World-class sea kayaking with wild island camping
Sweden's west coast archipelagos has some of the country's, if not the world's, best sea kayaking, with networks of granite islands to explore and the Swedish Right of Public Access offering the rare privilege to camp wild during your tour.
West Coast Kayaking Adventures offers a choice of four guided itineraries exploring some of the gems of the archipelago area. Seals are commonly encountered on all the tours, with opportunities for seal watching particularly good in the Koster area.
All tours are based on wild island camping in the archipelago. Photo: J. Hermansson.
Four different regions to explore
- Koster National Park: Established in 2009, Koster is Sweden's only marine National Park and protects a stunning labyrinth of islands. Koster National Park is an important wildlife habitat. Over 6,000 marine species have been recorded here, including 200 found nowhere else in Sweden. The tour explores the beautiful landscape of the area, including Sweden's most westerly lighthouse.
- Fjällbacka: Epitomising the region of Bohuslän, Fjällbacka was beloved by Ingrid Bergman and is the setting for some of the most popular novels of Swedish author Camilla Läckberg. It is steeped in maritime history and its sandy beaches, picturesque coastal settlements and red-tinged granite formations are a inspiring setting for sea kayaking.
- Orust: The west side of the island of Orust is a popular destination for Swedes enjoying the long summer days and is another iconic Bohuslän landscape. The smaller islands off the coast of Orust are wonderful to discover by kayak, from the communities of Käringön and Gullholmen to the majestic coastlines of Härmanö and Vallerö.
- Havstenssund: One of the hidden gems of West Coast paddling, the Havstenssund archipelago offers sheltered kayaking between the islands of Trossö, Kalvö and Lindö in a landscape of sandy beaches and coastal villages. Towards the western side, the granite islands create an archipelago landscape to rival the most beautiful in the country.
The tours offer an excellent opportunity to learn or improve your paddle skills. Photo: J. Hermansson.
Why choose a guided kayak tour?
Whatever your level, there are many reasons to choose a guided tour for your next paddle adventure:
- No previous experience is required, and while not a formal kayak course, the tours provide a wonderful opportunity both for novices to learn the essential techniques of sea kayaking and for more experienced paddlers to develop their skills and confidence. Your guide is on hand at all times to offer instruction and advice to help you improve. Whatever your starting level, you should find the tour a valuable learning opportunity, as well of course as having a wonderful few days of island kayaking and camping!
- In the company of a guide, you may have greater confidence to explore areas or paddle in conditions that you would not feel comfortable attempting self-guided.
- A guided option adds a different dimension to any tour, enriching your experience with an opportunity to learn about the natural and cultural heritage of the area, as well as being able to show you what the Swedes call "smultonställe" ("places of wild strawberries"), those secret and magical spots only locals know.
- As a guided tour, the trips are ideal for solo travellers as well as those travelling with partners or friends.
With tour dates from June to September, West Coast Kayaking Adventures offers the opportunity for enjoying the beauty of the archipelago during the almost endless days of summer or the magically peaceful autumn.
The area in which your tour takes place will depend on tour dates - see under "Dates" for details. The nature of the archipelago means that there is flexibility to vary the route taken and adapt the itinerary depending on wind and weather conditions. In very challenging conditions, tours may run in an alternative area to that prescribed for your tour dates. For example, if the Koster fjord cannot be crossed for Koster itineraries, tours may run in the Havstenssund area, which offers more sheltered kayaking and which also includes the southern section of the Koster National Park.
Day 1 (Friday)
Meet at the kayak centre at 09.00 for preparation and introduction to the tour followed by transport to the start point (location depends on itinerary chosen, transfer time around 1 hour).
Once at the start point, you will pack the kayaks and have lunch before taking to the water.
Your kayak tour begins! Later in the day, you will find a spot to camp overnight to prepare dinner and spend your first evening in the archipelago. If you're travelling in July and August, the water may well be a lovely temperature for swimming. For tours in June and September, it may be a quick dip for the brave!
Day 2 (Saturday)
Your second day of kayaking continues the discovery, stopping for lunch during the day and finding a new camping spot for the night.
Day 3 (Sunday)
Breakfast and your final day of kayaking, ending at pick-up point for transfer back to the kayak centre. You will normally be back at the kayak centre by 17.00, where you organise the equipment and re-pack your belongings before departure.
Dates & Prices»
- June: 02.06-04.06.23 (Havstenssund), 16.06-18.06.23 (Orust), 30.06-02.07.23 (Fjällbacka)
- July: 14.07-16.07.23 (Koster National Park), 28.07-30.07.23 (Havstenssund)
- August: 11.08-13.08.23 (Orust), 25.08-27.08.23 (Fjällbacka)
- September: 08.09-10.09.23 (Koster National Park)
Private tours for groups of min. 4 persons can also be offered on other dates by request. Please contact us to discuss your requirements.
|Standard Prices (per person)|
|All scheduled dates||GBP|
In addition to listed scheduled dates, public tours on other dates can be opened at standard per person prices on request from min. 4 persons. Private tours are also possible based on minimum cost for 8 persons. Please contact us to discuss your requirements.
What's Included »
Kayak and Camping Equipment:
- Single rotomoulded sea kayak with paddle, buoyancy aid and spray skirt. Double kayaks are available on request - please mention on booking if double kayak is required.
- Tent (shared per two persons - solo travellers will share tent with other same gender participant), sleeping mat, sitting stool, cooking equipment and camping mealkit/utensils. Please note that sleeping bag is not included.
- Cleaning of the equipment at the end of the tour.
- All meals from lunch on Day 1 to lunch on Day 3. Please let us know any dietary requirements in advance.
- Local transfers between the kayak centre and start/end points of your chosen tour.
- Services of local guide during the tour.
- Instruction: The tours are not intended as a formal instructional course, but offer an excellent opportunity to learn and develop paddle skills and your guide will be happy to assist with advice and guidance on improving your technique.
- Travel: We do not arrange flights or domestic travel, but are happy to advise on suitable connections and assist you with any aspect of planning your journey. See under "Getting There" for general travel information.
- Sleeping bag.
- Alcoholic drinks.
Good To Know »
All participants must be able to swim. Min. age 15 years.
No kayaking experience is required, but you should be general comfortable in the water and willing to learn new skills. The tours are suitable for both novice paddlers and those with greater experience.
Solo travellers will share tent with other same-gender guest and so should be used to living in close proximity with others. Single tent occupancy may be available on request - please contact us for details.
The four itineraries are all broadly similar in terms of level of challenge, but Koster tours may have slightly higher level of difficulty due to the need to cross the Koster fjord, which can be challenging in windy conditions.
What makes this "Easy-Medium"?
As guided tours, these experiences make the archipelago accessible to a wide range of participants. The emphasis is on enjoying the experience of kayaking and camping in the archipelago, developing your paddle skills and learning something of the flora, fauna and cultural heritage of the area.
The areas allow some flexibility to vary the route taken and area paddled in to take account of wind and weather conditions and the abilities of the group.
There are no significant tides or currents in the archipelago, but in windy conditions the water can be choppy.
NB: Perception of difficulty is very subjective. What is hard to one person may be easy for another and vice versa, depending on factors including level of fitness, age and previous experience. Weather conditions/temperatures can also dramatically affect the actual level of challenge encountered.
For information on any equipment and/or clothing included as standard for this experience, please see under "What's Included".
A detailed recommended packing list for personal items to bring will be sent with your booking documentation.
NB: We advise you not to buy equipment or clothes for your trip or to incur other non-refundable expenses such as flights until you have received confirmation of your booking from us in writing. Note of course that the most appropriate clothing to use as well as the level of challenge experienced during any outdoor activity may vary significantly depending on factors such as the time of year and the particular weather/temperature conditions during your trip.
Preparing for your trip:
For further reading, we also have a number of general information articles to get you ready for your trip, covering a wide variety of topics from what to do on a city break before/after your tour, advice on packing, eyewear for winter and considerations for female travellers.
- For scheduled tours, a minimum of total 2 persons is required for tours to be guaranteed to run. You are welcome to book as a solo traveller.
- Private tours on other dates are also available on request for min. 4 persons, subject to availability. Please contact us for details and prices.
Combine This With
This experience makes a good combination with the following:
- Canoeing in Dalsland's Lake District (4 or 7 days, 1.5 hours by bus)
Max. group size for scheduled tours 8 persons.
This experience is also suitable for private groups. Please contact us to discuss your requirements.
This provider has received a prestigious Swedish Ecotourism quality mark for its commitment to high standards to cultural and environmental sensitivity.
Bohuslän is an area noted for its rocky coast and with a long history as a centre for herring fishing offers some of Sweden's best sea kayaking.
The archipelago consists of about 3,000 islands and 5,000 islets or skerries in total, and makes up the northern section of the Gothenburg archipelago. The largest of the islands are Tjörn and Orust.
In the past, the many reefs and submerged rocks along the coast were known as a considerable hazard to shipping, and there were a number of wrecks in the area.
Getting There »
See below for a summary of travel options. To learn more about how to travel to this experience, please get in touch!
Detailed information on travel will be provided in response to your enquiry. We are happy to advise on suitable connections and assist you with any aspect of planning your journey.
NB: Please ensure that you make a booking with us first and wait for confirmation that your spaces are reserved before making any travel arrangements.
Fly to Gothenburg for train to Uddevalla (approx. 1 hour).
Ferry Dover-Dunkirk or Newcastle-Amsterdam for onward train connections to Uddevalla.