Lake Vänern is Sweden's largest inland sea, and the third largest lake in Europe. About 80 miles long and
43 miles wide, it is a significant cruising area in itself, with numerous guest harbours and natural harbours. The whole area
is known as Vänerland
The cut across Vänern from the Gota Canal at Sjötorp to the Trollhattan Canal at Vänersborg is about 65 miles,
but many people go via the Ekens Archipelago, a delightful maze of islands about half way across the lake. We also stopped
at Mariestad, a sizeable town on the Southern shore.
Eckens archipelago is shallow and needs careful navigation, but it breaks the journey across the lake, and has some excellent
anchorages. At its western end is the Castle at Läckö, with its associated marina. The marina has a tricky entrance and only
about 1.6 meters of water, so after a bumpy crossing in 35 knots of wind, we had to moor on the pier outside. There are little
or no facilities, although there is a cafe at Läckö.
Another potential overnight stop is at Dälbergsa, on Vänern's Western shore. Entry is easy and it is only
about 20 miles south from there to V√§nersborg.
Slightly north of Ekens is the Lurö archepelago. We didn't visit this but it is reputed to be stunning. The
northen half of the lake also has its attractions, including the major town of Karlstad, and the Arviken, or Viking Way. This
is a 40 mile stretch of interconnected lakes (Max Height 16m).