Varmland is a historical province on the western border of Sweden. It borders the Swedish provinces of Vastergotland, Dalsland, Dalarna, Vastmanland, and Narke, as well as Norway. The traditional Swedish provinces serve no administrative purpose; it is a historical designation only. The largest cities in Varmland are Karlstad, Arvika, and Hagfors.
Travellers planning to visit Varmland can fly to either Stockholm, Copenhagen, or Oslo and catch a bus to Karlstad. Alternately, you can fly direct into Karlstad from Stockholm or Copenhagen. To explore the remoter parts of the province, you may wish to have your own vehicle.
Budget accommodations in Varmland can be found in Karlstad or Arvika. Look for the word “vandrarhem,” as that's what locals call a hostel. Plus, many Swedes do speak some English, so you can also ask for a hostel. All that said, outside of the main cities, hostels are often hard to find. Consider a guesthouse (“gasthus”) or bed and breakfast instead.
Once you have your accommodation set, you can start exploring Varmland. The region is rich with small ponds, lakes, and streams, and the largest lake is Vanern, which forms the border with Vastergotland. It is possible to fish, kayak, or canoe in Lake Vanern; unlike most lakes in Sweden, you do not need a permit to fish in Lake Vanern. Hikers can traverse the Kilsbergen mountains that separate Varmland from Narke; it is the southernmost part of the taiga (boreal forest) in Sweden and nature enthusiasts can find unusual flora and fauna in the region. The Berglagsleden (Berglags Trail) starts at the southern tip of the mountains and crosses into Narke. Another exciting option is to raft along the river Klaralven. There are 1, 3, and 6 day trips that show the countryside from a very different perspective.
The eastern part of the province is part of the Central Swedish Mining District, and is rich in iron ore. The town of Langban is the birthplace of Swedish-American inventor John Ericsson and his brother Nils; Langbanshyttan is the name of the house. Today, the area is a tourist attraction. Much of the province is industrial, from the mineral deposits and mining in the eastern part of the province to the power stations and logging in the res of the province.
Being on the border with Norway, Varmland was affected by the 1814 campaign against Norway. Varmland was also the scene of heavy military activity during the Second World War, especially after the Germans occupied Norway. The Hutlet fort, in Eda, has been renovated and is now a visitor attraction.
Varmland reveals its charms slowly; spend a few days there and uncover them.
Hi, I'm Jakob Lombardi,
the Hostelz.com local expert for Värmland hostels. Welcome.