Fashionable Gothenburg may not be Sweden’s capital, but the country’s second-largest city outshines its big brother, Stockholm, in many respects. Abuzz with music, art and culture and with a chilled-out, cosmopolitan atmosphere, this makes a strong claim for the title of Sweden’s most likeable city. It’s also home to some world-class hotels, such as Upper House – a contemporary boutique in the heart of the city with Michelin-starred cuisine and a rooftop, glass-bottomed pool. With a relatively small population of half a million, Gothenburg punches above its weight culturally, with top museums, galleries and music venues; famous children of the city include musicians Jose Gonzalez and Little Dragon, and Oscar winner Alicia Vikander.
Away from the urban buzz, Sweden’s west coast is home to beautiful seaside villages like Fjallbacka, one-time holiday haunt of Ingrid Bergman and a charming base from which to explore the beautiful coastline, diving spots and islands of the surrounding coastline. The picturesque island of Kladesholmen is peppered with fishing huts, and while the industry is not as booming as it once was, its legacy lives on in an abundance of world-class seafood restaurants, the pick of them being Salt & Still, which is also Sweden’s original floating hotel. As with everything on Kladesholmen, herring is the star of the show, but there’s much more fresh seafood to enjoy besides.
The island of Tjorn has long been a haven for artists thanks to its stunning light and landscapes, and at nearby Skarhamn, you can pay a visit to the popular Nordic Watercolour Museum or embark on yachting trips. If you’re here in August, you can witness one of Sweden’s premier sailing competitions, the Tjorn Runt.