What to see and do on Tjörn? This scenic island on the west coast of Bohuslän offers a wonderful holiday idyll. Here you will find tips on sights, experiences and activities.
Tjörn in Bohuslän
To visit Tjörn, Sweden's seventh largest island, is to move right into the holiday spirit. Nature is barren yet beautiful, and the main island of Tjörn is surrounded by a large number of smaller islands, islets and skerries. In summer, the island attracts many tourists who want to enjoy the west coast idyll.
Tjörn is located on the west coast of Bohuslän, just south of Orust and just north of Marstrand. The island is connected to the mainland by a bridge to Stenungsund, and there is also a bridge connection to Orust.
Getting to Tjörn
You can easily get to Tjörn by car, either via Stenungsund or via Orust. The night before, we spent the night in our motorhome at the car park at Hamnplan Stenkajen in Stenungsund. Here we thought we were relatively nice, with electricity and other services.
However, we were annoyed when we realised that the toilets, which were included in the price, were unreasonably far away. It was also difficult to find them, and after we finally found them, we had to help German and Dutch tourists, who also had problems finding them.
From Stenungsund it is then close to the large Tjörn Bridge that takes you across to Tjörn.
What can you do on Tjörn?
So what can you see and do on Tjörn? In addition to being able to relax and enjoy the wonderful environment, there is a lot to do. We have collected our best tips here in a list.
1. Hanging out in Skärhamn
One thing you won't want to miss on Tjörn is a visit to Skärhamn, which is the centre of the island. Here you can stroll around the charming harbour area, or sit down at one of the many restaurants with charming outdoor seating.
It is also nice to walk up to the residential areas, where the beautiful wooden villas are picturesquely situated among the rocks, surrounded by beautiful hollyhocks.
2. be happy with the happiest church in Sweden
Skärhamn church was inaugurated in 1932 and inside you will find two model boats and a votive ship. But why does the church look so happy? Well, it was former vicar Bengt Rosenqvist who came up with the idea in 1996. He said "when you sail from Skärhamn tomorrow - turn around and you will be reminded that God is smiling at you and is with you". The church's smile is raised at the end of May each year and taken down in August.
3. Walk the Skärhamn walk
Skärhamnsvandringen is a five kilometre long and easy walk that starts at Hamngatan 36 in Skärhamn. Follow the white signs with a starfish on them to find your way. Along the way you will pass various historical sites such as the Maritime Monument, Ruckman's shop from the 1860s, Brunnsparken, Hamneberget, a Bronze Age cairn and the old brewery.
4. Enjoy locally produced ice cream at The Fork and Shovel Gelato.
There are many places in Skärhamn that serve ice cream, such as Sommardröm Glasscafé, which is Bohuslän's largest ice cream parlour. If you only plan to eat ice cream in one place, we have to suggest "The Fork an Shovel Gelato", which is housed in a small food truck in the form of a caravan on one of the piers at the harbour.
Here you can buy locally produced gelato, which is ice cream made in the Italian style. The ice cream is made on a small scale on a farm on Tjörn, using organic milk from the Skålldal farm dairy and ingredients from the farm and other local producers.
Flavours vary from day to day, but when we were here there were enticing flavours like rhubarb, elderflower and honey. Our rating? Very, very good!
5. See art at the Nordic Watercolour Museum
When you are in Skärhamn, take the opportunity to visit the Nordic Watercolour Museum. Here you can see exhibitions with artists from all over the world, listen to lectures or try painting with watercolours yourself in the open workshop or during various taster sessions and courses.
Which exhibition is on display depends, of course, on when you come here. When we were here, we saw an exhibition with art by René Magritte, an exhibition that runs until 4 September 2022. The museum also has a restaurant, Vatten Restaurang & Kafé, with a nice view of the sea.
6. Visit the Maritime Museum in Skärhamn.
There is another small museum in Skärhamn, the Maritime Museum. The museum is located in Cherlinska huset, which is one of the oldest houses in the town. Here the association "De seglade för Tjörn" displays objects, models and pictures from the island's maritime history.
7. relax at Hav & Logi
If you want to find peace, you can book accommodation at Hav & Logi in Skärhamn, which offers several different types of accommodation in a scenic environment. You can stay in hostels, in architect-designed family houses with high standards or move into the campsite with a motorhome, caravan or tent.
The surroundings offer cliffs and salty baths. There is also a relaxation area with bath, sauna and lounge.
8. Stroll through the sculpture park in Pilane
"Sculpture in Pilane" offers a different art and nature experience. In the middle of the beautiful Bohuslän landscape, a sculpture exhibition with prominent international artists is organised every summer. You get a map and walk around the area, discovering one work of art after another.
However, one of the statues remains year after year and that is 'Anna'. The large white female face, radiating a special kind of serenity at the top, was created by Spanish artist Jaume Plensa. The work has now become a landmark for the whole neighbourhood.
9. Discover tombs and rock carvings in Basteröd near Pilane.
The Pilane Sculpture Park is located in a historical area, where people have lived for a long time. As you wander around the artworks, you can also see a burial ground. People are known to have lived here as far back as 8000 years ago and excavations have revealed spearheads, flint tools and pottery.
A short distance from the sculpture park there is also a rock with rock carvings, called "Hällristningen i Basteröd". In fact, Tjörn is Bohuslän's richest rock carving area with around 70 figurative carvings, dating back to the Bronze Age, 1800 - 500 years before Christ. At the rock carving in Basteröd you can see a fleet of no less than 15 ships.
10. Shopping for bread at Lottas Bak & Form sourdough bakery
If you are heading out to Klädesholmen, you can stop at Lotta Bak & Form Surdegsbageri, located at Bleket. Here you can buy bread and pastries made from local and organic ingredients. You can also enjoy sandwiches or sourdough pizza inside the bakery, or on the charming outdoor terrace.
11. Enjoy the idyll on Klädesholmen
One thing you won't want to miss doing on Tjörn is discovering the charming Klädesholmen. This place has a long history of herring and herring fishing, and herring still plays a crucial role today. There is a herring factory and a herring museum here, as well as the Salt & Sill restaurant, which serves 'sillplanka'. Every year, on Herring Day, the "herring of the year" is chosen, which in 2022 was "apple and mint".
Salt & Sill is not only a restaurant, but also Sweden's first floating hotel, where some of the rooms are equipped with a bathing ladder right outside the door. There is also a sauna and heated hot tub.
It is also cosy to stroll among the beautiful white wooden villas on the island, which are charmingly jumbled together, often surrounded by hollyhocks. Or why not have an ice cream in the harbour?
12. Sunbathing and swimming at Klädesholmen.
At Klädesholmen you can also take the opportunity to sunbathe and swim. There is a really nice bathing area with jetties, diving towers and floating jetties.
13. Visit the Herring Museum "The House of Herring"
Last but not least, when visiting Klädesholmen, you can take the opportunity to visit the herring museum "Sillens hus", which shares premises with the local supermarket. Here you can learn more about herring fishing and life on Klädesholmen in the past.
At the museum we also learnt that the name 'Klädesholmen' has nothing to do with clothes. The origin of the word is unclear, but "Cleefsholmen" and later "Kleesholmen", as it appeared on ancient maps, may refer to "close" and have to do with the fact that Klädesholmen and Koholmen are very close to each other.
14. Take a boat trip to charming Åstol.
Åstol is an idyllic island with rugged cliffs and charming wooden houses, which you can visit by ferry from Rönnäng. The island, which has been a fishing community, is now home to Åstol's smokehouse, as well as a café, shop, local history museum and gallery.
15. Take an excursion to Dyrön
Dyrön, or Stora Dyrön as the island is actually called, can also be visited by ferry from Rönnäng. This is a scenic island with great hiking trails, lovely swimming spots, a sauna that can be booked by everyone and two harbours where you will also find restaurants and cafés, such as Trålverket in Nordhamnen and Linas brygga in Sydhamnen.
16. Hiking Dyröleden
On Dyrön you'll find the Dyröleden trail, which takes you on a five-kilometre hike around the entire island. The hike goes through beautiful nature - over cliffs, through ravines and on wooden walkways. In many places there are nice viewpoints where you can look out over the sea.
Another thing to do on Tjörn, if you want to experience nature in a different way, is kayaking. If you don't have your own kayak, you can rent or join guided kayak tours. For example, you can rent a kayak or SUP (Stand Up Paddle Board) at Kajaktiv Tjörn, located in Bleket.
More things to do on Tjörn for those who like culture and history
There is of course more to see and do on Tjörn than what we have described above. Here are some more tips for those who like culture and history:
- Bräcke local history museum shows a trading shed and a farm building with old things. (Bräckeliden 103, Hjälteby)
- Gallery Insikten, Röda stugan is an art gallery with exhibitions on the island of Åstol (Store Varn, Åstol).
- Sibräcka vicarage sells beef, game, lamb and eggs, and has self-picking of strawberries. (Budalsvägen 119, Skärhamn)
- Sundsby Manor offers an environment with parkland, café, restaurant and shops (Sundsbyvägen 385, Hjälteby).
- Säbygården is a large farmhouse from the early 19th century and serves as a cultural-historical monument (Säbyvägen, Kållekärr).
More things to do on Tjörn for nature lovers
Do you like nature best? Then you'll find even more tips on things to see and do on Tjörn here, which may be suitable for you.
- Cycling is a good way to discover Tjörn. At tourist information centres you can find a cycling map of Bohuslän.
- Fishing for sea trout is allowed from 1 April to 30 September. Fishing can be done as spinning or fly fishing.
- Golf can be played at Tjörn Golf Club, where there is an 18-hole forest and parkland course and a short-hole course. (Rävlanda 121, Kållekärr)
- Isle of Man on north-west Tjörn offers a hiking trail through the island's nature reserve and the old fishing community of Kyrkesund.
- Father Noster is a lighthouse far out in the sea, home to an award-winning design hotel.
- Sundsby hiking trail starts from Sundsby Manor or from the large car park at the southern part of the pond. Here you can walk through beech forest and experience caves (Sundsbyvägen 385, Hjälteby).
- Mount Vette is Tjörn's highest mountain, measuring 116 metres above sea level. In good weather you can see Denmark and Skagen. Here you can go on a four kilometre long hike.
More to do on Tjörn for those who like events
Do you like events and happenings? There are also things to do for you on Tjörn. Keep an eye out for the following events.
- Herring Day is organised on Sweden's national day at Klädesholmen, where the herring of the year is chosen.
- Tjörn Runt is one of the largest inshore sailing competitions in the world and is organised on the third Saturday of August.
- Wooden boat festival is held in Skärhamn in July, when lots of wooden boats fill the harbour, as well as craftsmen and exhibitors.
More to do on Tjörn for those travelling with children
Here you will find even more tips on things to do on Tjörn, for those travelling with children or teenagers.
- Swimming area with diving tower is located in Skärhamn, right next to the Nordic Watercolour Museum.
- Crab fishing with clothespins is perhaps the most popular pastime for children on the coast of western Sweden. All you need is string, clothespin, bait, bucket and a little patience.
- Minigolf on Dyrön is located at the Kiosk and café in Sydhamnen. The course has nine holes and there are coffee shops nearby.
- Tjörn Archipelago Tours customises different tours. It can be anything from archipelago tours to fishing trips and seal safaris.
- Steamship Bohuslän is a K-labelled vessel, with which you can make boat trips in the Bohuslän archipelago.
Where can you stay on Tjörn, or park your campervan?
On Tjörn there are many different accommodations to choose from. Two accommodations that we thought looked appealing were Sea & Accommodation in Skärhamn, where you can stay in a family house, hostel or campsite, and the floating hotel. Salt & Herring on Klädesholmen.
We ourselves are travelling by motorhome, and since the campsites at Hav & Logi were fully booked, it became a regular parking at ICA in Skärhamn for our part. We stayed here for two nights, and both nights we were joined by another motorhome.
We also saw a campsite in Mossholmens Marina, on our way out to Klädesholmen. This place has electricity and other services, and we thought it looked nice.
Things to do on Tjörn - on film
More to see and do on Tjörn - nearby
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More suggestions for things to do on Tjörn?
Have you been to Tjörn? How was your experience? Do you have any other good tips on what to see and do on Tjörn?
Facts about Tjörn
- Landscape: Bohuslän
- County: Västra Götaland County
- Central location: Skärhamn
- Other localities: Rönnäng, Klädesholmen, Kyrkesund, Bleket and others.
- Municipality: Tjörn municipality comprises the island of Tjörn and more than 1,500 smaller islands, islets and skerries, most of which are uninhabited.
- Surrounding islands: Stora Dyrön, Flatholmen, Härön, Klädesholmen, Lilla Askerön, Stora Askerön (belonging to Stenungsund municipality), Lilla Brattön, Mjörn, Tjörnekalv, Åstol and others.
- Population: Around 16 000 (2022). In the summer months, the population increases to almost 45 000 thanks to tourism.
- Fjords: The municipality is separated from the mainland by Hakefjorden and Askeröfjorden and from the island of Orust by Stigfjorden.
- Name: The name 'Tjörn' is probably ancient and may come from the Old Norse word þeura, meaning mountain height.
- Read more: You can find more information West Sweden website.
Travelling to Tjörn
- Car/caravan: Driving to Tjörn from Gothenburg is about 6 kilometres and takes around 50 minutes.
- Boat: You can get to Tjörn by boat. There are natural harbours and guest harbours around the island where you can dock.
- Public transport: The nearest railway station is in Stenungsund. Express buses run from Stenungsund and Gothenburg. On Tjörn, Västtrafik is responsible for public transport, and there are buses and ferries.