Serving as the capital of Värmland County, Karlstad lies on the north shore of Vänern, the largest lake in Sweden. It’s built on an island where the Klarälven river flows into the lake and is renowned as one of the sunniest cities in the country. Karlstad features several engaging museums and offers easy access to Vänern’s water-based recreational activities.
Things to do in Karlstad
In the heart of the city is the whitewashed Karlstad Cathedral, which was consecrated in 1730. Admire its elegant Baroque architecture before stepping inside to explore its light-filled interior. In addition to a gilded pulpit, altar and pipe organ, it features an ornate chandelier and two model ships hanging from its ceiling.
You can delve into the cultural history of Karlstad at the Värmlands Museum, which occupies two buildings where the Klarälven river splits to form the island on which the city is located. It features multimedia exhibits and cultural artefacts dating from the last Ice Age, as well as an impressive art collection that includes works by Marc Chagall, Anders Zorn and Joan Miró. The museum gift shop sells souvenirs and handicrafts made in Värmland.
Adjacent to the museum stands the Sandsgrund, a former nightspot that’s been transformed into a gallery celebrating the life and work of Lars Lerin. One of Sweden’s most celebrated artists, he has travelled the world creating watercolour and oil paintings, as well as drawings and collages from as far away as Iran and Antarctica.
Getting around Karlstad
Karlstad is around 3.5 hours’ drive from both Gothenburg and Stockholm, with trains connecting to the Karlstad railway station. Karlstad Airport is 20 minutes’ drive from the city centre and has regular flights to Stockholm and Copenhagen. Buses travel throughout Karlstad, although the centre is compact enough to explore on foot.