Travel from Stockholm to the idyllic town of Söderköping and continue south to the historic town of Kalmar. Explore the Kingdom of Crystal and visit some of Sweden's most impressive castles; Kalmar-, Vadstena-, Gripsholm- and Drottningholm Palace. Possibility to combine the tour with an overnight cruise on Göta Canal.
This tour can commence in: Stockholm
Arrival in Stockholm, the capital of Sweden. Stockholm is built on 14 islands and you are never far from the water. Well-preserved medieval buildings stand alongside modern architecture, and just outside the city, the archipelago of 24 000 islands is waiting to be explored. Sights of interest include the Vasa Museum, Skansen Open Air Museum, City Hall, the Old Town (Gamla Stan) and Drottningholm Palace. Accommodation in Stockholm.
Breakfast at the hotel. This morning is at your own leisure in Stockholm. Drive from Stockholm via Norrköping to the idyllic town of Söderköping, situated next to the Göta Canal. There is much to explore in the area such as medieval churches, picturesque quarters with old buildings, and spectacular nature such as the Ramunder Mountain in the city. Ramunder Mountain's is a pleasant forest with many interesting walkways. In the centre you can also visit the medieval quarter of Drothem with winding alleys and low buildings from the 18th century. The St. Anna Archipelago is waiting just outside Söderköping. This coastal stretch is known for its many nature reserves and thousands of islands and bays. Accommodation in Söderköping (Hotel Category 1) / Accommodation in Linköping (Hotel Category 2).
Breakfast at the hotel. Today we recommend a detour to Vimmerby to visit Astrid Lindgren’s World, the fairy tale park based on the stories of Astrid Lindgren. Here you can meet Pippi Longstocking, Emil, Ronja the Robbers daughter and many more. Also recommended is a visit to Astrid Lindgren Gården, a museum where you can find out more about Astrid Lindgren’s life and artistry. Continue to the historic town of Kalmar, one of Sweden’s oldest cities dating back to the 11th century. History is waiting around every corner. We recommend a walk down the cobbled streets in the Old Town, a visit to the cathedral and a visit to Kalmar Castle, which has a history dating back 800 years. Today the castle is a living renaissance palace with room for both banquets and conferences. The Castle is open daily for visitors during the summer season. Accommodation in Kalmar.
Breakfast at the hotel. This day is at your own leisure in Kalmar. We recommend an excursion to the Kingdom of Crystal, where you can experience a close-up view of skilled glassblowers transforming the syrupy molten glass into beautiful works of art. The tradition of glass blowing started in this region more than 500 years ago. Today there are 13 glassworks in the Kingdom of Crystal, all located within a short distance of each other in the Småland region. Included are several of the most famous glassworks in the world; like Kosta Boda and Orrefors. Today Swedish glass is world-famous for its design and production. In the Crystal shop you can buy beautiful glass at factory prices. Accommodation in Kalmar.
Breakfast at the hotel. This day is at your own leisure in Kalmar. We recommend an excursion to Öland Island, the smallest province in Sweden. The island is 137 km long and has a width that varies from 4 to 16 km. On this island you will find 400 windmills, 34 churches, 16 ancient fortifications, 34 orchid species, the highest lighthouse in Sweden, the largest windmill in Scandinavia, one of Europe's longest bridges and the largest castle ruin in northern Europe, the Alvaret - a bare limestone biotype not found anywhere else in the world. In addition Öland offers more sun than any other Swedish province, drenching an endless variety of beaches and more than 50 places to swim. Accommodation in Kalmar.
Breakfast at the hotel. Drive from Kalmar in north western direction via Nybro, Vetlanda and Jönköping to Gränna, located by Lake Vättern. From Gränna it is possible to go by ferry to Visingsö Island, called the pearl of Lake Vättern. Sights of interest are Visingsborg Herb Garden with more than 900 different species, Tempelgården Art Centre, the Brahe Church and the castle ruins of Visingsö- and Visingsborg Castle. Also recommended is a ride with the Remmalag starting from the harbour (horse and carriage). After returning to Gränna the route along the shoreline of Lake Vättern will take you to Vadstena. Vadstena is a town with a rich medieval history where practically every building has its own story to tell, the most prominent being the castle and the abbey. During the middle Ages, Vadstena was the location of a catholic monastery for monks and nuns of the Birgittine order. The abbey church was built by the directions of Sancta Birgitta and it was consecrated in 1430. Today it is one of the few still active abbeys in Sweden. Accommodation in Vadstena (Hotel Category 1) / Accommodation in Motala (Hotel Category 2).
Breakfast at the hotel. This day is at your own leisure. We recommend one of the cruises along the Göta Canal starting from Motala (15 km from Vadstena). It was Baltzar von Platen, the founder of the Göta Canal, who drew up the plans for Motala, and today it is called "the Capital of the Göta Canal". Choose from a day cruise on the Göta Canal from Motala to Borensberg and back again to Motala. Alternatively, break the tour and add a 2-day overnight cruise on the Göta Canal sailing from Motala to Söderköping with return transfer by bus from Söderköping to Motala the next day (please see add-ons for further details). The Göta Canal was one of the largest civil engineering projects ever undertaken in Sweden. The canal stretches from Sjötorp on Lake Vänern in the west to Mem on the east coast. The length of the canal is 190 kilometers and has a total of 58 locks and most of the canal is dug out by hand. Today Göta Canal is considered one of the 7 natural wonders of Sweden. At Motala harbour you can also visit Motala Motor Museum, which has a large exhibition of antique cars and motorcycles in authentic surroundings. Accommodation in Vadstena (Hotel Category 1) / Accommodation in Motala (Hotel Category 2).
Breakfast at the hotel. Return to Stockholm by car. Drive east towards Mariefred where you can visit the 16th-century Gripsholm Castle, a lavishly built fortress located on an island. The former royal barn which at one time housed cattle, horses and a hay-loft has now been beautifully renovated and has become the home of Grafikens Hus (the House of Graphics). The castle houses the Swedish state collection of portraits and here you can find portraits from the time of King Gustav Vasa to the present day. The charismatic town of Mariefred itself is well worth a visit with its narrow streets, colourful, low wooden houses and boatmen’s cottages. You will find many local specialties and handicrafts on offer. Accommodation in Stockholm.
Breakfast at the hotel. Departure according to your own itinerary.