Vanersborg is situated near the openings to Gota Alv and the Gota Canal on the southern shores of Lake Vanern, only one hour by train from Gothenburg. Founded in 1644 and initially built as a bastion against Danes and Norwegians, Vanersborg has been a residence town since 1679.
This time, I’d traveled with expectations and I saw Vanersborg as a charming small town with wonderful views over lake Vanern. I arrived to a cloudy, rainy town, so my hopes of sunny vistas weren’t met and the town center (although home to several good shops, including a specialty chocolate and tea boutique) appeared dull and gloomy. Because of the weather, I decided to focus on indoor-activities.
Vanersborg’s Art Hall
Vanersborgs Konsthall is located on the ground floor to the House of the Public/Cultural House in the center of town and has free entrance to about 10 exhibitions yearly. With a mix of local, national and international contemporary art, the art halls ambition is to be an interesting and exciting meeting place for locals and visitors.
A few minutes walk from the art hall, a white building houses Vanersborg’s Museum, which is the oldest authentic museum environment in Sweden. Its original purpose was to show residents the extraordinary world outside of Vanersborg with natural and cultural history objects from foreign countries. In the 20th century, the museum began acquiring mainly local and regional objects. The permanent and temporary exhibitions includes both.
A stone’s throw from the museum on A F Carlssons gata, opposite the town’s water tower, is Röda Korset’s second hand store with clothes, shoes, handbags, porcelain, and books. In the backroom, there’s a book case full with paperback thrillers for just SEK 5, less than a dollar, plus newly received thrillers for SEK 10.
Where to Stay
Best Western Arena Hotel
Best Western Arena Hotel is a three-star hotel located on Edsvägen, within walking distance to the train station (about 10 minutes) and the center of town (about 15 minutes). I did consider a hotel located closer to shops and restaurants but chose Best Western as it sounded good (as far as I could tell from their homepage) and had better prices than its competitors. Although the building itself was far from eye-catching, the floor-to-ceiling glass facade of the dining room increased its overall appearance.
The hotel has 60 tastefully decorated standard rooms with natural colors, white walls and wooden furniture. My room had a comfortable bed, flatscreen TV with a handful of channels, sturdy work desk, an armchair, and bathroom with shower and toilet. All rooms have free wireless Internet access. There are water boiler, coffee, tea, sugar and milk in some rooms and they offer fresh fruit, coffee and cake to all guests in the reception area, as well as evening buffet in the restaurant at an additional cost. There’s a large TV and a selection of magazines in the restaurant.
The gym and sauna with two showers downstairs, free to use for all guests, is a clear bonus point and ups the value of a hotel stay.
For guests who feel hungry after dinner, there are snacks, sweets and bottled water for sale in the reception plus snacks in a refrigerator on the first and second floor nearby the elevator.
For SEK 65 per washing bag, guests can have their laundry taken care of, or wash it themselves at no cost in the laundry room on the first floor.
In the morning, the hotel serves a complimentary breakfast buffet with a healthy selection of Risenta muesli (dinkel flakes, cornflakes, branflakes, muesli mix, sunflower seeds and pumpkin seeds).
For sightseeing by bike, there are bikes to lend.
All in all, a price-worthy budget hotel.