How to get here

There are several ways to get to the Lake Vänern area. If you are not travelling by car, public transportation is a great option. Around the lake, there are several operators providing bus and train services. Another option, of course, is to travel to Lake Vänern by boat. On some trains and buses, you may have the option to bring your bike, but always check with your travel operator, train, or bus company for specifics regarding your journey.

By bus and train

For long-distance travel, trains are a convenient way to reach Lake Vänern. On the national railroad organisation’s website (, you can book tickets for several train and bus companies in Sweden. Currently, on SJ’s own trains, there is no option to bring a bike unless it is disassembled and stored in a bike bag. The Swedish Cycling Association has compiled information on bike transportation on Swedish trains, which you can find here.

The organisation managing train and bus traffic around the southern parts of Lake Vänern is Västtrafik. You can purchase various types of tickets, from single tickets to travel passes. You also have the option to pay with a credit card on the buses. If you have questions about local transportation, please contact the train and bus sales office in the town of Vänersborg at +46(0)521-100 27 or visit Västtrafik’s website. For information on how to bring a bike with Västtrafik, read more here.

Värmlandstrafik is the organisation that manages bus and some train traffic along the northern part of Lake Vänern, and you can find timetables and more information on Värmlandstrafik’s website. You can also contact customer service at +46(0)771-32 32 00. On some bus routes, you can book bike transport; which routes apply and how to book can be found on Värmlandstrafik’s website. Some train routes around Lake Vänern are also operated by TÅGAB, and their trains are included in SJ’s timetables and booking system, where you can also see all other train options in the entire Lake Vänern area.

By boat

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.

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.

You can also experience the waves of Lake Vänern and travel to different places with scheduled boat services. In the northern Vänern archipelago, there are scheduled services during the summer operated by Värmlandstrafik. Routes, timetables, and tickets can be found on Värmlandstrafik’s website. Other opportunities to experience Lake Vänern by boat include the Lurö boat.

By car

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.

Long-term parking for more than 7 days

If you are arriving by car and plan to cycle all or significant parts of Vänerleden, there are some places with long-term parking along the trail where you can park for more than 7 days.

Long-term parking in Mariestad

In Mariestad, there’s an option to park for 10 days in the outer harbor. Read more about parking options in Mariestad here.

Long-term Parking in Vänersborg

In Vänersborg, you can apply for long-term parking at the municipality if there is a need to park for longer than seven days or if all seven-day spots are taken. Parking may also be granted at another location. Contact Vänersborg Municipality at +46(0)521-72 10 00 and ask to speak with the Traffic Engineers. You can also send an email to For more information and parking maps, see Vänersborg Municipality’s website.

Long-term parking in Åmål

In Åmål, there is a long-term parking for 14 days subject to availability at the town harbour or the railway station. See the map here.

Long-term parking in Kristinehamn

In Kristinehamn, you can park for a longer time than 7 days subject to availability. Contact Kristinehamn municipality for approval and exemption for a longer parking period.