The Dalsland Canal

09/05/2014 10:10

Written by James Proctor

Dalsland Canal West Sweden Europe by Gaby Karlsson Hain West Sweden Tourist BoardRelax and enjoy the view along the Dalsland canal © Gaby Karlsson Hain, West Sweden Tourist Board

The Dalsland canal runs for 250km between Köpmannebro on Lake Vänern and southwestern Värmland, flowing through a fault in the bedrock. Opened in 1868 to transport timber and iron ore between Värmland’s forests and Lake Vänern, only 10km had to be dug, however, as the canal actually makes use of an interconnected network of lakes and waterways over its course. At the canal’s southern end, in Håverud, the canal passes through an aquaduct since the soft bedrock hereabouts made it impossible to build a lock. Between mid June and late August, two passenger boats, the 100-year-old MS Storholmen and MS Dalslandiaoperate between Håverud and Bengtsfors, a journey of around 4hours 30 minutes, passing through the aquaduct, 16 locks and some exceptionally beautiful countryside; food and drink is available on both boats. Of the two boats, MS Storholmen is much the more characterful and a tasty lunch of smoked salmon from Håverud is also served onboard, accompanied by dill potatoes and salad. A great combination is to take the boat in one direction, say from Bengtsfors to Håverud, and then to return to Bengtsfors by train. An annual canoe marathon is also held on the canal and adjoining lakes during the second week of August and makes quite a spectacle as hundreds of people tackle the 55km-long course.

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