Astol: Sweden’s most picturesque island worth visiting

Astol Island on its western side impresses young and old people who want to be isolated from the crowded and noisy cities, as there are no cars in the area. Thus, visitors seeking moments of carelessness, relaxation and calm can walk in the alleys of the island, enjoy the magnificent images offered by the wooden and white houses with the red and blue roofs, as well as try traditional seafood recipes. The island is located a short distance from the coast of the Bohuslan archipelago between the islands of Marstrand and Tjorn, while some 300 permanent residents reside. In fact, at the time of the decline of the fishing industry (mainly by herring), the number of inhabitants was double, resulting in more than 20 fishing trawlers on the island, however, several were forced to leave the island for livelihoods during the 1970s. Today, local fishermen continue their tradition, mainly by fishing for shrimps, crabs and lobsters. What, though, is the route to be followed to reach this earthly paradise? The distance by car from the town of Gothenburg in the seaside village of Ronnang takes about 50 minutes. There are also bus routes to that village from the terminal (Nils Ericson) located right next to the Gothenburg railway station. At the entrance of the village, there is a large parking area, from where you will then need to walk about 20 minutes until you reach the local port and take the ferry to the fishing village, with the route taking an additional 20 minutes. In fact, the ferries are more frequent in summer months than in winter. In addition, in the port of the island for visitors (Astol Gashtamn), there are approximately 80 seats available for sailing boats, right next to the boats of local fishermen. On the island there is a cafe where you can have your breakfast, but also your lunch. However, the most famous place on the island for food is the restaurant Astols Rokeri, where dishes with smoked fish and shellfish are served, while on the walls of the store there are old photos with their fishermen and boats. If, of course, you visit the island in the months of November and December, then, you will be able to taste the traditional and festive Jurod (Christmas buffet-style table) which includes five to seven different dishes: butter, cheese, pickles, sausages, beet salad, crisp buns, smoked salmon, cod, baked herring, eels, as well as shellfish, accompanied by sauces and dips. Guests can also dive into the magical waters of the island, among the rugged rocks. In addition, there is a water slide for children that ends in shallow waters. On the island there is a museum (Herbygsmuseum) with the history of the island as early as the 18th century with objects and photographs with fishermen of the time, as well as a park with a monument dedicated to fishermen who have been lost at sea. On the island, a gallery (Roda Stugan), where works of local artists are exhibited.