The Koster Islands at the West Coast of Sweden
Sweden’s first Marine National Park, Kosterhavet is centred around the almost car-free Koster Islands, only a two-hour drive up the lovely coast from Gothenburg. These are Sweden´s most westerly populated islands. Most of North and South Koster is a nature reserve and the flora and fauna is protected. Once on the Kosters, you’ll see small fishing villages surrounded by an amazingly beautiful landscape, with many different plants and flowers. The appeal focuses on the unique seaside location, with beaches, rocky islands and the enchanting ‘Koster light’, which has inspired many artists on the island. You can rent bikes and enjoy a guided tour or a boat trip to see this marine wonderland. It’s the perfect environment for lobster safaris during the region’s renowned Shellfish Journey, as well as seal safaris, diving and sea kayaking.
The islands consist of North and South Koster. Around them lie the Koster archipelago with a large number of skerries and rocky isles.
Download map of Koster
North Koster is a mere 4km2 consisting of both a beautiful and dramatic nature within a small area. The best way to get around North Koster is by foot, as the road network consists mainly of paths. Here you can find delightful beaches, heatherclad moors and brushwoods. On the westside, geological variations seldom seen are present, as are large cobblestone fields and clear traces from the last ice age.
On North Koster, the lighthouses have arisen again. They are now, after 110 years, in use once again. The views from here are both enchanting and well worth a visit. The remains below are the ruins of lighthouse keeper´s residence. North Koster has a summer open grocery store, galleries and restaurants on the seafront. On North Koster there is also a camp site.
South Koster is the larger of the two islands, about 8km2. Here, bicycles can be rented and short excursions made.
On South Koster there are large beaches such as Rörvik outside Ekenäs and the kilometer long sandy beach at Kilesand. The forests are larger and the tracks and roads more numerous. Remember, Sweden has right-hand traffic even when cycling on South Koster.
Valfjäll, opposite the small wooden church is a beautiful and tranquil viewpoint. The stairway gives a helping hand on your way up and down. Here you can sit and gaze out over the Koster archipelago.
There are many cosy restaurants on South Koster, each with varying menus. These are spread all over the island and you are never far from one. The sun shines often on Koster. Many times, when raining on the mainland, the sun still shines through on Koster.
Guided Tour; Renting a bike and a guided tour are strongly recommended so you can appreciate all that is surrounding you. Please contact Stefan from Kosters Trädgårdar (restaurant & farm shop) for more information and booking; firstname.lastname@example.org (minimun of 5 people)
How to get there;
From Gothenburg you can catch a train or a bus to the costal Town Strömstad, two hours away.
By car, from Gothenburg take the E6 north and follow the signs for Oslo. After about 150 km you come to Skee and here you leave E6 and follow the sign for Strömstad.
Strömstad – Koster; The passenger ferryboat (Kosterbåtarna) depart daily from the north harbour in Strömstad, a crossing of around 45 minutes. Make sure the boat you plan to take actually stops at the pier you want to arrive at. There are two landings on North Koster: Vettnet on the east side and Västra Bryggan in the Koster Strait. South Koster has three: Långagärde in the Koster Strait, Ekenäs and Kilesand.
Tickets are purchased on board (cash only), 130 SEK for a return ticket (1/5-30/9).
Places to stay:
A range of accommodation awaits on the Koster Islands and Strömstad. If you want to spend the night on one of the islands during the summer months, it is advisable to pre-book, as the holiday accommodation is often fully booked during high season (primarily in July and August).
ATM you will find at the food shop on South Koster which is a central Point on the Island. Small shops and artists usually take cash.
There is a cable ferry across the strait between the North and Sydkoster. This is staffed in high season.
Most of North and South Koster is a nature reserve, which means that the Swedish Right to Roam does not apply here. This means that free camping is not allowed, and that you may not take anything from the natural landscape off the islands. Camping are allowed on North Koster campingsite Reservatet.
Tourist Office is located in the city center of Strömstad, opposite where you catch the Koster ferry. E-mail; email@example.com