Suggestion for a circular hiking tour using public transport
#2 Gotaleden, Pilgrim Path Falköping-Varnhem, Billingen
Hiking in West Sweden provides you with the best of several worlds. This round trip starts in Gothenburg, Sweden’s second largest city, and takes you on foot and using public transport inland, through pretty forests, leafy gardens and up hills with fantastic views.
Enjoy a spa treatment and relaxing bubble hot tub after a lovely day out in the countryside and fit in as many fikas as you can. There are both trails close to the city and Pilgrim Paths further away – a wonderful combination.
Photographer: Jonas Ingman
Spring and autumn are lovely periods to visit West Sweden for a hiking trip, when you can appreciate nature’s changing colour palette and the peace and quiet during these times of year. Plan the route that’s ideal for you. Why not stay a little longer in some of the places, so you can take your time to explore the vast variety of natural, cultural and taste experiences. You can also make your trip longer by adding several stops, during as well as after.
Jonsered Gardens are in the beautiful grounds of Jonsered Manor. A 12 minute train ride from Gothenburg’s Central Station will take you to Jonsered station, from there follow the signposts to Jonsered Manor. The gardens in the park have been recreated in a classic 19th century style and there’s a lovely café serving home made cakes in the historic manor house. Sweden’s second largest organic brewery, Poppels, is also located in Jonsered. Here you can enjoy good food, book a brewery tour and of course taste their beers.
The Gotaleden passes through Jonsered. It’s a 71 km long trail between Gothenburg and Alingsås and from either Poppels or Jonsered Manor you can access the trail and walk 6 km along stage 4 to Aspenäs Manor. Cross pretty little babbling brooks and look forward to a magnificent view of Lake Aspen from the top of Goråsberget. Aspenäs Manor also overlooks the lake and is in a peaceful and secluded natural setting. The hotel serves organic and locally sourced food.
Continue along the Gotaleden until you reach Floda, a 9 km stretch. Parts of this stage of the Goteleden go through Säveån Nature Reserve, a world of its own filled with birdsong. The river Säve runs through an enchanting valley with leafy forests with a wild fauna including the unique Säve salmon, and beavers. You’ll pass Garveriet which is the perfect place to stop for an energy top-up. The focus here is on local ingredients, home cooking and sustainability. How about a sourdough roll baked in a wood fired oven for lunch?
From Floda take the train to Alingsås, also known as Sweden’s Fika Capital. In this charming little town cobbled lanes are lined with pretty wooden houses, with a patisserie or bakery on almost every street corner. There are around thirty cafes, the oldest of which dates back to the end of the 19th century. Join a fika tour to learn about the Swedish fika tradition while getting to sample Swedish delicacies from the cafes you visit.
The fika tour ends with an authentic Princess Cake at Grand Hotel Alingsås, where you can also later on enjoy dinner and a really good night’s sleep.
Travel by train on to Falköping. Falköping is just over 120 km east of Gothenburg and it’s here, by St Olof’s Church, that the 43.7 km long Pilgrim Path Falköping-Varnhem starts. The first part of the trail goes through the town and then winds along wide paths up the slopes of Mösseberg. This is where you’ll find Kurorten Mösseberg – check in and pick up a tasty packed lunch before continuing your hike on the Pilgrim Path all the way to Gudhem, a stretch of 13 km. Don’t miss Gudhem Church and Abbey ruins before taking the bus back to Kurorten Mösseberg for a visit to their spa, a good rest and great food.
Top tip! A bit further along the Pilgrim Path lies Lake Hornborga, where thousands of cranes land every year on their way north. An amazing sight!
Leave Falköping and travel by train on to Skövde. Take the number 8 bus up to Billingeberget where you can stay at either Billingen Stugby or First Hotel Billingen. If you’re feeling adventurous why not try the treetop high ropes course at Upzone. There are many lovely day hiking trails to choose from including the Billingen Trail and Trollstigen.
The scenery around Skövde is fantastic and you’ll walk along leafy ridges replete with stunning views in parts.
The time has come to draw your trip to a close and head back. Gather up your memories, hop on the train to Gothenburg and finally home where you can share your experiences with friends and loved ones!
Photographer: Jonas Ingman
If you want to do more hiking you can continue your round trip through West Sweden.