Tips on harbours and destinations on Lake Vänern
Vänern is Sweden's largest lake and is sometimes called Sweden's inland sea. It has several archipelagos and about 22,000 islands. The average depth is 27 metres and the greatest depth is 106 metres.
There are 13 municipalities and 3 historical provinces around Lake Vänern. So of course there is a lot to experience here during a holiday, or short excursion, by boat. Lake Vänern is also perfect for those who want to extend their holiday on the Göta Canal by a few days, before travelling back east or continuing towards the Trollhätte canal and Gothenburg.
Have you not booked your Göta Canal ticket yet? Then you can do it right now, or you can read more about how a canal trip works.
Kållandsö - more than just Läckö castle
Many see Läckö Castle as one of Lake Vänern's greatest attractions. And of course it is magnificent, Magnus De la Gardie's Baroque castle with pinnacles and towers, situated on a headland in the Eken archipelago, just outside Lidköping. But there's much more to see here once you've moored in the sheltered guest harbour below the castle.
Adjacent to the castle, in Victoriahuset, there is also Naturum Vänerskärgården where you can learn more about Kållandsö and Vänern's unique natural and cultural environment, as well as the popular restaurant Hvita Hjorten. If you'd rather enjoy some hustle and bustle, there is the Spiken fishing harbour, which is one of Europe's largest lake fishing harbours. This is a lively place brimming with tourists during the summer, and you can buy everything from freshly smoked fish and delicacies to handicrafts from the stalls. Why not try the lovely vendace roe?
Djurö National Park
In the middle of Vänern lies Djurö National Park with its 35 islands, completely isolated in the middle of the big lake. No other archipelago in the country is so isolated, and it is precisely the secluded location that charms. The islands have barren outcrops and shingle beaches that are very typical elements of Swedish lake environments.
It is believed that Fyrplatsen in northern Djurö was a site where people, for many centuries, lit bonfires and smaller lanterns, to warn boats of dangerous shoals. The first real lighthouse was built in 1874 and employed lighthouse keepers, but almost 100 years later the last year-round resident left the island. In 1912, the old lighthouse was replaced by the unmanned one that now stands at Malbergshamn. In the middle of the island there are remnants of farmland. Today it is a fairly large grassy area, which is kept clear by the fallow deer that graze on the island.
North of Mariestad, and west of Torsö, lies picturesque Brommö. Private car travel is not allowed here, but bicycles are available to rent for those who want to get around. A marked cycle path takes you on a 16 km counter-clockwise tour of the entire island. The environment is reminiscent of the West Coast and there are several lovely swimming beaches to choose from, with rocky outcrops, sand dunes, clear water and shallow child-friendly swimming spots. There is no shop, kiosk or eatery, but a restaurant opens in summer at Brommösund on the Torsö side. In the Glasmagasinet by the ferry stop, amateur photos of people who lived their lives on Brommö are on display.
Vänersborg is the gateway to the south, from Vänern and into the Trollhätte canal towards Gothenburg. Here, in the middle of central Vänersborg, there is a full-service marina and activities for the whole family. Nearby there is an aqualand, playground and barbecue area, and in the town centre there are several restaurants, shops, cosy cafes and pleasant walking paths.
Otterbäcken is one of the deepest harbours on Vänern, and very popular among those who holiday and travel using their own boat on the lake. In September 1900, the steamer Otterbäcken collided with the cargo steamer Agnhammar and sank to a depth of five fathoms. However, all of the 14 people on board were saved, and the ship was later salvaged by the salvage steamer Isbjörn.
A mini trip
Try life on the canal!
For those of you who have already decided that you are going to take a holiday on Lake Vänern, but want to see what it is like to travel on the Göta Canal and perhaps travel through a lock for the first time, we recommend the mini trip. The mini trip is a special offer that can be booked during the high season for four specially selected routes. The route Sjötorp - Lyrestad is available from Lake Vänern. In addition to the return canal journey, 3 guest harbour nights are included in the ticket.
Mini trip Sjötorp - Lyrestad
The ticket includes a round trip journey between Sjötorp and Lyrestad, as well as three overnight stays in one of the guest harbours. Take the opportunity to experience the bustling, high-season atmosphere at Sjötorp, and the tranquility of the idyllic Lyrestad harbour. Along the way, you will pass 8 locks and 2 bridges.
Which one will you choose?
The Göta Canal´s guest harbours