Covering a whopping 5600 square kilometres (four times the size of Greater London), Lake Vänern (w vanerland.com) totally dominates the map of Sweden, stretching 140km in length from Trollhättan, northeast of Gothenburg, up to Karlstad. Travelling along the lake you could be forgiven for thinking you’re on the coast: the endless vistas of water and sky really do resemble those of the sea. Indeed, such is its size that the Swedish Met Office even produces a shipping forecast for the lake.

Vänern was created after the last Ice Age about ten thousand years ago. Very slowly, as the land began to rise following the retreat of the ice, islands formed in the extensive waters that once covered this part of southern Sweden; with further landrise, today’s familiar pattern of forest and lake gradually took shape. Consequently, Vänern – and neighbouring Vättern – contain several species of marine life left over from the Ice Age and not normally found in freshwater lakes.

Travel offers; book through Rough Guides

Sweden features

The latest articles, galleries, quizzes and videos.

You’ll soon be able to stay at the ICEHOTEL throughout the year

You’ll soon be able to stay at the ICEHOTEL throughout the year

The ICEHOTEL, constructed from snow and ice each year, has long been Swedish Lapland’s blockbuster attraction. It features in our list of the top 21 things to…

19 Apr 2016 • Eleanor Aldridge insert_drive_file Article
Trail-running in the stunning Swedish countryside

Trail-running in the stunning Swedish countryside

Ros Walford goes leaping over granite rocks to give you the lowdown on Sweden’s only coastal trail-running race.  What is this strangely named Icebug Xperie…

09 Nov 2015 • Ros Walford insert_drive_file Article
Scandinavia for first-timers: 7 ideas for short breaks

Scandinavia for first-timers: 7 ideas for short breaks

On the face of it, Scandinavia isn’t a very sensible place for a holiday. For one thing, it’s almost always going to be colder than the place you’re leavi…

09 Oct 2015 • Steve Vickers insert_drive_file Article
View more featureschevron_right

Join over 60,000 subscribers and get travel tips, competitions and more every month

Join over 60,000 subscribers and get travel tips, competitions and more every month