Sweden’s most beautiful waterway, the Göta Canal from Sjötorp by Lake Vänern to Stockholm, takes you through green forests, along sparkling lakes to picturesque homesteads in a breathtaking rural landscape. Anyone who longs to relish the silence of intact and untouched nature is definitely in the right place here and a bike trip is one great option to take it all in.
I often post about my love for outdoor recreational activities. So when my wife and I started our little bike trip from Sjötorp to Norrkvärn (10 km) the other day, I was thinking: this is a perfect example of what I mean when I talk about charging your batteries! As always we both have our Nokia mobile phones at hand to capture some of the highlights and of course I gladly share some with you – along with some educational facts of course – click photos to bigify & enjoy:
Left: Biking is a popular activity – Right: Well maintained bike paths make this a real treat
The Göta Canal:
Celebrating its 175th anniversary in 2012, Göta Canal is Sweden´s construction accomplishment of the millennium. Built between 1810 and 1832 under the leadership of the famous engineer Baltzar von Platen – employing some 58,000 soldiers as laborers – it’s 190 km long, passing through no less than 58 water locks and reaching a total elevation of 92 meters above sea level. All along the canal you’ll find an abundance of sights and attractions, lush, scenic vistas and many charming towns and villages, all embedded in a unique canal atmosphere.
Left: Canal town, Lyrestad – Right: Charming lock keeper cottages
Panorama view of the Swedish countryside
Left: Still of the original hand cut stones – Right: The locks have room for some fairly large vessels
You can rent boats, canoes and kayaks in many places along the canal. The old labor road along the canal is one of Sweden´s most popular bicycle routes, and there are also many attractive hiking trails along the way.
Us with the rented bikes at Sjötorp
The rental bikes are sturdy and comfortable, with broad wheels that roll smoothly on gravel and grass alike. They are equipped with baskets and a luggage rack on the back so you can have as much or as little as you like with you on your trip.
Canoes & Kayaks
Norrkvärn – a miniature version of the canal:
In the area surrounding the Norrkvärn lock, we see a miniature version of Lyrestad’s church tower within a model of the Göta Canal. The mini canal is a working model of Väster Götland part of the Göta Canal and a popular area for families with children:
Children learn through exploration at the mini canal
The models are made of solid building materials so the children (all ages LoL) can play in the water, sail boats down the canal and learn through experiencing it firsthand. The mini canal includes locks, a waterfall and buildings from the local area and invites to play and experimentation. Oh and by the way, this is all free – there is no admission to enter the Norrkvärn Park.
They can follow the route or sail their boats through the locks.
MS Bellevue of Mariestad:
Many tourists negotiate the canal in their own vessels, but there are also tours with classic canal ships available, offering cozy scenic cruises with fine onboard accommodations and restaurants. Of course you can also choose shorter cruises between the many historically and culturally interesting sites along the shores. My wife DianeCA shot a film with her Nokia of one of them: Bellevue of Mariestad. Including some of the photos, I made a movie out of it – enjoy:
So if you want to see the idyllic heartland of Sweden from a unique perspective, a voyage on Göta Canal is highly recommended! You can easily understand how this part of Sweden has a special place in the heart of this Norwegian. Although we have been coming here for over 10 years there is always something to experience anew. If you need more info or booking, Mariestad Tourist Office gives excellent service!