This summer we finally got out of Gävle to explore some of Sweden and we decided to explore two different areas of the west coast. The West of Sweden is famous for its rugged coastline and its picturesque marinas so it is no shock that we were drawn there for our first road trip.
Our first stop was a little place called Björnholmen on the island of Tjörn. It was just short of a 7 hour drive from Gävle which we broke up with a one night layover in Örebro at the Lannalodge Golf Resort.
Now Tjörn is one of the small islands of the west coast of Sweden about an hour north of Gothenburg. To get there is easy simply crossing a bridge from the mainland and you are on your way.
We had booked 3 nights at the Björholmen Marina Hotel located at the very north of the island. We were given a double room with a balcony over looking the marina which was a great place to sit with a cup of coffee and relax.
We chose this hotel to experience a quintessential Swedish harbour town and it was perfect. The red wooden architecture, boat houses all along the water’s edge and the slow pace of the coastal life was everything we were looking for.
Even without considering the location, the hotel offers a lot to make your stay comfortable. A restaurant that serves lunch and dinner with a a good range of outdoor and indoor seating.
There is a kiosk where you can buy ice cream and coffee…
And a pizza house where you can order take away if you wished. A great option for any sailors docked at the harbour.
There is also a sauna and hot tubs but the tubs were closed due to COVID. We tried the sauna once but it was set at 100 degrees which was just too hot for us. We thought we were just sauna noobs but according to our Swedish sauna companions, it was unusually hot for them too so we didn’t feel so bad.
When we booked the hotel, we booked our dinner meals in advance realising that their were not a lot of options on the island. Each night we had a three course menu and the food was delicious. My particular favourite was the roast beef.
The staff were extremely friendly and didn’t make us feel like failures when we couldn’t understand the Swedish, especially the restaurant staff. After every dinner, as the sun was coming down, the golden light across the marina was always beautiful.
We did a lot of walking and a lot of resting during our time at Björholmen but one day we decided to take the car out for a drive to explore the island. Within 20 minutes from the hotel you can reach Skärhamn, the largest town on the island.
It was easy to find parking and it is a beautiful place to explore. I especially loved the smiling church, making your feel like you are in the happiest place on Earth.
We enjoyed looking around the little shops and restaurants and if you are interested in art, it is home to the Nordic Watercolour Museum. There were plenty of food options in the town with fish and chips being the most popular choice. The restaurants were small and cosy but too cramped for us during this COVID time so we opted for a food truck and found a quiet spot to eat overlooking the water.
Skärhamn was a lovely day trip and if you wanted to explore further, you could carry on south to the hotel Salt and Sill or hire a bike and use the well paved bike paths in the centre of the island.
During our time at Björholmen we didn’t realise that we would be there during Midsummer. It is a very big holiday in Sweden and we had no idea when we booked out trip. Many people celebrate out in the country side with family and friends. As we were away from both of those groups we celebrated eating good food with a view of the harbour. The atmosphere was really nice, very homely and a really nice experience.
Overall we really enjoyed our stay at Björholmen Marina Hotel. We stayed for 3 nights with the intention of exploring the area but we were so far removed that we really only had time to explore Tjörn. You can explore off the island if you are determined but it would be a lot of driving and long days, which was not for us but we now have an excuse to come back again next year.
The room was a good size with lovely views over the harbour. The breakfast was continental style with plenty of options and well spaced for COVID times. The pizza was stone baked which we loved and I finally got to try liquorice ice cream which was certainly interesting. The sauna is is well placed over the water with great views and a jetty to jump into the sea water. If you can stand the heat, it was a lovely place to sweat it out.
Honestly we feel we stayed the right amount of time; it gave us the time we wanted to relax and to visit a few places around the island. Their menu was beautiful but limited to ensure quality. This meant that although the food was delicious, it was fixed to three starters, three mains and three desserts so after three nights we would have struggled. With that said we would definitely recommend this hotel, especially to anyone who likes nature, scenery and somewhere quiet. It is a perfect place to visit if you are heading north from Gothenburg and want to experience the real Swedish Marina life.
(All photos are the property of Samantha Holt)