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Eastern Gota Canal

This is a brief summary of the places we believe are worth a stop along the Gota Canal. This page deals with the Eastern Gota, from Mem to Motala


The Entrance at Mem

The journey up from the sea is still something, as the land closes in, isolated rocks get fewer, and you pass grand sites like the castle at Stegeborg. The canal entrance at Mem however, is nothing much - a long wall, a diesel pump and a small shack to take your money. Beyond the lock, there is a small marina (Booms) and a cafe.


Only 3 locks from Mem, Söderköping makes an ideal first night's stop, particularly as the bridge just beyond Soderkoping only opens on the hour and half-hour. The marina is just to West of the lock, and has both booms (largest to the West) and alongsides mooring.

The town itself is one of the largest on the canal, which doesn't say much, but although the ubiquitous grain silos are somewhat off-putting at first, it does have some character. In the grounds of the church, there is an amazing 50 meter high timber bell-tower, dating from 1582. There are also other ancient interests.

One thing definitely worth doing is to climb the hill immediately alongside the canal. At the top is an observation platform and picnic tables that look back over the canal and the town - all without guard rails!

There are a number of resturants, including a Tapas bar which often has special offers for Boat owners.


Borensberg Lock

There are 11 locks (including 2 doubles) from Söderköping to Norsholm, as the Canal starts to climb. Asplången, a shallow lake en-route, makes a good lunch stop. The marina at Norsholm consists of a few alongside stages, and facilities are few. If you have time, it may be better to press on over Lake Roxen, to Berg.

The lock to the lake has less than a metre drop, and you simply hang on to ropes on the lock side. The lock itself is sandwidged between a road and a railway bridge.

Lake Roxen is about 10 miles across. There are a couple of other stopping possibilities, notably Linkoping (not included in the Canal marinas) and an anchorage on the north shore at Dymlingen

The Staircase at Berg The Kanal Krogen

One of the two major lock staircases of nine locks occurs immediately leaving Lake Roxen at Berg. Berg Lower 'marina', accessible from the lake, consists of a number of stern bouys and a quay, little else - the nearest facilities are at the top of the flight. Yachts go up or down the flight in groups, and its not uncommon to wait - it can be up to 3 hours. There is a board showing the next 'up' time. We arrived after the canal had closed and the locks were full of kids jumping in.

Berg Marina proper is a large sheltered pool at the top of the Staircase, with mooring to stern bouys. It has electric, water, showers, and a cafe. A superb and reasonably priced resturant, the Kanal Krogen, is alongside the next lock up. There is another, lesser, resturant opposite and a small supermarket about 300 yards away. There is no town, as such.

We found Berg is one of the nicest places on the Canal.

The Gota Hotel The Fountain at Borensberg

There are 4 double locks above Berg marina, and then about 10 miles of canal to Borensberg. This is a picturesque little spot, and well worth a stop.

The marina, in common with others, consists of some staging following the Lock (which is another small 'levelling' lock, and is manually operated). The marina is protected, but open to Lake Boren.

The most well known part of Borensberg is the restored Gota Hotel, where you can eat outside on the terrace. The food is good, although not as historic as the Kanal Krogen. There is another resturant over the river bridge, as well as a few Pizzerias, and an ICA supermarket.

One other fun feature is the fountain set into the canal opposite the hotel. This fires up automatically every 15 minutes, which can be disconcerting (and wet) if you happen to be passing in a boat.


On the far side of Lake Boren is another staircase at Borenshult. A tying up spot exists similar to Berg, but once on the other side of the staircase it is a short trip to Motala on Lake Vattern.

The canal engineering works are based at Motala and now hosts an exhibition - which was not exactly popular when we went past.

Motala boasts a modern (i.e Sixties) shopping centre with a couple of good supermarkets, but little to keep you. The marina is open to Lake Vattern and gets a little rough in a gale. The cafe in the marina however does a good and popular lunch dish.

The Marina in the Moat at Vadstena Vadstena Harbour

A major meca for both Yotties and Tourists alike, but not on the canal proper, and hence not included in the mooring deals for the canal, Vadstena is about 6 miles South of Motala, and a superb place to stop. You enter the harbour and track right up to the castle moat, turning to Port at the last moment and mooring in 2 meters of water to Stern Bouys.

The imposing castle, which dates from 1260, and was conceived as a base for troops to harrass the invading Danes, and really only has buildings on the Lake side. These buildings originally housed royalty, but now boasts a conference centre and museum. You can get tours in English which will entertain you with disturbingly frank tales of the sanity of the Swedish royal family. The rest of the castle is a national archive and is off limits.

Apart from the picturesque town, which has kept its medieval layout and feel, the other major attraction is the Abbey and Convent of St Birgitta.

Useful resources

NV8 Gota Canal Chart Book

Gota Canal Booklet
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