Come and discover Lake Hornborgasjön, Falköping, Skara and Skövde in summer, with nature at its greenest, the sun sparkling on the lakes and birds singing high in the sky. Discover an abundance of exciting visitor attractions, charming cafés, nature and cultural experiences. Here are 11 tips for local excursions!
1. Historical ruins at Varnhem Abbey
A special atmosphere rests over Varnhem, thousands of years in the making. You can visit Kata Gård here – the ruins of a thousand-year-old farm church from the 10th century. Kata Gård also has an exhibition where you can learn all about the Christian Vikings who lived here.
The lake Klostersjön in Varnhem has ben restored, and we can once again look out over a calm lake, just as the monks did in their time. A short walking trail goes around the lake and offers nice views towards the beautiful monastery church.
And you can round off your visit with coffee and cakes or a hot meal at Klosterkafét.
Take a drive along the Skaraborg Culture Route, passing through Varnhem. It’s a brown & white signposted tourist route from Karleby to Tidan with numerous interesting sights along the way. Download the app and head out on an exciting road trip!
2. Mediaeval abbey ruins
The Cistercian abbey at Gudhem was a convent founded in the 1160s. It enjoys a beautiful setting with views over Lake Hornborgasjön. Today you can explore the abbey ruins and Gudhem parish church. There is also a small abbey garden and museum. (The museum opens in May.)
Enjoy lunch or refreshments at Cesarstugan in Östra Tunhem. Don’t forget to visit their ‘The Year of the Farmer’ exhibition.
Shop for homewares and take a coffee break at Kdesign in Östra Tunhem.
Gudhem Abbey was where Arn’s betrothed Cecilia spent 20 years of penance, while Arn was sent to fight as a Knight Templar, in Jan Guillou’s Crusades trilogy.
3. Plateau mountain offering activities and beautiful views
At Mösseberg in Falköping you can enjoy a variety of wonderful nature experiences, outdoor activities and beautiful views of Falbygden. The tracks and hiking trails on the mountain vary in length and type, and are suitable for walking, running and mountain-biking. You will also find a disc golf course, play areas and a small animal park.
Lunch or perhaps a spa day at Kurorten Mösseberg? Want to stay a little longer? They also offer overnight accommodation in a delightful spa resort setting.
Small-town shopping in Falköping town centre, with a pleasing selection, charming cafés and first-rate service.
A large cheese shop and delicatessen, refreshments and a cheese buffet can all be found at Falbygdens Osteria.
Did you know that...?
Mösseberg is 327 m above sea level and forms part of Platåbergens Geopark. Västergötland boasts 15 table mountains.
4. Enjoy an evening visit to the Valle district
Take a trip to the beautiful Valle district. A gentle, rolling landscape dotted with lakes, like something from a fairytale. You can enjoy gorgeous flower meadows, shady deciduous forest, an abundance of small, sparkling lakes and picturesque nature reserves that follow one after another. Pack a picnic for an evening outing to Lycke lilla höjen nature reserve, where you can dine with sweeping views of nearby Kinnekulle Mountain.
Just a stone’s throw from Lycke lilla höjen you can visit the small farm shol Lycke Lamm. Say hello to the lambs and visit the shop that sells sheepskin, homemade honey and interior design.
Experience echoes of the past at Höjentorp - Drottningkullen. Learn about the royal figures who once lived on the site of this scenic nature reserve and explore the ruins of the once magnificent Höjentorp Castle.
Hike around Flämsjön, a small lake at the heart of the picturesque Valle region. The Flämsjön hiking trail offers a picturesque and varied hike through pastures with oak and broad-leaved woodland. It runs close to Lake Flämsjön at certain points, and you also pass through Eahagen nature reserve.
Round off your hike with a dip in the clear waters of Lake Flämsjön. You’ll find a bathing jetty at Flämslätt and numerous spots along the trail that offer the opportunity for a dip from the shore.
Don’t miss Remningstorps arboretum– a fascinating and informatively labelled collection of unique trees. The trail passes through the arboretum.
6. Skara – a historic small town close to Lake Hornborgasjön
The historic neighbourhoods in Skara’s picturesque town centre are home to a number of treasures. A visit to the magnificent cathedral is a must when visiting the town, and there is a strong sense of history as you stroll around the area.
Bringing your dog along? Call in at Najas for refreshments, with delicious goodies on offer for both you and your four-legged friend.
Within the walls of the Old library you’ll find not only Bokäventyret, but also the beautiful 19th-century library with its original flooring and floor-to-ceiling bookshelves.
7. Hiking trail through varied landscapes
The Trollstigen hiking trail winds its way through forest, past dramatic crags and sweeping vistas on the plateau mountain of Billingen. The trail offers three different route lengths, so you can choose the most appropriate one for you. It’s a trail that not only allows you to experience the unique landscape of Billingen, but also to explore some of its historic sites.
Buy lunch or refreshments from Restaurang Berget and enjoy a delicious luxury picnic en route.
The trail passes through the hidden gem that is Rhododendron Valley. Don’t miss out on exploring this park-like oasis to marvel at the exotic plant life to be found here. The large rhododendron bushes flower in late spring, transforming the area into a magical location.
Explore the yellow Trollstigen Trail with your children, with challenges to tackle along the way. The route ends at the Skogsmulle Kingdom, where children can visit the quaint homes of the characters and learn more about nature.
If you fancy a longer hike, you can start the Billingen Trail from the recreation area on Billingen.
8. Sweden’s largest collection of ‘hill cottages’
The Åsle Tå heritage centre has ten preserved ‘hill cottages’ (backstugor). Wander along quaint Tågatan, step inside the cottages and experience a unique historic environment dating from the 18th and 19th centuries. Café & Restaurang Åsle tå serves home-made refreshments and dishes using locally produced ingredients.
Several kilometres from Åsle Tå is Wrågården, where you can view elk and bison, visit their farm shop, or enjoy refreshments or home-made pizza. If you want to extend your visit, you can stay overnight in a selection of cottages shaped like elk or bison.
9. Hiking through lakeside meadows and cultural landscapes
Experience the tranquillity of the lakeside meadows and enjoy views of Lake Hornborgasjön. There are numerous hiking trails of varying lengths and character close to the lake. The Hångerleden trail takes you through meadows and past attractive stone walls and old oak trees. At Utloppet there’s a short trail that’s good for spotting black-necked grebes, while the Ytterbergsleden trail runs around a peninsula with beautiful views of the lake.
Visit the Naturum Hornborgasjön visitor centre, which is built out over the water. It houses an exhibition about the lake and its abundant birdlife. Next door to the visitor centre you can enjoy refreshments accompanied by beautiful views of the lake at Café Doppingen.
Discover beautiful art indoors and out at Löfwings Ateljé & Krog. They also serve home-made refreshments and lunches. And if you want to stay a little longer in the area, they offer charming B&B accommodation too.
Other overnight accommodation options in the area include Nästegården, where you stay in a picturesque 19th-century setting with restored period buildings, and Bosgården with its charming cottages.
10. Natural beauty and fascinating historical features at Silverfallet
Attractive waterfalls plunge down the western slopes of Billingen plateau mountain at popular Silverfallet nature reserve. The water flows over limestone slabs, alum shale and sandstone, making it a picturesque spot to visit all year round. In addition to the natural beauty and majestic falls, there are also fascinating historic remains to be found.
Just a stone’s throw from Silverfallet is Karlsfors Gård, offering campervan pitches, plenty of parking and toilets. It’s also home to a charming interior design store with a café and an art gallery.
Visiting with children? Perfect! You can borrow an activity pack from Karlsfors Gård containing nature bingo, a magnifying glass, binoculars, facts about nature and lots of other fun stuff for the whole family.
Just a few kilometres from Silverfallet is Lake Lången, where you’ll find Melldala bathing spot. Perfect for hot days when you need a refreshing dip.
11. Beaver safari along the river Flian
Gliding through valleys along the river Flian by canoe is a magical experience. Guided summer-evening beaver safaris offer a great chance of spotting beavers up close. The wildlife along the river includes plenty of other animals and birds, so you’re guaranteed an unforgettable shared nature experience. The departure point is Herrtorps Qvarn.
Don’t miss Restaurang Öringen, serving tasty locally produced fare and delicious cakes.
Cycling adventures! The Läck-Kinnekulle app has a cycle route through the countryside surrounding Skara, passing Herrtorps Qvarn and many other interesting sights.
For opening times and prebooking (if required), please check individual websites.