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Sixteen days in Götaland and Svealand

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Sixteen days in Götaland and Svealand

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This article is an itinerary.

Sixteen days in Götaland and Svealand is a road trip through middle and southern Sweden by car. The trip starts in Gothenburg and ends in Malmö.



A good map of Sweden is necessary to guide you on this road trip. An overview map of Sweden (e.g. 1:1.2 million) is sufficient if you stick to the main roads. However, if you want to explore the countryside, a more detailed map is necessary (e.g. 1:275 000). In Sweden, you can buy a range of maps in most book shops.

A small part of this trip passes through Norway.

Get in[edit]

There are numerous ways to get into Sweden.


Gothenburg to Uddevalla[edit]

From Gothenburg, the E6 highway takes you directly to Uddevalla. Along the way, you can visit the small town of Kungälv.

Fjällbacka, Sweden

Via Tjörn and Orust Islands[edit]

A detour via the Tjörn and Orust takes you past a number of old fishing villages along the rocky coast.

Uddevalla side trips[edit]

In this itinerary, two to three days is foreseen to explore the region around Uddevalla. The following sidetrips are just suggestions.


Uddevalla is a nice little town, with a river cutting through the city center. The town burnt down more than a few times in the 18th and 19th century, there are but a few old wooden buildings left. Most older buildings date from the beginning of the 20th century.

In Bräcke on the outskirts of Uddevalla the shellbanks are worth a visit. The shellbanks were formed around 10.000 to 11.000 years ago, by deposits of shells from millions of shellfish. In some places the layer is up to 20 meters thick. The shellbanks are the perfect environment for a variety of lime-loving plants.


The road to Smögen takes you over a high bridge with a splendid view over the bay.


In Trollhättan (Västergötland) the Trollhätte canal starts, connecting the Kattegat (west coast) with lake Vänern. Just outside the center of town, there are several sets of locks. A first set of small locks from 1800, which are now derelict. A second set of locks from around 1844. A third set of locks from 1916, which are still in use today. About 10 freight ships per day pass the locks today, and throughout the summer months about 4000 pleasure boats pass by.

Not far from the locks, is the Olide hydropower station. The waterfall of the mighty Göta river was tamed with the construction of a huge powerplant between 1905 and 1914. The power station is built with huge granite blocks and looks like an enormous castle. On some days in the summer months the waterfall is (partly) released again.

Nearby, the SAAB museum is located.

A short distance from Trollhättan the Elk Hill and the Royal Hunt museum is located.

Uddevalla to Strömstad[edit]

The E6 highway takes you from Uddevalla to Strömstad.

Via Tanum[edit]

Rock carvings at Tanum

At various sites in Tanum you can visit famous Bronze Age rock carvings (Unesco World Heritage). The museum at Vitlycke has a reconstruction of a Bronze Age Farm.


Strömstad is a fishing town and a popular holiday destination. In the fish shops along the quayside you can eat fresh shrimp and fish. In the area, there are a number of prehistoric monuments, among which stone rings, stone ships, rock carvings, burial mounds, etc.

Strömstad to Arvika[edit]

Via Halden, Norway[edit]

The border between Sweden and Norway is formed by the Idefjord. The new Svinesundsbridge (toll bridge) in to Norway offers a nice view of the fjord. In Norway, turn east on road 21, which winds its way through some beautiful landscapes. In the town of Halden, you can see the Fredriksten fortress towering over the city on a cliff. Beyond the town, the road goes through a forest area with many lakes. Some twenty km to the north, the landscape changes again into farmland. Svinesund and Halden tourist info

In Örje, turn east again onto the E18 and cross the border back to Sweden. Past Töcksfors, turn northwest to Karlanda and then follow road 172 into Arvika.


The area around Arvika is mainly forest area. There are several nature reserves where you can walk along marked hiking trails. The area is also renowned for its arts and crafts: e.g. the Klassbols linen mill, a glass blowing studio, ... In town there are many arts and crafts shops. Around 1900, there was an artists community working in 'Rackstad Colony', which is now a museum. These artists designed the church of Arvika in Nordic Romantic style.

In town there are a number of modern sculptures to admire. By the lake lies Såguddens open air museum where you can get a guided tour in summer. The museum has a number of farm buildings that were moved there from around the area.

Arvika to Särna[edit]

This part of the journey takes you to the southern part of Swedish-Norwegian mountain range called the 'Fjäll' (though the word 'fjäll' is used in middle Sweden for any type of mountain). Typical for the Fjäll mountains are their rounded tops, usually lacking any well defined peaks. The upper part of the mountains usually rises above the tree-line and only shrubs grow there.

Via Malung[edit]

Malung is famous for its leather craftwork.

In Sälen, the yearly Vasalopp ski race starts.


The old church at Särna

Just outside of the village of Särna (coming from Sälen), a tower was built from where you can see the entire area. In the center of town, there is a lovely wooden church from the mid 17th century, known as the 'Old Church' (Gamla Kyrka).

20 km outside of Särna, lies Fulufjäll National Park. Sweden's largest waterfall, the Njupeskär is located in the park. A well marked trail of 4km leads you to the waterfall and back to the parkinglot. Wooden walkways are built over the more wet areas along the trail. This is a perfect outing for unexperienced mountaineers. Along the way you can enjoy the varied plant life: 'hjortron' (Cloudberry) in the open areas and in the woods lingon (Cowberry) and blueberry. The woods are a mix of pine and birch. There are bears, wolves and a particularily large type of moose living in the reserve.

Särna to Örebro[edit]

Via Kopparsberg[edit]

Kopparberg (Västmanland) lies in the heart of the Bergslagen area. In the center of this small town there are some beautiful old buildings to visit. The tourist office is located in one of these, the Tingshus (Courthouse) from 1642. Next door is an old archive building from the mining company (Berslagsarkivet, 1876-1877), and a very old grain seed warehouse from the 17th century. Around the corner, there is a small country life museum where the local pensioners give you a personal tour of the premises: a photographer's studio, a shoemaker, a postal office and a goldsmiths workshop. In a shed outside a small reconstruction has been made of a mine. The town also has a beautiful old church (1635) with separate belltower and stables.


Örebro castle

Örebro (Närke) has an enormous castle in the middle of town, which started as a defensive fortress but was later rebuilt into a residential renaissance castle. You can get a regular tour of the castle with a guide, but you can also take a theatrical tour (even in English) which gives a very lively impression of the castles history. The town center has a number of 19th century buildings, both in stone and in wood, which give it a nice atmosphere.

The city park features an open air museum (Wadköping) with small streets with old wooden buildings.

A few kilometers from the town center, you can follow a footpath that leads past a number of modern art sculptures. On one end there is a small nature reserve.

Nora side trip[edit]

Nora (Västmanland) lies about 25 km to the north of Örebro. The town centre still has a large number of wooden houses from the 18th and 19th century. In the nearby lake, there is a large island with an adventure park for children. Nora is renowned for its ice cream parlor NoraGlass, which sells freshly made ice cream.

The town has an old railway station where several old steam powered locomotives are kept and maintained by volunteers. A few rail cars have been converted to a little restaurant, and some others into a guest house. In summer, a small diesel train takes tourists to Pershyttan, a few kilometers away. [1]

In Pershyttan the old iron works are located. The guided tour takes you inside the buildings to see how pig iron was made from iron ore. Nearby, an old mine has been reopened to visitors, though only with a guide. The mine isn't very deep underground and you can always still see daylight.

Örebro to Vimmerby[edit]

Via Bergs Slussar[edit]

In Motala (Östergötland) the Göta Canal starts, connecting lake Vättern with the East Coast. Along the Canal lies Bergs slussar, where there are a large number of old locks that are worth a visit.


Vimmerby (Småland) is where Astrid Lindgren lived and got inspiration for her books. There is an Astrid Lindgren theme park based on her stories.

Eksjö side trip[edit]

Wooden Houses at Eksjö

60 km west of Vimmerby lies the village of Eksjö. It is another town that has been able to preserve many wooden buildings in the center. Most of these houses are built around quiet courtyards. One house is now a museum where you can see how a well-off family lived around 1900.

Outside of Eksjö there is a nature reserve were you can walk through a small canyon, the Skurugata, and then on up the hilltop, the Skuruhatt. The trail that takes past both is only 4 km long, but beware not to wander of onto the longer hiking trails that cross it. Walking through the Skurugata is a little adventurous, especially if it rains and the rocks become slippery. From the Skuruhatt you can see the surrounding countryside and forests.

Vimmerby to Lund[edit]

Via Älmhult[edit]

Outside of Älmhult lies Linnaeus' Råshult, which is the farm where Carl Linnaeus was born. Today, the farm and surrounding farmland have been restored to their 18th century appearance. You can take a walk in the surrounding area guided by a map and a marked trail.

Älmhult is also the home of the very first IKEA.

Lund side trip[edit]

Lund is the old university town on half an hour from Copenhagen. Visit the cathedral, open air museum "Kulturen" and the Botanic Garden. The area is also scattered with old castles and exotic nature for walks or cycling tours.

Malmö side trip[edit]

Malmö is the largest city in the south region of Sweden, Skåne. You will find activities and attractions all year round including a city beach. Within 15 minutes cross the bridge you will be in Copenhagen or in the fairy tale forest 30 minutes the other direction.

Höllviken side trip[edit]

Fotoviken's Viking Museum

In Höllviken lies the Fotoviken Viking Museum, which is a reconstruction of a Viking or early medieval village. This is a living museum, which means a number of people live as Vikings on site troughout the summer.

Get out[edit]

From Malmö, you can leave the country by land, air and sea.

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