Karlstad is the largest city of Värmland in Sweden. It was founded by King Karl IX in 1584, and is sited on an island of the Klarälven river, and beside Europe's largest freshwater lake, Lake Vänern. If it isn't raining, it is a cute little town.

Karlstad has a university, and is also known for the expression Sola i Karlstad (Swedish and translates The Sun in Karlstad). Originally referring to a beautiful girl working in one of the restaurants in the city but today also referring to the weather. As Karlstad is near lake Vänern light clouds often dissolves over the very huge lake.

Get in

By plane

Karlstad Airport has daily business priced flights to Stockholm, Jönköping and Frankfurt. Norwegian Air Shuttle is operating seasonal flights to Alicante and Gran Canaria. Do not go to the airport too early for the morning flights - there will be no one there, and the cafe will not open before the flight. Getting between Karlstad and the airport will set you back about SEK 250 if you take a taxi. Airport taxis can be ordered on +46 20 979797. A cheaper option is to take the bus for 60 SEK, however you need to order the bus in advance on +46 20 323201. An even better way for the one that don't mind walking a bit is to walk down to the main road (about 1-2 km) and just take the bus. The name of the bus stop is Hynboholmsmotet.

A better way for international travellers heading for Karlstad is to fly to Oslo airport (Gardermoen) and travel to Karlstad from there by train or bus (3-4 hours).

By train

Karlstad can be reached by direct train from Gothenburg and Stockholm in Sweden and Oslo in Norway. Bookings on the SJ site . The train journey from Stockholm takes about 2.5 hours on a X2000 train (slow to spotty wifi internet free in first class, pay in 2nd class).

By bus

A good alternative to the train are buses, with services by Swebus Express and Säfflebussen.

You can also go to Karlstad directly from Stockholm's Arlanda Airport with Air-bus/Arlandalinjen. Click on "Arlanda" in the menu on top to see bus timings to and from Arlanda to Karlstad. You can also book the tickets in advance.

Get around

The town centre is all walkable, so if you're coming to see the town there is no need to hire a car.

There is a very efficient local bus service (especially to the university), but if you want to travel beyond the suburbs then a car is still the best way to go.


Karlstad Town Square


Walk beside the river, or the lake. Karlstad is best treated as a base to access the natural areas beyond.

The city is also a city of sports:

-The World Rally Championship visits Karlstad in the early weeks of February for the annual Uddeholm Swedish Rally. Spectating that rally will give you a chance to visit the small towns in Varmland and to see the forest under a fresh blanket of snow. Be aware that rental cars and seats on Skyways out of Karlstad can be sparse during Rally time.

-During the winter the city have an ice hockey team in the highest division in Sweden. Bandy is a sport played on ice with sticks and a small ball but rules similar to football (soccer). In Karlstad you also find good Curling teams.

-During the summer athletic events also take place.


There are plenty of shopping opportunities in the town centre, especially on Drottninggatan, Västra Torggatan and Östra Torggatan. Nothing you can't find everywhere else in Sweden though.

In the western outskirts of the city at Bergvik you will find another main shopping area. Several shops including garments and electronics as well as smaller restaurants serves not only the local area but also the region and is popular among visitors from Norway as prices in Sweden are mostly considerably lower than in Norway.

Market days at main square Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays. Local produce and crafts.


There are plenty of restaurants in the town centre, especially on Stora Torget (the main square).



Go next

Find a spot beside Lake Vänern and have a picnic or a barbecue, such as Skutberget.

If you are interested in Swedish literature, you can visit Alsters herrgård and Mårbacka , where two well-known Swedish authors (Gustaf Fröding and Selma Lagerlöf) used to live and where there are museums nowadays.

If you travel by car Rottneros Park is a beautiful park with manor house, gardens and lots of statues an hours drive away. Only open summertime. (Rottneros Park web page)

Routes through Karlstad

Oslo Grums  W  E  Kristinehamn Stockholm
Östersund Mora  N  S  Vänersborg Göteborg

This article is issued from Wikivoyage - version of the Sunday, March 13, 2016. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.