From charming towns to mountain hills, Skaraborg has it all
By Hanna Andersson | Photos: Tobias Andersson/skaraborg.nu
Between Sweden’s largest lakes, Vänern and Vättern, you find Skaraborg – an area consisting of 15 small municipalities sharing a diverse and multidimensional landscape. Here, you can explore a broad mix of everything Sweden has to offer, with just an hour’s travel time between its lakes, mountains, fields, forests, and charming communities.
Although it might look like a struggle getting to Skaraborg, it is actually incredibly easy. You can travel to Skövde, the largest town in the area, by train from Stockholm in two hours, and from Gothenburg in just one hour. Subsequently, you can continue your journey through the area by public transport, on bicycle, or by foot – there is no need for a car!
In fact, Skaraborg has developed a variety of interrail journeys that enable travellers to hop on and off to experience all of the area’s offers. It is the perfect way to create your own cocktail of nature, culture, and culinary treats without feeling stuck in just one place – instead, you can take advantage of everything you discover along the way.
One of the train journeys you can take through Skaraborg is Kinnekulletåget, the Kinnekulle Railway, which has been named the most beautiful train journey in Sweden. It travels between Gothenburg and Örebro but, most importantly, takes you through all the gems and adventures of Skaraborg. For example, it stops in Mariestad and Lidköping – two of Skaraborg’s larger communities located by Lake Vänern.
The adventures along the railway are endless and gives you the opportunity to not only see a great part of the area but also to skip the car.
From castle to cabin
Skaraborg offers a range of places where you can stay during your visit. Whether you favour hotels with extensive breakfast menus, cosy bed and breakfasts, or camping sites straight on the lake side, Skaraborg has it all. You can even stay in a castle if you fancy!
The variety of living opportunities makes it an equally ideal destination for busy families, friends in search of adventure and couples looking for a quiet getaway.
From lakes to mountains, Skaraborg lets you enjoy all that nature has to offer. The two grand lakes encapsulate the area and ensure proximity to water at all times. The lakes are actually big enough to include an archipelago – a fact not known by many. Additionally, Vänern is Europe’s largest lake, and Mariestad’s shoreline stretches for an impressive 140 kilometres along the body of water.
Moreover, the unique flat and layered rocks of Skaraborg’s Platåberg (the Table Mountain), merited it the nomination as Sweden’s first UNESCO Global Geopark. In the mountains, you can enjoy a day of hiking, fantastic views, thundering waterfalls, and the extraordinary history behind the astonishing formations.
Something for everyone
With its diverse community and landscape, everyone is sure to find something to their liking in Skaraborg. If you are seeking peace and solitude, you will find it watching the pikes play by the shoreline or listening to the birds as you walk through the forests. If, on the other hand, you are more into culture and culinary experiences, the many charming towns and villages of the area will provide you with just that.
For instance, why not visit Vara, a small town with a dynamic and busy concert hall. Here, you will also find Conditori Nordpolen. Established in 1903 – this cosy and intimate pastry shop and bakery has been named Sweden’s best patisserie by the White Guide.
And to enjoy some of the area’s great history, you can visit Skara where the old town takes you back 1000 years, or you can stop by Varnhem Abbey and explore the monastery and its ruins. Here you will find the final resting place of four Swedish medieval kings as well as Stockholm’s founder, Birger Jarl.
A growing community
Without a doubt, the diversity of Skaraborg is one of its defining features – guests can go from learning about the Middle Ages to visiting amusement parks and discovering the charismatic towns without any significant travel time.
Moreover, the community in Skaraborg is something highly treasured, and the municipalities are continuously working together to unite this area as it grows not only as a holiday destination but also as an inspiring and attractive place to settle down.
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