A roundtrip amongst the county’s quaint town centres

Nature in all its glory! Sometimes you just want to feel the pulse of the city or town, with good food, great shopping. Follow along and explore what’s available at six locations in Värmland.


Värmland offers a rich array of things to do when it comes to entertainment, food, and shopping. You’ll find the biggest choice of things to do in the city of Karlstad, the capital of the region and, with over 90,000 residents, the biggest.  In spite of its size, the city centre is very pleasant and most things are in walking distance. The river Klarälven slowly flows through the city towards Lake Vänern and along the streets and in the malls, you’ll find everything that you could possibly need to update your closet or home.  If you’re looking for entertainment, there’s everything from cosy pups and restaurants to nightclubs. You’ll want to visit Kungsgatan, which has plenty of bars and terraces to sit and enjoy a drink.


Another town close to the water is Arvika. The centre of town is situated right by the water at Kyrkviken. There’s a mixture of grand, stone residential houses as small wooden houses from the 18th century. There are also modern buildings of course! It’s a cosy little town which offers a range of unique boutique, great shopping, good food and drink.


The newest city in Värmland, and indeed Sweden, is situated the by the river Byälven.  Säffle was an important commercial centre as early as during the reign of Gustav Vasa; however, it didn’t receive its charter until 1951. There are many splendid buildings from the beginning of the 19th century and the beautiful walkway along the river is an absolute must if you visit.


If we now turn east, we  discover the county’s third largest town: Kristinehamn. The rivers Varnan and Lötälven cross the town. The former city of regency is known locally as Lusasken, taking the nick-name from a moneybox where inhabitants of the municipality collected money for poor sailors. The box is today found at Ölme Diversehanel och kafé, a general store and café. Since 2011 Kristinehamn has been Sweden’s official Cupcake City. If you visit in May, don’t miss the cupcake festival!


Our two final ports of call are to be found north, along the E45 at Frykens strand. The first town is Sunne, situated in the area between Övre and Mellan Fryken.  It’s a busy little place with a rich cultural life. Explore the town’s secondhand stores or furnishing stores. “Fika” at Slottskaféet or enjoy a good lunch at Selma Spa or Ulvsby Herrgård.  


At the north end of Övre Fryken lies Torsby.  Torsby is the final destination for Fryksdalsbanan, which was voted as one of the country’s most beautiful train routes a couple of years ago. Torsby is also one of the country’s strongholds for rockabilly, with numerous bands and regular gigs and festivals.


If you prefer shopping centres, there are plenty of choices. On the E18 just west of Karlstad is Bergvik, which has over 80 shops, cafés and restaurants. It’s right by IKEA and the camping grounds at Skutberget and Bomstad.  Close to the Norwegian border is Charlottenberg Shoppingcenter. It has over 60 shops. Töckfors Shoppingcenter has 45 shops. In the far north there’s the slightly smaller Långflons shopping mall.

Text: Pål Johansson