Historical culture inland tour

Everyone who is visiting Sweden is - of course - looking for different things. When you think about sailing and exploring new places the most obvious destination might be some coastal towns, islands next to the sea or romantic outposts with a lighthouse on them and not too much more to see or do. That's definitely not all!

Alright, so you are more interested in historical sights and culture? But, what if you could combine history and culture with some relaxing time on a yacht, just sit on deck and relax over a good book while you see the beautiful landscapes pass by and not even have to worry about getting seasick? Let me tell you - it is possible!

As you might know, downtown Stockholm is located just at the spot where the Baltic sea to the east meet lake Mälaren to the west. As a matter of fact lake Mälaren wasn't even a lake before the medieval ages but more of a Baltic sea fjord, cutting deep into the Swedish inland. Later it got cut off from the sea due to land raise and due to it's extensive network of channels, fjords and bays it is the third largest lake in Scandinavia in regard of surface area and actually the one with the largest extent of navigable waterways, spanning big parts of eastern Sweden at these latitudes. 

Both the favourable climate of the area and the convenience of transporting goods on the lake's waters has made this area the richest and most prosperous throughout the country since thousands of years. As a result it isn't hard to understand why already the Vikings built their capital city - Birka - on an island in lake Mälaren (which, back then, not even was a lake). Later the first churches where built along it's shores and several castles followed as well as the archbishops' domes. Before long the Viking era turned to an end and the kings that followed moved the capital of the emerging Christian kingdom to Sigtuna, further north along the shores of lake Mälaren. In the east there was a strong fortification built on a small island at the entrance into the internal waterways. Quickly the fortification turned into a wealthy city that soon spread out across the neighbouring islands and after just a couple of years the king chose it as the location for the royal palace. Stockholm was born.

All this history contributes to the fact that lake Mälaren today is filled with loads of historically interesting sites and it's waterways still today - just like it was more than thousand years ago - are the best way to travel to them and see the cradle of our Swedish nation. 

On this tour you will get to know our history, starting from the Viking age and the former capital city of Birka, travel through the times, getting in touch with the archbishops in the cathedral of Strängnäs, meeting the whole royal ancestry at Gripsholm palace and see the modern times emerge on a steam train ride at Mariefred. At once you will learn more about Swedish culture in the cities we visit and make sure not to miss the most important part - go for a typical Swedish sauna and swim in the cold waters of the lake at Rastaholm!

While on board you can decide if you want to just relax on deck or if you want to, there will be many chances to learn more about navigation and how to manoeuvre a sailing yacht. Still you cannot expect too much of actually using the sails since the narrow waterways in the inland and the inconstant winds will make us prefer using the engine in many occasions. Anyhow your skipper will tell you all you ever wanted to know about Sweden, Swedish people, their history and culture. Welcome on board!

Day 1

- Gathering at the port (Vasahamnen, Stockholm) 8 am. Embarkation, stowing of luggage and provisions, briefing about the tour.

- Approx 9 am departure from Vasahamnen. A special highlight of this days trip is the passage through our capital with passing through the locks into lake Mälaren and passing under lots of bridges on our way. You will see a lot of the city from the seaside as well as a lot of marine traffic. Further on the tour takes us through the beautiful surroundings of the lake before we reach our destination Birka.

- Approx 2 pm, arrival at Birka. Time for a visit at the Viking museum, take a guided tour of the archaeological excavations, visit the St. Ansgars chapel and take a walk through the beautiful nature of the island. 

- Dinner on board or at local Viking style restaurant "Särimner".

Day 2

- Breakfast on board.

- Approx 10 am departure from Birka. The trip of this day isn't very long but will show you some more of lake Mälaren's lovely nature. After a while we arrive at our destination Mariefred.

- Approx 12:30 arrival at Mariefred. Visit to the royal castle of Gripsholm, famous for the royal ancestral gallery and Gustav III's private theater. Take a ride on the narrow gauge steam train to the manor "Taxinge Näsby" and have a stroll around the lovely small town of Mariefred. 

- Dinner on board or at a local restaurant of your choice.

Day 3

- Breakfast on board or at some local café.

- Approx 10 am departure from Mariefred. Our route this day will take us further westward through some narrow waters until we reach Strängnäs, our destination of the day.

- Approx 2 pm arrival at Strängnäs. Visit to the impressive bishops dome which is one of the largest sacral buildings in Sweden and boasts the biggest organ in Scandinavia. Walk through the old town and spend some time at the beautiful waterfront. On request a visit to the military vehicle museum "Arsenalen" with it's large collection of old tanks can be arranged. 

- Dinner on board or at one of several restaurants in town.

Day 4

- Breakfast on board or at some local café.

- Approx 10 am departure from Strängnäs. This day we head north and cross through the islands to reach the northern shore of lake Mälaren. Though the nature on the whole trip is beautiful, probably the biggest attraction of the day is the last hour when we ship up the narrow river "Enköpingsån" before reaching the town of Enköping.

- Approx 2:30 pm arrival at Enköping. Have a walk around the old town and visit the parks which are regarded as some of the most beautiful in eastern Sweden and boast several exotic flowers. 

- Dinner on board or at some local restaurant. Probably the best stop on this tour for having a pub night (depending on weekday). 

Day 5

- Breakfast on board or at some local café.

- Approx 10 am departure from Enköping. Slowly we start moving eastbound towards Stockholm again. Still we aren't right there yet. After crossing the infamous inland fjard Björkfjärden we reach our destination for the day, Rastaholm.

- Approx 3 pm arrival at Rastaholm. Just relax, go for a walk, try some of the water sport options offered or have a sauna in the sunset with some swimming in the waters of lake Mälaren. 

- Dinner on board or at the harbours own renowned restaurant and pub.

Day 6

- Breakfast on board.

- Approx 11 am departure from Rastaholm. Time for returning to Stockholm. Again you will have the opportunity to enjoy some of the magnificent views of our capital city. Going through the locks and beneath several bridges indeed is a special experience of it's own. At the end of the day we will be back where we started - Vasahamnen on the island of Djurgården in central Stockholm.

- Approx 3 pm arrival at Vasahamnen. Disembarkation, debriefing and discharge.

- approx 4 pm, end of the tour.