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The coastline of West Sweden between Gothenburg and the country's border with Norway is a paradise of granite cliffs, glaciated islands, fishing villages, deserted bays, and Sweden's only true fjords. Outdoor activities here include sailing, fishing, scuba diving, sea kayaking, and rock climbing.  
Credit: Alistair Wearmouth 
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'West Sweden has some of the best sea kayaking in the world,' says Joakim Hermanson, author of a guide to sea kayaking the Bohuslän coast and owner of local outfitter Upplevelsebolaget. Sheltered fjords and inlets provide everything from short half-day paddles to multiday adventures. Sweden's permissive land-use laws mean you can pretty much camp anywhere that takes your fancy.  
Credit: Alistair Wearmouth 
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The Koster Islands, long a popular summer haven, now anchor Sweden's new Koster Marine National Park (opened in September 2009). Some 350,000 daytrippers make the crossing from Stromstad each summer, coming to enjoy biking, walking, camping, swimming, and fresh seafood like oysters, crab, and crayfish.  
Credit: Alistair Wearmouth 
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The genteel town of Lysekil gained prominence as a thriving gateway for the export of goods such as herring, granite, and ship parts. Such industrial pre-eminence explains the dramatic granite cathedral, build in 1900, which crowns the town. Lysekil was also a popular spa retreat in the late 19th century and today continues to be a bustling summer seaside resort.  
Credit: Alistair Wearmouth 
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Gothenburg, Sweden's second-largest city, is the gateway to the West Sweden coastline. It's estimated that some ten million European citizens in countries including Denmark, Germany, Poland, and the United Kingdom live within an easy short-haul hour flight of the city. Carmakers Volvo and Saab both call the area home. It's home to the 25,000-student University in Gothenburg, too, meaning you'll never be short of clubs, bars, restaurants, and cafés to service your stay!  
Credit: Kjell Holmner/www.imagebank.sweden.se 
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Sweden's first national parks were established in 1909, the first such protected lands in Europe. Today, a liberal policy toward land use means it's very easy to get out and explore. Inland from the coast, hardwood forests cap the sturdy granite bedrock, home to a diverse array of wildlife that includes moose, mink, foxes, and beavers.  
Credit: Alistair Wearmouth 
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While the national character is relatively reserved, Swedes' hospitality and joie de vivre quickly shines through. As does their connection with the land and its bounty. The ubiquity, not to mention quality, of English spoken throughout the country makes a vacation to Sweden feel remarkably civilized and accessible, even when it comes to getting off the beaten track.  
Credit: Alistair Wearmouth 
 
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