The Gota Canal is one of the most remarkable waterways in the world and one of the communication links between Sweden’s two largest cities. Your path from Gothenburg to Stockholm (or vice versa) takes you on a river, three canals, eight lakes, two seas and 66 locks. The canal itself is 190 km long, most of it dug out by hand. Between 1810 and 1832 some 58 000 soldiers removed 300 000 cubic metres of rock and earth in order to create the three-metre deep and app. 14-metre wide canal. The construction foreman and certainly the one who promoted the project most strongly was Baltzar von Platen.
The culinary journey is as important as the geographic one! The meals follow the same pattern as the cruise – enjoyable and lovely! The menus are tastefully composed and wine list is carefully drawn to suit various menus. Each meal is elegantly set. Everyday the gong rings for two-course lunches and three-course dinners. Between meals there is afternoon coffee or tea with something special on the side, all served on deck if the weather permits.
When you after some light exercise you can also borrow one of the ship’s bicycles to explore and experience the surroundings on your own. Or you can step off at one lock and take a glorious hike along the canal’s towpath while the boat slowly passes up or down.
We have included one night in Stockholm and Gothenburg to start and end your holiday in style! You will spendÂ 4 days onboard cruising through Sweden. Undulating fields and groves of birch trees embrace the waterway as you travel through the shifting landscape. Your journey follows a blue ribbon through the heart of Sweden. Regardless the season you travel, it is a wonderful experience. During shore visits and overnight stops you will have the opportunity to participate in guided tours to some of the foremost sights Sweden can offer.
The Great Swedish Cruise is available from Gothenburg to Stockholm and Stockholm to Gothenburg. There are 3 cabin categories to choose from: C category on main deck, B category on shelter deck and A category on bridge deck. All passengers booking a category A cabin (bridge deck) will be welcomed by champagne, fresh fruit and a bathrobe as they board. Please note that none of the cabins have private facilities. Restrooms and showers are installed on each deck.
PRICES & DATES
Book by 15 Mar and save up to £400 pc
Guide price from: £1570 per person
Save up to: £400 per couple
Valid for travel: selected dates - summer 2014
Package includes: Flights with SAS, 1 night accommodation in Gothenburg, 1 night accommodation in Stockholm, 3 nights Gota Canal Steamer in a category C cabin (upgrades available), meals as stated
Terms & Conditions: Prices are per person based on two people sharing a twin/double room; prices are subject to availability and possible change; normal booking conditions apply.
Fly to Stockholm with a scheduled airline and check in to HotelÂ Diplomat for 1 night.
09.00 Departure from Stockholm, Skeppsbrokajen 103
09.30 Hammarby lock
The first lock on our journey divides Saltsjon from Lake Malaren.
09.40-12.30 Lake Malaren
0.3 metres above sea level. Sweden’s third largest lake.
10.30 Drottningholm Castle
Drottningholm Castle, the home of the Royal family since 1981, is on UNESCO’s list of World Heritage sites.
12.30-12.40 Sodertalje lock, 135 metres long, is the largest lock in Scandinavia.
12.40- The Baltic Sea
The archipelago of St Anna and Sodermanland.
The small town of Trosa dates all the way back to the 14th century. It was then known as a fishermens’ village. Regular steamer traffic from Stockholm and Nykoping began in 1860, bringing large numbers of summer visitors. We are taken on a guided walk around the canals and alleys (app. 2.5 km).
The ruins of the Stegeborg Castle are beautifully situated on a small island overlooking the bay of Slatbaken. The fort dates from the early Middle Ages and was built to guard the inlet to Soderkoping.
On 26th September 1832, the Gota Canal was inaugurated at Mem amid great pomp and circumstance in the presence of King Karl XIV Johan and his family. We now go through the first of the 58 narrow locks on the Gota Canal.
The idyllic town Soderkoping was founded in the early 1200s and was very important during the Hanseatic period. The town also has a long and very interesting history as a spa. From Soderkoping to the lock Carlsborg Ovre there are eight locks on a stretch of app. 4 km. A nice place to go ashore and walk along the canal.
08.35-09.05 Lake Asplangen
27 metres above sea level.
10.35 Norsholm lock
Here the canal crosses the main railway line between Stockholm and Malmo.
10.35-12.30 Lake Roxen
33 metres above sea level.
12.30 Berg (Carl-Johan)
The Carl-Johan lock staircase is the longest in the canal with seven connected locks.
The convent of Vreta dates from about 1100 and was the first nunnery in Sweden. Its importance was later superseded by the convent founded by Saint Bridget (St. Birgitta) at Vadstena. The old convent church at Vreta is one of Sweden’s most interesting, offering many medieval treasures. Today, it is used as a parish church and is therefore not always open to visitors. The tour guide will take us on a walk (app. 3 km, partly uneven) to see the church and the remains of the convent. As an alternative you can walk along the canal, or take a swim in Lake Roxen.
15.00 Berg (Heda)
The ship has passed all 15 locks in the Berg lock system. It is time to board for departure.
15.15 Ljungsbro, aqueduct
We pass the first of two aqueducts in the canal. The Ljungsbro aqueduct was built in 1970.
17.45 Kungs Norrby, aqueduct
The aqueduct at Kungs Norrby was built in 1993 as part of the national route 36.
At Borensberg there is a hand-operated lock. Shortly before the lock we pass a small gazebo leaning out over the canal in a sharp bend known as the "Helmsman’s Horror", and after that we see the well-known Gota Hotel, built in 1908.
18.25-19.25 Lake Boren
73 metres above sea level.
Lock staircase of five locks where you might hear the nightingale sing.
21.00 Arr. Motala
It was Baltzar von Platen who drew up the plans for Motala, and today it is called "the Capital of the Gota Canal". In 1822 an engineering works, Motala Werkstad, was established here to serve the Gota Canal and is today considered to be the cradle of Swedish industry. Here you will also find the head office of the Gota Canal Company, responsible for operation and maintenance. We visit the Motor Museum, with its large exhibition of antique cars and motorcycles in authentic surroundings, collection of radios, toys, household appliances and more. You can also walk to see Baltzar von Platen’s grave, about 1 km along the left side of the canal. Overnight stop.
05.45 Dep. Motala
We leave Motala and head out into Lake Vattern.
05.45-08.00 Lake Vattern
89 metres above sea level. Sweden’s second largest lake.
08.00-10.00 Karlsborg Fortress
We visit Karlsborg Fortress, initiated by Baltzar von Platen and built 1819-1909. The guided tour is a journey through time and space, full of surprises and special effects.
Forsvik has a very interesting industrial history. The lock, built in 1813, is the oldest one in the canal. The impressive iron bridge dates from the same year. In the lock we are sometimes greeted with songs and flowers by the Kindbom family, a religious group.
10.55-11.40 Billstrommen/The Spetsnas Canal
Through two narrow, wood-lined passages and small lakes full of water lilies, we steer out into Lake Viken.
11.40-13.10 Lake Viken
The beautiful Lake Viken (91.8 metres above sea level) serves as a water reservoir for the western section of the Gota Canal.
At Tatorp there is another hand-operated lock. From here on we will be going downwards!
13.40 The Berg Canal/the Obelisk
An obelisk marks the highest point (91.5 metres above sea level) of the canal. This part of the canal is called the Berg Canal and originally had a sharp bend which was straightened in 1930-33.
The railway line between Stockholm and Gothenburg crosses the canal here. Toreboda also proudly presents Sweden’s smallest ferry, "Lina", which travels back and forth across the Gota Canal.
A lock system consisting of four locks. In 1822 the western section of the Gota Canal was inaugurated at Hajstorp. Here you can see the old home of the Canal Engineer. If you want to stretch your legs this is a good place, Hajstorp to Godhogen lock is app. 1.5 km or to Norrkvarn is app. 5 km.
At Sjotorp there is a set of eight locks, and also the remains of some old shipyards. We visit the old warehouse, where you can find a shop selling, among other things, clothes and home decor, a cafe and the Sjotorp Canal Museum. In the museum you can see old pictures of Sjotorp, the interiors of several old ships, a large collection of ships’ engines, etc. There is also a map of all the sunken ships in the Lake Vanern. It is also possible to take a walk along the locks.
22.30-05.45 Lake Vanern
44 metres above sea level. Sweden’s largest lake and the third largest lake in Europe, after the Ladoga and Onega lakes in Russia.
The Trollhattan Canal Museum is located in a storehouse from 1893. Learn more about the fascinating history of the Trollhatte Canal through the interesting exhibition and film shown here. You can also take a walk through the beautiful lock area.
09.15-10.15 Trollhattan, locks
The impressive lock staircase at Trollhattan consists of four locks, and has a total drop of 32 metres. Of the three parallel lock systems here, only the biggest one (from 1916) is still in use.
11.15-11.30 Lilla Edet
The lock at Lilla Edet, built in 1916, is the last lock on our journey. The original lock was opened in 1607 and was the first lock in Sweden.
14.30 Arr. Gothenburg, Packhuskajen 10
Our cruise ends at Packhuskajen 10, near the spectacular Opera House and the Maritime Centre in Gothenburg. Check in toÂ Elite Plaza for 1 night.
Breakfast and flight home.
All times stated are approximate and subject to change.
Gothenburg-Stockholm itinerary in reverse order.