Live on board, 6 days – kayak and sail in Lake Vänern Archipelago

M/S Pärla

Experience the special hidden places amongst the archipelagos of Lake Vänern, by kayak paddling, sailing trips and comfortable accommodation in your own cabin on our two-masted motor yacht M/S Pärla.

We eat and sleep on board and take daytrips with kayaks. Lake Vänern has 22,000 islands, numerous archipelagos and an exceptional number of sunshine hours. We get an optimal experience of the most beautiful places by combining kayaking in the scenic shallow archipelagos, with safe and comfortable sailing over the sometimes unprotected waters of the Vänern inland sea.

The tours start from Mariestad. The archipelagos around Mariestad have many large nature reserves created to protect the rich natural assets. There are large undisturbed areas of wilderness with centuries-old pine trees where sea eagles and ospreys nest. If you are lucky, you may see a moose or a deer swim between the islands to graze. Brommö island has one of Sweden’s densest moose populations.

Weather permitting, we will kayak one day in the exotic and scenic Djurö National Park located in the middle of Lake Vänern. Here in the heart of the EU’s largest lake lie more than 30 islands and islets. “No archipelago in the country lies in such isolation and its very seclusion endears” County Administrative Board. In addition to the rounded smooth rocks, pebble beaches and the rich bird life, there is a large grassy clearing on the main island Djurö, which is kept open by fallow deer grazing. A nice contrast to the surrounding rugged pine forest.

Lake Vänern is an inland sea and kayaking can vary a lot based on the prevailing weather conditions. With M/S Pärla we can seek out the most protected locations possible and avoid lengthy unprotected crossings with the kayaks. For loading reasons, we primarily use tandem kayaks but single kayaks may also be available.

With 22,000 islands and islets in fresh water we need never be crowded, think about jellyfish or about rinsing off the salt after swimming. We can often find a beach to ourselves or an island to stop at, and the water is so clean that we can drink it directly from the lake when we get out a bit.

Programme 2017: (The boat can handle most weather, but in order to get good kayaking conditions the tour may sometimes need to be adjusted depending on the prevailing winds and waves)

Day 1:
Start 10.00 in Mariestad harbour.
Boat trip to Kalvö Nature Reserve which we often have to ourselves.
We explore the archipelago in Kalvö Nature Reserve from kayaks.
Spending the night in the Nature Reserve.

Day 2:
Boat trip to exotic Djurö National Park in the middle of Lake Vänern.
Kayaking trip in the scenic archipelago, looking for the sea eagles that we usually spot here.
Guided tour with stories of bygone days on Djurö.
Spending the night in the National Park.

Day 3:
We continue to the Lurö Archipelago Nature Reserve, which also lies well out in Lake Vänern, and kayak through the magnificent “island world”.
In the evening there will be a two course dinner at Lurö Inn which ends with a floating sauna and sunset view.

Day 4:
Boat trip to Kållandsö outside Lidköping.
Kayaking in the Kålland Archipelago Nature Reserve with its maze of small islands and islets.

Day 5:
In the morning we visit Läckö Castle for a guided tour and eat lunch at the Hvita Hjorten Restaurant in Naturum Vänerskärgården with local produce, some of which comes from the castle garden.
We sail away from Läckö to the islands in Brommö Nature Reserve. In open waters we can experience Lake Vänern as an inland sea.

Day 6:
Kayaking in Brommö Nature Reserve with its lovely sandy beaches.
Sailing back to Mariestad.
Arrive in Mariestad harbour about 18.00.

Things to consider:
The tour is subject to the prevailing weather conditions. It is an advantage if you have kayaked before but not a requirement.  We normally kayak for around 3-5 hours per day at a relaxed pace so you should able to cope if you are generally fit. With tandem kayaks it is possible to have an adult or a child with a little less ability in front, if the person behind can cope with a little more.

If you wish you can take a kayaking course at Vänern Outdoor before you take part in a multi-day trip.

Swimming ability of 200m is required.

Age limit: minimum 12 years

Number of participants: Minimum 4 participants, maximum 7 participants in cabins (otherwise maximum 8 participants)

Dates 2017:
23th – 28th July
21st – 26th August
3rd – 8th September

Prices 2017: SEK 11,900/person normal price in double cabin

21st – 28th July       Early booking – 20% reduction up to and including 17th April   SEK 9,520
21st – 26th August   Early booking – 20% reduction up to and including 17th April   SEK 9,520
3rd – 8th September Low Season – 40% reduction, SEK 7,140 

Included: Accommodation with sheets, fully equipped kayak, all meals, skipper/guide, two course dinner and sauna on Lurö, entrance and guided tour at Läckö Castle, lunch at Hvita Hjorten Restaurant, Wi-Fi (Except when mobile coverage is missing).

Not included: Alcohol and desserts in restaurants.

Extra night: One night’s accommodation before the start of the tour. Breakfast included. Minimum 2 people SEK 350/person

One night’s accommodation after the end of the tour. Minimum 2 people SEK 300/person

Transfer: Transfer to and from Landvetter airport in Gothenburg can be booked. Price: Max 4 people SEK 1,900/ each way. Maximum 8 people SEK 2,900/ each way

We help one another with various tasks such as; cooking, washing-up and loading of kayaks.

Sustainable ecotourism

Based in Mariestad, Vänern Outdoor is committed to experience-based ecotourism in and around Lake Vänern. Through our guided tours, we want to offer genuine nature experiences. We believe in the importance of giving many people the opportunity to experience nature up close to better understand its value and in doing so increasing the will to protect and nurture nature for future generations.

Vänern Outdoor has a thorough perspective on sustainability. We are careful not to leave any traces of ourselves in nature and want to ensure that our ecological footprints are as small as possible. All transports on land are undertaken with vehicles that run on biogas. The food is mainly organic with a low carbon footprint.

The tour takes place for the most part within the “Lake Vänern Archipelago and Mount Kinnekulle” Biosphere Reserve. An area designated by UNESCO as a model for sustainable development.