Göta Canal – Götaland, Sweden

Gliding Through Sweden’s Scenic Heartland

This four-day cruise among the 100,000 lakes of Sweden’s lake district is a highlight for boat lovers and those who fancy the chance to see Sweden at the romantic pace of times gone by.

The Göta Canal, the “Blue Ribbon” connecting Göteborg on the North Sea and Stockholm on the Baltic, was dug out by almost 60,000 soldiers, who removed more than 200 million cubic feet of earth and rock, creating fifty-eight locks. Century-old ships brimming with character traverse the 322 nautical miles via a series of canals and lakes and even a stretch of inland sea.

Canalside towpaths serve as bicycle paths, and land excursions to a number of small towns alternate on east and westbound trips, encouraging round-trip jour­neys. Gliding along, you’ll pass well-tended farms, monasteries, castles, and medieval churches.

The old-fashioned Soderkopings Brunn Inn makes it tempting to jump ship and stay a few days. The picturesque town of Soderkoping, a bustling trading center 1,000 years ago, was issued a royal charter in 1774 for its curative springs. Spa services are still avail­able, but most guests seem more enticed by the rambling hotel’s famous waffles and punch served on the long Victorian-style veranda.

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