The star of the Gothenburg Archipelago, Brännö Island is known for its idyllic rugged coastline dotted with secluded bays and beaches. This is where people who live in Gothenburg find refuge from the daily stress during the summer months, drinking beers and dancing throughout the long, bright nights.
Brännö Island has around 800 permanent inhabitants whose main occupation has been farming, shipping, and boat piloting. Families with kids, groups of friends, and nature lovers all gather on Brännö Island and its proximity to the big city makes it a breeze to get there.
The ferry from Gothenburg only takes around half an hour and is served daily all year round. So even though Brännö is a popular summer destination, there is no excuse not to visit the idyllic island off-season - and here are a few reasons why you should!
Brännö Island is perfect for families that want to spend a day on the beach. Ramsdal at Husvik is particularly great for children and a popular family spot in the summer months as it has toilets, cliffs, and a jumping tower.
However, if you prefer to take the kids to a quieter area, there are multiple bays and beaches to choose from, like the beach at Gröna Vik outside Rödsten.
The low cliffs on the island sliding into the water are so typical for the Swedish archipelagos and perfect for catching crabs and other sea creatures to have a closer look at them in a bucket of sea water before releasing them carefully again.
Galterö Island is situated so near Brännö Island that it is connected by a small stone footbridge which opens up a whole new world for nature enthusiasts and bird watchers.
The entire island is a protected nature reserve with an abundance of wildlife, especially birds, and unique plant species. Crisscrossed with hiking trails, it is ideal to spend a day walking around the island and breathing in the fresh air. Bring a lunch pack to enjoy at a lovely creek or with a nice view.
In the northwest of the island, there is a picturesque, sandy bay that makes for the perfect swimming break. This beach is popular among Gothenburg’s locals to get away in the summer.
On the far end of the island, you find Galterö Head where you can take in a splendid view of Vinga Lighthouse. Make sure you bring your camera, because it does not get more picturesque than this.
Compared to other islands in Gothenburg’s archipelago, Brännö has a handful of restaurants and bars to choose from, all typical Swedish. Basic and easy with traditional food, some of them with live music, and some belong to hotels and inns.
One of the best things about the traditional Swedish food is that it is so simple yet so smashing good and it matches the Swedish atmosphere that the island breathes from end to end.
If you have not yet tried Swedish meatballs and delightful berry pies we suggest you give it a try while you are on Brännö Island.
Being one of the southern archipelago islands, Brännö Island is easy to reach from Gothenburg making it a popular day trip from the city.
Yet, there is enough to do on the island to spend a weekend or longer kicking back amidst the idyllic Gothenburg archipelago. While it is close to Gothenburg, it feels like a world away.
Ferries leave Saltholmen and Stenspiren in central Gothenburg daily all year round and it takes about 20 minutes to reach Brännö Rödsten on the north-east side of the island and 40 minutes to reach Brännö Husvik which is situated on the south-west side of Brännö Island.
The charming Folk Museum at Brännö Island is situated in a traditional red-painted log house and houses an exhibition across three sections. They give you an insight into the island and its people’s history.
The first room houses information and artifacts related to the history of life on the sea which has been an important part of the island’s past and economic importance. It also covers the history of movement and traffic in the archipelago which is quite interesting.
In the second room, you will learn about the women’s lives on the island, the schools, and agriculture on the island, which was the second important economic source. This room also takes you back in time to learn about the first inhabitants of Brännö Island in the 16th century.
Besides different artifacts, you can watch different films from Brännö including a unique amateur film dating back to 1956. The third part of the museum shows a furnished room from the early 1900s to show how people may have lived on the island.
One of Sweden’s famous artists, Lasse Dalquist published a song called “De e dans på Brännö brygga”, meaning “There is dance on Brännö pier”, back in 1941.
It is all about the Thursday dancing that took place throughout the summer months. Luckily, some traditions do not die out, and the dance still takes place on Brännö Pier every summer Thursday.
This is a tradition you should not miss out on. It really brings out the Swedish summer spirit, and we can guarantee you this will be a summer memory of a lifetime!
Brännö Island is beautiful to explore by kayak. You can rent a kayak in Gothenburg or nearby Styrsö Island to explore the archipelago for a few days and easily base yourself in Brännö.
The nature reserve of Galterö Island, which is connected to Brännö Island by a footbridge is also wonderful to kayak around. It is surrounded by untouched nature with perfect little bays and creeks to explore.
There are also other small islands nearby that are perfect to explore by kayak, like Rivö Island. Make sure you bring swimwear and a lunch pack to enjoy nice stops along your kayaking adventures.
Not only is Brännö a car-free island, but there are a whole lot of local shops and handicrafts you can visit on the island where you can get anything from freshly baked goods to handicrafts made out of local sheep wool from the island’s abundant sheep population.
While on such a small island it feels great to support the locals but it is also lovely to bring unique gifts back to your family and friends. They will not only be an item from a gift shop in a touristy area but have a history attached to the culture of the place you visited.
You will notice how the locals are willing to share their culture and history with you if you show interest and this is something that will bring value to your entire visit. You might just see Brännö with whole new eyes as you cycle through its green meadows or walk between the grazing sheep on Galterö Island the next time.
There is no arguing, Brännö Island is a true Swedish summer paradise. All you need on your side is the weather and with the sun, a mild breeze, and your light summer clothes flowing in the wind, you are set for a true Swedish summer vacation.
Imagine a car-free island wrapped in picturesque rocks meeting the salty water taken straight out of an Astrid Lindgren book, children running around barefoot eating ice cream, and couples rolling by on bicycles, while groups of friends are laughing over beers at the outside tables of a nearby restaurant.
In a nutshell, Brännö is the stereotypical Swedish summer destination.
Planning a longer trip to Brännö? Stay at the Brännö Varv Bed & Breakfast in a converted shipyard building.
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Last Updated 17 January 2024