Lake Vattern

One summer a few years ago, we spent one week with our children on Lake Vattern, the second largest lake in the country after Lake Varnern. It is also the sixth largest lake in Europe, with a long and finger-shaped body in south central Sweden and has a total surface area of about 1,912 km2. The average depth is 41 meters, with the deepest one at 128 meters south of the island of Visingso.


We based ourselves in a small pretty city by the lake called Motala, about 244 km southwest of Stockholm. It is on the eastern shore of the lake and is considered as the centre of the Gota Canal and surrounding lake region. The city is the third largest city by Lake Vattern and Ostergotland county, after Linkoping and Norrkoping, with a total population of around 41,000 people.

We rented a cosy two-bedroom cottage in Motala right by the lake that had a jetty and canoe. You can find many of these types of cottages for rent weekly or monthly in Motala, Vadstena and the other cities situated by the lake. Lake Vattern is also known for its lake monster inhabiting the water! It was a wonderful holiday- a week of relaxation and water sports where we went kayaking, fishing and did barbeques by the lake.

Lake Vattern has been quite famous for its excellent quality of transparent water, where several municipalities in the area receive their drinking water directly from the lake. It is also famous for its fishing produce which has been  serving the local community for centuries.

We also managed to do a bit of sightseeing in the nearby historic city Vadstena, which is 16 km south of Motala.

Vadstena Abbey and Vadstena Castle

Vadstena was established in 1400 and has a population of around 10,000 people. Despite this small number it is still referred to as a city because of two historical sites: Vadstena Abbey and Vadstena Castle.

It was in Vadstena Abbey during the year 1346 that St Bridget of Sweden, a mystic, saint and founder of Bridgettines nuns and monks established her first monastery, the Bridgettine Order. She was assisted by King Magnus IV and his wife Queen Blanche of Namur who in their will left ten farms in to the abbey. It remains a church to this day visited by both Roman Catholic and Lutheran pilgrims, while the present-day monastery of Bridgettine nuns is now centred in a convent nearby.

Vadstena Castle was originally built in 1545 by King Gustav I as a fortress with three stone buildings facing Lake Vattern, to shield enemies from entering Stockholm. In 1550, they began reconstruction from fortress into a renaissance-style castle. Today, it serves as a museum that houses 16th and 17th century furniture, portraits and paintings. During the summer time, the castle’s courtyard hosts classical and pop music concerts.

Recommended Restaurants

Motala: Motala Stadshotell, Malboden Café & Vandrarhem, Hamnpiren Café & Bistro and Resturang Lyckan.

Vadstena: Vadstena Munkkloster, Ladugard 206, Gyllenhammars Resturang & Vardshus and Resturang Hornet.