Even though Gothenburg is a pretty amazing city with more attractions and things to do than we ever anticipated we still took the decision to escape the city centre and head out to the Southern Archipelago for the day. We hadn’t done much research regarding how to get there or what to expect. Luckily, we were staying at the Radisson Blu Scandinavia which is located directly opposite the central train station so we headed in that direction hoping someone at the ticket office would be able to help us on our quest. Fortunately for us the very helpful lady behind the desk spoke perfect English and reeled off all the information we needed as I am sure she had a million other times too. Tickets bought and timetables stored safely in my bag off we headed to the tram stop in front of the central station.
We waited patiently for the Number 11 Tram, luckily it was a bright day and we were wrapped up warmly as the tram stops are open to the elements. We did not have to wait long before one showed up and we jumped on board. The tram we were on wasn’t busy at all so we were lucky enough to get a seat. We were on the tram for around 35 minutes. We were worried that we were going to miss our stop or get off at the wrong one but there was nothing to worry about as Saltholmen, the stop you need for the ferry port, is actually the last stop on the line making it almost impossible.
Once at Saltholmen, you can see the ferry terminal from the tram stop so no possibility of getting lost. We headed through to the ferry terminals pulling out the ferry timetable that the lady at the ticket office had given us earlier. We checked and double checked and it looked like we had around a 30 minute wait. There is a waiting room if the weather isn’t great however we hung around outside, taking in the views and snapping away on our cameras. We also checked out the islands that the ferry stops at. We decided we were going to jump off on Styrsö the largest island in the archipelago. Don’t forget the ticket issued for the tram can also be used on the ferry.
Once on board we found a seat and watched the world go by as the ferry zipped between the tiny islands. The ferries are modern and equipped with toilets and a cafe should you wish to grab a drink or a snack on your journey. Before we knew it we were at Styrsö and we jumped off at Styrsö Skaret (which is near the south of the island) to be greeted by……nothing! Which was actually quite nice. We were the only people as far as the eye could see meaning we could take as many uninterrupted photographs as we wanted. We did visit in February when the weather wasn’t the greatest. I imagine in the summer months there are more tourists to compete for the views with.
It was then we decided that we would explore the island and get the return ferry from Styrsö Bratten (in the north of the island). There is a coastal road around the island, but no path – not to worry as the islands in the Southern archipelago are car free. Instead the preferred modes of transport are bicycle and golf carts which you can certainly hear before you see. Dotted along the sea front we found lots of big detached wooden houses, a couple of which are guest houses, which I imagine offer fantastic views over the smaller islands especially in the summer.
We enjoyed our slow 30 minute stroll from our drop off point to where we were going to jump back on the return ferry. It was so peaceful and relaxing with any locals we came into contact with greeting us with a friendly hej! Unfortunately for us it was freezing and these little islands are open to the elements and 30 minutes was all we could really handle as we tried to find a cafe for a hot drink. Again as it was February and so quiet that the cafe near the ferry port was closed 😦 so instead we waited patiently for the ferry to take us back to the mainland. We didn’t have to wait long – the ferries are super regular all year round.
Back on board, sat next to a heater and with a cup of tea we started to thaw out. It was such a shame the weather wasn’t nicer as we would have liked to have explored Styrsö more and maybe even island hopped. Once back on the mainland we jumped on back on the tram where we had got off it earlier and headed back to the central station. We had a lovely trip out to the Southern Archipelago and it was nice to get out of the city and experience the peace and quiet the islands offer. Highly recommend visiting yourselves but maybe when the sun is shining and the shops and cafes are open so you can make a full day of it.