Enjoy an unforgettable 6-day cruise on the most spectacular waterway through the heartland of Sweden. Onboard one of the world’s oldest passenger ships you will experience eight lakes, two seas and three canals with 66 locks. Meals and excursions are included on the cruise. The ship docks every night. Set departure dates.
Arrival in Stockholm according to your own itinerary. The capital of Sweden spreads across 14 islands where Lake Mälaren flows out into the Baltic Sea and the spectacular archipelago – a landscape of more than 24,000 islands. The city centre itself is surrounded by vast open water and green parks, forests and walking areas, filled with historical sights and attractions. With its 750 year history and rich cultural life, Stockholm offers many well known places of interest such as the Royal Palace, Stockholm Cathedral, the City hall and Gamla Stan (Old Town) - one of the best preserved medieval city centers in the world. We recommend one of the many sightseeing tours on offer (please see add-ons). Accommodation in Stockholm.
Breakfast at the hotel. The cruise departs in the morning from Skeppsbron quay in the Old Town of Stockholm. The guide welcomes you aboard and shows you to your cabin. Turn off your mobile phone, leave the stress of everyday life behind, and give yourself a few days of total relaxation with good food and interesting encounters. All meals are included and served at set times in the dining room. During the cruise between Stockholm and Gothenburg the first lock on the cruise is Hammarby lock. From here on the ship sails through the archipelago on Lake Mälaren. Pass Drottningholm Castle, the home of the Royal family since 1981, and on UNESCO’S list of World Heritage sites. When reaching Södertälje you will find the largest lock in Scandinavia; 135 meters long. Continue through the archipelago of St Anna and Södermanland before arriving to Trosa; a small town that dates back to the 14th century. In Trosa you will be taken on a walk along the canals and alleys. The ship stops overnight in Sävsundet.
Early morning departure from Sävsundet. After breakfast you will arrive to Stegeborg Fortress and taken on a guided tour. The fortress is situated on a small island overlooking the bay of Slätbaken. It dates back to the early middle Ages and was built to guard the inlet to Söderköping. At Mem the ship goes through the first of the 58 narrow locks on the Göta Canal. In 1832, the Göta Canal was inaugurated at Mem amid great pomp and circumstance in the presence of King Karl XIV Johan and his family. Later on you will visit the idyllic town of Söderköping, founded in the early 1200s and very important during the Hanseatic period. Continue to Lake Asplången and Lake Roxen before arriving to Berg where you will find the Carl-Johan lock staircase. This is the longest in the canal with seven connected locks that lifts or lowers boats 18.8 meters, a fascinating spectacle that often attracts a large audience. The ship stops overnight in Berg.
Start the morning with a guided tour to the convent of Vreta, the first nunnery in Sweden dating from around 1100. The old convent church at Vreta is one of Sweden’s most interesting, offering many medieval treasures. You can also go for a swim in Lake Roxen or stand by the locks watching the ship going through the last of the 15 locks at Berg. After departure from Berg you will pass two aqueducts before arriving to a hand-operated lock at Borensberg. In the evening the ship berths in Motala where you will visit Motala Motor Museum. Here you can find a large exhibition of antique cars and motorcycles in authentic surroundings. 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". The ship stops overnight in Motala.
Leaving Motala the ship heads out onto Lake Vättern, the second largest lake in Sweden. Today local guides will meet you in Vadstena, an idyllic town with cobbled streets and low wooden buildings that evolved around the 14th century convent of the Saint Bridget (Birgitta), becoming a spiritual, cultural and commercial centre. Vadstena has a rich mediaeval history and practically every building has its own story to tell, the most prominent being the castle and the abbey. When reaching Forsvik, you will see the oldest lock in the canal which was built in 1813. Then head out onto Lake Viken which serves a water reservoir for the western section of Göta Canal. When reaching the Berg Canal you will see an obelisk marking the highest point of the canal; 91, 5 meters above sea level. At Hajstorp you pass a lock system consisting of four locks. Here, in 1822, the western section of Göta Canal was inaugurated by King Karl XIV Johan. The ship stops overnight in Hajstorp.
Take the opportunity to enjoy an early morning walk from Hajstorp to Godhögen (app. 1 km). At Sjötorp you will pass a set of eight locks and you can also find the remains of some old shipyards here. We visit the old warehouse, where you can find a shop selling, among other things, clothes and home decor, a cafe and the Sjötorp Canal Museum. After crossing Lake Vänern, the largest lake in Sweden, you will visit the medieval Läckö Castle where a guide will show you around. The castle was built in 1298 as a bishop’s residence. The ship stops overnight in Vänersborg.
Morning visit to Trollhättan Canal Museum where you can learn more about the fascinating history of the Trollhätte Canal. You will then sail through the impressive lock staircase at Trollhättan. This staircase consists of four locks, and has a total drop of 32 meters. Of the three parallel lock systems here, only the biggest one (from 1916) is still in use. The lock at Lilla Edet, built in 1916, is the last lock on your journey. The original lock was opened in 1607 and was the first lock in Sweden. The cruise ends at Packhuskajen, near the Opera House and the Maritime Centre in Gothenburg at approximately 15:30 hrs. Visit Gothenburg’s oldest suburb Haga, now a trendy neighborhood in the centre of the town. Pedestrian paved streets and well-preserved brick and wood houses give this neighborhood an old-fashioned touch. We also recommend an evening dinner cruise in the archipelago (please see add-ons). Accommodation in Gothenburg.
Breakfast at the hotel. Departure from Gothenburg according to your own itinerary. Or perhaps you would like to add another night in Gothenburg, giving you the possibility to see more of Sweden's second largest city? By adding the necessary optional train rides you can easily combine the tour with a visit to Copenhagen or one of our fjord tours that starts in Oslo.