Liveaboard - kayak, cycle, hike and sail

Experience nature, culture, local artisan food and other activities, with comfortable accommodation in your own cabin on our two-masted motor yacht M/S Pärla. We combine boat and sailing trips with kayaking, cycling, hiking and SUP (Stand up paddle boarding) during the tour which extends over Lake Vänern, the Göta Canal and Lake Vättern, and includes visits to two scenic national parks.

The tours start from or ends in Mariestad. The archipelagos around Mariestad have many large nature reserves created to protect the rich natural assets. There are large undisturbed areas of wilderness with centuries-old pine trees where sea eagles and ospreys nest. If you are lucky, you may see a moose or a deer swim between the islands to graze. Brommö island has one of Sweden’s densest moose populations. 

Weather permitting, we will kayak one day in the exotic and scenic Djurö National Park located in the middle of Lake Vänern. Here in the heart of the EU’s largest lake lie more than 30 islands and islets. “No archipelago in the country lies in such isolation and its very seclusion endears” County Administrative Board. In addition to the rounded smooth rocks, pebble beaches and the rich bird life, there is a large grassy clearing on the main island Djurö, which is kept open by fallow deer grazing. A nice contrast to the surrounding rugged pine forest.

The Göta Canal has been named “The Swedish Construction of the Millennium”. Between 1810 and 1832 the canal was created connecting Gothenburg with the Baltic Sea. 87 kilometres were excavated by hand by 58,000 Swedish soldiers. We glide along at 5 knots. At the locks there is the opportunity to walk on the old towpath along the canal. If you wish you may also cycle along stretches or paddle through the naturally beautiful sections without locks. In the evening there are two SUPs available for use.

Lake Vättern differs somewhat from Lake Vänern. In the north west part of Vättern nature is in many places a little wilder, with steep cliffs that plunge down into the water. But there is also another difference. The clear water with visibility up to 17 metres means that sometimes you almost feel dizzy when you paddle out over a steep ledge. In the North Vättern Archipelago Nature Reserve you can experience this.

The tour ends or begins with a hike and outdoor lunch in Tiveden National Park which has a unique wilderness character for southern Sweden. “The rugged slopes and wild forest landscape, the beautiful forest lakes, the giant boulders at Stenkällan, the view from Trollkyrkobergen and the beach at Vitsand, make Tiveden National Park one of the most worth seeing in the country.” Örebro County Administrative Board.

In Lake Vänern and Lake Vättern we need never be crowded, think about jellyfish or about rinsing off the salt after swimming. We can often find a beach to ourselves or an island to stop at, and the water is so clean that we can drink it directly from the lake when we get out a bit.

You can choose yourself which activities you want to take part in. All activities are included in the tour at no extra cost. There are kayaks enough for everyone. We favour stable tandem kayaks for reasons of space on the boat, but single kayaks may also be available. However, we can normally take no more than four bicycles and two SUPs. It may therefore be necessary to take turns using them.

Programme 2017:

Start 31st July Mariestad – Tiveden

Start 6th August Tiveden – Mariestad, return trip – starts on day 6.

Day 1

10.00 we start with a boat tour to the exotic Djurö Island National Park in the middle of Lake Vänern. After lunch we go out on a kayaking trip in the scenic archipelago and look for the sea eagles that we usually spot here. Spending the night in the National Park.

Day 2

Guided tour with stories of bygone days on Djurö. Afterwards we sail to Sjötorp where the Göta Canal begins. Here you will find a good hiking trail or time to soak up the atmosphere before dinner at Kajutan Restaurant.

Day 3

The day begins with the locks of the Göta Canal. Adjacent to the locks you can walk the old towpath along by the canal. Lunch at Norrqvarn which has the quality certification “Västsvensk Mersmaks Restaurang” and uses locally produced raw ingredients. In the afternoon having passed the locks there are good stretches for kayaking or cycling. The night is spent at Töreboda guest harbour, and dinner is at Krubb Restaurant with lots of local produce. 

Day 4

In the morning we travel along a naturally beautiful section of the canal, which is perfect for kayaking or cycling.

After lunch we set off sailing over Lake Viken. We take dinner at a local restaurant and the night is spent in Karlsborg.

Day 5

In the morning we set sail and steer towards the North Vättern Archipelago Nature Reserve. During the afternoon we experience the sometimes breath-taking feeling of kayaking in the clear waters of Lake Vättern. 

Day 6

In the morning we take a short trip with the boat to Olshammar, from where we continue in a minibus to Tiveden National Park. We experience the wilderness of the National Park when we wander through the mystical surroundings. We cook lunch in Tiveden and enjoy a lovely day in the National Park before returning to Mariestad again for the evening.

The archipelago outside Mariestad has several large nature reserves to protect its great natural values. Here, there are large areas of pristine wilderness with centuries-old pine trees where eagles and ospreys nest. If you are lucky, you may see a moose or a deer swim between the islands to graze. Brommö island has one of Sweden’s densest moose populations.

In Lake Vänern and Lake Vättern there is no need to worry about crowds, jellyfish or having to rinse off the saltwater after a swim. We are often able to find our own beach or island and the water is usually clean enough to drink straight from the lake.

Sustainable ecotourism

Based in Mariestad, Vänern Outdoor is committed to experience-based ecotourism in and around Lake Vänern. Through our guided tours, we want to offer genuine nature experiences. We believe in the importance of giving many people the opportunity to experience nature up close to better understand its value and in doing so increasing the will to protect and nurture nature for future generations.

Vänern Outdoor has a thorough perspective on sustainability. We are careful not to leave any traces of ourselves in nature and want to ensure that our ecological footprints are as small as possible. All transports are undertaken with vehicles that run on biogas. The food is mainly organic with a low carbon footprint.

Book online

Contact information

Vänern Outdoor
Skiffervägen 5 Ring oss och avtala tid innan ni besöker oss - vi är ofta ute / Call us and book time before a visit - we are often out

Phone: +46-735818282
Mobile: +46-735818282

Organizer: Vänern Outdoor


Opening hours

Ring us between 08.00 and 20.00. During the summer season we are often out in the field and answer the phone when possible. If we cannot answer we will call you back. In the winter months we have other occupations and answer the phone when it is convenient with work. If you wish to visit us, you must book a time in advance to ensure we are available.

Price information

Prices 2017:

SEK 14,400/person normal price in double cabin

Offer: Introduction price 2017 SEK 9,900


Accommodation with sheets, fully equipped kayaks, skipper/guide, all meals on the boat, three dinners and one lunch at restaurants.

Not included:

Alcohol and desserts in restaurants.

Extra night:

One night’s accommodation before the start of the tour 29th - 30th Juli. Breakfast included. Minimum 2 people SEK 350/person

One night’s accommodation after the end of the tour 12th - 13th August. Minimum 2 people SEK 300/person

Transfer: Transfer to and from Landvetter airport in Gothenburg can be booked. Price: Max 4 people SEK 1,900/ each way. Maximum 8 people SEK 2,900/ each way.

Public transportation


Things to consider:
The tour is subject to the prevailing weather conditions and the participants' skills. We welcome both complete beginners and more advanced kayakers. Lake Vänern and Lake Vättern is inland seas and paddling conditions can vary a lot based on the weather conditions. With M/S Pärla we search for as wind protected areas as possible to paddle in, but you can also choose to stay aboard or go ashore.

Swimming ability of 200m is required.

Age limit: minimum 12 years 

Number of participants: Minimum 4 participants, maximum 7 participants in cabins (otherwise maximum 8 participants) 

Dates 2017:
31st July – 5th August
6th – 12th August

Included: Accommodation with sheets, fully equipped kayak, all meals, skipper/guide, two course dinner and sauna on Lurö, entrance and guided tour at Läckö Castle, lunch at Hvita Hjorten Restaurant, Wi-Fi (Except when mobile coverage is missing).

Extra night: One night’s accommodation on the boat before the start of the tour 29th - 30th Juli. Breakfast included. Minimum 2 people.

One night’s accommodation on the boat after the end of the tour 12th - 13 August. Minimum 2 people.

Transfer: Transfer to and from Landvetter airport in Gothenburg can be booked. Price: Max 4 people SEK 1,900/ each way. Maximum 8 people SEK 2,900/ each way.

We help one another with various tasks such as; cooking, washing-up and loading of kayaks.


Parking and meeting place in the Mariestad outer, north harbour. Drive north on Hamngatan. Swing left before the beach volleyball pitches. Continue towards the motorhome park. Free parking for 12 weeks on either side of the motorhome park. We will meet up with the boat or we will go to it together.