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Cyclists on a dirt road in a working environment.

Photographer: Signe Koch

A Weekend of Gravel Riding in Dalsland with Signe Koch

  • Signe Koch, Gravel biker from Copenhagen

Since the COVID-19 pandemic hit, I've realized that not every trip needs to be distant or long to provide a break from everyday life and create lasting memories. Sometimes, adventure can be found right at your doorstep or just a short train or car ride away.

That's why I was intrigued when West Sweden invited me to explore Dalsland and its famous Swedish gravel. I had considered going there before but never made it happen, and looking back, that was a missed opportunity.

Photographer: Signe Koch


Staying at Upperud 9:9

On the last weekend of September, we packed our gravel bikes and set out for Dalsland, making our way to Upperud 9:9 for our first night. What we didn't know was that we were in for a treat with some of the friendliest hosts! The weather was overcast and the day was fading, but Upperud 9:9, a beautifully restored silo, felt as warm and inviting as coming home to your family.

The room was spacious and comfortable, with enough room for four people and a small kitchen to prepare your meals.

The view of the lake was breathtaking, making it an ideal place for a group of friends on a bike-packing adventure.

We were served Indian curry the Dalsland way in the super cute and cool restaurant. And the food was oh so good, homemade from local producers, just how we all love it. A good selection of local craft beer as well. There was nothing more to ask for after we had the apple crumble pie for dessert and almost couldn’t walk up the stairs to the room. To cap off the evening, the sauna was ready and inviting for a dip in the lake.


Local guide with stories about Dalsland

Friday was the first encounter with the famous Dalsland gravel roads. Eric from Dalsland Experience had planned a route and was our guide for the day. He was a very friendly and competent guide who clearly loved the area and was eager to let other people experience the amazing place.

Eric had endless stories to share about the area's history and his aspirations for the region.

And I agree that the gravel was out of this world!

Wide, smooth roads winding through the landscape seemed endless. Even Mikkel, who had only been riding bikes for a few weeks before our trip, thoroughly enjoyed the rides.

Photographer: Signe Koch

It was clear that you didn't need to be an experienced cyclist to explore the area. We concluded our ride with lunch at the Visit Dalsland Center, where we had the opportunity to see the famous aqueduct in Håverud.


Smooth gravel roads with small punchy hills

For the following two nights, we stayed at Baldersnäs Herrgård, a converted old mansion turned into a restaurant and hotel. It had a lovely park and a lakeside sauna, so it was only natural that we took another dip in the lake after our rides.

During our Saturday ride, we ventured out on our own, but Eric was with us in spirit as he had once again planned our route. We discovered that the landscape in Dalsland varied significantly. Despite being only a 30-minute car drive from our initial location, the riding here was different. The gravel roads were still smooth, but the forest was denser, and A LOT of small punchy hills.

Our legs were definitely tired after finishing this ride, cause it’s almost impossible not to push hard to get to the top of those little hills.

Midway through the ride, we reached our lunch spot at Not Quite, where the bakery Brukets Godaste is located. It was a very nice and sunny fall day, and many people enjoyed the bakery's offerings in the sun. We were treated to a delicious pizza and much-needed coffee after all the hills. At the time, we were blissfully unaware of the 2-kilometer climb waiting just after our lunch stop.

Photographer: Signe Koch

So, a bit full from the pizza, we embarked on the last leg of the ride, which led us along a scenic road on the edge of a lake. We concluded the ride with a dip in the lake and warming up in the sauna. 

On Sunday, we made our way back home, feeling happy, tired, and certain that we definitely have to come back and explore this area further.