Come and explore Lake Hornborgasjön and Falköping, Skara and Skövde in spring when the nature is slowly reawakening after winter. Discover an abundance of exciting visitor attractions, charming cafés, nature and cultural experiences. Here are 11 tips for local excursions!
The area around Lake Hornborgasjön offers many charming accommodation options with something a little extra special that provide an experience out of the ordinary. Combine charming accommodation with a picturesque hike or exploring historical sights, plateau mountains with sweeping views, art, cranes and cosy cafés. Here are some tips for accommodation in the area around Lake Hornborgasjön.
A special atmosphere rests over Varnhem, thousands of years in the making. Varnhem and its abbey ruins, located at the foot of Billingen, were a long-standing major spiritual, political, cultural and economic centre. The well-preserved environment of the abbey church serves as a final resting place for four mediaeval Swedish kings and the founder of Stockholm, Birger Jarl.
Klostersjön in Varnhem has been restored, so we can now look out over this abbey lake just as the monks would have done in their day. The short footpath around the lake affords fine views of the abbey grounds.
Round off your visit with coffee and cakes or a hot meal at Varnhems Klosterkafé right next to the church.
Take a drive along 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!
3. 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.)
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.
4. 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.
5. Picnic in a rolling landscape
The Valle area, located west of the table mountain Billingen, is an area with rolling hills, forest lakes and nature reserves. Buy coffee and pastries from one of the cozy cafés in the area and enjoy grand views from Jättadalen or blooming trees in Höjentorp-Drottningkullen. During a few weeks in May thousands of cherry trees blossom, and the area is most beautiful during dusk or dawn.
At Varnhem’s Klosterkafé you can purchase home made pastries for your picnic or enjoy them in their garden with a view towards Varnhem’s monastery church.
Stay at a personal B&B at Sjöbacken gård. They also offer packages with accommodation and hiking experiences in the area.
At Bergs bygdegård the popular Kafé Körsbäret is open only during spring. All red calendar days between April 16th and June 11th you can enjoy their tasty cherry pie.
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.
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.
Enjoy a unique art experience at Skara Konsthotell or Skara Stadshotell. The Konsthotell boasts a large, unique art collection, with works by Anders Zorn and others, while the Stadshotell has a number of works by Lars Lerin.
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.
Choose one of the two longer routes and stop off to view the impressive diabase pillars at Ryd Caves. From there you can enjoy glorious views of Skövde and the Skaraborg countryside. The ideal spot for a picnic.
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. Spring bathing, lunch and stylish shopping at Lake Simsjön
The arrival of the cranes heralds spring and longer days. What better way to embrace the season than a refreshing outdoor dip? Enjoy the tranquillity out at the far end of Lake Simsjön’s jetty and breathe deeply as you immerse yourself in the calm water. Many people find cold-water bathing delivers an increased sense of wellbeing with reduced stress, improved self-esteem and an increased feeling of happiness.
A cold refreshing dip demands refuelling with something hot and tasty afterwards. Try a delicious lunch, made from local ingredients, at Golfrestaurangen to warm you after your dip.
And round off your day out with a visit to the charming Qvarnegården in Rådene. Here you can browse homewares, antiques and flowers in a rural setting. Don’t forget to check their opening times before visiting.
11. Amundtorp Stone Ship
Amundtorp Stone Ship stands on a lush hillside, surrounded by several Iron Age graves. The site boasts sweeping views towards Lake Hornborgasjön and the plain, and as the sun sets over the landscape the site is bathed in a magical evening glow.
Combine it with tasty galettes or refreshments at nearby Mellomgården Café & Gårdsbutik.
Buy a pizza from Varnhem’s pizzeria not far from the site and enjoy a pizza picnic with spectacular views.
For opening times and prebooking (if required), please check individual websites.