Berg: Locks of the Göta Kanal
Not far away from the city of Linköping is the little village of Berg and the famous Göta Canal. At Berg you can find the Carl Johan flight of locks with no less than 7 levels. These locks raise or lower the boats 18.8 metres between Lake Roxen and the Berg guest-harbour. In total there are eleven locks in Berg.
The Göta Canal is a 190 km long canal and it is one of the largest civil engineering projects in Sweden. The canal stretches from Mem at the east coast to Sjötorp on Lake Vänern and has in total 58 locks. The canal was built between 1810 and 1832. Most of the canal was excavated by hand using iron-shod wooden spades. The canal used to be a very important transport route for both goods and passengers. Not anymore these days though, it has now become a well known tourist attraction.
You can read all about these locks on my Berg page
- Historical Travel
- Road Trip
Gullholmen is one of 'the' West Coast destinations to visit. And that is noticeable as it is quite touristy. But the village is so picturesque that it is absolutely worth to go here. The main tourist area is the centre of the village, but if you wander around you'll get to those lovely little streets and corners that have so much atmosphere. I thought this was the best part of the place, just to get 'lost' and dream of living in one of those cosy, cute and colourful houses. You can't really get lost here though, as the place is quite small. Hahaha, you'll always get somewhere to a dead-end as the street will stop when reaching the sea. And without problems on your return you will get back to the main road that brings you back to the village centre.
Ferries go from and to the island several times a day, so it is no problem what so ever to reach the island. You have to leave your car behind those as the ferry only takes foot passengers. But on a small island like this, a car is more bother than it would be comfort :-)
you can read more about this destination on my Gullholmen page
Eskilstuna is the city I live closest to. It is the place where I go for my shopping, where I study, visit the library, where I like to go out for dinner, etc, etc.
Eskilstuna is a very old place. The area around Eskilstuna was already well known during the Vikings. But having said that, I have to admit that Eskilstuna is not a real tourist destination, but it has some nice places. My favourite of all is the Fors Kyrka (Fors Church). This church in Eskilstuna is really worth a visit. The Fors Church was built in the 11th century on same place as a wooden church used by bishop Eskil from England.
Besides the Fors Kyrka you can visit the Klosterkyrka, a much more modern church, but with a nice atmosphere. Don't forget to take a look at the sculpture 'Hand of God' by Miles, visit the historic area of "Rademachersmedjorna" or maybe drop by at the Faktorimuseet and the art museum.
you can read about all these places and more on my Eskilstuna page
Gränna: Polkagris heaven! :-)
Gränna is known for its red and white candy canes, also known as "peppermint rocks" or by the Swedish name "Polkagris". This is the place for a real sweet tooth, there are candy shops by the dozens in Gränna! Almost unbelievable that a little town like this can have so many candy shops side by side! And they are all filled with peppermint rocks in any thinkable taste and variety! The traditional one is striped red and white and tastes like peppermint, but nowadays you can choose out of many colours and flavours.
In many of the candy shops you can see the actual making process of the "Polkagris". It is quite fun actually seeing how a some boiling hot liquid (a mixture of water and vinegar) is transformed after lots of pulling, kneading and twisting in a delicious looking candy cane. And I can promise you, hahaha, you won't leave town without at least taking a few of these candy canes with you. Even I fell for the temptation ;-)
The tradition of making "Polkagris" in Gränna started in 1859 by the widow Amalia Eriksson. Now Gränna is famous in whole Sweden for the Polkagris and has become a major tourist attraction in the region. There are at least 10 millions of "Polkagris" produced in Gränna per year in more than 20 bakeries.
You can read all about this little village on my Gränna page
- Food and Dining
- Road Trip
Alvastra Kloster, a beautiful ruin
Just a few steps away from Omberg (see tip further on on this page) you can visit the ruins of the Alvastra Kloster (Kloster means "monastery"). And it really is a few steps! So close really that you combine a walk at Omberg with a little detour-walk and visit the ruins at Alvastra at the same time, just like I did. The entrance is for free, so don't miss out on these beautiful ruins.
Alvastra was Sweden's largest monastery and it dates back to 1143. The monastery was founded by the the influential Cistercian order and it flourished for almost 400 years. After its decay the construction materials were used in the making of Vadstena Castle and Per Brahe's buildings along Lake Vättern. But luckily some of Alvastra Monastery survived and the ruins have been restored and preserved. I found it a fascinating place to explore and I can recommend a visit if you are in the area. You can walk around freely here, having a good look at the architecture of the ruins. There is some information about the ruins available at the site, like for instance a little model showing how the monastery used to look like.
you can read more about Alvastra Kloster on my Omberg page
- Historical Travel
The counties of Sweden
The 21 counties of Sweden (from south to north):
Götaland (South Sweden):
Västra Götalands län
Svealand (Central Sweden):
Norrland (North Sweden):
If you are looking for specific info about one of these counties (läns) you can click on these links. On each of these pages I will give you a description of the county and places worth while visiting.
On this page I will continue with the places I've visited in Sverige in alphabetical order. So lets start with the first one......
Mollösund is a small village with a little harbour on the southwest part of the island of Orust and it is one of my favourite places. It just feels great sitting in the restaurant on the pier, 10 yards from the main "touristy sea highway", watching hundreds of sailing boats passing in an hour, sipping a cold drink ...
But of course you don't need to be only 'lazy' in Mollösund. This is one of the areas oldest fishing ports, with a history dating back to the 16th century. It is a lovely village to explore on foot and enjoy the old and colourful houses that are concentrated around the harbour. If you are at the harbour, look out for the big sailing boat called "Mathilda", because this could be your chance to see a bit more of the archipelago surrounding Mollösund as well! The Schooner Mathilda organizes several tours during the summer, and it is really worth it! If you are lucky and the weather is good, they will turn off the engine, put up the sails and go sailing for 'real'.
you can read more about this destination on my Mollösund page
- Sailing and Boating
Stockholm: The Vasa Museum
Stockholm has so much to offer that I want to mention a few of its highlights on this page. I have to mention the most famous of the museums in Stockholm: The Vasa Museum. It is a real must see! And it is no wonder that it is Scandinavia's most visited museum.
In the museum you can see the large warship Vasa. It is the only remaining and intact 17th century ship in the world. The wreck was salvaged in 1961 and now on display In the Vasa Museum. The ship is really impressive and you are able to walk around the ship so you can get a real good look at it. The lower rig has been rebuilt, complete with masts, stays and shrouds, making it a complete ship again. Surrounding the ship are several permanent exhibitions, cinemas, a shop and a restaurant.
opening hours: (2008)
Jun - Aug: daily 8:30 to 18:00
Sep - May: 10:00 - 17:00; Wednesdays 10:00 to 20:00
Closed: December 23-25, December 31, January 1.
Adults 95 SEK (on Wednesdays 5-8 p.m. outside the summer season 1/6-31/8: 75 SEK), Students 50 SEK, Children, 0-18 yrs free
Take a walk, bus or ferry to the island of Djurgården. Buses 47 and 69 leave from the Central Station. Bus 44 from Karlaplan. The ferry leaves from Slussen all year round and also from Nybroplan during the summer.
I've written much more about this museum on my Stockholm page
- Historical Travel
- Museum Visits
Rogslösa: All about a "door"
Rogslösa: this place is all about a "door". A door? you will probably ask me...... Yes a door! But an amazing door! The village of Rogslösa is tiny, very tiny, nothing more then a few houses and a church. And this church has this door that is worth while visiting. And if you don't believe me, you really have to go and take a look for yourself.
The church of Rogslösa dates back the the early 12th century and unfortunately was closed when I visited. But even if it is closed, you can still see 'the door'. This door also dates back to the 12th century and it is richly decorated with wrought iron. The door is decorated with biblical subjects and jingling rings. I've added some photos to this tip to give you an impression of the door and as you can see it is rather amazing. As Rogslösa is so close to the main road, it is certainly worth the detour, even if it is for just a 'door'.Related to:
- Historical Travel
Omberg, nature area
It is early May 2005 and the feeling of spring is in the air and what better to do during the early spring then to see nature slowly waking up. Especially after a long Swedish winter! A visit to Omberg sounded like a great plan! I was looking forward in going on a stroll in the woods, see the spring flowers and the gorgeous views over lake Vättern. But maybe, looking back on my trip, I was a bit too enthousiastic. Yes, I got all what I wanted, a stroll in the woods, gorgeous views over lake Vättern and even some spring flowers. But... but..... it didn't live up to my expectations. Nature was still very sleepy and only the 'vistippa' (see photo) had woken up after the long winter and I had hoped for so much more. Something to blame on myself as maybe early May is a bit too early for such a visit. And maybe there was something else that caused my disappointment as well..... or maybe my expectations were just a bit too high.
Let me say first of all that Omberg IS a beautiful nature area! And it IS a wonderful place to go for a nice stroll in the woods! And it is not surprising that it is so well known and a popular for this very reason. And maybe when planning my own trip I should have thought of this. Popular means people, and I was looking for a nice and quiet stroll in the forest, surrounded by nature and not so much by people. So is Omberg worth a visit? Oh yes! But keep in my that it can get relatively crowded here on nice sunny days.
You can real all about this area on my Omberg page
- Hiking and Walking
Kaga church: a little gem!
My original plan was to visit the little church of Risinge, which is famous for its beautiful fresco's. Unfortunately this early in the season (early May) the S:ta Maria Church in Risinge isn't open to the public, so you can imagine my disappointment. But I stumbled upon some good news while doing research for this trip! I discovered that the little church of Kaga was decorated by the same painter as the Risinge church. So without hesitation I added Kaga to my travelplans. And I can say I wasn't disappointed! This church is a little gem!
the Kaga church was built by King Sverker (d. 1156) on the old pagan cult site of Allguvi. On the outside it is a small white church, quite elegant with it's high tower (fourth photo). On the inside you will be surprised by the painted valves giving this little church a special atmosphere (see second photo). In the first photo you can see the old entrance door. The church itself dates back to 1156, but most likely there has been a church previous to this one. The present spire was added later to the church, most probably in the 15th century.
Kaga church and is one of the best preserved churches in Östergötland from the Middle Ages.
For more information about the Risinge Church take a look at this website (only in Swedish): S:ta Maria Church in Risinge
you can read more about this little church on my Kaga page
- Historical Travel
Padjelanta NP, the 'higher land'
Padjelanta, or in the Sami language called Bádjelándda, means the "higher land" which is an appropriate name, as almost the whole national park is located above the tree line. It is Sweden’s largest National Park with an amazing 1,984 km2 in size. But the park is not on its own, it is surrounded by nature reserves. It is also connected to two other amazing national parks called Sarek and Stora Sjöfallet. Padjelanta is also part of an even larger area called Laponia, which is sometimes referred to as the "last wilderness of Europe".
There are no roads that lead to Padjelanta, only this hiking trail. No cars in sight, not even close. If you want to see this, you need to walk. The only way to get here is by foot, or, if you like, helicopter in to the Sami village of Staloluokta. But from there you have to make your way again on foot. The landscape is wonderful, large lakes, open mountain landscape and exceptionally varied flora and fauna. If you are lucky you might catch a glimpse of an arctic fox, wolverine or moose. But without a doubt you will meet some reindeer, as Padjelanta is a valuable grazing land for reindeers. And with the reindeer come three tiny Sami villages, which are all located very isolated in this beautiful highland area. Padjelanta is a special place, but at the same time not demanding. The only way to get here is on foot, but everyone that is in a reasonable condition can make that walk. In short: Padjelanta is a place to fall in love with..... just as I did.Related to:
- National/State Park
- Hiking and Walking
A place not to miss on a visit to Stockholm is the Stadshuset (The City Hall). Stockholm's City Hall was built between 1911-1923 and was designed by architect Ragnar Östberg. It is one of Sweden's foremost buildings in the National Romantic style. I think most of you might recognize the building as it is often used as a symbol for the city of Stockholm. Maybe the outside is characteristic and beautiful to see, but the inside is simply amazing.
In the picture you can see the Golden Hall. This room will without a doubt trigger lots of ooooh's and aaah's! It is an amazing room to enter into, the gold glitters everywhere, and your eyes need some time to get used to this luscious display of gold and decorations.
The glow of the room is warm because of the golden colour and the nice soft lighting. And the design is nothing I have seen before, with mosaics covering all sides of the room, not a spot is being left uncovered. I don't know if I can the "Golden Hall" breathtakingly beautiful, but amazing and spectacular it is for sure!!! The Golden Hall contains the amazing amount of over 18,000,000 mosaic pieces, all made of glass or gold.
I've only mentioned a few highlights of Stockholm on this Sweden page, but do take a look at my Stockholm page for lots more info and impressions of this wonderful city.
Brahehus, a quick stop along the way
Brahehus ruins are perfect for, a quick stop along the way. The ruins are located right beside highway E4. close to the village of Gränna. It even has got an own exit off the highway! The exit leads to a gasstation, restaurant and parkinglot, but from there is a little road and tunnel underneath the highway that leads to the ruins of Brahehus. I didn't think that the ruins are thats spectacular to see, but it does make a great stop on a long drive. What I did enjoy a lot was the view. From the ruins of Brahehus you have a wonderful view over Lake Vättern, the little village of Gränna and the island of Visingsö. Brahehus is located on a ridge towering high above lake Vättern, making these beautiful views possible.
Brahehus was build in 1640 by Per Brahe junior. Unfortunately a fire destroyed the castle completely in 1708.Related to:
- Historical Travel
Stocken, a place to fall in love with
Stocken is only a small village located on the west coast of Sweden. There is not much to do here, not much to see. But the place has a certain charm and the surrounding area is so beautiful and tranquil. I just loved it here.
The blue sea, the endless grey cliffs, the clear blue skies with a sun that shines brightly. The colourful little villages in the distance..... houses like little colourful dots, fighting to hang on to the steep cliffs. Painted in red, yellow and sometimes in shades of blue. Oh yes, and in white of course. And when you look closer you will discover hundreds of other shades, all mixing together in a beautiful colour palette. My eyes move back to the sea. I see the glistering of the sun in the calm waters, the white little dots of numerous sailing boats. Little islands in the sea, deserted, empty, nothing more than huge rocks. And here I am, sitting on the cliffs after an exhausting climb, gasping for air but amazed by another wonderful view....
Please tell me.... how can I not love this place?
You can read more about my visit to this village on my Stocken page
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