What to do in Värmland, Sweden? 4 Activities + Handy Tips!

Are you looking for an adventurous destination in the Swedish nature? Then Värmland is the perfect spot. This province in Sweden is also known as little Canada, and for good reason. The area consists of 77% forests, and if you were to count the number of lakes, you would come to at least 10,000. Värmland has it all, from hilly terrain to tranquil streams, rivers, and countless islands. With so much nature around you, you might wonder where to begin. The golden tip: start from the water! Curious about what you can do there, how to get there, and what budget to consider? Scroll down quickly and read all our tips for Värmland in Sweden!

How to Travel to Värmland?

Värmland is located in the southeast of Sweden, bordering Norway and Lake Vänern, Sweden’s largest lake. There are several options to get to Värmland. Below we’ve listed them for you.

By Plane + Car: Take a direct flight to Oslo Gardermoen. From here, rent a car to Värmland, which is a 2.5-hour drive.

By Car + Ferry to Gothenburg: Drive to Kiel in Germany, where you take the ferry to Gothenburg in Sweden. From here, it’s about a 3-hour drive to Värmland.

By Car + Storebælt Bridge + Øresund Bridge: Drive via Kolding in Denmark to Malmö in Sweden. You’ll cross two toll bridges, the Storebælt Bridge and the Øresund Bridge, between them. Tickets for this crossing can be purchased online or on-site. You can buy a combination ticket for the two toll bridges here. From Malmö, it’s another 9-hour drive to Värmland.

By Bus: You can book a comfortable overnight bus to Värmland through The Canoe Trip in addition to your canoe. Ideal because you can head out in the morning right away.

By Train + Ferry + Bus or Car: Take the train to Kiel. From here, board the ferry to Gothenburg. Here, you can either take the Flixbus to Årjäng or choose to drive to Värmland with a rental car. This is still a 3-hour drive.

Do you want to travel affordably and add a sporty activity to your Värmland trip? With the Canoe Trip, you can choose a flight with transfer or a direct bus trip to Värmland.

What is the Best Time to Visit Värmland?

The best time to visit Värmland is from June to September. During these months, there is the least amount of rainfall, and a large part of the day is light. You can enjoy pleasant temperatures around 18 to 22°C (64 to 72°F). This is the prime period for outdoor activities such as canoeing, rafting, and wilderness camping.

If you enjoy wintry cold, then December to early March are the right months, with an average temperature of -3°C (27°F). However, keep in mind that there are significantly fewer daylight hours during this time.

Costs and Budget for Värmland

Scandinavia has the reputation of having high average prices. However, if you ask us, you can definitely keep your trip affordable. Below, we’ve made an estimate for daily expenses (along with tips on how to save!), so you can get a good idea of the budget you’ll need.


Cost: 250 – 900 SEK per day ($24 – $86)

The cost of accommodation is, of course, up to you. Opting for a more luxurious hotel will run around 900 SEK ($86) per night, but if you choose a hostel with fewer frills, expect to pay about 550 SEK ($54). Wild camping, on the other hand, is free and, in our opinion, the best way to save money during your trip to Värmland! Keep in mind that in some places, you’ll need a Nature Conservation Card. This card grants access to camping spots equipped with a shelter, outdoor toilet, and fire pit. It costs 80 SEK ($7) per person per night.

Food and Drink

Cost: 225-450 SEK per day ($20 – $40)

One of the pricier aspects of Värmland is food and drink. Eating out, in particular, can be quite expensive. At an average restaurant, expect to pay around 340 SEK ($32) for a main course. Bringing your own (survival) food from home is a good option. If you’re flying, you’re allowed to bring up to 3 kilograms of food per person. However, if you do want to dine out, at the bottom of this article, you’ll find tips for good restaurants in Värmland.

Tip: Looking to save money on drinks? Bring a refillable water bottle from home. In Sweden, you can drink water directly from the lakes or rivers.

What to Do in Värmland?

In Värmland, there are several cool activities to undertake.

Canoeing at Sunrise

There are many ways to explore Värmland, but with over 10,000 lakes, the canoe is the most fun way. Admire the pristine nature of Sweden as you paddle quietly across the lakes. This is a special experience because in some places, you’re all alone, and (almost) everywhere you can wild camp. Get out of bed before sunrise because the surroundings are even more beautiful, and it’s a delightful way to start your day. To book your canoe trip, we recommend The Canoe Trip. They have mapped out some of the most beautiful routes through Värmland, and most logistics are taken care of for you. Besides a Canadian canoe, you also get wheels for land crossings, a trail map with route instructions & locations of (wild) camping spots, and access passes for locks and shelters. Furthermore, you have all the freedom: it’s up to you how you want to plan it.

Spotting Wildlife in Värmland

Värmland is home to many species, including fallow deer, foxes, cranes, and moose. However, the chance to see a moose in the wild is quite small and requires a lot of patience and some luck. You can also spot many animals on the water, including the osprey and the white-tailed eagle in particular. These large birds of prey are common in Värmland and primarily hunt for fish, but the white-tailed eagle also feeds on other birds found near water. So, pay extra attention because on the water is where you have the best chance to spot these birds.

Wild Camping in Värmland

What’s so great about traveling through Värmland is that in the many thousands of lakes, there are also countless small islands. It’s not only fun to anchor for a lunch break during your canoe trip, but here you can also experience what it’s like to have your own private island for a night. Sweden is indeed the ideal place for wild camping, because of the Everyman’s Right, also known as “Allemansrätten”. This means that you can pitch your tent anywhere in nature to spend the night, as long as you don’t cause any damage to nature or others’ property. A must is that you pitch your tent in the wilderness, not in someone’s backyard. In Värmland, you’re in the right place for that because it’s known as one of the most pristine pieces of nature in all of Scandinavia. Want to know more? Read all about wild camping in Sweden.

Admire the Endless Sunset and Capture the Most Beautiful Nature Photos

Thanks to Sweden’s northern location, it stays light for a long time in the summer. During the summer months, you can even experience the natural phenomenon of the midnight sun, a period from early June to mid-July when the sun never fully sets below the horizon. In Sweden, you can enjoy the last sunbeams for hours as they gradually descend among the trees. During this period, the colors can change from blue to purple, orange, red, and pink. Virtually all colors of the rainbow pass by. For photographers among us, this is a true spectacle and the perfect opportunity to capture beautiful nature photos.

What to Bring to Värmland?

Below you’ll find a packing list with the essential items for a visit to Värmland. This list is particularly useful if you’re planning on engaging in outdoor activities such as canoeing, hiking, or wild camping.

  • Drybag (especially handy during canoeing)
  • Refillable water bottle
  • Headlamp
  • Water shoes
  • Hiking boots
  • Reusable cutlery
  • Backpack
  • Pocket knife
  • Biodegradable soap (for washing in the lakes)
  • Biodegradable toilet paper
  • Power bank or solar charger
  • Cap or hat
  • Buff for colder days
  • Sunglasses
  • Thermal clothing
  • Hardshell jacket (waterproof and windproof) & softshell jacket (water repellent)
  • Fleece jacket
  • Swimwear
  • Small compass
  • Camping gear

Best Restaurants in Värmland (Karlstad)

In the forested surroundings of Värmland, you won’t come across many restaurants quickly. A bit further south, you’ll find the slightly more populated place Karlstad, which has some good restaurants.

Matbruket – A delightful place offering typical Swedish classics. The Raggmunk (a potato pancake served with fried pork and lingonberries) is highly recommended! Combine this restaurant with a visit to the Värmland Museum.
Zest – Here you can enjoy fresh salads, soup, and dumplings. Everything is organic and sourced from their own garden.
Spicy Hot – If you’re looking for a quick bite, this is the place to be. They offer tasty Asian dishes with plenty of vegetarian and vegan options on the menu.
Fontana di Trevi – Taste Italian flavors in Sweden, with options like bruschetta, grilled tuna, and calamari fritti.

Fun fact: Eating pure and fresh food is very important for the people of Värmland. Did you know that ‘Foerageren,’ meaning ‘harvesting food from nature,’ is a daily activity here? It’s no wonder many restaurants have a very local menu, featuring items like fish, mushrooms, and berries from the nearby forests, lakes, and meadows.