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Göta Canal
Göta Canal.
Photo credit: Hasse Schröder/Göta Kanal

Göta Canal

This early 19th century canal connects giant Lake Vänern in the north and Lake Vättern in the south in West Sweden. Its entire stretch includes 66 locks, rivers and lakes.

There are various ways of travelling the canal; in style aboard a steamship cruiser, or under your own steam by kayak, canoe, bike, or by walking. The best time of year to visit the Göta Canal is early spring to late autumn, especially if you are cycling, walking or canoeing.

The soft option

The Göta Canal Steamship Company offers 4 cruises aboard their fine vessels, ranging from 2 days to a 6-day cruise that takes you the entire length of the waterway. You travel in style and comfort, like people used to, on old steamships, whiling away the hours ticking off locks, bridges, aqueducts, castles, palaces towns and villages as the ship glides sedately on the still waters. There are also stop-offs for landmarks and sites of historical interest. For example, the gloriously Baroque-towered Läckö Castle from the 17th century. 

Under your own steam

Cycling, canoeing and walking are great ways of exploring and discovering the canal at your own pace. Many local hotels and specialist companies offer quality cycling and accommodation packages, as well as bike hire and walking tours. You can even mix and match a cruise with a couple of day’s cycling. Of course, you can pack your panniers and go it on your own. How about paddling the Göta Canal by canoe or kayak? No problem. You can bring your own canoe or kayak, or rent one while you are here.

The foodie canal

Here’s a way of experiencing the culture and traditions of the canal, while tasting the best the region has to offer at farm shops and small local producers in West Sweden. It’s called ‘the canal to coast’ food trip and is organized by Norrqvarn Hotell & Konferens in Lyrestad, on the canal, and Pensionat Styrsö Skäret on the island of Styrsö in the Gothenburg archipelago. Both are Taste of West Sweden-accredited. The idea is this; you book the package and get to stay at one or both hotels and you decide which end you want to start at. You are given a map that details all of the great farm shops and local producers you can visit and off you go. You can taste your way from the Göta Canal all the way out to the coast, and everything in between.