Situated in the middle of Stockholm, Gothenburg, and Oslo, at the northern shores of Vänern lake - that’s where you’ll find Karlstad. There’s a mix of thriving nightlife, food from across the globe, a wide range of outdoor activities and a broad cultural offering here. You’re close to everything here, and an easy walking distance from everything you need. The sun is always shining with us - you are most welcome!

Karlstad - both sunny outdoor recreation and Leos lekland for the kids

Restaurants and Cafes

The range of restaurants in Karlstad is impressive. Several of them have been given distinctions in the White Guide and are well worth a visit. Olssons Bazarand Br. Olssons Elektriskais run by the Olsson brothers, Mattias and Andreas. Olssons Bazar is located at Inre hamn and serves barbecued and slowly-baked meat. You can also enjoy Napolitano pizzas here with exciting toppings. During the summer, you can enjoy a sunny evening in the large outdoor eating area. Br Olssons Elektriska is a laid-back bistro and brasserie with an exciting history. Your taste buds will thank you for experiencing the exciting and well thought-out menu. 

Blå Kök & Bar is situated on Kungsgatan, in the centre of Karlstad. The restaurant serves several different types of dishes, with taste experience the number one priority. 

Just outside the centre of Karlstad, you’ll findAlmars Krog. Enjoy their six course meal in a cosy, country environment at Almars Gård.

There are cafes on almost every corner in Karlstad and some of these have also been given distinctions in the White Guide. You can often smell the scent of coffee from Löfbergs kaffefabrik wafting over the city. And Löfbergs doesn’t only have its factory at Inre hamn, but also Löfbergs Rosteri och Kaffebar.There’s everything a coffee lover could want here, and among the range on offer you can find freshly roasted coffee from across the globe. Certain blends and roasts cannot be found anywhere else. 

Artisan Breadis a modern craft bakery which offers bread, cakes, and coffee in a beautiful location. Artisan’s chief baker was even named Baker of the year in Sweden in 2018. 

At Östra Torggatan, there is Swenströmskas Stenugnsbageri. Sourdough bread, buns and cakes are just some of the goodies you can find at the counter and you can see magic being created when you look through the big window direct into the bakery. 

Activities for big and little ones

There are fun activities for the kids all year. In Karlstad’s city park, Mariebergsskogen, you can see the animals in LillskogenNaturum Värmlandwith its exhibitions and cafe, round trips on the Conrad Höök train, Lekträdgården (the Play Garden) and much more. The park is open all year and is free of charge.

Vildaparkenin Väse is between Karlstad and Kristinehamnand is a large park for kids with a spring in their step and speed in their wheels. There’s a skate park here, a down hill track for bikes, and adventure playground, and a barbecue area - with the forest as your nextdoor neighbour. 

Leos Leklandhas everything a mischievous kid could want. Climbing walls, a ball pond, tunnels, trampolines, bikes, ball cannons and slides are just a little of what’s on offer. When their energy reserves need recharging, you can take a break in the restaurant, where meals and snacks are available. 

Sundstabadetis the place for training, playing or just simply enjoying yourself. There are pools for people who want to learn to swim, an adventure pool for those who want to play, and a relaxation area for those who just want to unwind.

Culture and history

There’s a lot of culture in Karlstad. Sandgrund Lars Lerinis the gallery where the artist, Lars Lerin, displays his works. Lerin is one of Scandinavia’s foremost watercolour painters and has been featured on several different TV shows. Besides being able to view Lerin’s own magical paintings, they also have temporary exhibitions on a regular basis. 

Wermland Operais one of six opera houses in Sweden and is a little opera house with big ambitions. You can see world class operas, concerts and musicals here. The big stage is located in the beautiful Karlstads Teater, which was built in 1893. Both visitors and residents of Karlstad have seen everything from der Ring des Nibelungen, the St John Passion, and Les Misérables to Shrek - The Musical here. Every year, big new productions are set up on the Wermland Opera stage.

At the Brigadmuseum, you can find out about Sweden and the wider world during the years that many call the Cold War era. Home decorations of the time, geopolitical events, and military history in an exciting exhibition with unique artefacts. Brigadmuseum is the military experience museum for everyone. 

Alsters herrgård, Gustaf Fröding’s memorial farm, is an 18th century country estate in beautiful, natural surroundings with views over Vänern lake. The estate consists of several buildings with an attached park and is close to hiking trails. There is also a cafe, gallery, shop, handicrafts shop, and exhibitions about Gustaf Frödingand the estate itself. 

Värmlands Museumis one of Sweden’s most-visited county museums with over 200,000 visitors per year. This is where Värmland’s cultural history and internationally successful art and photography exhibitions meet. Every year, several different international art and photography exhibitions of the highest class are displayed. You can come here to be inspired and informed but also just to experience art for art’s sake.

Nature, sport and free time

With nature just around the corner, there are great opportunities for enjoying the outdoor life to the fullest. There are several areas that offer a lot of different activities. You’re always close to the water, as Karlstad is on the Klarälven delta and Vänernlake is just next-door. During the summer months from June to August, you can travel by boat bus around Karlstad. It’s a great way to see Karlstad from the water or to travel out a little way into the Vänern lake. 

The Klarälvsbananalso starts in Karlstad. This 90 km long tarmacked rail embankment is completely free of cars and promises you a great outdoor experience. You can cycle all the way to Uddeholmfrom here or continue on the Klarälvsleden trail all the way up to Sysslebäck.  

If you’re interested in mountain biking or hiking, the I2 skogenforest or Skuttbergetare beautiful areas for outdoor pursuits. I2 Skogen is easily reached from central Karlstad and there are several places with rest areas with log tables, benches, fireplaces and in some places even wind shelters. Skuttberget is situated in a beautiful, natural environment right by the side of Vänern. There’s an 8.5 km long mountain bike path and also exercise trails of various lengths. You can also swim by the cliffs and in the winter there are ski tracks, if the level of snow permits.

Karlstad is one of Sweden’s foremost sporting cities and the local area was named by the magazine, Sport & Affärer, as Sweden’s number one sporting region in 2016 and 2018. Rally Swedentakes place in Värmland and Karlstad in February each year. The world rally championship is a real festival and Karlstad is full of rally-lovers from around the world for a few intense days. You can also watch first class harness racing at Färjestadstravet, see Färjestad BK chasing the Swedish ice hockey championship, or follow Carlstad Crusaders as they go after more prizes in American football.


There are several shopping areas in Karlstad. Bergvikis a large shopping centre, just outside the city centre in the direction of Oslo. There are several well-known stores here, as well as an IKEA. Välsvikens handelsområdeis situated on the opposite side, in the direction of Stockholm. The area is growing every year and has several large stores. Large and small boutiques and several shopping centres can be found in the centre of Karlstad. The range on offer is wide and varied and you can find pretty much everything you are looking for.

Karlstad - The student town

We also have Karlstads Universitetwhich is a young and modern university. All the students are challenged to think freely, and in new ways, with big ideas. With a growing, forward-thinking university, Karlstad is ranked as one of the best student towns in the country. 

Accommodation and Camping in Karlstad

There are lots of options for accommodation in Karlstad. Most of the city’s 14 hotels are an easy walk from the city centre. You can stay in an old prison here, or a hotel that harks back to the 1870’s, or maybe a room with views over the Klarälven river. There are also several hostels and bed & breakfasts to choose from. Two campsites right outside the centre have spaces for tents, caravans, and mobile homes. If you’d rather stay in a cabin, we have several types, of various standards. In Karlstad, there’s something for everyone!