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7183
Sweden

The Gota Canal: A Journey by Bicycle Through the Heart of Sweden

Cycle along Sweden’s beautiful Gota Canal on an educational journey from Vanersborg to Stockholm, stopping to learn about Sweden’s history and culture along the way.
Not yet reviewed
Program No. 7183RJ
Length
11 days
Starts at
2,999
Sweden

The Gota Canal: A Journey by Bicycle Through the Heart of Sweden

Cycle along Sweden’s beautiful Gota Canal on an educational journey from Vanersborg to Stockholm, stopping to learn about Sweden’s history and culture along the way.
Length
11 days
Starts at
2,999
Program No. 7183 RJ
climate
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At a Glance

Connected by a series of 58 locks, the Gota Canal courses 350 scenic miles from Lake Vanern and Lake Vattern to the Baltic Sea south of Stockholm in Soderkoping. Cycle along Sweden’s “Blue Ribbon” for important insights into the surrounding culture, history, architecture, landscape and people, visiting extraordinary castles and fortresses, museums and idyllic storybook villages all along the way.
Small Group
Small Group
Love to learn and explore in a small-group setting? These adventures offer small, personal experiences with groups of 10 to 24 participants.

Best of all, you'll ...

  • Discover medieval Vadstena's castle.
  • Glimpse some of Europe's oldest and finest collections of porcelain and pottery at the Rorstrand Centre.
  • Explore Karlsborg Fortress, one of the largest buildings in northern Europe, which was originally intended to serve as Sweden's central defense.
Visit the Road Scholar Bookshop
You can find many of the books we recommend at the Road Scholar store on bookshop.org, a website that supports local bookstores.
Eyewitness Guide Stockholm
by Kaj Sandell
This superb, fully illustrated guide to Stockholm and surrounding islands features dozens of local maps and site diagrams.
A History of Scandinavia: Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Finland and Iceland
by T.K Derry
Scandinavia from prehistory to the present with chapters on the Viking and Lutheran kingdoms, medieval times, monarchies, the World Wars and modern period, emphasizing the common cultural, political and social backgrounds.
Missing
by Karin Alvtegen
Set in contemporary Stockholm, this tautly constructed tale marks the U.S. debut of Karin Alvtegen -- Sweden's Queen of Crime. Intricately poltted and emotionally complex.
Lonely Planet Stockholm Encounter
by Cristian Bonetto
This lively shirt pocket guide to the city, jammed with personal recommendations and photographs, also includes a pull-out map.
The Saga of the Volsungs
by Jesse Byock (Translator)
Full of traditional Norse lore, including runic knowledge, jealous princes, betrayals, unrequited love, the vengeance of a Barbarian queen, the greed of Attila the Hun and the mythic deeds of a dragon-slayer, these tales are essential reading for anyone wishing to understand Viking society.
Stockholm, A Cultural History
by Tony Griffiths
A literary, cultural guide to the art, architecture, traditions and history of Stockholm.
Sweden Map
by Freytag & Berndt
A colorful map of Sweden at a scale of 1:600,000.
Fishing in Utopia, Sweden and the Future That Disappeared
by Andrew Brown
A eulogy to a lost way of life, memoir and travelogue, Brown's poignant account of his time in Sweden in the 1970s and many travels since (he was married to a Swedish woman) also traces changes in culture and society.
Stockholm, City of My Dreams
by Pers Anders Fogelstrom
Young Henning Nilsson arrives in Stockholm on the eve of the Industrial Revolution, eager for success, love and a fully experienced life, in this Swedish classic of historical realist fiction, happily now available in an English translation.
The Vikings
by Else Roesdahl
This well-written look at Norse civilization goes beyond the limited view of the ruthless Viking invaders, creating a full picture of the vibrant, artistic, agricultural and ex-ploratory culture
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
by Stieg Larsson
Larsson combines murder mystery, family saga, love story and financial intrigue into a complex and atmospheric novel set in Stockholm and the snowy landscapes of northern Sweden.
Culture Smart! Sweden
by Charlotte J. DeWitt
This concise no-nonsense guide to local customs, etiquette and culture includes a short overview of the land and people along with practical travel advice.
Eyewitness Guide Sweden
by Eyewitness Guides
A handsomely illustrated guide to the country with color photos, recommended attractions, history and background information.
The Vikings, Lords of the Seas
by Yves Cohat
An indispensable reference that fits in your pocket, this slim volume is packed with maps, archival photographs and illustrations. It tells of the Norse homeland, discoveries and settlements, and features a useful chronology and excerpts from the Viking Sagas. Part of the "Discoveries" series.
Letters on Sweden, Norway, and Denmark
by Mary Wollstonecraft, William Godwin
Groundbreaking feminist Wollstonecraft records her observations of a late 18th-century journey through Scandinavia in this small masterpiece, rich in detali of people and place.
Frommer's Stockholm Day by Day
by Mary Anne Evans
A compact shirt pocket guide, ideal for a short visit, featuring remarkably good suggestions for everything from food, hotels and neighborhoods to shopping. With a separate foldout map.
Stockholm Map
by itmb
A convenient, detailed map of Stockholm and surroundings at a scale of 1:12,000.
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11 days
10 nights
18 meals
9 B 0 L 9 D
DAY
1
Departure
In Flight
DAY
2
Arrival, Vanersborg, Bike Fitting, Welcome Dinner
Vanersborg
D
Quality Hotel Vanersborg

Activity note: There will be no biking today which provides an opportunity to relax and rejuvenate after your flight. The transfer from the airport to the hotel in Vanersborg is approximately 75 miles (125 km); about 90 minutes.

Afternoon: Transfer by coach to the hotel in Vanersborg, located on the southern tip of Lake Vanern. On arrival, we check into our hotel. Orientation: The Group Leader will greet everyone and lead introductions. We will review the up-to-date program schedule, discuss roles and responsibilities, logistics, safety guidelines, emergency procedures, and answer questions. A support vehicle will accompany the group while biking each day until after lunch in the event of emergency situations. Thereafter, the driver and vehicle will depart for the hotel to place the luggage in the rooms. Upon arrival in Vanersborg, bicycles will be fitted to the participant and testing will take place to insure participants are able to safely start, stop, and control their bicycle. Periods in the daily schedule designated as "Free time" and "At leisure" offer opportunities to do what you like and make your experience even more meaningful and memorable according to your personal preferences. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions. Program activities, schedules, personnel, and indicated distances or times may change due to local circumstances/conditions. In the event of changes, we will alert you as quickly as possible. Thank you for your understanding.

Dinner: In the Quality Hotel dining room, enjoy a dinner buffet plus water, coffee and tea; other beverages are available for purchase.

Evening: At leisure. Continue getting to know your fellow Road Scholars, settle in, and get a good night’s rest for the day ahead.

DAY
3
Safety Lecture/Trollhattan Canal Museum
Vanersborg
B,D
Quality Hotel Vanersborg

Activity note: Biking distance is 20 miles (34 kilometers). Walking approximately 1 mile (1.5 kilometers).

Breakfast: Hotel dining room.

Morning: After breakfast, followed by lectures on safety, rules of the road and the IBT corner system conducted by your group leader, we're off to Trollhattan. Visit the canal museum with a docent before taking a field trip to the waterfall and various failed canals of the 18th century. The Gota River drops dramatically here and was once a tremendous obstacle for ships to overcome. It is now the site of a 104-ft. "staircase lock".

Lunch: This meal has been excluded from the program cost and is on your own to enjoy what you like in Trollhattan. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions and give directions.

Afternoon: We continue our bicycling via the Vanersborg lock to return to our hotel.

Dinner: Hotel dining room.

Evening: At leisure. Be sure to prepare for check-out and transfer in the morning.

DAY
4
Vanersborg History Poet Birger Sjoberg/Bicycle to Lidkoping
Lidkoping
B,D
Stadshotellet Lidkoping

Activity note: Biking distance is 42 miles (70 kilometers). Walking approximately 1 mile (1.5 kilometers).

Breakfast: Hotel dining room.

Morning: We begin the day with a lecture on Vanersborg and one of its great poets and troubadours, Birger Sjoberg. Our cycling route will take us northeast through former Swedish elk country where royal elk hunts have been held since the 1500's.

Lunch: We will enjoy a picnic lunch at a restored school and local museum in Tun.

Afternoon: Depart for Lidkoping, renown for its former porcelain and pottery manufacturing. We'll follow the eastern coast of Lake Vanern to Kinneviken Bay where our hotel in Lidkoping awaits.

Dinner: In the Stadshotellet Lidkoping dining room, enjoy a three-course set menu plus water, coffee and tea; other beverages are available for purchase.

Evening: At leisure. Be sure to prepare for check-out and transfer in the morning.

DAY
5
Rorstrand Museum/Bicycle to Mariestad
Mariestad
B,D
Hotell Vanerport

Activity note: Biking distance is 39 miles (66 kilometers). Walking approximately 1 mile (1.5 kilometers).

Breakfast: Hotel dining room.

Morning: After breakfast, we're off on a field trip to the Rorstrand Museum for an introduction by a museum docent to the factory that has generated some of Europe's finest and oldest porcelain and pottery.

Lunch: This meal has been excluded from the program cost and is on your own to enjoy what you like in the museum cafe. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions.

Afternoon: Our bicycling route will take us through Lake Vanern's countryside to the 17th century town of Mariestad, known as the "pearl of Lake Vanern".

Dinner: At a local restaurant in Mariestad, enjoy a three-course set menu plus water; other beverages are available for purchase.

Evening: At leisure. Be sure to prepare for check-out and transfer in the morning.

DAY
6
Architecture of Historic Mariestad/Bicycle to Karlsborg
Karlsborg
B,D
Kanalhotellet

Activity note: Biking distance is 31 miles (52 kilometers). Walking approximately 1 mile (1.5 kilometers).

Breakfast: Hotel dining room.

Morning: You've come to Sweden to ride along the Gota Canal, and today, you'll have the first opportunity. Before departing Mariestad, participate in a lecture and field trip of the old town, focusing on architectural styles. Then we're off by coach to Lyrestad, where we get our first glimpse of the Gota Canal.

Lunch: This meal has been excluded from the program cost and is on your own to enjoy what you like in Wassbacken. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions and give directions.

Afternoon: We’ll follow the towpath as we head north around Lake Viken. Our route will take us through tranquil forested areas as we bicycle to our historic canal side hotel in Karlsborg.

Dinner: In the Kanalhotellet dining room, enjoy a three-course set menu plus water, coffee and tea; other beverages are available for purchase.

Evening: At leisure. Be sure to prepare for check-out and transfer in the morning.

DAY
7
Karlsborg Fortress Tour/Coach to Vadstena/Bicycle to Motala
Motala
B,D
Best Western Motala Stadshotell

Activity note: Biking distance is 15 miles (25 kilometers). Walking approximately 1 mile (1.5 kilometers). Motorcoach time approximately 1.5 hours (60 miles / 100 kilometers).

Breakfast: Hotel dining room.

Morning: Our first stop is the Fortress of Karlsborg for a lecture and field trip. Constructed between 1819 and 1909, the fortress was built as a defense strategy to house the Swedish Government and Treasury. The limestone used for the construction of the fortress was quarried by prison labor on the eastern side of the Lake Vattern and ferried across. By the time it was completed in 1909, fortresses were out of fashion.

Lunch: This meal has been excluded from the program cost and is on your own to enjoy what you like in Karlsborg. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions and give directions.

Afternoon: Embark on a motorcoach transfer to Vadstena for a field trip and lecture to the famous castle. Join a local guide to be enlightened on the history of this medieval site. We mount our bicycles and head north to Motala, founded by Baltzar von Platen in the beginning of the 19th century. Today, Motala is a modern industrialized city with a well-preserved past as the cradle of the Swedish engineering industry.

Dinner: In the Motala Stadhotell dining room, enjoy a three-course set menu plus water, coffee and tea; other beverages are available for purchase.

Evening: At leisure. Be sure to prepare for check-out and transfer in the morning.

DAY
8
Gota Canal/Borensburg/Carl Johan Lock Stairway/Linkoping
Linkoping
B,D
Quality Hotel Ekoxen

Activity note: Biking distance is 33 miles (55 kilometers). Walking approximately 1 mile (1.5 kilometers).

Breakfast: Hotel dining room.

Morning: Just a few minutes of bicycling and we reach reach the Canal Exhibition. Learn about the history of the Gota Canal, one of the largest construction projects undertaken by the Swedes, during a presentation including a walk through the old workshop area and the Industrial Museum. Our journey continues as we bicycle from Motala south of Lake Boren to Borensburg. Our route will takes us along the canal to Berg to visit the Carl Johan Lock Stairway with its impressive flight of seven interconnected locks, that raise and lower boats about 62 feet between Lake Roxen and Berg Harbor.

Lunch: This meal has been excluded from the program cost and is on your own to enjoy what you like in Berg. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions and give directions.

Afternoon: Our cycling continues to Linkoping, Sweden's fifth largest city and our home for the night.

Dinner: In the Hotel Ekoxen dining room, enjoy a three-course set menu plus water, coffee and tea; other beverages are available for purchase.

Evening: At leisure. Be sure to prepare for check-out and transfer in the morning.

DAY
9
Swedish Pensioners/Lake Roxen/Bicycle to Soderkoping
Soderkoping
B,D
Soderkopings Brunn

Activity note: Biking distance is 39 miles (65 kilometers). Walking approximately 1 mile (1.5 kilometers).

Breakfast: Hotel dining room.

Morning: Attend a lecture for insight on the Swedish social system before mounting your bicycle one last time. Using one of the many bicycle paths that traverse the city, we depart Linkoping and head for quieter cycling in the countryside south of Lake Roxen. The roads are quiet as we wind our way through this picturesque countryside.

Lunch: This meal has been excluded from the program cost and is on your own to enjoy what you like in Norsholm. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions and give directions.

Afternoon: At Norsholm, we join the Gota Canal once again and follow its path to the town of Soderkoping. This town was once a very important trading and shipping center where kings and noblemen gathered for meetings. In 1719, Magnus Gabriel von Block discovered that the waters of a local spring had medicinal properties, which led to the founding of a spa. Soderkoping had its heyday in the 19th century as a health resort and it is still a very popular destination.

Dinner: In the Soderkopings Brunn Hotel dining room, enjoy a three-course set menu plus water, coffee and tea; other beverages are available for purchase.

Evening: At leisure. Be sure to prepare for check-out and transfer in the morning.

DAY
10
Historic Soderkoping/Stockholm Gamla Stan/Farewell Dinner
Stockholm
B,D
Radisson Blu Royal Viking Hotel

Activity note: Walking approximately 1 mile (1.5 kilometers). Motorcoach time approximately 2 hours (110 miles / 185 kilometers).

Breakfast: Hotel dining room.

Morning: Having surrendered our bicycles, we resort to a more conventional mode of transportation, walking. This morning, we're off for a lecture and field trip to the heart of this former medieval trading center to learn the history of Soderkoping. The bell tower of the church is quite unique, so have your cameras ready! Board a coach to our final destination - Stockholm. There will be time for a quick snooze, but be sure to awake with time to absorb the magnificent views of the archipelago as we enter the city!

Lunch: This meal has been excluded from the program cost and is on your own to enjoy what you like in Stockholm. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions and give directions.

Afternoon: Our hotel is in a great location, not far from the harbor and a perfect base for trekking through the old town of Stockholm on a field trip to Gamla Stan, where the buildings originate from the 13th century. If you had a week to explore this marvelous city, you would still not experience all it has to offer. Therefore, embrace the time allotted for independent exploration before we meet for our farewell dinner.

Dinner: Recap your adventures and share your favorite memories with your fellow participants tonight at our farewell dinner in a local restaurant featuring a three-course set menu plus water, coffee, and a glass of wine; other beverages are available for purchase.

Evening: At leisure. Be sure to prepare for check-out and transfer in the morning.

DAY
11
Departure
In Flight
B

Breakfast: In the hotel dining room. This concludes our program.

Morning: Morning transfer to Arlanda Airport for departures. If you are returning home, safe travels. If you are staying on independently, have a wonderful time. If you are transferring to another Road Scholar program, detailed instructions are included in your Information Packet for that program. We hope you enjoy Road Scholar learning adventures and look forward to having you on rewarding programs in the future. Please join our Facebook page and share photos of your program. Visit us at www.facebook.com/rsadventures. Best wishes for all your journeys!






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