For many Swedes, Klädesholmen is a brand famous for caviar and pickled herring. However, it is also an island, right next to the much larger island of Tjörn on the western coast of Sweden. Well, there are actually two islands, Klädesholmen and Koholmen, that are connected by a small bridge. It is an old fishing village that has developed into a summer hotspot for tourists. With a population of around 322 inhabitants, this island is not very large. For any visitor, this is one of the outer-most points in the archipelago that is possible to reach by car.
A Short History of Klädesholmen
Not much is known about Klädesholmen from the period it was a part of Norway. It is known to have had an old fishing village. The island and the rest of Bohuslän became Swedish in 1658, but it took until the mid-17th century before there are any written sources of permanent settlement of the island.
The coast of Bohuslän has over the centuries has a few shorter periods of fast development. This has been connected with the times that huge stims of herring have wandered closer to the coast. For Klädesholmen it was one of these periods in the 18th century that proved to be the most important for the settlements. It included the establishment of businesses that salted herring and produced fish oil. During its peak, about 1.000 people lived on the island.
With the end of the herring period came decades of hardship and a decline in population. The island is considered to have been one of the poorest in Sweden and starvation was common. A new herring period came in the late 19th century and new development meant new opportunities for the island’s fishermen.
The 20th century saw a rapid increase in the number of canneries on Klädesholmen. 25 canneries have been known to operate on the island. 12 were still in operation in 1980 and in 2002 the four remaining ones joined forces and created Klädesholmen Seafood.
Things to Do and See in Klädesholmen
Klädesholmen is in itself in many ways the main attraction. The small island, with its cliffs and narrow streets, is cozy. When walking around the streets, you will pass many of the historical quarters with streets named after the occupations of their earlier inhabitants. The sea of Skagerrak is always only a short walk away.
Here we mention a few places that might be of additional interest.
This is the House of the Herring, the local museum about the herring fishing that has been so important for the island. This is the island’s local heritage museum.
The church in Klädesholmen is built on one of the highest points on the island of Koholmen. It is a white wooden church dating back to the end of the 18th century and was originally used as a chapel for the local fishermen.
The bridge between Klädesholmen and the island of Tjörn was completed in 1983. The bridge spans almost 200 meters. There is a parking lot right before entering the bridge when arriving from Tjörn. From this parking lot, it is possible to either walk across the bridge or just enjoy the view of Klädesholmen on the other side of the strait.
There is a beach on the island for anyone wanting to swim. The small sandy beach is also complemented by the surrounding cliffs and a jetty.
How to Get to Klädesholmen
- Flights: There are domestic and international routes to and from Göteborg Landvetter Airport (GOT), which is 90 kilometers away.
- Car: Klädesholmen is almost at the end of road 169, which connects with the E6 via road 160 at Stenungsund.
- Bus: Local and regional buses from Västtrafik connect Klädesholmen with the surrounding region.
The driving distance from 5 major Swedish cities, according to Google Maps:
- Stockholm – 491 kilometers (5h 45min)
- Gothenburg – 70 kilometers (57min)
- Malmö – 343 kilometers (3h 35min)
- Linköping – 341 kilometers (3h 42min)
- Kiruna – 1588 kilometers (18h 41min)
Find out more about other destinations in Sweden by visiting our page Exploring Sweden