Visit the Swedish capital Stockholm, travel to the heart of Sweden and discover Dalarna with its green hills and forests dotted with red wooden houses. Visit cultural places along the way such as old churches, castles and museums. Accommodation at charming and unique countryside hotels. Possibility to combine the tour with an overnight cruise on the Göta Canal.
This tour can commence in: Stockholm
Arrival in Stockholm according to your own itinerary. The city of Stockholm is over 750 years old and spreads across 14 islands. Stockholm is an international city with great shopping, quality eateries in abundance and a vibrant cultural life. You can get to just about all of Stockholm’s many attractions by foot. Visit Djurgården, an island in the eastern part of the city, offering spectacular surroundings and many museums. The famous Vasa Museum offers a unique insight into early 17th-century Sweden as well as the salvation of the ship wreck Vasa that was salvaged after 333 years under the sea. Accommodation in Stockholm.
Breakfast at the hotel. Start your self drive tour north towards Dalarna (Dalecarlia). Head towards Falun where we recommend a detour to the copper mine Falu Gruva, inscribed on UNESCO’s list of World Heritage sites. There are guided tours in English every day where the guide will take you through the mine tunnels that were used from the Middle Ages to the early 1900. A ten-minute drive from Falun lays the picturesque village of Sundborn. The famous painter Carl Larsson lived here in his house “Little Hyttnäs” beside the lake with his wife Karin and their six children. Carl Larsson spent his life painting his family and his home, which is now open as a small museum. Continue your drive to the small picturesque village of Tällberg, beautifully situated by Lake Siljan in the province of Dalarna. Dalarna is known for its genuine folklore traditions, traditional midsummer celebrations, hand-carved Dala horses, red wooden houses, cheerful folk music and impressive mountain regions. During summer, many traditional activities take place with music and folkdance on the shore of Lake Siljan in Tällberg. Accommodation in Tällberg.
Breakfast at the hotel. This day is at your own leisure to explore Dalarna. A drive along the scenic Lake Siljan including several interesting stops is recommended: Drive in northwestern direction past Leksand and continue to Gesunda. Here you can take a gondola that brings you up to the Gesunda Mountain with panoramic views of Lake Siljan. Continue your drive to the peninsula of Sollerön, where you can find Viking graves dating back to the 10th century and the Museum of Local History consisting of 12 buildings, exhibitions and Viking ships. When arriving to the town Mora we recommend a visit to the Zorn Museum. Anders Zorn was one of Sweden’s most famous painters around 1900 and is especially famous for his nude paintings, portraits and aquarelle paintings. Visit Zorns Gammelgården, which is a collection of old log buildings, some dating from the 13th century. North of Mora you can find Europe’s largest natural bear park; Grönklitt Bear Park. Here you will find the world’s largest holding of Polar Bears, Siberian tigers, wolves, lynxes, wolverines and Arctic Foxes on an area of more than two hundred thousand square meters. The predators live in their natural habitat, giving you the chance to study the animals in their own environment. Accommodation in Tällberg.
Breakfast at the hotel. Drive southwest towards Sunne in the Värmland region, surrounded by deep forests and the two lakes Mellan Fryken and Övre Fryken. Before reaching Sunne, stop at the mansion Sahlströmsgården just north of Torsby. This countryside idyll is a wonderful place full of cultural heritage. Admire the art exhibitions of local artists from the beginning of the 19th century and visit the handicraft shop. The mansion is filled with memories of strange artists’ destinies and strong personalities. In Sunne you can also visit the Rottneros Park. This is a unique sculpture park with an exciting combination of formal park areas, gardens and creative horticultural design. Don't miss the home of Nobel Prize winner Selma Lagerlöf: Mårbacka, which is now a museum. Selma was the first Swede and the first woman to be awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1909. We recommend joining one of the guided tours of Mårbacka. Accommodation in Sunne.
Breakfast at the hotel. Continue your drive towards Vadstena. On the way you will pass Sweden’s largest lake; Vänern, before arriving to the small town Askersund. The city centre is made up by narrow streets, charming old houses and backyards creating a nice and cosy atmosphere. It is situated next to Lake Vättern, the second largest lake in Sweden. Continue your drive along Lake Vättern. Before reaching Vadstena make a small detour to Borenshult next to the Göta Canal where you can find a lock staircase of five locks. 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. The 2-hour guided tour at Vadstena Abbey is highly recommended (Mon-Thu at 1 pm). Accommodation at Vadstena Klosterhotell.
Breakfast at the hotel. This day is at your own leisure in Vadstena. We recommend a day-cruise on the Göta Canal from Motala (17 km from Vadstena) to Borensberg and back. Alternatively, you can 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 is 190 km long, has a total of 58 locks and most of it is dug out by hand. It runs from Sjötorp in the west to Mem in the east. Between 1810 and 1832 as many as 58 000 soldiers helped removing 300 000 cubic meters of rock and earth in order to create the three meter deep and approximately 14 meter wide canal. Today Göta Canal is considered one of the 7 natural wonders of Sweden. Accommodation at Vadstena Klosterhotell.
Breakfast at the hotel. Today you will head for Sundbyholm Castle in Eskilstuna. Shortly after leaving Vadstena we recommend a stop at the lock system of Berg on the Göta Canal. Here the Carl-Johan lock staircase is the longest in the canal with seven connected locks that lifts or lowers boats 18.8 meters. It is also possible to make a detour to the idyllic town of Söderköping from where you have easy access to the stunning St. Anna´s archipelago. This coastal stretch is known for its many nature reserves and thousands of islands and bays. Continuing your journey north past Katrineholm, make sure not to miss the Julita Open Air Museum situated in beautiful surroundings on the shores of lake Öljaren. The Manor House is the main attraction at Julita where you can find a complete country estate from before the turn of the 20th century, preserved with all its exquisite interiors, parks, orchard, green house, kitchen garden, fire station, church and brickworks. Your final destination; Sundbyholm Castle, is situated in the center of the Lake Mälaren region. Close by is Lake Mälaren's longest beach and a boat marina. We recommend taking the short walk to the Sigurd rock carvings, a 1000 year old fairytale from the Viking period and one of the largest rock carvings in Sweden. Accommodation at Sundbyholm Castle.
Breakfast at the hotel. Drive east towards Mariefred where we recommend a 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.