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Canoe-exploring the canals, rivers, and lakes of southwest Sweden.

Canoe-exploring the canals, rivers, and lakes of southwest Sweden

Canoeing through southwestern Sweden'slake region is one of the best ways to sample the stunning beauty of the Scandinavian countryside.

Each summer for more than 30 years,paddlers from all over Europe have come to explore the extensive waterways of north Dalsland and southwest Varmland provinces. Many follow the century-old Dalsland Canal: a 169-mile-long network of lakes, rivers, and canals, which--unlike the busy commercial canals of Western Europe--is used solely by recreationists, most in canoes and kayaks, but some in motorboats.

July and August have the warmest andfairest weather, but come prepared for rain at any time.

Whether you plan to paddle on your ownor with a guided tour, you'll enjoy the long days of the northern summer while paddling past farms, lumber mills, idyllic small villages, wooded islands, and lakeshores dotted with colorful summer homes. Along the way, you may meet Swedes hunting for edible berries and mushrooms--a favorite summer pastime.

Anglers will find abundant trout, redbelly,pike, and salmon. You need a permit to fish (available locally).

Getting there; renting canoe and equipment, or going with a tour

The lake region's main rail connection, m l, is about 7 hours by train from Stockholm, 2 from Goteborg or Oslo. When you arrive, you can arrange at the local tourist office for hotels, hostels, cottages, or rooms in private homes in towns along the lakes and canal. If you plan to camp, you can pitch a tent in either designated campsites (free), which are dotted along the canoe routes, or, with certain restrictions, just about anywhere, thanks to a Swedish law called allemansratt, which allows public access to private land.

Canoes, tents, stoves, and other campingequipment (except for sleeping bags), can be rented at a half-dozen different lakeside locations in the region. One can be reached directly by train, the others by train and bus.

Peak-season rental rates (June 20 throughAugust 8) for a two-person aluminum or fiberglass canoe, paddles, and life vests are $12 a day, $65 per week. Off-season rates are $10 and $50. A map showing the lakes and towns, campsites, and canoe routes costs $4.

The rental firms also offer guided four-dayfamily camping tours and one- and two-week adults-only trips. All are suitable for beginners.

Four-day trips cost about $160 for adults,$120 for ages 10 to 15, and $105 for ages under 10. One week costs $205, two weeks $380. Prices include canoes, guide, lock-station fees, food, tents, stoves, tarps, and maps. Group size is generally 15 to 20 people.

The canal's lock system operates from7:30 A.M. to 8 P.M. daily, June 1 to August 31; you pay a small fee at each station (the 29 locks are scattered on short stretches of canal between the lakes).

Most Swedes speak excellent English andcan help you before and during your visit to the lakes area.

For more details

Free English-language brochures providedetailed information on canoe rentals, tours, lodging, and camping. Write to the Swedish Tourist Board, 655 Third Ave., New York 10017.

Photo: Century-old canal ispart of canoe-tour route through lake country of southwestern Sweden

Photo: Warmly dressed groupassembles gear, plans route across forest-rimmed lake
COPYRIGHT 1987 Sunset Publishing Corp.
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Copyright 1987 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Date:May 1, 1987
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