The province of Värmland is in the west of Sweden and its western edge borders Norway.
Värmland is one giant nature attraction. 10,000 lakes dot the forested landscape here and Sweden’s longest river, the Klarälven river, splits the province down the middle before flowing into one of Europe’s largest lakes, Vänern, near the city of Karlstad.
Go with the flow
Bond (literally) with family and friends on a timber-rafting trip down the Klarälven river. You get to build your own raft with the help of an expert and then you float at 3 kmph downriver.
Another watery adventure is the Glaskogen nature reserve of vast forests and 80 lakes. And, of course the best way to experience it is from a canoe. You can take a 7-day canoe trip here spending the night in a tent, or overnight cabin. Deep forest, shimmering lakes, fishing and peace and quiet.
If you prefer dry land and bit more civilization check out the Klarälvsbanan cycle path and Klarälvsleden hiking trail, a combined 210 km of cycling and hiking from Hammarö in the south of the province, stretching into the north, via Karlstad, the capital of the province. Expect forest, river and countryside, dotted with small towns for eats and sightseeing.
What about a spot of doing zilch beside a lake? One of the best places to do must be at Naturbyn near Säffle in the south of the province. You stay in an ecologically-built wooden cabin with no electricity, the cooking is communal, as is the wood-fired sauna. You do nothing, or you something. You decide.
A bit of culture
The culture of pampering and relaxation that is. Visit Sweden’s first spa at Selma Spa+ in the town of Sunne. Here you get some forty treatments, a fab fitness centre and good eats. And lots of relaxation. The other culture? How about world famous author Selma Lagerlöf, the first winner of the Nobel prize for literature in 1909. You can visit her beautiful home at Mårbacka in Sunne. Continuing the literary theme, you can also visit the former home of Swedish national poet Gustaf Fröding at Alsters Herrgård just outside Karlstad. And talking of Karlstad do visit the fabulous Värmland Museum, and behind it the Lars Lerin Museum.
At the well-known linen weaving mill in Klässbol, cloths and napkins are woven mechanically and manually for delivery to the royal court, embassies and the Nobel banquet.
The city of Karlstad lies on the river delta where two of Sweden’s great natural waterways meet; the 500 km long Klara river and the mighty Lake Vänern, with its archipelago of 22,000 islands.