Cycle the Unionsleden
Moss - Dalsland - Karlstad
The Unionsleden traverses Dalsland’s magical forests, open countryside, swim friendly lakes and famous canals. Enjoy fantastic food and explore top-rated attractions, cultural gems and lock stations along your cycling adventure.
Explore very different landscapes
The Unionsleden is a borderless national cycle route in seven stages – from Moss in Norway to Karlstad. The route is 350 km long, 89 km of which go through Dalsland’s beautiful and varied countryside. One minute you’ll be cycling through pretty villages and the next past one of the many lovely lakes. You’ll ride along winding gravel tracks through forests and in open farmland with grazing animals, and you’re never far from a refreshing dip or a beautiful viewpoint to stop for a picnic.
Stages 4 and 5 are set in Dalsland, along a mixture of quiet asphalt roads, pretty gravel lanes and cycle paths.
Photographer: Tony Ryman
Cultural meccas, canoes and lock stations
Dalsland is a cyclist’s paradise, with a huge range of sights, restaurants, cafes and farm shops. You can watch both passenger ships and private boats glide past on Lake Lelång and the Dalsland Canal, and seeing all the water pouring into the 19th and 20th lock stations between Billingsfors and Bengtsfors is really exciting.
Maybe you’d like to have a trip on the canal, onboard the passenger ships MS Dalslandia or MS Storholmen? Hop off at Håverud and take the rail bus back. You can even try canoeing, just bike to Bootshaus where you can hire all the equipment, with or without guides.
Photographer: Christiane DIetz
And don’t forget to check out the inspiring exhibitions at the Not Quite cultural centre. You can also fill up your energy stores here in their café or bistro, or buy something freshly baked at the stone oven bakery Brukets Godaste.
Cycle in Ronja the Robber’s Daughter’s footsteps
If you decide to cycle stage 4, from Lennartsfors to Bengtsfors, then you’ll be in the area where parts of Astrid Lindgren’s well known book, Ronja the Robber’s Daughter, was filmed. If you’ve seen the film you might recognise the atmospheric forest the wild harpies lived in, as you pedal through it.
In Edsleskog, a hub for many hiking and cycle trails, you can visit the archaeological excavations of the old church. While you’re there enjoy the view of Lake Edslan from Edsleskogs Wärdshus. On the way to Edsleskog you’ll pass the Bräcke Ängar nature reserve, former agricultural land with a unique flora and fauna that’s well worth exploring.
Photographer: Tony Ryman
Don’t miss Dalsland’s highest peak, Baljåsen (302 metres above sea level). There’s a lovely hiking trail that takes you up to the top.
Cosy accommodation in beautiful settings
It’s important to eat and sleep well on your cycle tour. The Unionsleden is divided into achievable day stages and you can usually find somewhere nice to stop and eat. If not your accommodation can probably send you off with a tasty lunch bag.
Baldersnäs Herrgård is situated on the leafy peninsula in Laxsjön. You can enjoy local specialities here made from seasonal ingredients, alongside a magnificent view of the estate park, which dates back to the 1700s.
Photographer: Jonas Ingman
5 places you shouldn’t miss along the Unionsleden
1. Halmens Hus, Bengtsfors - Scandinavia’s only straw museum, with the best view in Dalsland.
2. Explore the area by canoe, Bengtsfors – Hire a canoe at Silverlake and discover Dalsland from the water.
3. Baldersnäs Herrgård, Dals Långed – Enjoy the surroundings, have a comfortable stay and eat well at one of Dalsland’s best restaurants, Öjentorps kitchen.
4. Villa Weidling, Fröskog – A cosy B&B with hiking trails on the doorstep. 5 minutes by bike from Fengersfors.
5. Not Quite, Fengersfors – A former paper factory that’s now a cultural centre. Exhibitions, bistro, bakery and shop.
The name Unionsleden
You might be wondering how the name Unionsleden came about. It’s because Sweden and Norway were once in a union, from 1814-1905. The union was confirmed in Moss in Norway and dissolved in Karlstad in Sweden, hence the route of the cycle path.
Length: 350 km divided into 7 stages between Moss in Norway and Karlstad in Sweden.
Terrain: Quiet asphalt lanes, gravel roads and cycle paths. The mapping tools provide good information about both terrain and altitude profiles.
Approximate timings: The Unionsleden is divided into seven day stages.
Moss – Askim, 45.5 km
Askim – Töcksfors, 57 km
Töcksfors – Lennartsfors, 41 km
Lennartsfors – Bengtsfors, 46 km
Bengtsfors – Edsleskog, 42.8 km
Edsleskog – Borgvik, 60 km
Borgvik – Karlstad, 60 km
Remember: Always wear a cycling helmet, respect the traffic and wear/take clothes suitable for the weather. The availability of and distance between services like shops, cafes and restaurants varies (a lot of the accommodation will provide a packed lunch for you to take). Pack a water bottle and snacks in case you run out of energy. It’s a good idea to bring a repair kit with tools and spare inner tube.
Waymarking: The Unionsleden is marked with red posts with the name "Unionsleden" on.
Difficulty: Varied levels of difficulty.
Start and finish: The path goes between Moss and Karlstad. Decide yourself where you want to start and finish. You can for example cycle between two places/hotels or individual stages.
Cycle map: Use a digital map of the Unionsleden or download a GPX-file.