Onboard a ferry, going across to Marstrand island, Marstrand harbour, Sweden. The ferry ride is about 5 minutes, crossing the channel.
Text Photo & Video © JE Nilsson & CM Cordeiro 2020

The high cirrus clouds signalled fair weather for the day and it looked perfect for a drive up along the Swedish west coast. We headed for Marstrand, a pearl of an island for summer visits located in the Kungälv Municipality of Sweden. This island is a well loved tourist destination. We too, love this place and this day’s drive would be the second sweep around Marstrand to see if we would make it out to Marstrand island this summer.

Under the global circumstances of uncertain international travel and increased domestic travel in 2020, an indication that it was a good day to hop across to Marstrand island was the short and quick moving queue of people waiting to board the ferry. There are 2 ferries that run consecutively, which allows for fewer passengers onboard, without the sacrifice of travel time to Marstrand island. In the summer of last year, the ferry queue snaked around the ticketing house and up into the lanes where the nearest grocery store is located. On this visit, the ferry queue was short, going about less than 20m from ferry terminal to where the fruit stand was located. For sale at the fruit stand were locally grown, organic strawberries. Lovely and delicious reds in boxes if you wanted to bring some with you to Marstrand island.

Marstrand Hamn

A view of Carlstens Fortress, the historical fortress on Marstrand island, from mainland, Marstrand harbour. Also in view is the tower to Marstrand Church, built originally in wood in the 1100s.

Sinnenas Trädgård

This garden for the senses is maintained by the Church of Sweden. They have a modest offering of Swedish fika breads with coffee / tea.

The buildings of the garden are signature red painted wood paneled houses with green framed windows. Inside the windows are delicate lace curtains hung in the style of the 1800s. This house catches your attention even if you were thinking of passing it by. Gorgeous stock roos blooms beckon for a peek of what’s within.

On the way to the garden, we spotted a fellow blue moped on the streets of Marstrand.

Marstrand has some of west coast Sweden’s most beautiful housing architecture. In the surrounding streets to Sinnenas Trädgård, some take home ideas for housing decoration and architecture include, ocean view, 100m walking distance to the waterfront, stone stairs to the front door and slate tiles in the garden. Not forgetting, stockros to plant and an order of cirrus clouds for n-number of days per year.

When in Singapore, my parents had slate tiles out in the front porch to their terrace house. It’s lovely to see slate tiles here in Marstrand, also in varying shades of black.

Stone stairs.

Stock roos.

Kungsgatan and Drottninggatan

The streets around Kungsgatan and Drottninggatan make up central Marstrand island. In the quadrants of this area are restaurants and shops usually catering for the summer crowds. Ice-cream parlours are always a popular welcome. We met with one queue to somewheres halfway up Kungsgatan and wondered if that was the queue to the ferry back to the mainland. It turned out that it was the queue to the ice-cream parlour.

Marstrand Church, belonging to the Diocese of Gothenburg, Church of Sweden. The original building to the church is thought to be built of wood during the reign of the Norwegian king, Harald Gille (b.1102; reign 1130-1136). The current building is of natural gray-washed stone. It was built between 1270-1319, and most likely belonged to the Franciscan order.

Craftsmanship in wood for the front porch. A house near Marstrand Church.

Marstrand Grand Hotel

Located next to Paradise Park is the Marstrand Grand Hotel, built in 1892. A stunning building to behold, it is particularly delightful to see people sitting to their drink and meal in the open patio. The hotel is about a hundred metres from the harbour front and offers a magnificent view of almost all happenings on Marstrand island, if not itself being one of Marstrands main attractions.

Marstrand Grand Hotel, from the late 1800s.


Our walk for this summer’s afternoon took us back to Hamngatan. One could think that everywhere looks the same along the Swedish west coast, but personally, I haven’t tired of the sight of boats bobbing in the ocean headed from harbour to harbour. It has thus far been that every encounter is different. Every occasion has been for me, a distinct opportunity to observe and experience something new even if for one day.

Fish and chips in a paper bag, or just ice-cream and coffee on the side is idyllic for a Hamngatan at Marstrand island afternoon.

Short video tour. Vantage point at Hamngatan on Marstrand island, looking out at Marstrand harbour towards mainland, Kungälv Municipality, Sweden. Swedish west coast.