Some facts about
Vättern is the second largest lake by surface area in Sweden, after Vänern, and the sixth largest lake in Europe. The area 1,893 km² and the average depth: 40 m. The Max depth: 128 m south of the island of Visingsö, in the county of Jönköping.
The Inflows are Forsviksån / Göta canal as well as Tabergsån and Huskvarnaån and the Outflow is Motala ström, the river system that drains lake Vättern into the Baltic Sea in Norrköping
The Lake Vättern has several Islands: Visingsö and island of the bay of Motala . The northern archipelago with up to 500 islands, copper and islands, of which Stora Aspön and Lilla Aspön, with eco parks that you can visit, belong to the lake’s five largest islands.
Coastal cities and towns are Jönköping, Huskvarna, Askersund, Hjo, Karlsborg, Motala, Vadstena, Gränna
Historically Vättern used to be a busy maritime link between different regions in Sweden, it linked the regions of Östergötland and Västergötland, Närke and Småland. Today, maritime public transport is mainly the traffic between the mainland and islands such as Visingsö. Likewise, you can find some pleasure boats and recreational boats.
Jönköping, a city on the shores of the Lake Vättern
On the eastern and southern shores of the Lake Vättern you find Jönköping. The city of Jönköping has since the 13th century been an important hub for trade, commerce and religious activities. The Franciscans ran a monastery and brought along knowledge on horticulture to the region.
Today there are many old churches to visit as well as modern building of worship. Jönköping has an important convention centres and is hosting every year Sweden´s largest motorhome trade fair. There are many nice restaurants and cafés in Jönköping .
Between the city of Jönköping and the town of Huskvarna you can hike along the Lake Vättern. The hike is about 7 kilometer and you hike along beaches and the nature Reserve “Roselunds bankar”.
At Rosenlund the Vättern’s southern shore drops dramatically into the water. Rosenlund’s banks are a 35 meter high and 2 kilometer long erosion steep, which can be seen from a long distance and is a characteristic feature of the landscape. Rosenlund’s banks are one of Sweden’s most famous glacial deposits and are a very characteristic feature of the landscape.
You can also hike 93 km along the Franciscan trail, from Jönköping to Alvastra.
Biosphere reserve in the county of Jönköping at the shores of Lake Vättern
The East Vättern Scarp Landscape is today a biosphere reserve. Within the area, you can enjoy city life ( Jönköping and Huskvarna constitute Sweden’s ninth largest urban area) as well as sparsely populated rural areas with a living farming environment.
In addition, you can explore forest landscapes with hardly any evidence of human activity. Large parts of the forested areas are protected as nature reserves.
The region has a unique a mix of Landscapes with its hilly topography, its proximity to Lake Vättern and its southern location in the country. You can explore country’s southern deciduous broadleaf forest as well as hike in sites resembling the northern coniferous forest region. This Jönköping area offers great cycling, with hills, gravel routes and roads as well as Mountain bike routes.
In a small area you can hike through typically northern landscape as well as enjoy classic southerly environments with flora and fauna that require warmer temperatures.
Centuries of hay making, grazing and pollarding have created a special grazing landscape. The biosphere reserve also contains several deep lakes. For instance, the Lake Vättern is Sweden’s largest cold-water lake, and the southernmost such lake in Scandinavia.
The Biosphere reserve Östra Vätternbranterna the Bauer trail will take you through the silence of the nature reserve Råbyskogen, This nature reserve is not far from the village Skärstad and here you can feel, listen to and smell the heritage landscapes of the Jönköping born Swedish painter and illustrator Albert Bauer.
He illustrated his native Jönköping through landscapes and mythology. Hike in the silent coniferous forest, with small woodland lakes and hilly terrain.
Local delicacies specialties Lake Vättern trip.
Fruits and berries
Lake Vättern has a clear influence on the local climate, with cold springs, but long, mild autumns. The slopes down to Lake Vättern, which have an oceanic climate. A prominent feature and tradition is to grow apples and other fruits and berries. The southern Lake Vättern communities contain Sweden’s second-largest fruit-growing district
For instance, Gisebo and Gränna are home to one of the country’s largest fruit growing districts, not a common occurrence in this part of the world. The Gränna-Visingsö area has a very special cultivated bio-cultural heritage with a unique farming and orchard history from the 17th century on.
Stay some days in Äppledalen ( the valley of apples, website in Swedish) and enjoy the sight and the local family orchards.
Farming communities, gardening culture and fishing traditions
The East Vättern Scarp Landscape the history of agriculture and the landscape is clearly visible. The region is home to smallholder farming communities. You can find red painted crofts, farmhouses and outbuildings surrounded by fields, traditional old gardens, wooded grasslands, forests and fruits trees.
For example, find out more about the cultural gardening heritage, the local fishing traditions in the many lakes and the forest cultivation history of the farms and villages.
Local delicacies and specialties
Taste and buy local specialities and produce directly from small traditional smokehouses, farmer´s shops and markets, orchards and cafés. For instance, you can buy apple cider, apples and apple must directly from shops on local orchards. To find the closest shop download the App “mathantverk” ( Artisan food).
At the farmstead Hemma på Hult, you can stay in their cosy cottage, park your motorhome on the farm and taste homemade delicacies. Chatrine runs the homestead kitchen. She buys the ingrediens from local farmers and grows fruits, herbs and vegetables in the farm´s kitchen garden.
Local history is alive at the farmstead. They offer food evenings and hikes. You can get a taste of the past and the present through your taste buds. For more information on local food book your stay at Hemma på Hult. Chatrine can tell you the history of the region and recommend what to eat and where to go if you are looking for Swedish Heritage delicacies.
Places to visit on the southern and eastern shores of Lake Vättern
Huskvarna, nature reserves, factory and fruits
Huskvarna is a small town on the shores of Lake Vättern. The waterfalls in Huskvarna river have given power to various industrial activities along the river. In the 18th century the gunpower mill was an important part of the Swedish war industrial complex.
Later on, the Husqvarna factory became a large industry producing hunting weapons, sewing machines, stoves, castings bicycles, motorcycles and more.
Visit Hakarp and Huskvarnabergen nature reserve (Huskvarna hills), an area more than 200 m above the surface of Vättern. From Huskvarna you can climb up the Huskvarna hills and get a stunning view of Jönköping and the Lake Vättern. Great hiking, fitness, running and MTB at IKHP. Combine hiking with breakfast or dinner at Huskvarnas own castle Slottsvillan.
Within the Huskvarna hills nature reserve you find Brunnstorp. There is a great outdoor swimming pool and on the hillside you can also find the Brunstorp’s farm,
Today, at Brunstorp there is a fruit tree bank with 130 kinds of apples, 30 kinds of pears and about 20 kinds of cherries and plums. This archive is fo national significance for the preservation of many cultivars of apples, pears and cherries.
You can visit an apple orchards as well as farms selling their local produce.
The Omberg Ecopark is located on the eastern shore of Lake Vättern. Here you can find rasberries, cherries and eco farms
More tips for your Swedish lake trip see map: