What do you get when you cross the civil engineering project of the century, an ambitious government minister and a desire to evade Danish tariffs? Why the Göta Canal of course! It’s a one stop shop for tourists today, but when it was first built it was also a major trade route and the largest civil engineering project ever embarked upon in Swedish history.
Conceived of many centuries before it’s realization, the Göta Canal was begun in May of 1810 and was expected by Baltzar von Platen, the man in charge of the project, to become the major thoroughfare for goods and passangers throughout the region. After it’s 22 years of construction von Platen’s dream was acheived and throughout the 19th century served not just Sweden but all of Europe. Today however with planes, trains and automobiles, it has transformed into the biggest tourist attraction in West Sweden.
Stretching 190 kilometers and comprised of 58 locks, the Göta Canal passes through beautiful countryside, fantastic restaurants, and fascinating museums among other tourist beloved staples. You can cruise its waters, bike its shores, and even fish its inhabitants! More of the myriad activities along the canal can be found online here, along with accommodation and dining options, and historical info or you can peruse the online version of the Gota Canal Magazine filled with all the tourist info you could possibly require.
And just something to think about while you’re lounging lazily on the boat passing through the locks, that the structure you’re sailing took about 85 million (85,000,000) man-hours to make!