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Gota Canal Cruise: Stockholm to Gothenburg

4-6 Days
On request

Cruise along the Gota Canal to explore the gorgeous natural highlights and history of Sweden. Cruising through canal locks from Stockholm to Gothenburg, you’ll pass by rolling fields, medieval castles, and industrial towns and learn about the fascinating history of this Scandinavian nation.

This 4 to 6 day Swedish vacation takes you along the Gota Canal from Stockholm to Gothenburg.

Our Sweden vacations begin in Stockholm, the nation’s capital and one of the most gorgeous cities in Europe. The city is built on an archipelago of 14 islands and is renowned for its narrow cobblestoned avenues and Scandinavian architecture. Board the M/S Diana, a river cruise vessel with 25 cabins spread across three decks, to begin your voyage along the Gota Canal. First stop is the Old Town of Stockholm, Gamla Stan, where you’ll enjoy a walking tour. Then continue along to Lake Malaren, where the royal residence, Drottningholm Palce, sits atop the lake. Admire the castle’s ornate architecture and visit the nearby Viking city of Birka before continuing into the locks of the canal.

Sodertalje Lock is the longest and largest lock in all of Scandinavia, running 135m long. Once you pass through Sodertalje, you’ll reach the fishing village of Trosta, which used to see lots of steamer traffic between Stockholm and Nykoping in the 1860s. Spend a few days passing along the canal and its various locks, exploring nearby highlights. You’ll see the ruins of Stegeborg Castle on the island of Slatbaken and the spa town of Soderkoping, founded in the 13th century. Pass through the Carl Johan lock staircase that raises you 18.8m from Lake Roxen to the Berg guest harbour. In Berg, you’ll tour the town and see the country’s first convent in Vreta, which dates back to 1,100AD.

Continue along to Motala, the “capital of the Gota Canal.” In 1822, the Motala Werkstad was built here, essentially jumpstarting Swedish industry. In Motala, you’ll also see the grave of Blatzar von Platen, who designed the canal in the 19th century. In Vadstena, tour the convent of St. Bridget and the castle built by King Gustav Vasa in the 1540s. You’ll also get to see Karlsborg Fortress, which was meant to house the royal family in wartime. Spend a couple more days passing through the canal, stopping off at Sjortorp to see the old shipyards and Lake Venern to see Lack Castle, which sits imposingly on the edge of the lake. You’ll then pass through the final lock to enter Gothenburg, Sweden’s second largest city.

End your Swedish vacation in Gothenburg, which is home to Volvo, several world-class universities, and cobbled streets boasting gorgeous neoclassical architecture. Spend your time in the city strolling through the Haga District to see the classic wooden homes or visiting Alvsborg Fotress to get a taste for Sweden’s royal past. If you visit in summer, you can also enjoy rollercoaster rides at Liseberg Amusement Park, the largest theme park in Scandinavia.

Consider spending a few extra days at the beginning and end of your cruise to see all that Stockholm and Gothenburg have to offer.



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4-6 Days
On request

Itinerary View Trip Map

Day 1

Depart Stockholm

9:00AM: Our cruise begins at Skeppsbrokajen 103 in the Old Town of Stockholm.Transfers to the cruise start are NOT included in the trip price.

9:30AM - 09:45AM: Hammarby lock, inaugurated in 1930, is the first lock on our journey and delivers us from Saltsjon into Lake Malaren.

9:45AM - 12:30PM: Lake Malaren 0.3 metres above sea level. In the Viking Age, Sweden's third largest lake was not a lake, it was a part of the Baltic Sea. There are two UNESCO World Heritage Sites by Lake Malaren -Drottningholm Palace and Birka, the Viking City.

10:30AM: Drottningholm Palace. Influenced by French prototype, the Drottningholm Palace was built by architect Nicodemus Tessin the Elder and it is the most well-preserved royal castle built in the 1600s in Sweden. Since 1981 the Palace is Their Majesties the King and Queen's residence. We pass the castle if time admits.

12:40PM - 12:50PM: The present lock in Sodertalje was inaugurated in 1924 by His Majesty King Gustav V. The lock is 135 metres long, which makes it Scandinavia's largest lock.

12:50PM: The Baltic Sea. We pass through the archipelago of Sodermanland and St Anna.

4:00PM - 6:00PM: 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. Enjoy a walk around the canals and alleys of Trosa (app. 2.5 km).

Meal Plan Lunch and Dinner
Duration3 Nights

M/S Juno

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    M/S Juno

    M/S Juno is the world's oldest registered cruising ship, built at the Motala shipyard and launched in 1874. The ship has 29 cabins on three decks. The dining room with a lounge is found on the middle deck (shelter deck) and the upper deck (bridge ...

    M/S Juno is the world's oldest registered cruising ship, built at the Motala shipyard and launched in 1874. The ship has 29 cabins on three decks. The dining room with a lounge is found on the middle deck (shelter deck) and the upper deck (bridge deck) offers a covered aft deck with a perfect view.


    • Bar
    • Dining Room
    • Lounge

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Day 2

Stegeborg - Motala

12:15AM: Stegeborg. 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.

1:30AM - 3:15AM: On 26th Sept. 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 canal.

4:55AM - 5:05AM: Soderkoping lock. The idyllic town Soderkoping was founded in the early 1200's and was very important during the Hanseatic period. The town also has a long and very interesting history as a spa.

5:50AM - 07:05AM: Duvkullen-Marie. here are eight locks in the short distance of around two kilometres. Take the opportunity to
hov-Carlsborg stretch your legs between the locks.

08:35AM - 09:15AM: Lake Asplangen 27 metres above sea level.

10:45AM - 10:55AM: Norsholm lock. The lock in Norsholm regulates the water level of Lake Roxen. Here the canal crosses the main railway line between Stockholm and Malmo.

10:55AM - 12:55PM: Lake Roxen 33 metres above sea level.

12:55PM - 1:55PM: Berg (Carl Johan). The Carl Johan lock staircase is the longest in the canal with seven connected locks. The lock staircase raises the boat 18.8 metres from Lake Roxen to the Berg guest harbour. The tour guide takes us on a walk (app. 3 km) to see the church and the remains of the convent. As an alternative you can walk along the canal, or take a refreshing swim in Lake Roxen. 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.

3:35PM: Berg (Heda). The ship has passed all 15 locks in the Berg lock system. It is time to board for departure.

3:55PM: Ljungsbro, aqueduct. We pass the first of two aqueducts in the canal. The Ljungsbro aqueduct was built in 1970.

7:05PM: Kungs Norrby. The aqueduct at Kungs Norrby was built in 1993 as part of the national route 36.

7:25PM - 7:35PM: Borensberg. In the idyllic village 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.

7:35PM - 8:35PM: Lake Boren. Our boat slowly traverses Lake Boren, 73 metres above sea level.

8:35PM - 9:15PM: Borenshult. The lock staircase at Borenshult is the second longest in the canal, with five locks connected and a total rise of 15.3 metres. Here you might hear the nightingale sing.

10:15PM: Arrive 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 canal and is today considered to be the cradle of Swedish industry. Here you also find the head office of the Gota Canal Company, responsible for operation and maintenance. You can walk to see Baltzar von Platen's grave, about 1 km along the left side of the canal. Overnight stop.

Meal Plan Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner
Day 3

Motala - Lake Vanern

5:00AM: We leave Motala and head out into Lake Vattern.

5:45AM - 8:00AM: Lake Vattern. With a length of 135 km and a width of 31 km, Lake Vattern is Sweden's second largest lake, 89 metres above sea level. The lake is unusually deep and its water is very clear.

8:00AM - 10:00AM: We visit Karlsborg Fortress, initiated by Baltzar von Platen and built 1819-1909. The fortress was intended to be used as the reserve capital of Sweden and house the royal family, the government, the gold reserves and the crown jewels in the event of war. Here you can enjoy an interesting guided tour of the fortress and the beautiful Garrison Church.

10:55AM - 11:10AM: 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.

11:10AM - 12:20PM: Billstrommen - the Spetsnas Canal. Through two narrow, wood-lined passages and small lakes full of water lilies, we steer out into Lake Viken. The beautiful Lake (91.8 metres above sea level) serves as a water reservoir for the western section of the Gota Canal.

1:20PM - 1:30PM: At Tatorp there is another hand-operated lock. From here on we will be going downwards!

1:50PM: This part of the canal is called the Berg Canal and originally had a sharp bend which was straightened in 1930-33. The Obelisk marks the highest point (91.5 metres above sea level) of the Gota Canal.

4:25PM: Toreboda. 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.

5:25PM - 5:50PM: At Hajstorp there is a lock system consisting of four locks in beautiful surroundings. 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.

9:25PM - 11:30PM: 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, and also learn more about the building of the canal. There is also a map of all the sunken ships in the Lake Vanern. Enjoy a lovely walk along the locks.

11:30PM - 6:40AM: Lake Vanern 44 metres above sea level. Lake Vanern is Sweden's largest lake and the third largest lake in Europe, after the Ladoga and Onega lakes in Russia.

Meal Plan Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner
Day 4

Arrive Gothenburg

7:30AM - 7:40AM: Brinkebergskulle. The Brinkebergskulle lock is just past the town of Vanersborg. The oldest lock from 1752 can be seen beside the modern lock from 1916.

8:40AM - 10:15AM: Trollhattan. 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 idyllic lock area with the old locks from the 19th century.

10:15AM - 11:15AM: 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.

12:25PM - 12:40PM: Lilla Edet Stroms lock at Lilla Edet was built in 1916 and is the last lock on our journey. The original lock was opened in 1607 and was the first lock in Sweden.

4:00PM: Arrive Gothenburg. Our cruise ends at Pusterviksgatan 13, near the spectacular Opera House and the Maritime Centre in Gothenburg. Transfers from the cruise are NOT included in the trip price.

Meal Plan Breakfast

Other Information


Sailing dates on request


  • Accommodation on board
  • Full board
  • Stops of varying duration en route


  • Drinks
  • Transfers to and from vessel
  • Travel insurance
  • International and domestic airfare and airfare taxes
  • Visa fees if applicable
  • Meals and beverages not mentioned
  • Gratuities
  • Items of a personal nature


Prices are "from" per person based on twin/double share accommodation and for travel in low season. Seasonal surcharges and blackout dates may apply. Limited seat/spaces and all pricing is subject to change and availability. Rates for single or triple travellers are available on request - please inquire


24 May 2019
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