About a month back I had the pleasure of visiting the Koster Islands, Sweden’s most westerly populated (if only sparsely) islands. Just south of the Norwegian coast, it’s a rugged and beautiful part of the world and a great place to “get away from it all” without having to give up on any creature comforts. The scenery is amazing, the food is phenomenal, the traditional fishing villages about as quaint as it gets, and the folks living there are incredibly friendly and down to earth.
Here are five reasons I reckon nature loving foodies should strongly consider visiting this off the beaten track (although the ferry schedule from the mainland town of Strömstad is regular and reliable) destination.
Two Words: lobster safari!
Summer’s the main time folks visit this tranquil area, but I was there at the onset of autumn for the start of the lobster season which lasts until early spring. Lured by the prospect of catching (and eating!) the regionally renowned “black gold of the sea” lobsters for myself from one of the cleanest of nutritionally rich fjords in Scandinavia, I tagged along on a Lobster Safari “activity and dining experience” offered by the lovely little Hotel Koster on the island of Sydkoster.
More Food and Drink
Of course, man cannot live on lobster alone (but wouldn’t it be a treat to see how long you could go only eating lobster?). Lobster season or not, a variety of super fresh fish and seafood is available throughout the year. And as you’d expect in Scandinavia, you’re never too far away from a wholesome loaf of bread and other irresistable baked goods. During my visit I found venues had a great range of craft beers, spirits and wines. How best to end a day at sea or hiking round an island? Try a shot of vodka mixed with Fisherman’s Friend.
Sweden’s Most Sustainable Restaurant
Given the eco-credentials for which Sweden is known, to be the awarded the country’s most sustainable restaurant really says something. That distinction goes to Kosters Trädgårdar, an organic garden restaurant where theyonly cook the day’s fresh catch, garnished with herbs and vegetables grown themselves. The restaurant hosts a range of events throughout the year and even if you don’t get a chance to dine here, a stroll round its grounds is still a treat.
Aside from a minimal few vehicles (which I only saw parked and for a brief moment) for transporting heavy equipment or for emergency purposes, there are no cars on the Koster Islands. People on the Kosters get around by scooter, bike, boat or on foot. Near the main harbour on the more populous island of Sydkoster, there are dozens of bikes to rent via honor system payment. Ah, clean air!
Sweden’s First Marine Park
The Koster archipelago is surrounded by Kosterhavet National Park. Inaugurated in 2009, it’s Sweden’s first marine park and is home to the country’s highest marine biodiversity, a large population of harbour seals and pristine conditions for any variety of outdoor adventure.
Sounds like an idyliic Nordic paradise, right? Find out more here.