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Karlstad

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Karlstad is the largest city of Värmland in Sweden. It was founded by King Karl IX in 1584, and is located where Klarälven river flows into Lake Vänern, the largest lake in Europe outside Russia. If it isn't raining, it is a cute little town.

Karlstad has an university, and is also known for the expression Sola i Karlstad (The Sun in Karlstad). Originally referring to a beautiful girl working in one of the restaurants in the city, nowadays the expression also refers to its reportedly sunny weather.

Understand

Tourist office

  • 1 Karlstads turistbyrå, Bibliotekshuset, Västra Torggatan 26, ☏ +46 54-540 24 70, ✉ tourist@karlstad.se. M–Th 08:00–18:00 F 08:00–17:00.

Get in

By plane

1 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 250 kr if you take a taxi. Airport taxis can be ordered on +46 20 979797. A cheaper option is to take the bus for 60 kr, however you must 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

2 Karlstad Central Station 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 2½ 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 NettBuss.

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.

See

  • Town centre. A mix of attractive, yet solid traditional Swedish buildings plus some modern ones.
  • 1 Karlstad Cathedral, Västra Kyrkogatan, ☏ +46 54-14 14 00.
  • 2 Mariebergsskogen, Treffenbergsvägen 20 (on the South side of the city (walkable from the centre)), ☏ +46 54-540 27 50. A small leisure park.
  • Värmlands Museum, Sandgrundsudden (At the corner where the Klarälven river splits to create the island that the city sits on.), ☏ +46 54-701 19 00. A museum about the cultural history of Värmland.

Do

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.

Buy

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.

Eat

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

  • 1 Blå Kök & Bar, Kungsgatan 14, ☏ +46 54-10 18 15. Classical White guide restaurant in central Karlstad
  • 2 Freden, Tingvallagatan 15, ☏ +46 54-21 17 92. Traditional Swedish cuisine.
  • 3 Nya Via Appia, Järnvägsgatan 16, ☏ +46 54-24 06 00. Combination of Mediterannean and Nordic cuisine, with a great view.
  • 4 Olssons Bazar, Tullhusgatan 1 (By Karlstad harbour), ☏ +46 54-12 02 60.
  • 5 Tiffany's, Västra Torggatan 19, ☏ +46 54-15 33 83. A French White guide gourmet restaurant.

Drink

  • 1 Bishop's Arms, Kungsgatan 22, ☏ +46 54-29 30 20. Elite Stads Hotel in the centre of the town, by the main square.
  • 2 The Leprechaun Pub, Östra Torggatan 4, ☏ +46 54-18 25 50. An Irish pub.
  • 3 Nöjesfabriken, Karlagatan 42, ☏ +46 54-22 22 00. Good night club! They also have bowling, go-carting and lots of other fun activities.

Sleep

  • 1 Clarion Collection Hotel Plaza, Västra Torggatan 2 (Close to railway station), ☏ +46 54-10 02 00.
  • 2 Clarion Collection Hotell Bilan, Karlbergsgatan 3 (Close to railway station), ☏ +46 54-10 03 00. The old county prison. With a five minute walking distance to the centre of town.
  • 3 First Camp Karlstad - Skutberget, Skutbergsvägen 315, ☏ +46 54-53 51 30. Cottages and camping, gym and fitness classes. Wireless internet connection available.
  • 4 Kils Hotel och Restaurang, Storgatan 16, ☏ +46 554-40530. Storgatan 16. In the outlying town of Kil, it is the closest accommodation to the Karlstad Airport.
  • 5 Hotell Savoy, Västra Torggatan 1 (Close to railway station), ☏ +46 54-15 66 40. Free Wi-Fi in all rooms.
  • 6 STF Vandrarhem Karlstad, Kasernhöjden 19, ☏ +46 54 56 68 40. Charming hostel opened spring 2007, about 1 km from the railway station and central Karlstad. Price from 195 kr per person. Rooms from 1 to 8 beds.

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 hour's drive away. Only open summertime.





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