Säffle Canal - Vikingaleden

Your journey along the Säffle Canal carries you from the open waters of lake Vänern to Sweden’s furthest port inland. Learn about the history of the area along the way and enjoy just living in the here and now. 

It is now two hundred years since Baltzar von Platen led the foundation work that resulted in the creation of the canal. When the waters of the river Byälven provided a direct link from innermost Värmland to the wider world via the port of Gothenburg, it led to the foundation of mills and flourishing harbour communities. The Säffle Canal was built in 1837 and was then widened to its present proportions in 1870. The Säffle Canal, also known as the Viking Trail, has been in use since ancient times, and the many ancient monuments and burial mounds that can be seen in the region testify to the importance of this route to the Vikings. The route was also used by pilgrims paying homage to Saint Olaf’s grave in Nidaros. There are many relics of this age to see and explore.

Let your eyes take in every view. Nature is at its closest when the canal narrows and you glide between the riverbanks and shore through a changing landscape that is full of life. Learn about the history of the area along the way and enjoy just living in the here and now. Occasionally lakes will open up ahead and give you stunning views of the countryside, particularly at Harefjorden, north of Säffle, and Glafsfjorden, where you pass through the narrow Ingesund before approaching the town of Arvika. Säffle Canal offers great fishing also. Fishing card are required. You can buy them at Säffle tourist office.

Säffle Canal is around 80 kilometres long and we recommend that you allow two to four days for this stretch. Dotted along the route are five marinas as well as opportunities to make occasional stops that suit your mood. There are plenty of opportunities to stock up with groceries, fish, eat and swim along the canal, as well as a wide selection of places to spend the night. There is a well-equipped canal service station at Säffle marina. Maximum dimensions for boats are 7.5 metres wide, 42 metres long, 3 metres draft and 16 metres high. 

One place not to be missed along the way is Säffle, the youngest town in Sweden, which you will see from its most attractive side. The river winds its way right through the town centre with jetties along the entire water front, so you can easily go ashore here. The tourist information office is very accessible to boating visitors, situated on an island in the middle of the river channel. Säffle has the only lock on the canal, as well as a five-star marina. Lock times and more facts about the canal and bridges along the journey can be found here.

At Nysäter, the waterway narrows and meets the intersecting roads. It is easy to see why this has been a place for people to meet and trade for many, many years. This is home to Värmland Viking Centre, which consists of a Viking museum with café and surrounding Viking village, which populated during the summer. On certain days you will be able try out Viking crafts and games. This is also the home port for the Viking ship Glad af Gillberga, a replica of an 11th century Viking ship. During the summer, you and your friends can also try rowing with this ship! In Nysäter are also available Crafts Café, which is open every day during the summer, Market Sheds from the 1600s and 1700s,  and Nysäter mound, which is probably a tomb from the Viking Age and Nysäter Home & Antique attracts guests from far away.

There are opportunities for shopping in many places, including farm shops, the factory outlet at the fine old Klässbols Linen Mill, and several stalls that sell local handicrafts and works of art. Ask at Säffle or Arvika Tourist Information Office when you plan your journey. Feel free to download our brochure Säffle Kanal - Vikingaleden, with pictures and maps, it is on swedish so complement the brochure by downloading; See and do. Hints along the way!