By boat via the Göta Canal
The Göta Canal is one of Sweden’s largest construction projects and destinations. The entire canal stretches from Sjötorp to Mem or vice versa. Travel through the locks with your own pleasure boat, board one of the passenger ferries or book one of the many cycling packages along the canal. The Göta Canal is open as a waterway from May to September and as a destination it is open all year round. For information on how best to make your way along the Göta Canal, read more on the Göta Canal’s website.
By boat via the Göta River
The river Göta Älv flows southwards from Lake Vänern towards Gothenburg and the sea. On the route there are locks to go through at Lilla Edet, Trollhättan and Vänersborg. All lock operation and bridge opening on the canal is monitored by video surveillance. It is important to know that the waterway between Lilla Edet and Gropbron is open for pleasure boats between 09:00 and 19:00. To pass through all locks, you need to pay at Kanalcentralen in Trollhättan. Payment is to be made using a credit card. You can contact locks and bridges using radio communication via VHF channel 9. The locks and bridges operated by Sjöfartsverket (the Swedish Maritime Administration) can also be contacted by telephone: +46 (0)76-137 61 28.
The guest marina Vänersborgs Gästhamn & Marina offers a very high level of service and has maintained Blue Flag status for quality for several years now. Vänersborgs Gästhamn & Marina is the natural spot where many visitors moor their boats prior to their excursions on Lake Vänern or on the river Göta Älv.
Trollhättan is home to two guest marinas: Spiköns Gästhamn on the little island of Spikön near central Trollhättan, and Gästhamn Åkerssjö near Trollhättan’s locks. In the Vänersborg area, Vänersborgs Gästhamn & Marina is located directly next to central Vänersborg, Grönviks Gästhamn is at the Ursand campsite about 4 km north of Vänersborg, and Sikhalls Gästhamn is by Lake Vänern, north of Vänersborg.
By bus and train
Västtrafik operates buses and trains in the southern parts of the Vänern region. You can buy various types of tickets and can also pay using a payment card on the bus. If you have any questions about local public transport, phone the number for train and bus ticket sales in Vänersborg: +46 (0)521-100 27 or visit Västtrafik’s website here. Some of the eastern part of the Vänern region can be experienced via the Kinnekullebanan railway, which has been awarded the title of Sweden’s most beautiful rail route; read more here.
Värmlandstrafik operates buses and some trains in the northern part of the Vänern region. You’ll find timetables and more information on Värmlandstrafik’s website, or you can phone their customer service number: +46 (0)771-32 32 00. TÅGAB also operates trains on some routes around Vänern; you can find their train services in SJ’s national rail timetables and booking system, where you will also find all train services available throughout the Vänern region. The local bus company Karlstadsbuss operates the buses in the city of Karlstad, as well as the boat services that are part of the public transport network in the northern Vänern archipelago. Additional timetables and information are available on the Karlstadsbuss website.
The northern part of the Vänern region is accessible via the E18 road from Stockholm and Oslo, and from the south you reach the Vänern region via the E45 road from Gothenburg, or via road 44 from Uddevalla and Lidköping.