Kattegattleden was nominated best European bicycle path in 2018. The prize is well deserved as it offers some of the best views of the west coast of Sweden. It takes you from Gothenburg to Helsingborg, or vice versa, across the Halland province. It’s mostly flat, well signed and wide enough to allow a ride in good company. It’s also popular in the summer without being too crowded. It takes you through small villages and charming towns with loads of nice places to explore. I dare call it a cyclist’s paradise!
Last summer, I cycled most of Kattegattleden and I can recommend the experience to everyone, regardless of fitness level. I saw all kinds of people cycling, from older and probably retired couples to groups of friends or younger families with children. All seemed happy and were having a great time. Keep reading and you will find out more about my experience. For more practical details you can head to the official website.
Get ahead by train
Kattegattleden is 390 km long and doable in about a week. However, one doesn’t have to do the whole thing in one go, because between Gothenburg and Helsingborg goes one of the few Swedish trains that allow you to bring your bicycle on board (as it is, no need to pack it in a box).
I live in Gothenburg and had already done parts of Kattegattleden near the city on single-day trips. Last year, instead of starting at the beginning I took the train to Varberg and started there instead. The train makes it really easy to start or finish wherever you want.
West coast weather is never easy to predict, not even in the summer. Temperatures should be high enough to make riding enjoyable and probably never too high for that. Rain can happen occasionally, but hopefully more in a form of occasional showers (time for fika!) instead of a full day storm. Count on the wind, especially in coastal areas.
Varberg – The spa town of the west coast. If you have never been to Varberg you are missing one of the most charming and cute towns in Sweden. Kattegattleden goes along the coast just south of Varberg and this was for me one of the nicest parts of the whole path. Be careful around here, or you might never want to leave again.
Not to be missed: Varberg fortress, local spa and Apelviken beach.
Falkenberg. More than just another charming Swedish town, Falkenberg is famous for its old town and long sandy beaches, quite popular in the summer.
Not to be missed: Falkenberg castle, Tullbron (bridge) and Skrea strand (beach).
Båstad. Famous for the tennis tournaments, Båstad is also one of the most popular summer locations in Skåne. Located on a bay by the sea and surrounded by nature, how could it not be?
Not to be missed: Norrviken gardens, Skälderviken and Falsterbo beaches.
Hovs hallar. A geographical area of interest with its peculiar cliff formations, just about 12km from Båstad. The sound of the birds and the waves of the sea make this place even more special.
Not to be missed: Add Norrviken gardens (already mentioned above) and the village of Torekov to make the perfect day ride tour from Båstad.
Mölle Hamn. Located on a tip of land sticking out in Höganäs kommun, this picturesque town will charm you with its marina, fishing port and the forest behind it. Unfortunately, I didn’t have much time to explore it, but it is at the top of my list of places to re-visit.
Sia ice cream factory in Slöinge. OK, this one is actually not on Kattegattleden but it is worth the detour, especially if you like ice cream. There’s a little cafe and shop just outside the factory where you can indulge in as many scoops of ice cream as you want (and you have been riding a lot, so no problem?). We stopped there for an ice cream lunch!
Fika and food
I always have snacks and water with me, but you will also find plenty of places to eat along Kattegattleden, mostly because you are never too far from a town or village. In the worst-case scenario, there’s a supermarket where you can buy snacks. A great option for lunch is the local farm restaurants, that pop up in the countryside in Skåne. They usually serve the utmost delicious food made from their very fresh produce. If you pass by a small restaurant with other bikes parked outside, that’s it, that’s the place to be.
I can’t really name any of these lunch restaurants, as I don’t remember exactly where they were. Instead, I can recommend two of my favourite places that I encountered last year:
Konditori Öresund in Viken – a bakery recommended by a friend who is a pastry chef. It didn’t disappoint, as their pastries and bread are delicious. We got there at closing time, so we bought one of everything (we just couldn’t choose…) and enjoyed it by the marina in Viken.
Brödkultur in Sofiero Gård – just outside of Helsingborg you will find this cosy bakery/lunch restaurant. Recommended by our local host, it serves delicious bread and lunch. For me the best lunch of the whole trip! I ate there on a rest day, so my hunger after hours on the bike did not influence my opinion.
If you are looking for a nice, fun and different summer vacation in Sweden, Kattegattleden might be the right answer for you. Visit charming towns, cycle along the coast, go bathing in the sea and enjoy your fika by the local marina. How good does that sound? Maybe we will even cross paths!
See you out there!