The Native: Paddan – sightseeing on the water

2011-05-03. Published in Life in Gothenburg
by Nils Pasi

The season of the toad has begun once more. With its unique toad perspective on the city, the toad slowly navigates the narrow moat and canals, beneath twenty bridges, past the famous Fêskekôrka, and out into the harbour. Almost all toads are bilingual, speaking Swedish and English, or Swedish and German. Only the toads on Säveån (a river) are monolingual, speaking only their native Swedish tongue. During the winter the toads hibernate, except for a short time during the Christmas season when they make a few trips to Liseberg. But now, lo and behold, they wake up from their slumber once more, eager to educate anyone who will listen about the city of Gothenburg.

[caption id="attachment_1970" align="alignright" width="300" caption=""... the black waters of the moat and river.""]"... the black waters of the moat and river."[/caption]

Are you intrigued yet? Perhaps you already know of what I speak. The toads are, in fact, a fleet of sightseeing boats trafficking the moat, harbour and Säveån during the warmer half of the year. With their extremely low gunwales and relatively wide body, I guess they do look a little bit like toads when they slowly make their way through the black waters of the moat and river. I cannot say if that is why they were named Paddan (Eng. ‘The Toad’), but it might be... maybe.

Low gunwales are a necessity for any sightseeing boat that wishes to travel beneath Osthyveln (Eng. ‘Cheese slicer’). To say that this bridge arches over the canal is to lie, for it does nothing of the sort. Rather, it reaches out and across the canal straight as an arrow, and very close to the water level. At the best of times, you need to lower your head, bend over or pretty much lie flat on the floor in order to avoid loosing your head when passing beneath the bridge. At the worst of times, you need a submarine or good lungs. Still, it makes for a charming memory to remember fondly years after the sightseeing tour has ended.

The old moat and canals were built during the 17th century, and on the tour you will learn much about the city’s early history, construction and defences. The tour will take fifty minutes and costs 140 SEK. The guides give tours in Swedish/English or Swedish/German - check with the ticket office for information on when tours are given in Swedish/English and when they are given in Swedish/German.

Information about the Paddan sightseeing tours

  • Departs from Kungsportsplatsen (map).

  • For a timetable, head over to Paddan's official website (link).

  • Tickets may be bought at the ticket office at Kungsportsplatsen or through their website (link).

  • Guided tours are given in Swedish/English and Swedish/German. Check with the ticket office when the English or German tours are before you book your ticket.

  • Visit their website (link) and click on the map to see the tour map.

  • The tour is estimated to 50 minutes.

  • The price is 145 SEK.

  • Visit for information about public transportation services stopping at Kungsportsplatsen.

Paddan on Säveån:

  • Departs from Kungsportsplatsen (map).

  • Tours are given in Swedish only.

  • The tour is estimated to 2 hours.

  • The price is 200 SEK.

  • Tickets may be bought at the ticket office at Kungsportsplatsen or through their website (link).

  • Visit their website (link) for a tour map (this part of the site is available in Swedish only. Follow the link and click on the map to see the tour map).

/Nils, team 2010-2011