Cycle around lake Östen
Cycling around Lake Östen takes you through a vibrant cultural landscape of fields and pastures, clearance cairns and stone walls. You will be cycling along a mix of narrow farm tracks, gravel roads and tarmac roads. Even though you’re cycling around a lake, there are very few places where you get a glimpse of the actual lake, but the beautiful scenery mixed with open countryside provides ample compensation.
A cycling tour through ancient farming landscapes
Length: 33 km
Terrain: Gravel roads of varying grades, grassy tracks and tarmac. Fairly level cycle route through flat landscape.
Level of difficulty: easy to moderate
Type of cycle: mountain bike recommended
A map with detailed directions is available from Skövde Tourist Information Centre.
Printable map here.
The easiest place to start your cycling tour is Österbergs Konditori in Tidan, where you can park your car and fuel up with some delicious refreshments, or why not ask them to pack you a picnic to take with you?
The route initially heads along Skövdevägen in Tidan and out into the surrounding countryside via Vadsbovallen and on to Vaholm covered bridge. This covered bridge is probably the only one of its kind in Sweden. Keep a firm hold on your handlebars as you cycle through – it’s said to be haunted. The bridge goes over the River Tidan, and if you’re lucky you may spot a beaver or two. You pedal on past open fields, taking you towards the northern part of the lake.
Once you have passed Sveneby Church and the Sveneby estate, the route winds its way southwards on a decent gravel road. Don’t forget to listen out for the sounds of birds singing in the shady forest. If you opt to cycle here in late summer or autumn, there’s a good chance of finding plentiful mushrooms for picking.
After several kilometres the gravel road ends and you join a tarmac road. You have now come to Skalkarike. You will cycle past pigs, cows and sheep here wandering close to the road. After crossing the River Tidan via the bridges, you can turn left, for Lake Östen’s bird observation tower, with views over the northern part of the lake – perfect for any keen bird-watchers.
The next stop is Logården, located in the little village of Odensåker. Logården is now a popular information centre for Lake Östen. From here you can head down via meadows and footbridges to the bird observation tower to look out over the lake. There is also an attractive herb garden and café for those in need of a refreshment stop.
The route then continues south until you reach the crossroads in Rör. Here you will see a magnificent Bronze Age cairn, which is one of the largest in Västergötland. At the cairn you can also make a detour to Binneberg Courthouse, just 1.5 kilometres away. Binneberg Courthouse is now a school museum and is mostly used as an exhibition space.
You will shortly be cycling past Horn. Here you can opt to cycle southwards to take a look at Horn Church and Horns Tegelbruk, which is now an industrial heritage site. However, the cycle trail continues left at the crossroads along Skaraborg Culture Route.
At Bankälla you can either carry on along the tarmac road or turn off onto a narrow gravel road across the fields to Flistad (turn off between the yellow brick house and barn). If you choose the minor route, you will get to experience a beautiful, old-fashioned district, passing a string of charming small crofts.
The countryside at Flistad is prosperous grazing and farming land. On the right-hand side you can now see Flistad Church. Alongside the church is a very large burial mound named King Rane’s Mound, which is an unexcavated ancient site where King Rane is said to be buried.
Before reaching the community of Tidan, where you started your tour, you can make a detour to Askeberga. Here you can view the Askeberga Stone Ship with its 24 large stone blocks arranged in a ship formation. Askeberga is Sweden’s second largest stone ship after Ales stenar in Skåne, but how the stones got there remains an unsolved mystery.
An alternative for those with children or who perhaps can’t manage the full route is a mini circuit of 11.1 kilometres. This also starts at Österbergs Konditori.
Facts about the trail
Start and finish:
Österbergs Konditori in Tidan
Stationsgatan 3 B/Regionens Hus
Tel: +46 500 446688