Tips on harbours and destinations on Lake Vättern (2023)

The unique lake Vättern is known for its clean and crystal clear water. Here there are long white beaches, steep cliffs that rise like walls out of the water and an archipelago with hundreds of islets and skerries. The average depth is 40 metres and the visibility depth up to 15 metres. The weather is often good and contributes to the lush vegetation, but it can change quickly and often without warning.

There are many reasons to stay at Lake Vättern and extend your stay along the Göta Canal. Whether you choose to turn around here, or just want to make a detour during the canal journey, there is plenty to see and experience.

Have you not booked your Göta Canal ticket yet? Then you can do it right now, or you can read more about how a canal trip works.

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(Video) Southern Sweden: Best things to do around Lake Vättern

The Valekleven-Ombo Islands

The archipelagic atmosphere appears gradually, little by little, already about ten nautical miles north of Karlsborg. There are Ombo islands, a lagoon-like paradise with very clear water. The five mountainous islands have a dramatic appearance, with irregular shoreline contours and vertical rocks running down into the water. Here you will find natural harbours in the form of bays and lagoons with muddy bottoms, and several nice bathing spots. The bays that are open to the winds can, however, have pebble bottoms. The islands are dominated by up to 300-year-old and partially old-growth, flat rock pinewood forest with a reindeer lichen cover. Just like on many of the other islands in the northern archipelago, there are rubbish bins here so you can easily dispose of your rubbish.

The area between the Ombo islands and the mainland is called Djäknesundet. Here, too, flat rock pinewood dominates on the rock formations that jut out into Lake Vättern. The terrain is highly rugged with many opportunities to swim from the rocks or the sandy beach where the Djäknebäcken stream runs into the lake.

Kyrkogårdsön (Cemetery Island)
A few nautical miles north-northwest of the Ombo islands, there is an area with a slightly eerier history. Kyrkogårdsön, which got its name after the Black Death Plague in the 14th century. In an attempt to escape the plague, a number of people took refuge on this island, but eventually the plague came here too, and they all died one by one. Today there is a memorial for the dead as well as remains of a stone wall that surrounded the cemetery. Despite the name, Kyrkogårdsön is very beautiful. It is also the home of an excellent and well-protected natural harbour, which is either reached via Dödssundet in the south or via Svartsundet in the north. But the entrances are tight, so be wary of the shoals.

Stora Röknen
Directly east of Kyrkogårdsön lies Stora Röknen, a large sandstone island resting on a mountain ridge. As the island is in the middle of Lake Vättern, it divides the lake into two deep water basins. Remains found here show settlement as early as the Stone Age. On the sister island of Röknehuvud, Russian deserters and prisoners of war worked in the early 1800s to quarry sandstone for the construction of the Göta Canal. There is still a large barracks house where the prisoners lived. In 1949, the military took over Stora Röknen and the permanent residents, though reluctant, had to move. The island is still used as a military training ground and there is a disembarkation ban.

Askersund and the northern Vättern archipelago

In the far north you will find one of Europe's largest inland archipelagos. The northern Vättern archipelago nature reserve consists of around fifty islands and thousands of islets and skerries. Apart from two small homesteads on Stora and Lilla Aspön, however, the archipelago has never been inhabited. The reserve is a wilderness archipelago where only the majestic birds of prey, the hobby and the osprey, are permanent residents in any real sense. Some islands have rough-hewn rocks, and others smoothly polished slabs of granite. All of them are "clothed" in windswept pine forest where they spread out with the blue-green, glistening water of Lake Vättern in the foreground.

(Video) Nordic ice skating on lake Vättern 2021

You can decide whether you want to dock secluded on "your own" islet, or come together with other boating families in the most popular natural harbours. Grönön is a beautiful island surrounded by many small islets and islands. On the main island itself there is a jetty on the west side where even larger boats can dock, as well as several beautiful natural sites at which to moor around the island. There are also nice barbecue areas and toilet facilities here.

When supplies run low, you are close to Askersund. A sail of seven or eight nautical miles takes you to the cosy little town, where you can stock up on both food and beverage supplies, or refuel and refill water. Askersund also has a marina, but it's a bit tricky to find, so ask around!

A few nautical miles to the south is an area with an amazing sandy bottom. The water depth varies from a few metres to five or six metres, but with a little caution and a lookout, it is possible to make your way there safe and sound. It goes without saying that the largest island is called Sandön. The other small islands look almost atoll-like as they lie embedded in turquoise waters. Here it is lovely to just lie and snorkel in the clear water.

The hermit of Fjuk
Perhaps you have heard of "the hermit of Fjuk" at some point. His real name was Erik Zetterblad and is said to have worked as an engineer at a mechanical workshop. Exactly why he settled on Fjuk is not known, but once there he stayed for a full 52 years on his island until he passed away in 1966.

Fjuk, which is located almost exactly halfway between Motala and Karlsborg, actually consists of three islands, between which you can walk without wetting your shoes, at low tide. In the bay between two of the islands are the remains of a port, and on the lake bed just outside the port lies the Byälven, a cargo steamer that sank at the site in 1936.

(Video) Vertical Fishing Char on Lake Vättern | Fishing with Edvin and Philip

When you stand on Fjuk, it is somewhat surprising to think that in the 1880s there were actually 17 people living here, and that there was even a school. But in connection with the automation of the lighthouse in the early 1890s, the island was depopulated.


Vadstena has a very particular, almost magical atmosphere. It may be due to the medieval settlement, the presence of Lake Vättern, the beautiful landscape of the Östergötland plain, or the locals' pride in their place. But it is a feeling that must be experienced. Viewed from the lake, the city's silhouette does not differ much from how it looked in the Middle Ages. In clear weather, the monastery is a highly visible landmark from afar. It is also called the Blue Church, as it appears to be a shade of blue when viewed at a distance. The monastery was designed by Saint Birgitta in the 14th century and even today you can meet nuns on the streets of Vadstena, though they now live in a slightly more modern monastery across the street.

In addition to all the history, Vadstena is a really lovely summer town, well worth a visit. The spectacular guest harbour is partly located in the moat around the best-preserved Renaissance castle in the Nordics, Vadstena Castle. Here you are well protected under most weather conditions and mooring is done according to the port master's instructions.


Hjo is a small forestry town on the western shore of Lake Vättern. The harbour is located in the heart of the city, and during the summer months it is a place full of life and activity. Here you will find the family-friendly Gruldkroksbadet, which is a free swimming bath with heated outdoor pools, a sandy beach and changing stalls. Within walking distance there are also eateries, cafes, grocery stores and cosy little shops.


The beautiful town of Gränna was founded by Per Brahe almost 400 years ago. Located on the shores of Lake Vättern, it is surrounded by nature reserves with deep and magical forests that inspired many of John Bauer's fairy tales. It is very much a place where you can feel the air of history, experience beautiful surroundings and stroll around a small town brimming with life. Down by the harbour you can enjoy food and ice cream, and see the ferry travelling to and from Visingsö. On lovely summer evenings, you can also experience a fantastic sunset.

(Video) How to have a great vacation in Sweden

Today, Gränna is best known for being home to a number of makers of polkagris candy, each with their own unique take on the striped peppermint candy, a Swedish classic. It all began all the way back in 1859 when single mother, Amalia Erikson received permission to open a sugar bakery in order to support herself and her daughter, through the production of "finer pastries and the so-called polkagris". These were initially called "pluttar", but after a while Amalia launched the polkagris candy cane, which became a hallmark of Gränna - and one of Sweden's most popular souvenirs!


The southern part of Lake Vättern does not at all have the same island-rich archipelago as in the north. Instead, Vättern's largest island, Visingsö, dominates here. According to legend, Visingsö was created when the mythical giant Vist threw a tuft of grass into Lake Vättern so that his old lady would have something to step on. Here you can enjoy historical remains, beautiful environments, art and much more!

If you want to feel the beating wings of history, there are local stories about everything from royal murders, prisoners of war and the time when Sweden was ruled from Visingsö. Start by sailing to the ferry quay on the island and discover the exciting Visingborg Castle, before sailing further down towards Näs and the ruins of Sweden's first national castle. By the harbour you can buy smoked fish to eat on the pier, or go for a ride in one of the island's popular horse-drawn carriages. If you can muster the courage to climb the dizzying stairs of Kumlaby church, you will be rewarded with a wonderful view of both the island and the lake.


Farthest to the south is Jönköping with a fairly new harbour and a 160 metre quay along the outer harbour pier. Jönköping is sometimes called the City of Matches, because of the success the Jönköping Match Factory had with its safety matches at the end of the 19th century. In its heyday, the city had no less than five match factories. Today you can visit the old matchstick district about 500 metres from the harbour.

Travelling on Lake Vättern means travelling long distances, keep this in mind when planning your trip. The lake spans 70 nautical miles from north to south and the fueling stations are relatively few. However, there is plenty of water, Vättern is a spring lake, almost 130 metres in depth and one of Sweden's cleanest lakes by far. Almost fifty thousand households take their water directly from the lake, so you can help yourself too.

(Video) Gränna and Visingsö, Sweden


Can you swim in Lake Vattern? ›

Lake Vättern

Sweden's second largest lake, Vättern is one of the country's most beautiful, with long sandy beaches and crystal clear water, superb for swimming.

Where is Lake Vattern in Sweden? ›

Lake Vattern is located in south-central Sweden, to the southeast of Lake Vanern, pointing towards the tip of Scandinavia. It has a long, finger-shape, and its deepest known point (128 meters) is located just south of the island of Visingso. Its average depth is around 41 meters.

Where is Lake Vattern? ›

Vättern (/ˈvɛtərn/ VET-ərn, Swedish: [ˈvɛ̌tːɛɳ]) is the second largest lake by surface area in Sweden, after Vänern, and the sixth largest lake in Europe. It is a long, finger-shaped body of fresh water in south central Sweden, to the southeast of Vänern, pointing at the tip of Scandinavia.

Is it safe to swim at Moraine State park? ›

The beaches are open daily from Memorial Day Weekend to Labor Day unless otherwise posted. The regular hours are 8:00 A.M. to sunset. Swim at your own risk. To keep these areas clean and safe, pets are prohibited in the beach areas.

Can you swim in Vänern? ›

Vänersborg offers five large and beautiful beaches, one of which is almost in the middle of town. Lake Vänern offers clean freshwater for it's guests to swim in.

Can you drink from lakes in Sweden? ›

With thousands of lakes and plenty of rain and snow, clean drinking water is something Sweden has by the bucket load. Regardless of where you travel, the cold water that comes out of the taps is almost certainly safe to drink.

Is it safe to swim in Swedish lakes? ›

Most of the lakes are clean and safe to bathe in. You can even swim in lakes close to big cities. In Gothenburg and in the neighbouring municipality of Mölndal there are lakes and recreational areas where you can swim.

What is the clearest lake in Sweden? ›

Rissajaure, also called Trollsjön and sometimes Kärkevaggepadajaure, (Northern Sami: Rissájávri) is a lake in the Kärkevagge valley in Kiruna Municipality, Sweden. It is the clearest and purest lake in Sweden and has a visual depth of 34 m, right down to the bottom.

What does Vattern mean? ›

British Dictionary definitions for Vättern

Vättern. / (Swedish ˈvɛtərn) / noun. Lake Vättern a lake in S central Sweden: the second largest lake in Sweden; linked to Lake Vänern by the Göta Canal; drains into the Baltic. Area: 1912 sq km (738 sq miles)

How deep is lake Vättern? ›

It has a maximum depth of 420 feet (130 metres) and a surface 289 feet (89 metres) above sea level. The lake, known for its dangerous currents, drains eastward through the Motala River into the Baltic Sea.

How big is Vattern lake? ›

What time is best to visit Moraine Lake? ›

The best time to visit Moraine Lake is early in the morning, before sunrise, from late June to late September. In fact, I would highly recommend visiting in September because the Ten Peaks will most likely have a dusting of snow, and it's the most spectacular view of Moraine Lake.

How hard is the hike to Moraine Lake? ›

Check out this 3.2-mile out-and-back trail near Lake Louise, Alberta. Generally considered an easy route, it takes an average of 1 h 51 min to complete. This is a very popular area for birding, hiking, and running, so you'll likely encounter other people while exploring.

Is Moraine Lake worth it? ›

Its grandeur and wonder inhale the hum of its crowds and leave almost every visitor speechless. After taking in the spectacular scenery, go hiking, climbing, skiing, or canoeing in Banff National Park. Moraine Lake (or Lac Moraine) is an image that will last with you for a lifetime.

Are Swedish beaches warm? ›

Conditions of sea water on beaches in Sweden

Today the warmest water in Sweden is recorded in Halmstad. Its value in this location is 51°F. And the coldest one is in Haparanda, its value 34°F.

Can you swim in Sweden in the summer? ›

Swimming is a quintessential activity in Sweden in summer. You won't be short on places to enjoy a dip either, as Sweden is home to more than 90,000 lakes and 3,200 kilometres (2,000 miles) of coastline. Spend some time relaxing by the water in the sunshine, soaking up the tranquil atmosphere of your surroundings.

Do people go to the beach in Sweden? ›

Sweden's long coastline and nearly 100,000 lakes provide endless opportunities for water-based fun. Much of the shoreline is rocky, often with smooth, gently sloping cliffs perfect for sunbathing, but you'll also find plenty of beautiful sandy beaches along the coasts and lakeshores throughout the country.

Should you tip in Sweden? ›

Tipping in Sweden isn't as established as in many other countries. It's always welcome but not expected. When eating out in Sweden it is common to to round up to the nearest big number. For example if your bill comes to 380 SEK, you can round up to 400 SEK.

What to do if you encounter a bear in Sweden? ›

Make the bear know where you are

If you're ever 'lucky' enough to meet a wild bear in Sweden, strike up a conversation and make sure the bear knows you are there. Clap your hands. Whatever you do, don't run. Back up away from the bear without turning away from it.

Can Americans drink tap water in Sweden? ›

Tap water in Sweden is of high quality and is perfectly safe to drink. However, contaminations may occur. Water containers. Photo: MSB/the Swedish Civil Contingencies Agency.

Has anyone swam from Denmark to Sweden? ›

During summer 1944 she several times secretly swam across the Øresund strait between Denmark and Sweden.

Is the water around Stockholm salty? ›

The salinity varies between freshwater and brackish water with poor salinity. In the outer parts of the archipelago, the salinity reaches around 0.6–0.7 per cent by weight, to be compared with at least 1.5 for beginning to taste salty and around 3.0 or more for proper oceanic water.

Is water clean in Sweden? ›

Stockholm – and the country of Sweden at large – also has a fantastic reputation when it comes to both sustainability and tap water quality. In fact, Sweden is consistently ranked among the top countries for tap water quality in the world!

What is the most beautiful river in Sweden? ›

The Rapa River (also called Rapaätno) flows through the Sarek National Park, winding through magnificent mountain ranges and narrow valleys, in north Norrland, in Norrbotten County, Sweden.

What is the cleanest lake in the world? ›

Blue Lake. Located in the top half of New Zealand's South Island, Blue Lake is said to be the clearest lake in the world. Its waters are fed by another lake that sits above its height of 1,200 meters above sea level.

How warm is the lake in Sweden? ›

The warmest water temperature is in August with an average around 65.3°F / 18.5°C. The coldest month is February with an average water temperature of 33.1°F / 0.6°C.

Where does the word doo dah come from? ›

Where does doodah come from? The first records of the word doodah come from around 1900s. Its origin is uncertain. Today, the word is especially used to refer to small, physical objects, but its ambiguous nature means it can be used for all kinds of things (which is really the point of a word like doodah).

What is the largest lake by depth? ›

Lake Superior is the world's largest freshwater lake by area (31,700 mi2 /82,100 km2). It is also the coldest and deepest of the Great Lakes, with a maximum depth of 406 meters (1,332 feet). By most measures, it is the healthiest of all the Great Lakes.

What is the deepest lake in Sweden? ›

The deepest lake in Sweden is Hornavan with a maximum depth of 221 m and a surface area of 250 km2. This lake, which is located in the very north of Sweden where all the deepest lakes are found, is the third largest with regard to volume, but only the ninth largest if the surface area is considered.

What is the largest lake in Sweden? ›

Lake Väner, Swedish Vänern, largest lake in Sweden, 2,181 square miles (5,650 square km) in area, in the southwestern part of the country.

What is the largest lake in Europe? ›

Lake Ladoga, Russian Ladozhskoye Ozero or Ladozhskoe Ozero, largest lake in Europe, located in northwestern Russia about 25 miles (40 km) east of St. Petersburg.

How long is Vattern lake? ›

Lake Vättern is Sweden's second- largest lake and the seventh largest in Europe. It is 135 km long and 31 km wide at its widest. The shore- line around the lake is 516 km long, 99 km of it is in the Municipality of Jönköping.

How big is lake Amelia? ›

Amelia Lake is a 100-acre impoundment located entirely within Amelia Wildlife Management Area in Amelia County, Virginia. The lake is owned and managed by the Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources.

Can you swim in Swedish lakes? ›

Most of the lakes are clean and safe to bathe in. You can even swim in lakes close to big cities. In Gothenburg and in the neighbouring municipality of Mölndal there are lakes and recreational areas where you can swim.

Can you swim at Okoboji? ›

One of Okoboji's most popular public swimming areas is Terrace Park Beach.

Why can't you swim in lake DeFuniak? ›

It became illegal to swim in the lake in 1964, during the civil rights movement. “It was a time when we were having some racial difficulties because the integration was finally breaking the ice and it was a little awkward in those years,” DeFuniak Springs Mayor Bob Campbell said.

Are you allowed to swim in Lake McDonald? ›

Lake McDonald

The experience of swimming and being able to see the colorful rocks 20 feet below you is incredible! The water in Lake McDonald tends to be warmer than in other lakes, which makes it the most pleasant swimming experience.

Can you drink hotel water Sweden? ›

If you're travelling around the country or spending a day sightseeing then it's worth buying a drink from a shop and then re-filling the bottle from the tap at your hostel or hotel. The tap water in the bathrooms at restaurants, museums and other attractions is also safe to drink.

What is the clearest water in Sweden? ›

Rissajaure, also called Trollsjön and sometimes Kärkevaggepadajaure, (Northern Sami: Rissájávri) is a lake in the Kärkevagge valley in Kiruna Municipality, Sweden. It is the clearest and purest lake in Sweden and has a visual depth of 34 m, right down to the bottom. It is located about 120 km from Kiruna.

Is it OK to drink water in Sweden? ›

Tap water in Sweden is of high quality and is perfectly safe to drink. However, contaminations may occur. Water containers. Photo: MSB/the Swedish Civil Contingencies Agency.

Is there E coli in Okoboji Iowa? ›

OKOBOJI, Iowa (KCRG) - The Iowa Department of Natural Resources says the water concentration of E. coli at an Iowa beach maxed out its test kits. The Spirit Lake beach is about 20 miles from the Iowa-Minnesota border -- near Okoboji. The beach at Spirit Lake registered more than 24,000 viable bacteria.

Why is lake Okoboji so clear? ›

It is a glacial lake created by the Wisconsin Glacier 14,000 years ago and has a maximum depth of 136 feet, which makes it the deepest natural lake in Iowa. Subterranean springs help provide the cool, clear, blue water of Iowa's most popular lake. West Okoboji is about seven miles long and up to two miles in width.

What is the biggest fish in Okoboji? ›

The largest paddlefish caught in Okoboji is in fact the largest fish ever taken from the Okoboji Lakes. It weighed in at 210 pounds and was six and a half feet long. It was caught in 1919. Reports of these mammoth fish started around 1900 and continued until 1919 when the last paddlefish was caught in Okoboji waters.

What lake is not safe to swim in? ›

Lake Karachay, located in Russia, contains a dangerous level of radiation: about 600 roentgens. That's dangerous enough to kill a human being standing by the shore for up to an hour. Lake Victoria is known as the world's most dangerous lake because of harsh storms and unpredictable weather conditions.

Why can't i swim in Watson lake? ›

I guess that it isn't allowed but people still do it. over a year ago. Watson and Willow lakes are closed to swimming due to pollution - don't forget that they lie downstream from about 30,000 people and catch ALL of the runoff from the rains/snow which wash those streets.

Can you swim in a lake with gators? ›

Do not allow your dogs or children to swim in waters inhabited by alligators, or to drink or play at the water's edge. To an alligator, a splash potentially means a food source is in the water. It is best to avoid swimming in areas that are known habitats for large alligators but at the least, never swim alone.

Can you take stones from Lake McDonald? ›

As Lake McDonald is part of a national park, it is protected by law. This means visitors are not permitted to remove anything from the national park - nor are they permitted to take the pebbles from Lake McDonald.

Can you keep rocks from Lake McDonald? ›

No matter how pretty or unique something is, leave it alone so that other visitors can see it too! It's against the law to take rocks, stones, flowers, sticks (even if you want to claim it as your new hiking stick) and every thing else that is naturally found in a national park.

What is the deepest lake in Glacier National Park? ›

At 10 miles long (16 km) and 464 feet deep (141.4 m) Lake McDonald is both largest and deepest body of water in the park.


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