I’ve never been a cold-weather type of gal. I would be fine with 80 degrees year-round. And thus, I never really understood the allure of islands in New England, other than three months out of the year during those balmy summer days and nights when the weather was passable. And then I visited the Swedish islands, and I got it.
There’s a different type of magic that inhabits the rocky shores of such archipelagos.
Now, the entire coast of West Sweden is dubbed the “sun coast” because it allegedly gets the most hours of sunlight of any part of the country, so while it may be cooler than I’m used to, it’s also typically awash in sunlight (“typically” being the operative word).
During our week in Sweden, the normally temperate climate was unusually gray and wet, but that was fine by us—I’d packed my Wellies, my favorite rain jacket and other waterproof gear and was ready for the unknown.
The Weather Islands, or Väderöarna in Swedish, is a cluster of 365 isles, only one of which is inhabited by a guesthouse and its employees. The ferry ride departed from just south of Fjällbacka in Hamburgsund, so we gave ourselves an extra hour or two to hit up a few of the other coastal towns like Smögen along the way.
Once in Hamburgsund, the ferry process was easy. We parked at the restaurant, loaded up our bags, boarded the catamaran-style boat and motored out for 40 minutes to Väderöarna.
Once there, it was lunchtime, so we held off checking in as we tucked into a Swedish feast. I’m not usually a huge fish fan, but man, the Swedes do it right. We had what they called a “fish burger” but was really some sort of fish casserole with cod, cheese, butter and all sorts of other delicious accoutrements. You guys, the Swedes eat dill on everything, and I absolutely love it.
After lunch, we took our bags to our cozy cabin. It’s on the small side with no frills (i.e. no TV or other electronics), but it was perfectly peaceful for us. We had a rest and then met the resident fishermen at the dock for a “seafood safari” as they called it. Essentially, we were tagging along on the afternoon’s food-sourcing mission of crab and crayfish for that night’s dinner.
Now, you all know I usually get painfully seasick the second I step onto a boat, and though the weather may have looked rough, the seas were completely smooth. No meds and no sickness—I was so relieved, as the anxiety of being stuck out at sea while sick usually consumes my every thought.
The fishermen have six spots where they keep their traps, and we checked a couple of them as they hauled up their bounty. It only took a half an hour or so, then we were speeding back to the island so they could boil up their catch.
While they cooked, we spent the afternoon soaking in the hot tub, which overlooked the ocean and was pumped full of saltwater straight from the source, as the rain sprinkled down on top of us.
That evening, we had a full-on feast of every type of seafood imaginable, far more than the two of us could eat, then went to bed early, because what else do you do on a quiet island with no technology or nightlife? It was exactly what both of us craved.
We had planned to hike around the island a bit the following morning, but it rained, so we spent some time writing in the main house, had breakfast, then took the midday ferry back to the mainland to continue on our Swedish island-hopping adventures.
Getting to the Weather Islands
A ferry departs Hamburgsund one to two times daily. You can take the morning ferry and stay the night, or simply stick around for the afternoon and a meal before returning to the mainland.
What It Costs to Vacation in the Swedish Islands
In fall, winter and spring, you can do the same overnight package we did—ferry ride, lunch, hot tub and sauna access, dinner, one-night stay, breakfast, ferry ride back—for 1995 SEK (or $245) a person.
What to Pack for Sweden
Even if you’re going during summer months, take a jacket (preferably brightly-colored) and also a pair of rain boots and a compact umbrella. The weather can turn on a dime. Here are a few of my favorite rainy weather items: