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  • Photographer: Daniel Ström

Biosphere hiking trail 138 km

Varied hiking through the biosphere reserve

The Biosphere hiking trail between Läckö Castle and Mariestad is a total of 138 km and consists of several different sections. Either do a multi-day hike or just hike one of the different sections. The biosphere trail follows sections of the Kinnekulle hiking trail and the Pilgrim Trail.

Quick facts

Length: 138 km
Time: 7-9 days
Difficulty: Moderate


The Biosphere hiking trail is divided into 9 different sections. The lowland trail invites you to a varied and scenic hiking experience. The hiking trail starts by the Läckö Castle on the west side of the area and follow the coast line eastwards to the city of Mariestad. This area is called the Vänern archipelago with the table mountain Kinnekulle and it is a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve.  Among the way it passes villages and cities of variated size but mostly you walk through forests and other habitats. Along the hiking trail there are several simpler campsites and benches and some of the sections. The Biosohere hiking trail have a light blue marking and you can find it on trees and poles as well as lampposts along the way. 


Kinnekulle with the Vänern archipelago was officially designated a Biosphere Reserve by unesco in 2010. The goal of this is to create a long-term and sustainable relationship between man and the environment. The area runs from Sjötorp and Torsö in the north to Kållandsö in the west.


Section 1 Läckö Castle – Riddaregården

The first section of the hiking trail starts right by the baroque castle of Läckö. The pinnacles and towers of the castle offers a mighty feeling and gives you a perfect photo moment as you start or maybe finish your walk along the Biosphere hiking trail. The section starts on small fine gravel roads mixed with leafy soft forest paths on the island of Kållandsö. Soon you arrive to the fishing village Spiken which offers both cafés and tables where you can eat your own packed lunch.  After around 10 kilometers you pass the bridge to the peninsula of Kålland and at the same time the landscape opens up to a cultural one with arable land.  This section of the hiking trail is very slightly hilly and therefore easy to walk.

Length: 20 kilometers
Time: Approx. 6 hours, breaks not included
Difficulty: Average
Don’t miss: The fishing village of Spiken with its cafes and shops. The baroque castle of Läckö and the naturum Vänerskärgården – Victoriahuset. In the latter you can both learn more about the nature of the Biosphere Reserve and also spend the night at the hotel.  


Section 2 Riddaregården – Råda church

The second section starts by Riddaregården and ends by the medieval church of Råda. The majority of this section consists of small roads and paths. Here you will find open and scenic views with arable and pasture land. This area is called”schlätta” (the plains) by the locals. The reason is obvious.  You will also pass by the beautiful mansion of Stola which has an interesting history. The roads of this section are very slightly hilly and it is also good to know that there are few rest areas so it is a good idea to bring a seat pad.

Length: 19 kilometers
Time: approx. 6 hours, breaks not included
Difficulty: Easy
Don’t miss: By Riddaregården at the beginning of the section there is a well preserved wind mill built in 1880. By the end you find both the medieval church of Råda and a viewpoint that offers a stunning view of the city of Lidköping and the table mountain of Kinnekulle.


Section 3 Råda church – Källby station

The third section begins among nice exercising tracks and forest area by the village of Råda and ends by the train station of Källby. The trail continues through some smaller forest lots before you enter the lovely beach promenade along lake Vänern to the city centre of Lidköping. There you will find various attractions as well as shops, restaurants and accommodation to discover. As you leave the city centre you will get nice views of lake Vänern and explore the nature reserve of Östra Sannorna with its beach meadows. Among this section you find many nice places for a break, in both Råda vy and Östra Sannorna you’ll also find barbecue areas. The section starts by going downhill and is then flat all the way which makes it easy to hike.

Length: 19 kilometers
Time: Approx. 5 hours, breaks not included
Difficulty: Easy
Don’t miss: A cup of coffee in the cozy old parts of Lidköping and a swim in the lake by the beach i Filsbäck if the weather is nice.


Section 4 Källby station – Trolmen

The fourth section starts by the train station in Källby and ends in Trolmen on the table mountain Kinnekulle. The end of the section is alongside a country road, 600 meters from the train station in Trolmen. Soon after the start of the section there is a tough climb of the hike where the table mountain Kinnekulle begins. Once up, you are rewarded with a varied and beautiful nature and nice views. Along the way you pass the idyllic village of Blomberg with the nature reserve Västerplana Storäng, a lovely meadow. The section continues towards the medieval church of Västerplana. On this section you find a few resting areas which are nicely placed. This section is partly uphill which requires basic condition.

Length: 15 kilometers
Time: approx. 6 hours, breaks not included
Difficulty: Moderate
Don’t miss: The viking ship Sigrid Storråda which has its home port in Blomberg and the small waterfall in the nature reserve of Västerplana Storäng. The best time of year to visit Västerplana is during spring when the wild garlic is flowering. In the village of Blomberg you also pass some of the area's few rock carvings. Another highlight is to take the train since the route from Lidköping to Mariestad has been named Sweden´s most beautiful train line.


Section 5 Källby station – Trolmen

The fifth section starts 600 meters from the small picturesque train station in Trolmen. The section ends by another train station in the village of Hällekis. Both stations offer parking lots and have trains leaving several times each day. This section is one of the most beautiful on the whole trail with scenic nature which shows the biological diversity that characterizes the Biospshere Reserve. You can also find several cultural-historical sights. On your way you pass places like Munkängarna, The Kinnekulle Canyon and the manor of Hellekis. You finish the section with a nice walk just along Lake Vänern. This section is shorter but filled with experiences and some altitude meters which requires some physical condition. Among the way you will find many nice places to rest your legs.

Length: 11 kilometers
Time: Approx. 4,5 hours, breaks not included
Difficulty: Moderate
Don’t miss: The Kinnekulle Canyon which is Sweden’s (smaller version) of the Grand Canyon and do not miss the manor of Hellekis with its beautiful garden.


Section 6 Hällekis-Myrbacken

This section starts by the train station of Hällekis and ends in Myrbacken from where you have 1 kilometer to the train station of Äskekärr. On both locations there are also parking lots. As the section begins you walk close to Lake Vänern alongside another hiking trail, Sjöråsleden. Soon you will pass the small village Forshem before you enter the country side. Here you walk on both gravel roads and forest paths and pass idyllic farms with grazing animals such as cow and sheep. Overall a pleasant section which really takes you out into the countryside, a rural idyll.

Length: 11 kilometres
Time: Approx. 3 hours, breaks not included
Difficulty: Easy
Don’t miss: The village of Forshem which has both a medieval stave church and a well-known restaurant.


Section 7 Myrbacken-Lugnås

This section starts by Myrbacken that you reach 1 kilometer from the train station in Äskekärr where you also find a parking lot. The section ends by the church of Lugnås where you also find parking possibilities. You walk on small roads and paths through pastures, open fields and forest areas. The closer you get to the church in Lugnås the steeper the climb up on the ridge becomes but when you arrive, you will be rewarded with a nice view. From the church steps you get a vast and beautiful view of Kinnekulle and Lake Vänern. On this section there are few rest areas so bring a seat pad.

Length: 16 kilometers
Time: Approx. 4,5 hours, breaks not included
Difficulty: Average
Don’t miss: The view from the church steps and the church in Lugnås itself. The church is medieval and has its oldest parts from the 12th century.


Section 8 Lugnås-Karleby

This section starts by the church of Lugnås and ends in Karleby. The trail from begins on an asphalt road through a rolling cultural landscape. The section continues by passing a millstone mine where you find a nice place to rest and a barbecue area. You then move on through the landscape on smaller forest roads and paths until you reach Karleby. This part of the Biosphere Walking trail is slightly hilly but still rather easy to hike.

Length: 12 kilometers
Time: Approx. 3,5 hours, breaks not included
Difficulty: Average
Don’t miss: A visit to the millstone mine called ”Minnesfjället”. During summer season its open for guided tours and other times you can book it in advance.


Section 9 Karleby-Mariestad

The ninth section of the trail goes between the picturesque village of Karleby with its origins and the city of Mariestad. You walk on gravel roads and smaller paved roads surrounded by open landscapes, forests and smaller villages. Via one of the forests you reach the beach edge of Lake Vänern and soon also the beautiful beach Sandviken for a dip in the lake. You continue to follow the seafront of Lake Vänern and within a few kilometers you reach the city of Mariestad. In Mariestad you will find a varied selection of restaurants, shops and accommodation. The grand cathedral with its high steeple gives the city a special aura and welcomes you to the start or finish of the Biosphere hiking trail.

Length: 14 kilometres
Time: Approx. 3,5 hours, breaks not included
Difficulty: Easy
Don’t miss: The harbour with all the guest boats and old town of Mariestad which is known as one of Swedens ten best-preserved old city centers.

Fact about the trail


The length is a total of 138 km and can be broken down into 9 different sections.

  • Läckö Slott – Riddaregården 20 km
  • Riddaregården – Råda kyrka 19 km
  • Råda kyrka – Källby station 19 km
  • Källby station – Trolmen 15 km
  • Trolmen – Hällekis station 12 km
  • Hällekis station – Myrbacken 11 km
  • Myrbacken-Lugnås kyrka 16 km
  • Lugnås kyrka-Karleby 12 km
  • Karleby-Mariestad Resecentrum 14 km

Approximate times:

Multiple days


The Biosphere Walking Trail is marked with blue markings and uses its own logo. The pilgrim route that runs parallel to the Biosphere trail on many sections is marked with the St. Olof mark and with a red color.

Level of difficulty:

Moderate. The degree of difficulty varies depending on the section. For example, the section Karleby-Mariestad runs in a flat landscape while Källby-Trolmen has several climbs.

Start and end:

Läckö Castle and Mariestad train station.

How to get here:

Public transport:

Use Västtrafik's planning tool or the to-go app to plan your route. The start and finish of all sections are located close to buses or train facilities.

Photographer: Daniel Ström

Contact information

Biosfärområde Kinnekulle Vänerskärgården

Esplanaden 5

542 30 Mariestad

Phone: +46 501 39 31 96

E-mail: info@vanerkulle.se

Website: vanerkulle.org/