The Göta Canal Classic
If you have a lot of time on your hands, and are looking for something extraordinary. Experience the entire canal! Here are tips on places to stop.
Charming Mem is the gateway to the Göta Canal from the Baltic Sea. Here the canal adventure begins and travellers encounter the first lock on the canal journey. The beautiful harbour warehouse Kanalmagasinet has been preserved and restored and today houses a fully licensed restaurant, a café and a rustic and homely hostel. Kanalmagasinet was originally built as a feast venue for the opening of the Göta Canal in 1832, and the opening meal was also held here with none other than the guest of honour, King Charles XIV John.
The mediaeval city of Söderköping is a charming, idyllic small-town with the Göta Canal running through the city, surrounded by a lively countryside and the beautiful Saint Anna archipelago. The city is also a filming location for the popular Madicken films and the German hit series Inga Lindström. Have coffee at one of the cafes or ice cream at the nationally renowned Smultronstället . Try a beer at the Lock, Hop and barrel microbrewery and eat well at restaurants such as Å-Caféet or HÅLL Bar & Kök . If you would like to stay a little longer, and perhaps treat yourself to a relaxing spa stay, we of course recommend Söderköping's well .
Brådtom slusscafé is a small farm with a cafe and cottages in a cosy environment right next to one of the canal's locks. At this little gem of a place, you can experience the quiet country life among chickens, cats and rabbits. You can enjoy a good coffee, a hearty sandwich or perhaps an ice cream.
The flight of locks at Berg is one of Sweden's most spectacular constructions. The boats are raised or lowered almost 30 metres via a total of 11 locks. Have gourmet burgers for lunch at the Delimo canal pub , try adventure golf and view the spectacle that the lock offers. Make time to rent bicycles and pedal along the canal to Borensberg and back. It is about 20 km one-way and you will go past, among other things, Cloetta's factory outlet in Ljungsbro, 5 km from Berg. If you then want to stay in Berg, it's fine to spend the night at the hostel or in cabins right by the canal.
Anyone interested in history should also visit the Vreta church village and monastery ruins. The church is one of Sweden's most interesting mediaeval buildings and was built as a royal church in the early 12th century. There was also a monastery here, which for many centuries was Sweden's leading nunnery.
If you wish to take a trip into Linköping city, we suggest that you take the boat M/S Stockholm from Berg to Linköping and back! If you travel by car, you can take the opportunity to visit the Air Force Museum, an award-winning museum of technology and cultural history, suitable for the whole family.
Stop by Brunneby Musteri on the way. The monastery is beautifully situated right by the Göta Canal before Borensberg and has both a farm shop and a mediaeval estate church. Adjacent to the farm shop is Restaurang Bettina. Nearby is also the pleasant Sörby Glamping, where you can stay in a luxuriously furnished glamping tent right by the canal.
At Borensberg, you can watch the lock being operated by hand, like in the old days. You are welcome to help crank! Right next to it lies the Börslycke Gård shop making artisanal toffee, caramel sauce, marmalade, seasoning oils, dressings, and fruit vinegars on a small scale and without additives. Down by the harbour you can have a coffee at Kaffeteriet , where you will also find parking spaces, bicycle rental and minigolf . Have dinner and spend the night at the classic Göta Hotell in Borensberg, where scenes from the first film about the Göta Canal were shot and the entire film crew and actors stayed during filming. If you prefer to stay at a hostel, the Glasbruket hostel and café is only a few kilometres away.
The Borenshult locks at Motala form the canal's second largest flight of locks, with five locks. Here you will find Café & Grill Borenshult, which is a grill restaurant with a retro theme and outdoor seating overlooking the canal. Feel free to stop by and have lunch or waffles at Mallboden Café & hostel by the old Motala Workshops. Here you will also find our canal exhibition "From idea to reality".
At Motala guest harbour, you have the city's shops nearby, as well as a range of restaurants with different specialties. A visit to the Motala Motor Museum with one of Sweden's largest collections of vintage cars is recommended for the whole family!
From Motala you can either take the boat M/Y Modig across Lake Vättern to Karlsborg, or drive around the northern tip of Lake Vättern. If you decide on the latter, you will pass several gems on the way. Verner von Heidenstam's Övralid and the Bastedalen estate are two of them. On the western side lies Granvik , where you will find both a guest harbour, cottages, camping and a popular pub and restaurant.
In the idyllic summer village of Karlsborg, you can experience gunpowder smoke, underground passages and rumbling floors... At Karlsborg Fortress and the Fortress Museum there are exciting guided tours, for both young and old. Within the walls of the mighty fortress from the 19th century, there's something like a community of its own, where you can enjoy good food and coffee, an exciting museum and the beating wings of history.
Just 8 km from Karlsborg, idyllic and genuinely charming Forsvik awaits. The glistening water of the Göta Canal and Lake Bottensjön and the old mill buildings together form a destination with a lovely atmosphere. Here lies the canal's oldest lock, which was completed as early as 1813 and has a drop height of a whopping 3.5 metres. Right next to the lock is the canal shop 5 Knop , where you can shop for clothes, jewellery, bags and furnishings, as well as Forsviks Café och mat , which has a really lovely service in its garden. There you can have coffee, so close to the boats that glide by on the canal that you could almost reach out and touch them.
A stone's throw away you will find the Forsvik mill, which is a lively mill museum where you can learn more about the work at Forsvik's shipyard, forge and mill. The mill has a 600-year history as part of Swedish industry. In addition to a selection of the thousands of casting moulds that have been preserved from the mill, there is an exhibition about the life and work of the women at the mill. In the old miller's residence next door is Café Ada, serving ice cream and good coffee.
In Töreboda, in addition to cafés and canal life, you will also find Sweden's smallest regular ferry, Lina , running across the Göta Canal. The short journey takes only 20-25 seconds. The ferry is towed by hand across the canal, you can try pulling yourself across.
Here you will also find Töreboda Camping & Bad, with Göta Canal's only pool area. And at Kayakomat , the adventurous can rent a kayak or SUP to paddle the canal. Afterwards you can have a coffee at Café Visthuset or have a nice lunch or early dinner at Restaurang Krubb or Pensionat Prästgården . If you're hungry for shopping, we recommend a visit to Formcraft , an amazing little shop featuring sustainable design.
Just 5 kilometres from central Töreboda lies idyllic Hajstorp. Having a coffee by the glistening Göta Canal is one of the most summery things there is. Among the leafy trees is a yellow, former, bridge watchman's cabin which now houses the Hajstorp lock café & Hostel . Here, the aroma of coffee and freshly baked pastries permeates all the way to the outdoor seating, where guests sit under large parasols and chat in the sunshine. A few boats have docked just outside the cafe, waiting to get through the locks in Hajstorp. This is literally the very image of summer.
In the red warehouse next to the lock café, the Craftsmen by the canal exhibit their creations over summer. On the upper floor is the exhibition A farmer family's life 100 years ago . Here the children can try their hand at weaving, carving wooden boats and more. Feel free to go for a swim before you continue!
If you travel another 5 km from Hajstorp, you will reach Norrqvarn. At Norrqvarn Hotell & Konferens, the chainsaw artist Sören Niklasson has created two absolutely fantastic mushrooms, a fly agaric and a porcini mushroom. Here you can book an overnight stay for the whole family. The mushrooms are made of wood, concrete and plywood. Many fun and exciting details make this an unforgettable experience for both young and old. Beds are found both in the foot and in the hat. You check in at the reception inside Norrqvarn, after a short walk of about 100 metres you arrive at the mushrooms standing on a hill with pine trees and fairytale tree stumps.
At Norrqvarn Hotell & Konferens there is also the Children's Mini Canal, a miniature replica of the Göta Canal! Here you can see the path of the canal between lakes Vänern and Vättern. You see where the water supply comes from, bridges, locks and communities. Children love exploring the mini canal and can have yet more fun by renting a toy boat to splash and play with in the shallow water.
Sjötorp is the Göta Canal's gateway to, or from, Lake Vänern. In summer, it is a lively community with many visitors and boats that pass the first, or final, eight locks of their journey on the Göta Canal. At Varvsbassängen , Café Baltzar offers rustic and cosy interiors, pastries, sandwiches, waffles, ice cream and lovely lunch dishes, as well as friendly staff and a great location next to the Göta Canal! Just sitting here and watching people and boats at the lock is a pleasure. On the floor above Café Baltzar, there is a Canal and Maritime Museum . Here you can learn more about the history of the Göta Canal and the thrilling stories of maritime life in the olden days on the Göta Canal and lakes Vänern and Vättern.
Anyone in the mood for shopping should head to the south side of Varvsbassängen. There you will find S.I.S The Sjöboden in Sjötorp, selling clothes and interior design, and the Designboden where you will find a selection of interior design, fashion and children's items.
At the marina on Lake Vänern's shore by the Göta Canal's first lock in Sjötorp lies Kanalkrogen . The restaurant serves classic Swedish dishes, pizza, hamburgers and à la carte, and has pub evenings with live entertainment. At the café you can get sandwiches, ice cream and pastries. And in one of the small red sheds you will also find Perssons i backen, serving fish 'n' chips made with perch, zander and cod. The small restaurant is run by father and son Persson, and the fish are caught by the father, who is a commercial fisherman on Lake Vänern.
If you have a mobile home and wish to stay overnight, one option is the campground Sjötorp Norra with 23 spaces, 20 of which have electricity. Access to an amenities building with a toilet, shower, laundry room and recycling station is included in the fee.
We recommend taking the time for a wonderful family bicycle adventure along the Göta Canal! The bicycles can be collected at Sjötorp bicycle rental . The cycle ride then continues along the Göta Canal on the car-free, old towpath where oxen and horses used to tow the boats. You will get a packed lunch for the journey, which you can stop to enjoy at any of the locks you pass. During the day, there is also the opportunity to take breaks at one or more of the cosy cafes, try their delicious ice cream or enjoy a cup of coffee.
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