Styrsö: The Convergence of Fishing, Islandic Lifestyle, and Urban life


Styrsö is one of the biggest islands in the Southern Archipelago of Gothenburg (Göteborg). The island retains the remnants of its past such as fishing which was once the sole breadwinner for the islanders at one point of time, and also farming.

The island has the only holiday resort at Bratten (Styrsö Bratten) where once wealthy Gothenburgers frequented to this spot for outdoor baths and for basking in the sunshine.

The island has large areas of unfrequented and untouched nature trails along its winding and ragged coastline but dotted with coves and beaches for swimming.

Once upon a time the island was famous for its fishing – herring. Herring is still one of the staple fish of the Swedish palate. Herring is called sill (en sill – sillen – sillar). On this island, stood a smelly sillar (herring) processing and salting factory. On this site a guesthouse was built in 1830s, and became the genesis for its emergence for smelling fishing island to a bathing resort especially the introduction of steam boats or ferries in 1867.

One of the islands in the Archipelago of Gothenburg

Today this island has large number of houses – summer villas – and also a parish church. One can live without moving to mainland Gothenburg because it has a year-round supermarket.

Styrsö has emerged to be a self-sufficient island with a nursery.

The island also has a marina, opportunities for snorkelling.

At Halsvik on the island are the storage huts – a reminder to its seamen’s community.

Stora Rösa is the highest point on the island, and it is a Bronze Age cairn. This point served as gun emplacement and look-out post during the World War 1 but Sweden did not take part in the war.

The island is famous for its annual art exhibition, and also for its local history museum. During summer an art exhibition takes place wherein different artists exhibit their works. Check

Styrsö and Donsö are the neighbouring islands of Southern Archipelago and are interlinked by a bridge since 1973. Unlike Styrsö, Donsö sheltered ship-owning and fishing community. In the old ice factory of Donsö is a café and commercial establishments.