In Motala, also known as the Lake City of East Sweden, water is all around. Home to northern Europe’s largest inland beach, as well as the historic Göta Canal and Lake Vättern, Sweden’s second-largest lake, the municipality is a dream come true for travellers who love to be in the water, on the water, and around water.

Whether you are looking at your kid’s deflated unicorn float and dreaming about next summer’s family holiday or glancing longingly at your idle bike and pining for the meditative sound of wheels spinning and water rippling, Motala has the answer to your dreams. Indeed, with a total of 170 lakes in the municipality and the 190km long Göta Canal running through it, if water, and fresh water in particular, is your element, you will feel right at home in Motala.

If water is your element, Motala is your destination

On board Kung Sverker, travellers can enjoy a scenic boat ride down the historic Göta Canal.

“The lakes and the water are everywhere in all of the municipality – you are never more than five minutes away from it,” says Pia Axelsson, tourism development, Tillväxt Motala AB. “It gives a very special feeling when you can see water everywhere – its calming and recreational benefits are something we, who live here, feel every day, and we also clearly see the effect in people visiting.”

Of course, the water also invites a host of activities all year round, from canoeing, kayaking, and standup paddleboarding to winter bathing, ice fishing, and boating. Moreover, Varamobaden, a several kilometer-long sand beach set on the crystal-clear Lake Vättern, makes Motala a favourite destination for families with kids.

If water is your element, Motala is your destination

Varamobaden is a favourite destination for families with kids.

On foot or bicycle

You don’t need to get either on or in the water to enjoy Motala’s beauty and recreational benefits. With bicycle and hiking trails running along the Göta Canal and through the area’s nature reserves, those who prefer to stay on land can explore everything on foot or bike. Among the many trails are parts of Östgötaleden, a 1 400km long well-marked hiking trail that runs through the entire county of Östergötland.

However, as the home of Vätternrundan, the world’s largest recreational bike event, Motala is, probably, the most widely known among bicyclist enthusiasts. “People in Sweden think of Motala when they talk about cycling. I guess it’s because of the big Vätternrundan, but it is actually very accessible to cycle here all months from spring to autumn, both on country roads and on bicycle paths, and there are also plenty of options for mountain biking enthusiasts,” Axelsson explains.

Another way to explore the natural landscape dry-footed is by joining a boat tour. One of the most popular ones is the canal tour on MS Kung Sverker, which leaves from the town of Motala and sails through the canal with a stopover in the local village Borensberg.

If water is your element, Motala is your destination

A piece of Swedish history

On top of its natural beauty, Motala also has a lot to offer for visitors interested in the history of construction and industry. The greatest attraction, of course, is the Göta Canal; built in 1822, it has received recognition as the construction of the millennium in Sweden. Apart from its picturesque beauty, the Motala stretch of the canal also includes the Borenshult lock, which is, with its five locks and 15 meters difference in water level, the steepest of its kind along the canal.

If water is your element, Motala is your destination

Alongside the canal’s shores in the town of Motala, visitors will also find the Motala Workshop. Established by the canal’s constructor, Baltzar von Platen, the workshop initially served to maintain the canal construction but eventually became one of the country’s leading industrial enterprises specialising in bridge and railway construction equipment. Today, it is referred to as “the cradle of Swedish workshop history”, but it is also of great significance to the local area as all its workers and their families settled in the area, establishing the rural industrial community that created Motala. “When you go for a walk through the area around the old workshop, you feel how it has retained its industrial atmosphere,” says Axelsson. “It is the old part of the town, and it has this kind of historical aura – you can feel its significance.”

The area is also home to Lokverkstan, an old locomotive workshop that has been renovated into a unique and raw concert venue (arena), attracting both young and old music lovers.

Indeed, with its natural beauty, historical significance, and accessible scale, Motala is a destination for everyone, young and old, sporty or laidback, and everything in between.

If water is your element, Motala is your destination

Motala is the home Vätternrundan, the world’s largest recreational bike event. Photo: Pia Axelsson

Location: Motala is situated on the eastern shore of Lake Vättern, approximately 240 km from Stockholm and 165 km from Gothenburg.

The population of the municipality of Motala is approximately 44,000 people.

Motala is the start and end destination of the famous 315 km Vätternrundan, the world’s largest recreational bike event. Vätternrundan takes place in June every year.

Web: www.motalasjostad .se
Instagram: @motalasjostad

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