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Self-guided Sea Kayaking in Bohuslän (Sweden)

Discover the beauty of the western archipelago on a self-guided sea kayaking tour with a choice of two tour locations

  • Self-guided
  • Medium
  • From £204/person
  • May-Sep, 3-7 days
  • Adults, Families (min age 15), Groups

Book now to save 5% on published GBP and EUR* prices! (*except Euro prices for tours in Finland)

Highlights:

  • One of Sweden's top kayaking regions
  • Choice of locations, duration and challenge level
  • Wild camping on archipelago islands
  • Wildlife-rich area including birds and seals
  • Single or double kayaks
  • Just one hour from Gothenburg

Description »

Kayaking and wild camping in one of Sweden's top paddling areas

As a close-to-nature experience, sea kayaking is hard to beat. With the gentle slap of the water and the cries of seabirds to keep you company, the archipelago stretches out before you, a hypnotic landscape of remote granite and gneiss islands floating on a blue sea. Life's possibilities seem as limitless as the wide skies above.

Sweden's west coast is a world-class location for sea kayaking, attracting paddlers from far and wide with its dramatic rock formations of gneiss and Bohuslän granite.

The flexibility of a self-guided tour with detailed information provided

This experience offers the ideal combination of the freedom of a self-guided tour and the convenience and confidence of an organised tour. You will be provided with a map of the area and recommended route, including suggestions for the places to pitch camp for the night and even small restaurants and local stores along the coast if you would like to stop off for refreshments and supplies.

Wild camping during the kayak tour

You will be camping wild during your tour, possibly on your own island! Photo: J. Hermansson.

Your self-guided sea kayaking tour takes place in the Bohuslän archipelago, a lovely area with a picturesque landscape of dramatic cliff formations, inviting sandy beaches and a coastline dotted with small fishing villages and offering world-class kayaking possibilities.

The archipelago is made up of thousands of islands and forms part of the Gothenburg archipelago, Sweden's second largest archipelago.

The area is rich in birdlife, with a number of seabird colonies, and you may also meet some of the archipelago's Common Seals - they are curious as well as endearing, and you may find one following your kayak!

Choice of challenge levels from novice to advanced

Self-guided Sea Kayaking in Bohuslän is suitable for a wide range of levels of ability. If you are an inexperienced or novice kayaker and would like to brush up on your technique and get a feel for life on the water before you set off, there is an option to add a 1-day sea kayaking course or shorter 2-hour private lesson before your self-guided tour begins.

More experienced kayakers can choose to extend the route and explore further into the network of islands, rocks and skerries.

Vindelfj&aum;llen Nature Reserve

The Bohuslän archipelago is a beautiful landscape known for its rock formations. Photo: J. Hermansson.

This is an experience to be taken at your own pace and enjoyed in your own way, and is ideal for couples or groups of friends (families with older children, min. age 15, are also welcome). Self-guided sea kayaking allows to you create your very own voyage of discovery!

The tours are based on wild camping, and there is no shortage of islands to choose from, many of which are completely uninhabited. Camping on your own private island is a unique experience!

There are two itineraries to choose from, both with flexible durations 3-7 days:

Option 1: End Orust or Tjörn

This is an option suitable for all levels (novice kayakers are strongly recommended to choose optional instruction course before the tour).

Beginning from the kayak centre just outside Uddevalla, in the sheltered fjord landscape of the inner archipelago, you head west/southwest depending on route chosen into the more open landscape of the outer archipelago to explore the varied scenery ending with pick-up on the island of Orust (for tours 3-4 days) or Tjörn (for longer tours 5-7 days).

For those with less experience, or when wind and weather conditions are challenging, this itinerary offers the flexibility to paddle much of the time if you wish in relatively sheltered waters, while those with greater experience and confidence have the opportunity for kayaking in more open water, with beautiful wide horizons.

When your sea kayaking adventure ends, you will be met at the designated end point for return transfer.

Option 2: Start Smögen or Lysekil

For those with previous experience of multi-day self-guided kayaking in more open water and a range of conditions, this option explores the northern Bohuslän archipelago region, known for its iconic red-tinged granite formations, formed in the ice age and worn smooth over the millenia by wind and waves.

This tour begins with transfer from the kayak centre (approx. 1 hour) to one of two start points depending on the tour duration. Tours 3-4 days begin near the popular island settlement of Smögen, while longer tours 5-7 days start near the pretty coastal peninsular town of Lysekil.

As with Option 1, there is a good deal of flexibility to vary the route, distance and level of challenge, but kayaking in this more exposed region does require greater experience and confidence in a range of conditions.

The tour ends with pick-up at Grebbestad for return transfer to the kayak centre.

Itinerary »

For both options, standard 3-4 day route has minimum distance to cover approx. 50km, while standard 5-7 day route has minimum distance to cover approx. 80km. There is great flexibility to extend the minimum distances depending on time available, level of experience/fitness and wind/weather conditions. The nature of the archipelago landscape means that taking detours to explore particular islands or sections of the coast is an integral part of the experience. These minimum distances are therefore not an indication of actual distance paddled, which can be extended almost indefinitely.

Option 1: End Orust or Tjörn

Start

The experience begins at the kayak centre at 09.00.

NB: Please note that it is not possible to start this experience later than 09.00. You will need to arrive in Sweden the day before to overnight locally before your tour.

You begin with a short introduction to the equipment and basic kayak technique, then set off directly from the kayak centre. The first part of your tour takes you out through the coastal fjord landscape, beginning in a green and relatively sheltered inner-archipelago landscape.

Following Days

The landscape changes as your tour takes you into the more open outer archipelago.

The area offers wonderful opportunities for wild camping on the islands of the Bohuslän archipelago. Depending on weather and wind conditions and your own energy levels/ability, route and distance covered is flexible. Please plan your itinerary to ensure you reach the designated pick-up point in time for transfer on the end day.

End

Pick-up at the designated end point (depending on the duration of your tour and chosen options) at 15.00 for return transfer (approx. 1 hour) to the kayak centre. Please be ready to load equipment at 15.00. Please clean and return your equipment before departure.

Pick-up for tour durations 3-4 days is at Hälleviksstrand on the island of Orust. Pick-up for tour durations 5-7 days is at Rönnäng on the island of Tjörn.

NB: It is not possible to offer pick-up earlier than the standard time of 15.00. If travelling by public transport and wishing to return to Gothenburg that evening, you would then be back in central Gothenburg typically by around 20.00 at the earliest. We recommend that you plan to overnight in Gothenburg or Uddevalla after your tour.

Option 2: Start Smögen or Lysekil

Start

The experience begins at the kayak centre at 09.00.

NB: Please note that it is not possible to start this experience later than 09.00. You will need to arrive in Sweden the day before to overnight locally before your tour.

You load the trailer before transfer to the start point (approx. 1 hour) to begin your tour.

Tours of duration 3-4 days begin from Hasselösund, just north of Smögen. Longer tours duration 5-7 days begin from Norra Grundsund, a little to the north of Lysekil.

Following Days

You paddle northwards, with a lovely network of islands to explore, camping wild each night in the archipelago. The paddling here can be more exposed than for Option 1 and requires previous kayaking experience.

End

Pick-up at end point Grebbestad at 15.00 for return transfer (approx. 1 hour) to the kayak centre. Please be ready to load equipment at 15.00. Please clean and return your equipment before departure. You will normally be ready to leave the kayak centre by around 17.00.

NB: It is not possible to offer pick-up earlier than the standard time of 15.00. If travelling by public transport and wishing to return to Gothenburg that evening, you would then be back in central Gothenburg typically by around 20.00 at the earliest. We recommend that you plan to overnight in Gothenburg or Uddevalla after your tour.

Dates»

Dates 2019

Start/end any day by arrangement between 01.05 and 30.09.19 NB: No starts/ends 21.06 or 22.06.19, though tours are possible spanning these dates.

Tour duration flexible between 3 days/2 nights and 7 days/6 nights.

The experience begins at 09.00 on the start day and ends with pick-up at the designated end point at 15.00 on the end day.

Prices»

Prices 2019

Prices are in British Pounds and Euros. If you wish, you are also welcome to make your payment in Swedish Kronor (SEK) - please contact us for details.

Standard Prices  
Option 1: End Orust or Tjörn  
3 days/2 nights per personGBP 204EUR 226
4 days/3 nights per personGBP 232EUR 257
5 days/4 nights per personGBP 250EUR 277
6 days/5 nights per personGBP 269EUR 298
7 days/6 nights per personGBP 288EUR 318
   
Option 2: Start Smögen or Lysekil  
3 days/2 nights per personGBP 260EUR 288
4 days/3 nights per personGBP 288EUR 318
5 days/4 nights per personGBP 306EUR 339
6 days/5 nights per personGBP 325EUR 359
7 days/6 nights per personGBP 343EUR 380
Optional Extras (see description below)  
Camping package/person 3-day tourGBP 65EUR 72
Camping package/person 4-day tourGBP 75EUR 83
Camping package/person 5-day tourGBP 84EUR 93
Camping package/person 6-day tourGBP 93EUR 103
Camping package/person 7-day tourGBP 102EUR 113
   
Sleeping bag package/person 3-day tourGBP 28EUR 31
Sleeping bag package/person 4-day tourGBP 33EUR 36
Sleeping bag package/person 5-day tourGBP 38EUR 42
Sleeping bag package/person 6-day tourGBP 42EUR 47
Sleeping bag package/person 7-day tourGBP 47EUR 52
   
1-day kayak course/personGBP 112EUR 124
2-hour private lesson/person (max. 2 persons)GBP 93EUR 103
   
Wetsuit or kayak jacket/person 3-day tourGBP 28EUR 31
Wetsuit or kayak jacket/person 4-day tourGBP 33EUR 36
Wetsuit or kayak jacket/person 5-day tourGBP 38EUR 42
Wetsuit or kayak jacket/person 6-day tourGBP 42EUR 47
Wetsuit or kayak jacket/person 7-day tourGBP 47EUR 52
   
Equipment cleaning at end of tour (per kayak)GBP 28EUR 31
  • Camping package: Price is per person and must be chosen by min. 2 persons in a group. Includes high quality 2/3 person Vaude tent, sleeping mattress (Thermarest inflatable), camping chair adaptor for Thermarest, cooking stove (Trangia-style gas stove), camping gas, meal kit (Light My Fire), toilet spade. Note that package is priced per person (must be chosen by min. 2 persons in a group). Tents and stoves are supplied one per two persons. If required, components of the camping package may be able to be hired separately. Please contact us for details and prices. NB: Please note that sleeping bag is not included.
  • Sleeping bag package: Sleeping bag is not included in the standard camping package but can be hired separately. Sleeping sheet/liner is included.
  • 1-day course or 2-hour private lesson: It is possible to arrange 1-day or 2-hour introductory courses before your tour and this is strongly recommended, especially for novice or inexperienced paddlers. Courses include all necessary kayak equipment. A wetsuit will normally be required for the courses (depending on water temperature) and can be hired on site for around 100 SEK (about £10)/person. If you are doing a course the day before your normal start day, you are welcome to keep the kayak equipment after the course, allowing you set off early for your tour if you wish and effectively adding an additional night to your tour free of charge. If you have hired the camping package as an optional extra, you can also use the equipment for the night following your course at no additional charge. Camping in the immediate area of the kayak centre is not permitted, but you can kayak a short distance to camp for the night. If you require accommodation for the night before your course or would like accommodation for the night following the course, there is a comfortable hostel adjacent to the kayak centre.
    • 1-day course: Full day (tuition component 4-5 hours), please bring food for lunch. Public courses are offered on specific dates - please contact us for details. For groups of minimum 4 persons, day courses at standard prices can also be arranged on other dates. The course begins at the kayak centre at 09.00 with instruction until around 13.00. Participants then have the opportunity to practise the techniques taught until around 17.00. Course is ideal for novice paddlers and corresponds to European Paddle Pass Level 1 (Yellow).
    • 2-hour private lesson: Offered subject to availability. Price per person for up to 2 persons. Normally takes place in the morning of your start day. NB: If choosing a private lesson, we recommend minimum total tour duration of 4 days/3 nights, as the lesson will take up some of the time on the first day and therefore reduce available paddling time to reach the end point.
  • Wetsuit or kayak jacket: You may wish to use a wetsuit or kayaking jacket during your tour, especially if paddling during the cooler parts of the season. Please provide sizes in advance (S-M-L-XL-XXL) and specify on booking whether you require wetsuit or kayak jacket.
  • Equipment cleaning at end of tour: Please note that equipment must be returned in the same condition as rented. At the end of the tour, the equipment should be cleaned and rinsed with fresh water at the kayak centre. If you are not able to do this (e.g. because you have a return flight on the evening of your last day and time is short), it is possible to arrange for your equipment to be cleaned and returned for you.

What's Included »

Included

Equipment:

  • All necessary kayaking equipment: single rotomoulded sea kayak with paddle, buoyancy aid, spray skirt, bilge pump and paddle leash, bag for drinking water (one 6l bag per person). Double kayaks can also be arranged if required (especially suitable for novices as double kayaks are the most stable option).
  • Map package with recommended route, possible camp sites, restaurants and small stores to purchase supplies.
  • Transfer from kayak centre to start point (required for Option 2 only).
  • Transfer from end point to kayak centre.

Please note that equipment must be returned in the same condition as rented. At the end of the tour, the equipment should be cleaned and rinsed with fresh water at the kayak centre. If you have a return flight on the evening of your last day, it is possible to arrange for your equipment to be cleaned and returned for you (see Optional Extras).

Introduction:

For Option 1, you will be given a 30-minute introduction to the equipment and basic technique before launching at 09.00 on your start day. For Option 2, which requires previous experience, there will be basic introduction to the equipment. For novice and less experienced paddlers, a 1-day kayaking course or 2-hour private lesson before your self-guided tour begins can be added as an optional extra and is strongly recommended.

NB: Please be careful with the kayak and the rest of your equipment! If some part of the equipment should break as a result of misuse or carelessness, you may be charged for the damage caused.

Not Included

  • 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.
  • Meals: Self-catering. Camping stove can be hired as optional extra. We recommend that you bring essential supplies for your tour with you from the start. Uddevalla has a wide range of food stores. There are also small stores along the route to purchase additional supplies, though we do not recommend that you rely on these for essentials as you may arrive outside opening hours.
  • Camping equipment (can be hired as optional extra).
  • Dry bags (can be purchased on arrival if required).

Good To Know »

Required

Health requirements/experience:

Minimum 2 adults (18+) required for safety reasons. Recommended minimum age 15 years. For younger participants, please contact us to discuss your requirements.

You should be used to and enjoy the outdoor life and be able to swim. The experience is completely self-guided and it is important that you are comfortable on the water in different weather conditions. There are no strong tides or currents in the West Coast archipelago, though in windy conditions the water can be choppy.

Please don't hesitate to ask if you have any questions regarding your suitability for the tour.

  • Option 1 (Orust and Tjörn): Previous experience of kayaking is recommended. Novice or inexperienced paddlers without knowledge of rescue and safety techniques are strongly advised to add the optional kayaking tuition before your tour begins. Novices may also prefer to request double kayaks, which are the most stable option.
  • Option 2 (Smögen and Lysekil): Previous experience of multi-day self-guided kayak tours in open water in a range of conditions is required. This landscape is more open and exposed and there are fewer options to vary the route to keep to more sheltered waters.

What makes this "Medium"?

The tour is a self-guided experience in a marine environment with wild camping each night. In windy conditions the water can be choppy. The water can be very cold if paddling early/late in the season. Depending on the itinerary option chosen, distance covered and duration of the tour, the level of challenge can easily be varied from moderate to hard depending on weather conditions and level of experience/fitness. Option 2 itinerary has Medium-Hard level of challenge.

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.

Ticks and TBE:

Note: Ticks occur mostly in grassy areas.

As in the UK and other areas, there are ticks in the Nordic forests which can carry diseases such as Borrelia. You should check for ticks at the end of a day in the outdoors. If you find a tick, remove it as soon as possible by pulling the tick out straight, carefully and slowly, with the tweezers as close to the skin as possible. Ensure that you do not leave any of the insect's mouth parts attached to your skin. Wash the bite area with soap and water. In the unlikely event that you feel unwell or notice anything unusual around the area of the bite in the coming days, consult your doctor.

As in large areas of mainland Europe, in some small, localised areas of the Nordic countries (mostly in the Stockholm Archipelago), the ticks are known to carry TBE, or Tick-borne encephalitis, and locals spending extended periods in affected areas often choose to vaccinate themselves. For more information and latest updates, please see Tick Alert. For current advice on TBE and inoculations for the area you are visiting, please consult your doctor or see Travel Health Pro. You can also see a map showing areas where cases were reported in 2016.

Equipment/clothes needed:

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.

Combine This With

This experience makes a good combination with the following:

Groups

This experience is suitable for groups. Please contact us to discuss your requirements.

Eco Info

This provider has received a prestigious Swedish Ecotourism quality mark for its commitment to high standards to cultural and environmental sensitivity.

Bohuslän:

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 »

Detailed information on travel options to this experience 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.

Please ensure that you make a booking with us first and wait for confirmation that your spaces are reserved before making any travel arrangements.

By Air:

Fly to Gothenburg for train to Uddevalla (approx. 1 hour).

Without Flying:

Ferry Dover-Dunkirk or Newcastle-Amsterdam for onward train connections to Uddevalla.

Gallery & Reviews »

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