Göta Canal Cruise - treasured memories
Our guest writer, Barry Stone crosses Sweden on the M/S Juno & enjoys a slower pace of life.
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6 days - Cruise the Göta Canal, stunning landscapes and timeless towns of Sweden's countryside.
Our classic canal cruise between Sweden's two biggest cities is where you will experience a voyage on board one of the historic ships of Göta kanal. Travelling in the same manner as it has been done for more than 140 years, forces you to leave your everyday life behind.
This is a pleasurable trip where the journey is more important than the destination. Every now and then we make shore excursions of historical or cultural interest to places along this beautiful canal. Naturally, it is your choice if you prefer a guided tour ashore during our stops, or if you'd rather enjoy a relaxing drink on the bridge deck.
NOTE: This cruise can be done in reverse and therefore there are more dates available which run off the back of the listed voyages. Please note all meals included on the cruise - three breakfasts, four two-course lunches and three three-course dinners.
Please note that all our itineraries, inclusions, dates and prices displayed on this website may change at any time. If you book an itinerary today and have this confirmed it will be the itinerary that is delivered to you. However, the online itinerary on our website may change in the meantime.
Three handsome, historical ships is designed to fit the most narrow lock on the canal like a hand in a glove. Built in 1874, Juno is the oldest ship still in regular service. The Wilhelm Tham was built in 1912 and our youngest ship, Diana, in 1931.
They have been carefully refurbished and preserved to reflect the times when they were built.
There are three cabin classes, one on each of the ship's decks - the bridge, shelter and main decks. Most of the cosy, small cabins are fitted with bunk beds and a washbasin. There are shared WCs and showers on each deck - please consult the deck plan when you speak to us to arrange for a cabin that suits your needs - either close to the facilities or at a distance. Meals are enjoyed in the mahogany and brass decorated dining room. The salon is a place for socialising, conversing or reading one of the books in our small ship's library.
Minimum Age is 7 years old and children need to have their own bed.
Arrive Gothenburg and transfer to your hotel. A friendly city on the west coast of Sweden, you’ll find a vibrant cultural scene, world-class restaurants, sustainable living and a fascinating history – all within walking distance of your hotel.
Private transfer to the port and embark at 9am. Have the morning cruising the canal and just after lunch is the first lock, Lilla Edet, followed by Trollhättan Locks. In late afternoon, we enter the Lake Vånern, 44 metres above sea level, Sweden’s largest lake and the third largest lake in Europe, after the Ladoga and Onega lakes in Russia.
Our ship passes Läckö Castle, which was built in 1298 as a bishop’s residence. Its golden age was during the reign of Magnus Gabriel de la Gardie, who transformed it into a baroque castle in 1652. You will be needing a late glass of wine on the deck for this castle as we pass by around 11pm, remembering that there are long summer nights.
As you enjoy your cabin, we enter the first of the 58 narrow locks on the Göta Canal. At dawn, we pass a lock system consisting of four locks in beautiful surroundings. In 1822 the western section of the Göta Canal was inaugurated at Hajstorp. For "early birds" walking is possible from Godhögen to Riksberg, app. 1 km.
Throughout the morning, we pass historical monuments and fabulous scenery before entering the beautiful Lake Viken (91.8 metres above sea level) which serves as a water reservoir for the western section of the Göta Canal.
At around 4pm, we visit Karlsborg Fortress, initiated by Baltzar von Platen and built 1819-1909. The guided tour is a journey through time and space, full of surprises and special effects.
At 9pm this evening, arrive at Motala. It was Baltzar von Platen who drew up the plans for Motala, and today it is called "the Capital of the Göta Canal". In 1822 an engineering works, Motala Werkstad, was established here to serve the Göta 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 also walk to see Baltzar von Platen’s grave, about 1 km along the left side of the canal. Overnight stop.
Today is a leisurely day spent enjoying the rhythm of the ship as it passes many locks. In the afternoon, we stop alongside the idyllic town Söderköping which was founded in the early 1200s and was very important during the Hanseatic period. The town also has a long and interesting history as a spa. Söderköping is yours to explore on your own. Don’t forget to try the famous ice cream!
Late in the evening, we leave the Göta canal and travel into the Baltic Sea.
In the early morning light, we weave through the archipelago as we head towards Stockholm. Our first stop is the Viking community of Birka on the island of Björkö, often referred to as Sweden's first town. The town was then an important harbour for international shipping and trade. It was in use for about 250 years and was abandoned before the year 1000. Birka features on UNESCO’S World Heritage list. The tour guide will show us around on the island (app. 3 km, uneven terrain). We also visit the museum.
If time allows, we will pass the Drottningholm Castle, home of the Royal family since 1981 and found on the World Heritage list.
Our cruise ends at Skeppsbrokajen 103, in the Old Town of Stockholm around 4pm. Private transfer to your hotel. Sweden's capital is charming, vibrant and surrounded by beauty and water - hence its nickname, Venice of the North! Stockholm offers interesting museums and castles; the city offers a warm atmosphere and the old town has charming small alleyways boasting several famous restaurants.
Be sure to make time for a visit to the ABBA museum with great interactive exhibits - a glass of champagne (for Dutch courage to get on stage & the pure fun of it) to accompany your tour is recommended! On the other hand, take the serious option & visit the Nobel Prize museum in the Old town.
Take your time to enjoy one of the world's best hotel breakfasts before departing to the airport. Happy travels.
All prices listed are per person, twin share, based on Superior = Category B (Shelter deck). Upgrades possible to the Suite = Category A (Bridge Deck including champagne, fruit & bathrobe).
Departure for 2024:
13th May, 21st May, 29th May, 07 June, 15th June, 24th June, 3rd July, 11th July, 20th July, 5th August, 14th August and 22nd August. All of these departures are on M/S Juno.
15 % early booking discount on regular cabin prices if booked by 15th January 2024. This discount cannot be combined with any other offers.
The cabins are elegant but small. The cabins are fitted with bunk beds and are about the same size as a sleeping compartment on a train. As the berths vary in length, we ask that you tell us ahead of time if you are above medium height. The cabins are fitted with a washbasin with hot and cold water. There are showers on all decks, and toilets on all. Please consult the deck plan to arrange for a cabin that suit your needs - either close to the facilities or at a distance.
None of the cabins have private facilities. There is one cabin with a Queen bed - please check with us to see if this is available.
This trip can be done as a 6 day journey, following the same route, however, the ships stay docked throughout the evening.
This trip links well with the Stockholm to Gothenburg or reverse self drive itinerary.
Our guest writer, Barry Stone crosses Sweden on the M/S Juno & enjoys a slower pace of life.
ABBA, Ikea, Volvos . . . Wilderness? Find the hidden treasures of Sweden.
Enjoy an unforgettable 6-day cruise on the most spectacular waterway through the heartland of Sweden plus eat out in Sweden's two great 'foodie' cities, Stockholm and Gothenburg.
The key to enjoying a Göta Canal voyage is so slow down & relax. The pace may be something new for modern people, but it is basically a classic way to travel and socialize.
You feel it at once as you walk the gangplank - whether you're boarding the M/S Juno, Diana or Wilhelm Tham, you've entered history. The standard may be a bit old-fashioned, but still nostalgically luxurious.
Boarding takes place at the earliest one hour and no later than 30 minutes before departure. A Swedish tour guide welcomes you at the gangway, after which the crew will help you with your luggage and show you to your cabin. Enjoy a coffee or tea in the dining room when you ready.
Daily information meetings are held in three languages (Swedish, English and German). The tour guide tells you what is going to happen during the day, describes the history of the canal and the local sites, and also provides practical information. The tour guide will be available throughout the cruise and even leads some of the trips ashore.
On the shelter deck you will find the dining room and the lounge. As the experience is all about a peaceful and relaxing atmosphere, there is neither radio nor TV on board.
We also recommend that you don't use your mobile phone on board – there are plenty of opportunities for that when the ship lands. On the bridge deck you will find comfortable chairs for relaxing and warm blankets to huddle up in on chilly evenings. Here you will also find a bar to enjoy.
The cabins are small and charming. With the exception of a few cabins, they are fitted with bunk beds and are about the size of a sleeping compartment on a train. For reasons of space, we recommend that you only bring a medium-sized bag to push under the berth. Large suitcases can be stored in a luggage room on board. As the berths vary in length, please tell us ahead of time if you are above average height (approx. 175 cm).
All cabins are fitted with a washbasin with hot and cold water. The water is drinkable. There are showers on all decks (except for shelter deck on M/S Diana), and toilets on all. The ships all use 220 V and there are outlets in all cabins.
In the ship's lounge you find a varied library that contains varied non-fiction in Swedish, English and German, including material on the canal, its history and its surroundings. There is also an onboard souvenir shop with books, postcards and souvenirs.
Mealtime drinks, purchases from the souvenir shop and bar expenses are put on your cabin number. The bill is then cleared on the last day either in cash (SEK) or using the most common credit cards (VISA, American Express, EuroCard and Master Card).
As soon as possible after boarding, please visit the dining room to have some tea or coffee.
The meals are an important part of the journey. Each day, enjoy a fixed menu for lunch and dinner, two courses for lunch and three for dinner. A breakfast buffet is served every morning, except on the first day of the cruise. Alcohol is not included with your voyage but is available from the bar or with meals.
The old towpaths alongside the Göta Canal offer many wonderful opportunities for walking or running. You can also borrow one of the ship’s two bicycles for explorations along the waterway.
Daytime wear should be comfortable, since much of the time is spent outdoors. You should bring something warm and a windproof jacket, but also your summer wardrobe. We recommend walking shoes for the excursions. Tradition has it that the guests change to something a bit more elegant for dinner, but going as far as a dark suit is not essential – smart casual is enough.
Travel insurance is compulsory for all tours with 50 Degrees North. The safety of our travellers, staff and operators is a major priority of 50 Degrees North. With an operational office in Norway, 50 Degrees North has access to an up-to-the-minute flow of information regarding the countries we work in. We are also in regular contact with the various operators we use. Their in-depth knowledge and understanding of their various areas is vital.