Sprawling across the islands of Marstrand and Koön, Marstrand is a seaside town and getaway destination in Sweden’s county of Västra Götaland. It was established as a free port back in 1775 and is home to Scandinavia’s first synagogue, which was constructed in 1780. Today, Marstrand is renowned as a sailing hub and hosts the Swedish leg of the World Match Racing Tour.
Things to do in Marstrand
One of Marstrand’s most impressive architectural landmarks is the Carlstens Fästning, a stone-built fortress built following the Treaty of Roskilde in 1658. Guided tours offer a fascinating insight into its construction by prison labour and its use as a defensive installation until the late 19th century. From the circular tower, there are 360-degree views across Marstrand.
A hiking trail leads from the Carlstens Fästning through the interior of the island, taking in several caves and a wishing well along the way. The trail continues along the north coast of Marstrand and accesses the picturesque swimming spot of Badet på Norr. At the northwestern tip of the island is the squat, whitewashed tower of the Skallens Lighthouse.
Marstrand is also an ideal base for exploring the Koön Hiking Trails, a network of three routes that traverse Koön’s granite coastline and wooden footbridges. One of the most popular trails accesses the Terrassen observation deck, which is an idyllic setting for watching the sunset over Marstrand and the Skagerrak Strait.
Getting around Marstrand
Marstrand is around 45 minutes’ drive from Gothenburg and one hour from Gothenburg-Landvetter Airport, which has flights to destinations across Europe. Regular buses connect to Marstrand while ferries travel to the nearby island of Åstol. Marstrand is small enough to explore on foot.