Christmas markets are part of the Yuletide tradition in Sweden and here in Karlstad our two Xmas markets feature stalls selling authentic Värmland festive foods and drinks, local arts and crafts and have lots of Christmas-centric activities for the kids.
What’s a Christmas market
The traditional Christmas market is a German phenomenon that started in that country in the 1300s and is usually arranged the town square – a Christmas street market if you like. But not in Karlstad. Ours are held at Alsters Herrgård (manor house) a gorgeous countryside estate just north of the city, and at Mariebergsskogen, Karlstad’s city park and open-air museum.
Alsters Herrgård Christmas market
First a word about this lovely place. Alsters Herrgård is the countryside estate where Gustaf Fröding, one of Sweden’s most beloved national poets, was born in 1850. The estate consists of a 19th century new-classical style mansion house and several other earlier buildings and it lies 8 km east of Karlstad.
At the Alsters Manor House Christmas market you are met with the sight of glittering Christmas lights and neatly laid-out stalls selling their wares and the aroma of glögg (mulled, spiced wine) and roasted, caramelised almonds. Grab yourself a glug of glögg first (there’s a non-alcohol version for the kids) to kick off your browse-fest. You can expect and get all-authentic, local Värmland handicrafts like hats, gloves, Christmas decorations, home-made bread, cheese, sweets and more. You’ll also see local craftspeople at work, including wood-turners, brushmakers, smiths and weavers. For the kids? Pony-riding, choir singing, they can try their hand at festive crafts and lots more.
A shuttle bus runs between Stora Torget in Karlstad and the market every 30 minutes. Admission is SEK 20 and it is payable in cash. In fact, bring some cash with you as many of the stallholders do not accept cards.
Between 30 November – 1 December, between 10.00 am and 16.00 pm.
Mariebergsskogen Christmas market
Mariebergsskogen is Karlstad’s city park and open-air museum, 5 minutes by bus from Karlstad city centre, or a 20-minute lakeside stroll. The area was donated to the city by Conrad Höök, a prominent Karlstadian, back in 1896. In his honour the park named its mini train, that takes you on a guided tour of the park and open-air museum, after him.
Värmland Christmas fare and handicrafts to the fore at the Christmas market here. Christmas carols and music fill the cold air and market-goers head for Spikgården for steaming hot waffles or Holken for a hit of glögg and a bowl of rice pudding. Browse the stalls for traditional gingerbread biscuits, local-made mustard and festive treats.
Fun and games for the kids too with horse and carriage rides, festive games and a visit to father Christimas, or tomten in Swedish.
Between 7 December – 8 December. Admission is SEK 20. Bring some cash with you, as many of the stallholders do not accept cards.
Wrap up warm now – it can get very cold and hopefully, very snowy in Karlstad at Christmas.