Sweden with a child and a van — Store Mosse, archipelago and sandy beachesPosted on April 29, 2023 • 18 min read • 3,796 words
Finally the weather is better and we have a week with two public holidays (May 1st and Day of Repentance - May 5th). Ideal conditions for a holiday with our Dumbo. This time we go back to Sweden’s west coast. Here we have a few more points that we would like to visit. We were particularly bold in choosing the Fulufjället National Park as our destination. There are said to be reindeer herds here and Sweden’s highest waterfall. However, a quick search on the day of departure revealed that the temperatures so far north are still below freezing. Maybe we shouldn’t go that far after all. So the first stop on our plan is the Store Mosse National Park. Since we still have to do some shopping and pack the car on the day of departure, we decide to have a leisurely day and only drive to a small farm just before the national park. There are chickens, cows, a playground and a farm shop. The parking space is directly on a small lake and apart from us there is only one other mobile home here. The playground is a hit for our little one. There is a large sandbox, tricycles, small tractors and a playhouse. The farm shop is a self-service shop (you can even get fresh eggs from the nests in the chicken coop) with a trust fund. In itself a great system, but unfortunately you can only pay with Swish here. This is a kind of Paypal, but only for Sweden. So unfortunately no sale for us.
After a quiet night and a leisurely breakfast, we pack up again. Mum and the little are still going for a lap on the playground and dad has free time to pack.
This trip is cursed by bad luck.
The only thing that surprisingly doesn’t cause any problems is the kitchen lamp, which kept going on and off randomly in Norway last year (even at night!).
In Store Mosse National Park we chose a 12-kilometer hike around an idyllic lake. The starting point is at the visitor center, where there is also a large parking lot. The temperatures are pleasant and the sun is shining. The path first leads through a varied forest. Here and there the ground is very damp and swampy. At these points there is a narrow boardwalk. Encounters with oncoming hikers should be approached with foresight. After about 2 kilometers there is a small detour to an observation tower. From here you have a great view of the lake. We spot a few swans and cranes. The path continues through a very varied landscape. Sometimes we walk over open meadows, then it goes through a jungle that is still really left to itself. Fallen trees are not cleared away, but decomposed by animals, plants and fungi. The trees are covered with lichen, which is a sign of the excellent air quality. Then the path leads through open moorland again. Unfortunately, spring is not far advanced here in the north and the plants are not very far. So unfortunately we don’t find any orchids or the well-known sundew. However, the sparseness also emphasizes the diversity of moss and lichens in this habitat. Near the visitor center there is another viewing platform with fire pits and a quiz trail for those who don’t want to take the long loop trail. We end up with pretty tired feet and dad’s back and shoulders are knocked out. Carrying the little one in the carrying frame for just over 3 hours has become quite exhausting thanks to its 12 kilos.
Our next stop is at Lake Vänern, Sweden’s largest lake. Here, after our hike, we want to go to Läckö Slott on the island of Kållandsö. It is now near dusk. During the drive we keep asking ourselves if the moose warning signs really mean that there are mooses in this still densely populated area. A few kilometers further we get the answer: In a field right next to the road there are two deer and two moose!
Arrived at the castle it is urgently time for dinner. Unfortunately, the journey here took a little longer. But as previously indicated, there is no big meal today after the strenuous hike. Due to our breakdowns: the kitchen will be cold today. The piezo ignition no longer works and we don’t have a lighter with us. So we can’t use the stove. So we have to be content with crispbread with sausage and cheese.
While the little one goes to bed after this ‘meal’, we let our new drone fly for the first time and take the first pictures of Läckö Castle.
The next morning we find our parking lot full of fog and rain. The sun has given way to unfriendly, wet and cold weather. There is no coffee either, the stove still doesn’t work despite all efforts. A loose cable has found its place again, but a fuse has also blown. Everything really goes wrong this time.
Oh, and the faucet in the bathroom continues to drip happily, of course.
A little sobered by the circumstances, we therefore decide to skip Läckö Castle. Visiting the castle park probably makes no sense in the rain anyway. Instead we drive back to nearby Lidköpping in hopes of repairing some of Dumbo’s aches and pains.
In Lidköpping we quickly find a mobile home dealer who is also open on May 1st. Only the sales team is there, but a mechanic who happens to be on site at least takes a look at our faucet in the bathroom. His conclusion: the faucet itself is broken and there are no replacement parts. So we can wait until tomorrow and hope that his colleague can do it or just continue. Waiting doesn’t make much sense to us, there are mobile home dealers in Sweden like sand by the sea. If it’s really urgent, we’ll find someone.
In the center of Lidköpping we stop for lunch at the Espressohouse. We already know the chain well from Copenhagen and it seems that it is also the only cafe that is open here at all on a public holiday. Before we continue, we stop at the supermarket and the car outfitter. We get a lighter so that the stove can be ignited in any case and a new fuse so that the door and maybe the built-in stove ignition work again.
We use the rest of the really rainy day to get to Tanumshede on the west coast of Sweden. The little one also uses the time for a nap on the go. At first we planned - as so often - to stay near Tanumshede directly on the coast with a sea view. However, we already knew from our tour last year that here on the west coast it can be difficult to find good spots outside of campgrounds. The registered parking lot on the coast is also no longer available and we divert to a very simple gravel parking lot at the Viltlycke Museum near Tanumshede. The place is really nothing special, just the parking lot by the museum. But we really don’t need much more today. After the rainy day, the place still has something special to offer for our little one: huge puddles! So while Anne prepares our dinner, we have fun outside in the puddles, armed with rain pants and rubber boots.
The highlight of the day is perhaps that our repair attempts from the morning are showing first success. We can light the stove again and the flames both stay on the whole time while we cook. So there can finally be a warm dinner again. That goes perfectly with the rainy and cold weather!
After a quiet night, the sun shines again in full pride the next morning and we only now realize that we have spent the night right next to the rock carvings of Tanumshede. That we want to look at them, was indeed the plan. But we didn’t know that they were right here at this museum. So we only need to quickly cross the street and we can already marvel at almost 4000-year-old pictures and drawings carved into the rock. Depicted are boats, people with weapons and presumably ceremonies. To this day, it is not entirely clear how the drawings are to be interpreted. The individual rocks are connected to each other by wooden walkways and stairs. The stairs may not be ideal for us, but overall the hike is relatively easy to master, even with a child and a stroller. Only the path up to the burial mound is no longer really suitable for prams. Mouse and I have a lot of fun bumping up the hiking trail with our city foldable stroller, but it’s definitely not that easy and it’s definitely not meant to be easy. Unfortunately, the burial mounds were not particularly worth seeing either.
After these great impressions we make our way back to the museum at our parking lot, mainly to have a lunchtime snack in the café there. The café itself is very cosy, but on weekdays it is self-service and there are no hot sausages today either. So we content ourselves with Polarkämmer. A type of bread stuffed with reindeer salami. First deep-frozen and then only briefly thawed for consumption. I have no idea what that really is. But the little one likes it so much that she eats all my bread and we have to buy another round. We didn’t look at the museum itself.
After this rather cultural and historical program we continue to Tjurpanne Naturreservat. There we can park our Dumbo in a small hiking car park right at the entrance to the nature reserve. A hiking map on an information board on site reveals that there are two useful routes for us. The white trail is approx. 2.2 km long and the blue trail is 3.2 km long. So we start a little walk through this reserve during the afternoon nap. Since I imagined the whole thing as a walk, I only left my thin barefoot shoes on. In the end it was a very wet and muddy hike in places. Sturdy shoes would definitely have been the better choice here. The blue path leads us first over wet meadows, then over rugged rocky ridges and later along the beach. A great, varied and worth seeing round on such a short distance. Only the amount of garbage on the beach was very irritating. Don’t get it wrong, there certainly wasn’t a horde of people living here and forgetting their rubbish. No, it’s quite obvious that the garbage from the sea is washed right onto the beach here. In places, the sand and gravel on the path has been completely replaced by the smallest plastic and other rubbish. It gives us food for thought about how we treat our environment.
Unfortunately, at the end of the hike, the mouse no longer wants to sleep in the carrying frame, so we have to cancel our rest on the picnic bench and we drive the 300 meters directly to the nearby campsite. Here she can play in the sand on the beach just across from Dumbo or try the slide and seesaw at the playground while we make our coffee and enjoy the afternoon in the full sun. So everyone gets their money’s worth on this holiday.
In the evening it’s time to let our drone go up again to get a bird’s eye view of the surrounding countryside from the narrow strip of land at the campsite, which lies exactly between two nature reserves. In the evening sun you can see the large lake, which we walked around earlier. However, the strip of land does not leave much room for larger flight maneuvers. We do not want to disturb the water birds and other animals here.
On this tour we really just planned from day to day. A look at the map showed that a next stop on Smögen would be a good fit. We drove past there on our Sweden tour last year, but didn’t visit the island itself. After many other bloggers and youtubers were enthusiastic about the island, we now want to see ourselves what there is to explore here.
Luckily we seem to be completely off-season here and can enjoy Smögen almost alone. The only downside is that almost everything is closed here. Only a odds and ends shop and a single (rather expensive) fish restaurant are open. We were supposed to have a snack here somewhere at the port for lunch? No chance. Everything is closed here. Everything. Even a few Swedes ask us, irritated, whether it’s really only this one restaurant that’s open. But apparently the port towns in Sweden only really have their tourist season starting from June. Before that, there’s really nothing going on here. We therefore have the beautiful fishermen’s houses along the local harbor and the pretty old town all to ourselves. This will be an advantage for you in particular. The photos are free of the usual crowds and we have the whole place to ourselves with its colorful fisherman’s shacks.
You can also set off on a short panoramic tour on a wooden footbridge through a gap in the rocks around Smögen. Less than 5 minutes away from the place, you will find yourself back in the great archipelago landscape.
After a quick lunch of crispbread in the car, we continue towards Lysekil. Staying on Smögen as originally thought really wouldn’t make much sense. In Lysekil we can park quite centrally and are soon on our way to the church Lysekils Kyrka, which is prominently placed on a hill. Inside you can see not only a specially designed music area with a piano, drums and keyboards, but also a café, a library and a children’s play area. The collection can be paid for for various purposes using different QR codes via mobile phone app. Oh, and the service itself will of course be streamed on the church’s own Youtube channel. That’s what I would call a modern church!
But actually we wanted to find something else in Lysekil: a playground! And right next to the church in the city park there is also a large, well-designed playground with everything little hearts desire. So while we enjoy the time there with the sand, slide and swings, we quickly send Anne shopping next door for dinner.
That is then a little later on the harbor parking lot of Lysekil, which is right next door in Valbodal. The harbor is connected to Lysekil by kilometer-long wooden footbridges, always along the rocky coast. Along the jetty there are countless pretty red fishermen’s houses, which the fishermen probably use as tool sheds and small break rooms. Every centimeter is really used for these houses and every imaginable unevenness of the rocky coast is compensated by stilts. At one point, one of the jetties allows passage to the offshore island of Väderö. There you can climb a short path to the top of the island and have a breathtaking view of the archipelago and the beautiful harbor of Lysekil. Especially in the evening light of the sunset, the fisherman’s huts in the harbor shine with their magnificent colors.
As the next item on the program we chose the island of Tjörn and the nature reserve Björnshuvudet on it. Since I didn’t see any parking lot for hikers at first glance, we first head for Långekärr on Tjörn and then turn towards Björholmen. That sounded logical so far and Björholmen also reveals itself to us with a great romantic harbor (which, like Smögen, is still completely dormant). Unfortunately, we can only state that Björnshuvudet is not on the Björholmen peninsula and, what’s more, there are no hiking trails. So the hike and the plan will probably fall through. What now?
Looking for a quick alternative suggestion, we found the short hike over St. Olavs Vägen. This leads to a small mountain, the St. Olovs Valar, near Kyrkesund. Up here we enjoy a longer rest with crispbread, sausage and apple with another fantastic view of the archipelago. The little one is also very enthusiastic and hikes a large part of the route itself after she has strengthened herself with sufficient provisions. It’s just bloody windy up here. The drone can still handle it and delivers great pictures of the area again.
Theoretically, you can also spend the night in the hiking car park where we stood (without camping behavior, of course). But since an excavator is digging a hole right next to it and on top of that there is no view, we look for a nicer parking space elsewhere. After several unsuccessful attempts at an uninviting and boring campsite and a closed private parking space, we end up at a parking lot right by the bridge to Klädesholmen. From here you have a wonderful view across the water to Klädesholmen and to watch the sunset. The rear part of the square is (or used to be?) a bus turning area, but the front part is designated as a regular parking lot. We were able to stay the night here in peace and quiet without any problems.
So while the little one goes to bed after a well-deserved dinner, I explore Klädesholmen on foot. Whilst honestly I didn’t have high expectations at all, in the end I was surprised by an extremely charming harbor town.
Similar to Lysekil, every spot on the island was used. In one place there is a (public?) sauna with a sea view and also with a view of the sunset. Every meter of water access is used for either a small harbor or private jetty. You definitely get the feeling here that the average resident needs to have at least two boats before even considering the first car. You can also see from the existing cars that meander through the narrow streets that rather well-heeled people live here. Only expensive models are represented and all the houses look great. It is definitely worth coming back here during the high season. The only drawback this evening: the wind is still too strong and the drone has to stay on the ground.
The next morning, however, the wind calmed down a bit and we were able to take a few photos from the air in the morning. We then drive the approx. 200m back to a bakery that we discovered yesterday on the way here: Lottas Back & Form. According to the internet, there are excellent breads here. That not only sounds good, but is actually an excellent stop for our morning snack. So we have a second breakfast here with a wonderful panoramic view of the sunrise over the sea and the archipelago. The bread is indeed convincing and the stop here can be recommended. We’ll take another loaf with us for the rest of the days on the road and expand our collection of mugs with two new ones from a ceramist based on Örust.
Next up is Varberg Fortress. This fortress sits enthroned on a hill overlooking the sea and is surrounded by a moat. There is an excellent view from the fortress. We actually wanted to enjoy the sun here in the fortress café. Unfortunately, that one has no outdoor area and is located in a vault of the fortress. But the bright sun is too good for us and we quickly return to the port, where our pitch for the night is located.
It’s a good thing that we arrived early this time and were able to secure a spot with a great view right away. When we come back from the fortress, the remaining places are now occupied. So instead of the fortress café, we enjoy the afternoon in the sun in the lively harbor bar. The little one is happy and dances to the music on the terrace. She also thinks the toy bench boats are really great — I have no idea what they actually call them. Along the promenade there is always a miniature concrete boat between two benches. Sometimes with a rudder, sometimes with a sail mast, for children to play with. In any case, the little one is thrilled that she can now go on holiday by boat herself.
In the evening we again enjoy a great sunset in the port of Varberg.
After the beach being a large sandbox was already well received by our little one yesterday in Varberg, we want to go to a beach again today. The longest sandy beach in Sweden with 12km length in Mellbystrand. Hopefully it fulfills the criterion: “huge sandpit”. And so today we build sandcastles with moats, we learned that yesterday in Varberg, and paint with driftwood in the sand. However, the area is not suitable for overnight stays. Camping is forbidden everywhere here or at least not desired and we continue accordingly for the night.
So, more or less by accident, we end up in a harbor town, Båstad, one last time. There are many large motor and sailing yachts here. Millions of dollars swim in the sea here in summer. During our research we learn that Båstad is apparently a well-known tennis resort in Sweden and that international celebrities often hang out here. So it’s no surprise that this port, in contrast to most of the other small ones in the north, is already really lively. Even the expensive yachts are no longer too surprising. This is also the first time I’ve seen a Ferrari in a port area.
In the evening I do my rounds as usual and explore the area a bit more. I discover a section of beach directly behind the harbor with a great house in front of it with a jetty. The Kallbadhuset is the spa area of a hotel on the beach and is well known. In the sunset it is ideal for fantastic shots with the drone.