Along with kilos of fresh shrimp, Smogen (in Swedish “Smögen”) made me eat my words, as often happens when I broadly prejudge a destination before seeing it with my own eyes. It’s not that I don’t like Sweden, but it’s so flawless on the surface. I’ve made a career out of finding flaws. The Swedes have, generally speaking, human civilization mostly figured out in my opinion. Of course, having a very low population density in a stable part of the world with vast amounts of natural resources helps.

Though the Swedes have the nuts and bolts of society in place, they also fill in the cracks with their cheerful demeanor and tolerant attitude toward minority groups, immigrants, and addictive pop bands. Frankly, there’s a lot the rest of Western Europe could learn from their example.

So, when it comes to Swedish summer towns, Smogen quickly reminded me that peaceful isn’t necessarily boring and that there is no limit to the amount of shrimp one dedicated mouth can eat.

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smogen summer homes

Smogen is about 130 kilometers north of Gothenburg and sits along a particularly beautiful stretch of North Sea coastline.

smogen coastline

Best known for its fresh shrimp, if you’re looking for a good view and food in Smogen, the place to head to is Gostas Fiskbutik. A full meal with shrimp, main courses, and a beer run costs about 50 Euro per person (~415 Swedish krona); which is typical for this part of the country.

smogen sweden shrimp

It is much easier to get the right sunset shot when sunset lasts for 4 hours during the long (19-hour) Swedish summer days.

smogen sweden sunset

The crosswalk is close enough, besides, cars don’t drive very fast here.

smogen sweden streets

Smogen is known for its shrimp, Sweden for its meatballs, but much less talked about is its candy. For instance, these flavors of licorice, sold along the water in a Saturday market, helping add to the average Swede’s 43kg annual consumption of sugar [PDF].

sweden lakrits

There’s a boat converted into a hotel just behind this fishing vessel, which I originally confused for the other. I’m glad I didn’t ask the wrong captain how much it would cost to sleep on their boat.

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saibon smogen sweden

Smogen is actually an island, connected to the neighboring town Kungshamm by bridge. This is a view on the drive out, but if your feet get a chance, I recommend walking up the pedestrian path of Smogen Bridge for excellent views and photo opportunities.

smogen sweden grass

There was an infectious positiveness around when I was in Smogen, people dancing and singing in the lone grocery store in town; one tall blond lip-syncing Coolio with fierce passion.

smogen sweden twilight

The coast of Smogen’s surprises don’t stop there and I’ll be writing about those in the coming weeks. From Lysekil south and Tanum’s famous rock cravings north, it was one of the most beautiful ways to relearn an old lesson.