Koster islands a lively archipelago

Idyllic Koster Islands

Fishing harbour on Northern Koster Island

You don’t need your own boat to enjoy a visit to the Koster Islands. The ferry from Stromstad in Sweden cost 260 SEK  round trip and stops several places on the islands, both South and North Koster Island. You must buy a ticket in the harbour or with cash on the ferry. The charming ferry trip takes about 45 minutes. You can find ferry schedules and other practical information her  (Sorry, but information is not in english!). Not many places take credit cards so make sure you have cash with you to Koster Islands.

Koster Islands consists of Northern and Southern Koster Islands and is situated just west of Strömstad in Sweden. The islands have only 300 permanent residents, but it’s a very popular recreational area and in the summer thousands come with the ferry or in their own boats to visit the islands.

 

The trip starts with the ferry from Strømstad to Koster Islands
The trip starts with the ferry from Strømstad to Koster Islands
Center map
Traffic
Bicycling
Transit
Get Directions
 Kosterhavets Marine National Park was inaugurated in September 2009 and covering 400 km2. The marine is park adjacent to Ytre Hvaler Marine National Park in Norway. Vast areas on both Koster Islands are regulated to nature reserves. Its not permitted to hunt or use open fire inside the National Park. Nor is motorized traffic permitted without special permission.

Bike rental is big business on Koster Islands and cycling around the South Island is done in a day. Most bikes for rental are without gears and are heavy to ride. But the landscape is flat so this is not a problem. It’s an idyllic landscape with many small fishing ports and beautiful cultivated landscape. There are still some cows and sheep on the islands.

 

Idyllic old house on North Koster Islands
Idyllic old house on North Koster Islands

5 things to do on the Koster Islands:

  1. Rent a bike and take a ride across the south island.
  2. Take the small ferry across the strait to the Northern Island and go exploring. Its not allowed to take rental bikes over to the Northern Island.
  3. Visit Kosters Trädgårdar. They have a small cafe and some times conserts.
  4. Get more information about the Marine National Park by visiting Naturum Kosterhavet at the ferry port at Ekenäs.
  5. Enjoy life at one of the many great beaches and follow a snorkeling trail.
Visit Koster gardens at South Koster Islands.
Visit Koster gardens at South Koster Islands.
Still active fishing at Koster Islands
Still active fishing at Koster Islands
Vettnet fishing harbour at North Koster Islands
Vettnet fishing harbour at North Koster Islands

 Accommodation at Koster Islands:

There are many accommodation possibilities, but only one hotel at Koster Islands. Hotel Ekenäs is an old and traditional archipelago hotel from 1905. Its beautifully located just some 100 meters from the ferry port at Ekenäs. The old building is very run-down, but still charming. They have built some new buildings facing the sea and these buildings dominates the landscape and ruins the over all impression of the place. The hotel boast of their kitchen and large variety of seafood.

Unfortunately this is very exaggerated. We stayed here a weekend in spring 2013 and the food was not only made without any imagination but it was really helpless! Large variety of seafood proved to be Pollock for 2 days. So if you enjoy good food I am sure you will find this very disappointing.

There are many other places to stay and there are many types of small cafes and restaurants. You will find an overview of accommodations here: http://www.kosteroarna.com/kategori/bo

 

Hotel Ekenäs at Koster Islands
Hotel Ekenäs at Koster Islands
Moped is the most common way to transport goods and people for residents with a permission. Here in front of the only food shop at the south island, located in the middle of the island.
Moped is the most common way to transport goods and people for residents with a permission. Here in front of the only food shop at the south island, located in the middle of the island.

Kosterhavets Marine National Park:

Koster Islands and the surrounding ocean is one of the most species-rich archipelago areas in Sweden. It includes about 300 species and plants found now where else in Sweden. The area also has rare coral reefs. This area has always been depending on fishing and especially shrimp fishing have long traditions. Its still allowed to fish for shrimps in the Marine National Park. Fishing was previously the main activity for the people at the Koster Islands, but today Tourism has taken over. Fishing still plays an important role for the about 10 active fishermen still living permanent on the islands. For tourism it’s important that the charming small fishing ports are kept alive with its boathouses and tools and fishing boats. They are not all rented to summer guests.

At Ekenäs port there is an information center: Naturum Kosterhavet. The center contains exhibits; interactive activities and you can use the big microscope and explore your own finds from the beach.

As part of the efforts to promote the Marine National Park several activities is initiated. Among other things, they have made snorkeling trails – a nature trail under water. A blue rope will guide you to different information boards and tell you about the things you see under water.

 

Swedish idyll at Koster Islands.
Beautiful landscape for hiking at North Koster Islands
Beautiful landscape for hiking at North Koster Islands
Koster Islands church on the south island.
Koster Islands church on the south island.
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