During the last quarter of the 18th century Marstrand had the free port status, granted by the King Gustav III. Marstrand is a popular sailing resort in summer time. It is also the venue of the annual Match Cup Sweden, a match race sailing competition.
Administratively Marstrand and its immediately surrounding islands constituted a city municipality of its own until the local government reform in 1971, when it was merged into Kungälv Municipality.
Marstrand is, despite its small population, for historical reasons often still referred to as a city. Statistics Sweden, however, only counts localities with more than 10,000 inhabitants as cities.
Being an island makes Marstrand an ideal location for sailing and sailing competitions.
Marstrand is the host venue for the prestigious Match Cup Sweden event which is part of the World Match Racing Tour. The event draws the world's best sailing teams to Marstrand in a gladiatorial battle of nerve and skill on the water. The identical supplied (DS-37) boats are raced two at a time in an on the water dogfight which tests the sailors and skippers to the limits of their physical abilities. Points accrued count towards the World Match Racing Tour and a place in the final event, with the overall winner taking the title ISAF World Match Racing Tour Champion. Match racing is an ideal sport for spectators in Marstand. Racing is held approximately 15m from the shore providing excellent heart of the action views for the audience. Highlights of the event can be seen on Eurosport television and via the official World Match Racing Tour website.