Danielle Wood of Education.com recently explored West Sweden with her family. She describes her trip below and explains why the region is so family-friendly…
What makes the destination great for families?
This area is such an incredibly relaxing place for families. Gothenburg – despite being the second largest city in Sweden – has the laid-back atmosphere of a small town. There are parks and playgrounds tucked into the city centre, canal bridges to run across, mysterious medieval streets and old fashioned trams just begging to be ridden.
What were the highlights of your trip? Did anything surprise you?
We took a ferry to the royal island of Marstrand and wandered for more than two hours around the fortress there. There’s a place on the outer wall with a big green lawn. One of the Swedes we were with, ran headlong at the wall and scrambled up it. I had no idea you could do that, and our whole family had a go – even our four-year-old. We felt a bit like ancient conquerors, sitting at the top of that wall. Once we were worn out, we walked along the water with a little fishing line to fish for crabs. We searched for the perfect fishing spot and mussels to use as bait. We didn’t actually get any crabs, but we had fun trying!
A trip to Liseberg Amusement Park was also one of our highlights. The park is right in the center of the city, which is incredible. I was surprised how many of the rides were similar to the ones in American amusement parks. The big wooden roller-coaster is a must! Skip the hotdogs and try the meatballs with mashed potatoes and lingonberry jam.
Are there any particular activities you would recommend to visiting families?
The weather can be a bit unpredictable in West Sweden – but rain never seems to last for long. Duck into a cafe or shop for an impromptu tasting tour. Try a cinnamon bun or tuck into an assortment of ‘knackebrod’ crackers. Eat lots and lots of seafood – even our picky little eaters fell in love with Swedish salmon and mussels. And find a true Swedish candy shop (we went to 4-Gott in Gothenburg). We gave each of our kids a pair of tongs, a bag and free reign to pick whichever 10 pieces of candy they wanted. It felt like a treasure hunt and it was so much fun popping things into our mouths having no idea what they would taste like. Some of that candy is so sour it’s hard to keep it on your tongue – just the kind of dare that makes a walk though the city even more interesting!
Before a trip to Sweden, it is fun for kids to prepare by learning some Swedish words – even knowing how to say ‘thanks’, ‘delicious’, and a few other words can be super helpful.
Would you return to the region and why?
Absolutely! We only had five days and we barely scratched the surface. Next time, I want to go up and down the archipelago and explore some other islands. When you’re travelling with kids, you don’t always know how much energy they’ll have for sightseeing each day. There’s so much in West Sweden within easy reach that you can just decide every morning what sort of adventure seems right. There’s a lot of room for improvisation and meandering.