Smögen. As a name it sounds like an über-Swedish open-top shrimp sandwich with a proper load of Kalles kaviar fish roe spread on top.

I had never heard of the town of Smögen before. And just by looking at a map, I doubt I would have thought it would make a good destination for a weekend getaway. Lucky we have friends in Gothenburg who took us to Smögen on a mini holiday.

Smögen is a town on the west coast of Sweden, approximately 130 kilometres north of Gothenburg, with about 1500 permanent residents. It is relatively close to Norway as well which is quite evident when you look at the people visiting Smögen.

Although the town itself is tiny, the colourful and picturesque little fishing cottages and impressive rocks on the seashore attract masses of Nordic tourists during the summer. This must be the most luxury boats and Helly Hansen coats I’ve ever seen in one place in the Nordics. And wow, look at that, the bigger and fancier the boat, the more likely it will have a Norwegian flag flying.

We were welcomed by an overcast and drizzly Smögen. I was somewhat worried about the weather on our way up there but the little photographer in me was in fact pretty happy once we arrived. The red boat houses looked pretty photogenic against the grey backdrop. And the air was so nice and fresh with all the oxygen from the rain. Besides, what would all the tourists do with their expensive Helly Hansen jackets if it weren’t raining? Well perhaps they would have had to wear tennis shirts and checked shorts instead :)

The must in Smögen is the boardwalk built on the seashore in front of the little timber houses. The boardwalk is packed with shops, restaurants and cafes. It winds along the sea channel in the middle of the town. I was quite impressed to see how many massive luxury boats people were able to squeeze in that tiny stretch of water. It was also a lot of fun to observe how people live on those boats and, especially, watch their parking maneuvers as they were trying hard to fit their boats in these tiny spaces without scraping their or someone else’s boat.

We had booked accommodation for two nights in Smögen. After the cloudy and rainy first evening we were pampered with sun the entire following day. In addition to the boardwalk and little town centre, you should definitely explore the winding paths and tracks along the coastal rocks. All we needed was a Saint Bernard and we would have been like in the Swedish Astrid Lindgren book and movie Vi på Saltkråkan (Seacrow Island). Such an adorable little town it was. Probably the cutest I’ve visited in the Nordic countries.

Finally some practical tips for visiting Smögen:

  • During summer time the town is very popular. This means that all the accommodation is A. fully booked and B. extremely expensive. If you are visiting Gothenburg, it is perfectly doable to visit Smögen just for a day and head back to Gothenburg for the night. Of course if you happen to be holidaying on a sailboat on the North sea somewhere between Norway, Denmark and Sweden, you can always cruise your way to Smögen. But if you are looking for a place to stay in town, be prepared to dig into your wallet and accept the fact money does not guarantee luxury and you may still end up in a shared accommodation with a public restroom in the corridor like we did at Sea Lodge with 250 euros per night. So plan your trip ahead and the early bird catches the worm.
  • Have the open-top shrimp sandwich for lunch at least once
  • If the accommodation is not cheap, you probably already guessed that the restaurants are not cheap either. But the food is good. You should definitely have fish since it is a fisher village.
  • Unless you have a compulsive urge to visit Smögen during the midsummer festivities, you should probably pick another time. The place is packed.
  • If you are after a good party, there’s definitely a lot of them. Every night.