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11 winter experiences

Discover Lake Hornborga

Keen to do an excursion, discover something new or simply to enjoy coffee and cakes at a charming café? Here are some tips if you want to get out and enjoy the crisp winter air, the beautiful landskape and great visitor attractions. If you’re also looking for interesting accommodation, then view our 11 tips below.

1. Accommodation

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, winterbirds and cosy cafés. Here are some tips for places to stay in the area around Lake Hornborgasjön.

2. Rural interior design stores

The latest trends for winter, classic homewares or old-fashioned and retro. The area around Lake Hornborgasjön boasts a number of charming rural interior design stores with beautiful items for your home. 


  • Turn your shopping excursion into a road trip and take the opportunity to enjoy coffee and cakes en route, as many of the stores also feature their own café.

3. Hike through lakeside meadows and view local birdlife

The area around Lake Hornborgasjön is a picturesque location to visit all year round and has an abundance of birdlife and a fascinating natural environment with several hiking trails. Experience the tranquillity of the lakeside meadows and enjoy views of Lake Hornborgasjön. In winter you may be lucky enough to spot white-tailed eagles soaring up high or attractive smews diving to search for food. 


  • Naturum Hornborgasjön visitor centre and Fäholmen have some great barbecue areas for a wonderful winter excursion with picnic lunch.
  • For four Sundays in January 7, 14, 21 and 28 our Trandansen site at Bjurum will be open, with a team of knowledgeable bird experts on hand between 08:00 and 16:00 to provide information on the birds and eagles around in winter. 
  • 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.

4. Winter on Billingen Mountain

Billingen plateau mountain never runs short of activities to offer. There’s always something to do all year round. As an official Vasaloppet centre, Billingen Skövde offers excellent cross-country trails of varying levels of difficulty. If your passion is more for snowboarding and alpine skiing, Billingebacken offers great downhill skiing with sweeping vistas and a fun park. The area also boasts an under-cover ice rink, toboggan hills, restaurant, sports shop with equipment hire and several cosy barbecue areas. All just 3 kilometres from the centre of Skövde.


  • Stay on the mountain at Billingens Stugby & Camping with outdoor recreation on hand.
  • Visit Billingehus - Eat something good after your hike or other activity in Billingen. If you want to stay a little longer, you can stay over at the hotel.

5. Hidden rooms

A dark basement with gruesome mediaeval history, abbey ruins under a house and a crypt from the 12th century – sound exciting? Skara is home to a number of hidden rooms waiting to be discovered – have you explored any of them yet?


  • The basement at Västergötlands museum houses a “Skara in the Middle Ages” You can take a trip back in time as you wander through the historical recreations. 
  • Under the Veterinary Museum,which is located in the heart of central Skara, are the ruins of the St Katarina monastery. This was a 13th-century Franciscan monastery, and you can walk around the ruins and learn about its history.
  • Inside the magnificent Skara Cathedral you will find not only high and imposing vaults, but also a well-preserved crypt from the 12th century. During restoration work in 1999, stone remains dating back even further were found. Head down the staircase and experience the stillness of the crypt. 
  • Did you know that...?

    The oldest book in Sweden can be found in Skara and is called the Skara Missal. It is kept in its own special room at Bokäventyret – where you can listen to soothing period music and view this beautiful book, dating back to 1150.

6. Cold-water bathing in the Valle district

Take an excursion to the picturesque Valle district, a gentle, rolling landscape dotted with lakes, like something from a fairytale. Winter bathing and cold-water swimming are a trend that has been growing in recent years, and Valle offers an abundance of small, sparkling lakes for swimming.


  • At Näsbadet in Skärvalången, the bathing jetty remains in place all year round. Take a dip and then warm up once you get dressed with a mug of steaming hot chocolate.
  • Flämslätt Diocese & Conference Centre has a bathing area with jetties to swim from. What’s more, if you’re there on a weekday, you can enjoy a delicious locally produced lunch in the restaurant after your dip.
  • Why not combine bathing activities with an overnight stay and explore even more of the local area? Local accommodation options include cosy B&Bs and guest houses, such as Fredriksons Vilt Vin och Pensionat and Sjöbacken gård.

7. Art, refreshments and the spectacular colours of nature at Karlsfors

On the western slopes of Billingen plateau mountain, with Silverfallet nature reserve just next door, is Karlsfors Gård. In the art gallery here you can view beautiful creations by local artists, on display and for sale. Alongside the art gallery is the shop at Karlsfors, which stocks stylish homewares and also offers the chance to sit and enjoy refreshments in a charming setting.


  • Just a stone's throw from Karlsfors Gård is Silverfallet nature reserve. The water flows through richly coloured deciduous woodland over limestone slabs, alum shale and sandstone, making it a picturesque spot to visit all year round.
  • 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.

8. 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. 


  • Shop for homewares and take a coffee break at Kdesign in Östra Tunhem.
  • Hike along the Pilgrimsleden Trail (Falköping to Varnhem), which passes by the abbey.
  • Medieval Skaraborg - Our app Kulturväg Skaraborg takes you though medieval Skaraborg
  • (Medeltida Skaraborg), where you will get an insite into what society looked like in the Middle ages. 

Did you know that...?

  • 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. 

9. 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 slopes of the mountain are home to Mössebergsbacken, with ski runs for the whole family. The tracks and hiking trails on the mountain vary in length and type, and are suitable for walking, running, mountain-biking and, in winter, cross-country skiing. You will also find a disc golf course, barbecue areas, a lookout tower, 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. Their annual Christmas market starts at 10 am on 10/10.

Did you know that...?

  • Mösseberg is 327 m above sea level and forms part of Platåbergens Geopark. Västergötland boasts 15 table mountains. 

10. 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.

11. Historical ruins at Varnhem Abbey

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 in their autumn finery.
  • Round off your visit with coffee and cakes or a hot meal at Mellomgården Café & Gårdsbutik outside Varnhem.
  • 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!

More to experience

For opening times and prebooking (if required), please check individual websites!