Marstrand: A day out in Sweden’s countryside

During my Scandi-tour in 2010, we stayed in Sweden’s second city of Gothenburg. As a day trip we decided to go on the popular seaside city to Marstrand on the coast.

Marstrand is just under an hour away from Gothenburg by bus (and boat) and I can tell you it is a thoroughly nice day out.

I loved the Nordic vibe of Marstrand even though it was a bit windy when we went in August, it certainly wasn’t sunbathing weather!


Marstrand has evolved from being a fishing village and it used be the centre of the herring trade which brought wealth to the area.

As usually happens with the fishing trade, the herring ran out and now Marstrand is a playground for Swedish celebrities and moneyed mainlanders. They still celebrate Herring Weekend in June to remember their fishy past.


Marstrand is a city and has been since 1200, despite only having a measly 1,300 or so residents.

What it lacks in people, it makes up for in boats as sailing competitions such as Match Cup Sweden are held here.

Eider duck statue wearing a hat
Eider duck statue wearing a hat

Even though it is small, it is an artistic place as with many seaside locations. We found this statue painted as an eider duck, which is a large sea duck that you can find in the area. We put a hat on it and I made a painting of this picture which I gave to my boyfriend.

Looking out to sea in Marstrand

We went exploring on the rocks and there are some nice walks that you can take along the coastline. You can make out boats on the horizon and the rocks are covered with beautiful moss and heather. I loved the green, purple and yellow contrasted with the grey rocks.

Carlsten Fort
Carlsten Fort

The main tourist attraction is the Carlsten Fort which was built in 1700s to protect Marstrand from invasion. King Karl X Gustav ordered it after the Swedes took over in the 1660s.

Marstrand was essential to trade as it has an ice-free port so ships could land here, even in winter. This is why they needed to defend it and why the port was so fought over.

Orange jellyfish in Marstrand
Orange jellyfish in Marstrand

We rounded off our day by getting fish and chips at the port, which was the highlight of the day (apart from the stunning views of course!).

Another fun activity is spotting the brightly-coloured jellyfish in the harbour whilst you get on and off the ferry to meet the bus.

The thing I most loved about Marstrand was the Nordic vibe of the wooden buildings and the rocky landscape, I can see how Scandi writers feel inspired to create novels whilst gazing at The North Sea.

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