A cruise along the most beautiful parts of the Göta Canal

Gothenburg/Mariestad -> Norsholm/Stockholm

highlights of the cruise

Docking for the night

Mariestad – Norsholm:
Day 1: Vassbacken
Day 2: Borensberg

See the itinerary for the opposite direction

Go back to the cruise

  1. 1

    Optional bus transfer from Gothenburg

    Departure by bus from Gothenburg (by the Clarion Hotel Post, Drottningtorget Square). Please note that the bus transfer from Gothenburg to Mariestad must be booked in advance. For information on other train and bus connections to Mariestad, please visit

  2. 2


    Our cruise Göta Canal Highlights with the M/S Wilhelm Tham begins or ends on the shore of Lake Vänern, in the city of Mariestad. The old part of Mariestad is one of Sweden’s most well-preserved wooden cities. The church tower is an impressive sight from the lake and on land.

  3. 3

    Lake Vänern

    44 metres above sea level. Sweden's largest lake and the third largest lake in Europe, after the Ladoga and Onega lakes in Russia.

  4. 4


    At Sjötorp there is a set of eight locks, and also the remains of some old shipyards. On the Grand Sweden Cruise and the Classic Canal Cruise (from Stockholm) and Göta Canal Highlights (from Norsholm) we visit the old warehouse, where you can find a shop selling, among other things, clothes and home décor, a café and the Sjötorp Canal Museum. In the museum you can see old pictures of Sjötorp, the interiors of several old ships, and also learn more about the building of the canal. There is also a map of all the sunken ships in the Lake Vänern. Enjoy a lovely walk along the locks.

  5. 5

    Godhögen & Hajstorp Övre

    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. Here is the Canal Engineer’s home, now privately owned and the old smithy. On our cruise Göta Canal Highlights (from Mariestad) you will have the opportunity to join the tour guide on a guided walk along the locks.

    On the Grand Sweden Cruise from Stockholm we dock for the night in Hajstorp.

  6. 6


    The railway line between Stockholm and Gothenburg crosses the canal here. Töreboda also proudly presents Sweden's smallest ferry, "Lina", which travels back and forth across the Göta Canal.

  7. 7


    We dock for the night at Vassbacken.

  1. 1

    The Berg Canal

    This part of the canal is called the Berg Canal and originally had a sharp bend which was straightened in 1930-33.

  2. 2

    The Obelisk

    An obelisk marks the highest point (91.5 metres above sea level) of the Göta Canal.

  3. 3


    One of the canal's two hand-operated locks is found at Tåtorp.

  4. 4

    Lake Viken

    The beautiful spellbinding Lake Viken (91.8 metres above sea level) serves as a water reservoir for the western section of the Göta Canal. We steer through two of the canal´s narrowest passages - the Spetsnäs Canal and Billströmmen. Both wood-lined and surround with small lakes full of water lilies.

  5. 5

    Forsvik lock

    The lock at Forsvik, built in 1813, is the oldest one in the canal. The impressive iron bridge dates from the same year. In the lock we are sometimes greeted with songs and flowers by the Kindbom family, a religious group.

  6. 6

    Forsviks bruk

    Forsvik is one of Sweden’s most interesting industrial communities. For six hundred years, iron has been worked, boards have been sawn and flour has been milled here. Historical buildings used for fine metalwork, a foundry and a wood pulp mill are found in this beautiful and unique environment. Exciting and informative displays tell about metalworking, engineering and life in this industrial community.

    On the cruise Göta Canal Highlights with M/S Wilhelm Tham we get to enjoy an interesting guided tour. If we are lucky the paddle steamer Eric Nordevall II will be moored in the harbour. The paddle steamer is a full-scale replica of the Eric Nordevall, one of Sweden’s first power-driven ships. The paddle steamer was built in 1836, but sunk 20 years later in Lake Vättern. It was rediscovered in 1980 at a depth of 45 metres. The Eric Nordevall II was launched in 2009 and made its first trip in 2011.

  7. 7


    We pass Karlsborg, which is located by the western shore of Lake Vättern. On the Classic Canal Cruise we visit the Karlsborg Fortress, which was initiated by Baltzar von Platen and built in 1819-1909. The fortress was intended to be used as the reserve capital of Sweden and house the royal family, the government, the gold reserves and the crown jewels in the event of war. Here you can enjoy an interesting guided tour of the fortress and the beautiful Garrison Church.

  8. 8

    Lake Vättern

    With a length of 135 km and a width of 31 km, Lake Vättern is Sweden’s second largest lake, 89 metres above sea level. The lake is unusually deep and its water is very clear.

  9. 9


    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. We visit the Motor Museum, with its large exhibition of antique cars and motorcycles in authentic surroundings, collection of radios, toys, household appliances and more. You can also walk to see Baltzar von Platen’s grave, about 1 km along the left side of the canal.

    On the cruises Grand Sweden Cruise and Göta Canal Highlights you have the chance to visit the Motala Motor Museum, with its large exhibition of antique cars and motorcycles in authentic surroundings.

    On the Grand Sweden Cruise and the Classic Canal Cruise we dock for the night in Motala. The Mini Canal Cruise starts or ends in Motala.

  10. 10

    Borenshult Locks

    The lock staircase at Borenshult is the second longest in the canal, with five locks connected and a total rise of 15.3 metres. Here you might hear the nightingale sing.

  11. 11

    Lake Boren

    Our boat slowly traverses Lake Boren (73 metres above sea level).

  12. 12


    In the idyllic village Borensberg there is a hand operated lock. The well-known Göta Hotel, built in 1908, is close to the lock. Next to the hotel there is a small gazebo leaning out over a sharp bend in the canal, known as the “Helmsman’s Horror”.

  13. 13

    Kungs Norrby, Aqueduct

    The aqueduct at Kungs Norrby was built in 1993 and leads over the national route 36.

  14. 14


    Our ship berths for the night at the jetty by the west bridge at Ljung. From here we have a fine view of Ljung Manor, which is regarded as one of the most important buildings of the Gustavian age. The Manor was built by Count Axel von Fersen the Elder, one of Sweden’s most influential men in the 18th century.

  1. 1

    Ljungsbro Aqueduct

    At Ljungsbro we pass one of the two aqueducts on our journey. This one was built in 1970. The canal crosses over the road so you can look down on the cars while you pass.

  2. 2

    Berg (Heda)

    We start our descent in the lock system of Berg (15 locks) towards Lake Roxen. The tour guide will take us on a walk (app. 3 km) to see the Vreta Kloster church and the remains of the convent. As an alternative you can walk along the canal or take a refreshing swim in Lake Roxen.

    The convent of Vreta dates from about 1100 and was the first nunnery in Sweden. Its importance was later superseded by the convent founded by Saint Bridget (St. Birgitta) at Vadstena. The old convent church at Vreta is one of Sweden’s most interesting, offering many medieval treasures. Today, it is used as a parish church and is therefore not always open to visitors.

  3. 3

    Berg (Carl Johan)

    The Carl Johan lock staircase is the longest in the canal with seven connected locks. This lock staircase will lower the boat 18.8 metres from the Berg guest harbour to Lake Roxen. Here we board the ship again before steering out on the lake.

  4. 4

    Lake Roxen

    This lake is 33 metres above sea level. The canal enters the lake at Norsholm on one side and Berg on the other.

  5. 5

    Norsholm´s lock

    The lock in Norsholm regulates the water level of Lake Roxen. Here the canal crosses the main railway line between Stockholm and Malmö. Our cruise Göta Canal Highlights with M/S Wilhelm Tham starts or ends in Norsholm.

  6. 6

    Optional bus transfer to Stockholm

    The bus arrives in Stockholm, by the Radisson Blu Royal Viking Hotel, Vasagatan 1 (next to the Central Station and the City Terminal). Please notice that this optional bus transfer to Stockholm has to be booked in advance. For information on other train and bus connections from Norsholm, please visit

  • Book a cruise, email or share this site with your friends
  • Book a cruise