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The Göta Canal, also known as ‘Sweden’s Blue Ribbon’, is one of the country's most important hydraulic engineering achievements. The 190-km long canal runs from Gothenburg in the west, to the Baltic Sea. Because of the large altitude differences, the canal has 58 locks. The Berg locks, 10 km from Linköping, are a spectacular sight.
In Berg there are seven successive locks that gradually lower or raise the passenger boats over a height of 30 metres, the difference in altitude between Berg and Roxen Lake. The forested landscape along the canal is wonderful for cyclists and walkers. To protect the natural environment of the canal, part of the fees paid by pleasure boats to use the canal is dedicated to planting new trees. In the summer season, up to 3,000 pleasure boats sail through the Göta Canal. The dates for the boating season vary each year, so always check in advance.
For many years, the Göta Canal was a very important waterway in Sweden, playing an important economic and strategic role. It was the main waterway that ran from east to west, via a number of large lakes. Now the canal is mainly a leisure destination for boaters, hikers and cyclists. The waterway attracts many visitors, but the area is quite large so you can still enjoy some peace and quiet time. The region features many car-free cycling and walking routes, with plenty of restaurants along the way to take a break.
Two passenger ships, the Wasa Lejon and the Ceres, sail every day from Berg for a cruise along the canal. For visitors who would rather stay on shore, there are many other activities to enjoy around Berg. Birdwatchers will find several good places to observe birds like the bald eagle and the black-tailed godwit. And just outside of Berg, in a lovely green landscape, lies the medieval Vreta Kloster. It is Sweden’s oldest monastery and houses a wealth of history.
Inaugurated in 1832, the Göta Canal was partially dug by hand. Led by the Swedish engineer Baltzar von Platen, 58,000 soldiers dug up 87.3 km of the canal. The other 104 km were part of a natural waterway. The locks make it possible to navigate the 91.7 m difference in altitude between the Baltic Sea and Lake Vänern.