The Göta Canal – Sweden’s blue ribbon

The Göta Canal is one of Sweden’s best-known holiday attractions. Pronounced “yutta”, it is sometimes known as “Sweden’s blue ribbon” (although within Sweden it is perhaps even better known as the title and location for a series of enormously popular Swedish comedy films). The Göta Canal was built in the early 19th century, linking the port city of Gothenburg in the west with Söderköping on the Baltic Sea. Along the way, the canal passes through Sweden’s two largest lakes, Vännern and Vättern, and through parts of the Göta älv (or Göta river) and Trollätte canal.

The renowned Scottish engineer Thomas Telford developed the first plans for the canal, which were finally implemented by architect Baltzar von Platen on the directions of the Swedish King. Work begin in April 1810 and the canal finally opened in 1832.

In total, the Göta Canal is 190.5km, about 120 miles, of which just under half is excavated canal. The rest consists of natural rivers and lake systems.

The timing of the construction was perhaps not fortuitous, as the importance of canals as transport routes went into steep decline shortly afterwards with the growth of the railways, but although it turned out to be of limited importance for industry, the legacy of Telford and von Platen’s efforts has been a unique leisure resource. In modern times, the canal itself offers excellent canoeing, kayaking and boating opportunities, while the paths that run alongside are popular with cyclists and hikers. The firm paths are particularly good for Nordic Walking (aerobic walking using special poles).

Our Göta Canal Activity Break is an affordable and accessible experience on the banks of the Göta Canal ideal for couples, active families with children of any age, or groups of friends, located just a couple of hours by public transport from either Gothenburg or Stockholm. Accommodation is in the “House of Nature”, a beautiful light and airy building constructed using environmentally-friendly materials and treated with natural paints. The house has also been cleared of magnetic fields.

The House of Nature offers tranquil accommodation and excellent cuisine, served in a dedicated dining house in the garden. Though affiliated to the Swedish Youth Hostel organisation, the standard of the accommodation is far above what one might expect of a hostel. Each party of guests have their own rooms (there is no shared accommodation) and each room is allocated a private bathroom.

The Göta Canal Activity Break is both ideal for a family holiday in Sweden and an excellent choice for groups of mixed ages and interests. For those who wish to relax and take it easy during their visit, the House of Nature provides a welcoming and intimate atmosphere in which to leave the stresses of modern life far behind.

If you are looking for a more active holiday in Sweden, guests enjoy free access to a wide range of outdoor equipment and activities. You can borrow kayaks to go paddling on the lake or the canal itself, take a rowing boat across the lake in search of the perfect picnic spot, borrow bicycles to explore the canal or surrounding forest, or take some Nordic Walking poles and try your hand and this popular and highly addictive way to keep in shape.

Whether you are looking for an idyllic rural retreat or a base for adventure, Sweden’s Göta Canal offers a wealth of possibilities for independent travellers, families or groups.

Best regards

The Nature Travels Team

For details of other multi-activity holidays, family-friendly holidays and canoeing and kayaking holidays in Sweden, please see our website at

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