Lysekil, Bohuslän, Exploring Sweden

Lysekil, Bohuslän – Exploring Sweden

Lysekil is a town on the coast of Bohuslän in western Sweden. It is one of the main seaside resorts in the province and tourism is an important industry for the inhabitants, around 7.700 people in total. In addition to the tourists, there are some industries. One of the largest employers is Preemraff, the largest refinery in Scandinavia, which is a short distance outside of the town.

This is a town that comes to life during the summer, from midsummer onwards. Its main kickoff is the traditional cruising on Midsummer Day with hundreds of car enthusiasts cruising along the streets of the town.

A Short History of Lysekil

The history of Lysekil could be divided into three parts. First, there is herring and even more herring. Then comes the bit with the seaside resort and then eventually as the third part, the refinery.

A Fishing Village with Herring in Huge quantities

Lysekil was first mentioned in written sources in the 16th century. For a long time, the herring periods defined the small fishing village. That is, the decade-long periods when the herring wandered close to the shores in huge quantities. It was eventually the herring period of the 18th century that initiated the real development of an urban area in Lysekil. As a result, industries around the herring with fish salting and fish oil production started to form.

A Seaside Resort Becomes a Town

Lysekil was proposed to receive its town privileges in the 1830s, but in the end, Lysekil became only a market town. The second half of the century saw Lysekil’s development into a seaside resort and the bathing house was built during the 1860s. The development continued and Lysekil received its town privileges in 1903.

Industrialization and the Refinery

During the 20th century, more modern forms of production replaced stone cutting and conserving fish. Lysekils Mekaniska Verkstad opened in 1899 and started soon afterward to produce boat engines known as Skandia Engines. Their production continued until 1987.

OK was a Swedish cooperative for selling petrol and had several petrol stations around the country. OK did, however, not have their own refinery. However, that changed in 1970 when the construction of Scanraff began in Lysekil. The refinery opened in 1975. OK has since changed a lot, especially in regards of ownership. The petrol stations are today known as OKQ8 and the refinery belongs to Preem. Nowadays, the refinery goes under the name and Preemraff and it is the largest refinery in Scandinavia.

Things to Do and See in Lysekil

The Sea of Skagerak is to the south, west, and east of the center of Lysekil. With the water almost all around the peninsula, there are many activities available on the sea. In addition it adds scenery for many of the areas of the town.

Lysekil Cruising

Lysekil Cruising is for many a tradition for the summer and something that brings hordes of car enthusiasts to the town. This is where you can see many of the antique cars that are still roadworthy.

Vikarvet Museum

The local heritage organisation is known under the name Vikarvet, the bay heritage. It is housed at Fiskebäckskilsstugan, an old fishing homestead that dates back at least to the 19th century. The museum displays the local history, with objects, photos, and stories.

Havets Hus

Havets Hus is the aquarium in Lysekil. It exhibits hundreds of aquatic species from the Gullmarn Fjord and the North Sea.

Stångehuvud Lighthouse

Stångehuvud Lighthouse is a small lighthouse on the western cliffs in the Stångehuvud Nature Reserve. It is a perfect viewpoint out over the sea of Skagerak. The lighthouse itself dates back to 1890.

Stångehuvud Nature Reserve

The area around the lighthouse is known as Stångehuvud Nature Reserve and was established in 1982. The rock was saved from becoming a stone query in the 1920s and is known for its granite rock.

Kallbadhuset & Trampen

Kallbadhuset and Tranpen are next to each other and are just two of several spots for swimming around the town. It is one of the easier accesses to the Sea of Skagerak and has simple amenities.


Släggö is a small islet outside Lysekil, right next to Kallbadhuset. The islet has a walking path that will take you along the water and offers a great view out over the Sea of Skagerak.

Utsikten, the Lookout Tower

On top of the cliffs there is a lookout tower that stands 35 meters above the sea. It was built in 1894 and offers a view out over the town.


Stadsparken, the city park, is the green oasis at the center of town. It dates back all the way back to the 1860s and is a meeting point for anyone looking for some shade during the hot summer days.

Maria’s Mill

There is today only one windmill left in Lysekil and it is owned by the local heritage organization Vikarvet since 1918. Maria’s Mill is believed to have been built in the 1830s and was renovated in 2019.

How to Get to Lysekil

  • Flights: There are domestic and international flights to and from Göteborg Landvetter Airport (GOT), which is 154 kilometers away.
  • Car: Lysekil is at the end of road 162, which connects with the E6 at Gläborg.
  • Bus: Local and regional buses from Västtrafik connect Lysekil with the surrounding region.
  • Train: All train services ceased in 2018.

The driving distance from 5 major Swedish cities, according to Google Maps:

  • Stockholm – 505 kilometers (5h 42min)
  • Gothenburg – 132 kilometers (1h 33min)
  • Malmö – 406 kilometers (4h 8min)
  • Linköping – 403 kilometers (4h 15min)
  • Kiruna – 1602 kilometers (17h 56min)

Find out more about other destinations in Sweden by visiting our page Exploring Sweden

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