdoor sculpture park of naked human figures.
Small island off the coast of Oslo with forests and beaches.
Lille Tøyen Kolonial
Family-friendly, serving local organic food.
Nordic cuisine with a contemporary twist.
The oldest restaurant in Oslo.
Free parking a short walk from centre.
Waterfront parking a short bike ride from city-centre.
The last stop on your south west Sweden road trip takes you inland to Karlstad, a riverside town on the edge of the enormous Lake Vänern, and the perfect end to your Scandanavian adventure.
The city is charming and lively with a friendly student population and some good bars. Begin with the market square, Stortorget, then check out the Östra bron. The largest arched stone bridge in Sweden is also worth a glance.
But Karlstad’s main attractions are beyond the perimeters of the town. This area of Sweden is known for enjoying more hours of sunshine than the rest of the country and so this stop on your south west Sweden itinerary is the ideal place to soak up some rays.
And that’s to say nothing of Karlstad’s showrunner, Lake Vänern. Stretching out to 140km in length, it’s almost like being beside the ocean.
These calm waters are home to several species of marine life left over from the last Ice Age, and rarely found in freshwater lakes. But maybe don’t think about that when you’re out there swimming.
Covering the history and culture of this part of Sweden.
The largest lake in Sweden and the EU.
English-style gardens, perfect for a picnic.
Bröder Olssons Elektriska
Historic building, cosy vibe, local food.
Cafe and ice cream shop and hand-made chocolate.
Pizza with option to take-away.
Campervan parking 10 minutes on bus from Karlstad.