West Gotaland is a county on the southwestern coast of Sweden. West Gotaland borders the Swedish counties of Varmland, Orebro, Ostergotland, Jonkoping and Halland. It is also bordered by the Norwegian county of Ostfold, lakes Vattern and Vanern, and the Kattegat sea area. The capitals of West Gotaland are Gothenburg and Vanersborg; Gothenburg is on the southern half of the province, near the coast of the Kattegat, while Vanersborg is more central, on the Vanern Lake. Gothenburg is the main harbour and has a significant port. Other cities include Linkoping, Boras, Trollhatten, and Skara, to name a few.
Travellers can get to West Gotaland via train from Stockholm (3 hours), Oslo (4 hours), and Copenhagen (3.5 hours). You can connect from Copenhagen directly to the trains, which make this an attractive choice for international travellers. There is an international airport in Gothenburg; Landvetter is 20km southeast of the city and has flights from various international and European destinations.
Budget hostel accommodation can be found in Gothenburg. Look for the words “vandrarhem,” which means “hostel,” in Swedish. In other towns in the West Gotaland county, consider a guesthouse, or “gasthus” or bed and breakfast instead of a hostel, as traditional backpacker hostels are rare in the small towns.
Once you have your accommodation sorted, you can begin to explore this rich, historical region. The land has been inhabited since prehistoric time, and there are significant dolmens near Vattern Lake. There was British/Celtic influence on the region as well, and West Gotaland is generally considered the place where Christianity came to Scandinavia; there are several ancient churches dating back to the 11th century, most notably the Husaby castle where King Olof Skotkonung was baptised.
West Gotaland is also known for having some of the best oysters, lobsters, and prawns in the world. There is also a coral reef off the coast; outdoor enthusiasts and scuba divers can take a boat out from Gothenburg. The lakes are also well worth visiting, and anyone keen to fish in Vattern Lake should note that no fishing license is required, unlike most other lakes in Sweden. There are hiking trails along the coast as well; south of Gothenburg is Sandjobacka, a rugged yet beautiful landscape, but otherwise hikers should plan to ferry across to some of the islands in the archipelago, for example Marstrand, Halso, and Bjorko, for the best hiking experience.
West Gotaland is an outdoor lover's paradise, yet still has the culture and history of a European city! Whatever you choose to do in West Gotaland, you will enjoy it!
Hi, I'm Jakob Lombardi,
the Hostelz.com local expert for West Götaland hostels. Welcome.