Some places in this world are like an exciting box of chocolates, wrapped in layers upon layers and filled with delicious surprises. Fredrikstad is one such place. No matter how many times you come here, there is always something new to explore in the largest city in Østfold county. 
Read about the Old Town, Fredrikstad's main Tourist Attraction


Adventurous City

  Fredrikstad has rich seafaring traditions through several hundred years.   
Fredrikstad has rich seafaring traditions through several hundred years. 

Fredrikstad enjoys the luck of having the river Glomma running thorugh the city. The river is split by the Kråkerøy island before it empties into the Oslo fjord. The city's nice location is helping to raise the number of attractions and activities that Fredrikstad has to offer.

  A trip with the Ferry in Fredrikstad is free of charge  
A trip with the Ferry in Fredrikstad is free of charge

Have you by the way found the time to take your family to see Europe's best preserved fortress? Here you can also visit Scandinavia's largest model railway center, or let the kids romp between cannon or oak trees on the grass-covered ramparts here. The walls back home may need to be re-decorated with lusty artwork - the Old City is packed with great art galleries and studios. And just a few hundred yards outside the fortress city you can enjoy a game of golf in a stunning landscape with the Kongsten castle as a backdrop.

Fredrikstad is definitely one of Norway's most beautiful cities. You're immediately grabbed by its atmosphere. The people, the swarm and the closeness are three keywords for the cozy wooden city. Whether you are shopping or having a good bite to eat, everything is within a comfortable walking distance.

  The Old Town  
The Old Town

Especially in the summer, there is a buzzing atmosphere in Fredrikstad. For a vibrant holiday vibe, head to the harbor promenade, where, especially in the summer, you can get a bag of prawns on the boardwalk or have yourself a good night out at one of the bars that line the harbor promenade. No wonder, then, that the city‘s “anthem“ is titled “Summer is wonderful in Fredrikstad“.


It happens in Beautiful Fredrikstad:

   Dragons of all colors and shapes, happy and eager children with their equally eager parents visit the Dragon Festival on Isegran in August.  
 Dragons of all colors and shapes, happy and eager children with their equally eager parents visit the Dragon Festival on Isegran in August.

Every summer is buzzing with delightful life, but this year's summer will probably be pulsating heavier than ever before. Few Norwegian cities can boast a taller summer menu than Fredrikstad. Here we'll only mention a handful of the good stuff that's going to happen this summer. Please see What's On for the complete list.

Fredrikstad is the place to be for shows, theatrical performances and concerts at venues all over the city, not to mention all the artists who each year are drawn to this beautiful city by Glomma's outlet.

  Fredrikstad is proud to be the best preserved fortress town in Scandinavia.  
Fredrikstad is proud to be the best preserved fortress town in Scandinavia.

Østfold's biggest festival, Glommafestivalen, takes place from the end of July until the first days of June as usual. This is a family festival where almost all events are free. Glommafestivalen has always focused on water because the river Glomma, which runs through the city, has been important for the development of the city. Top artists will perform during the festival, and among other activites are the River Duel, boat parade and the Cardboard Boat Race with the most creative craft you have ever seen, and all of them are made from cardboard!

Fredrikstad has rich seafaring traditions through several hundred years. On the island Isegran you can learn more about the city's maritime history at the Maritime Center shipyard. They specialize in re-creating wooden boats used in earlier times, and the Fredrikstad Museum has a special section on Isegran showing a maritime section in the navy's old mines storage room. Isegran also hosts a wooden boat festival with a regatta around Kråkerøy island. Dragons of all colors and shapes, happy and eager children with their equally eager parents visit the Dragon Festival on Isegran in August. See our cultural calendar for furher information, date and time for the Dragon Festival. The Literature Festival takes place in the beginning of September. Almost all of Norway's most prominent authors and quite a few of their international colleagues attend. 

  Trend-setting restaurants and vibrant nightclubs next to idyllic archipelago.       
Trend-setting restaurants and vibrant nightclubs next to idyllic archipelago.


There's no denying that the real "jewel in the crown" in Fredrikstad is the Old Town (Gamlebyen). The fortress city and Norway's first renaissance city with its lovely and rustic exterior has a unique and magnetic attraction for tourists, and is one of Norway's most visited tourist destinations. The Moon Festival (Månefestivalen) is held during the last weekend of July. This festival is very popular among Norwegian concert-goers, mainly because of the special atmosphere and surroundings in the Old Town, but also due to the jovial and charming way the citizens of Fredrikstad welcome the festival visitors.



Archipelago and Swimming


Beautiful roads lead from the city center into the archipelago: both to the south, west and north of Fredrikstad. The Fredrikstad coastline, where nature always changes with the seasons, is certainly something you should experience when visiting Fredrikstad. Indeed, if you choose not to visit Fredrikstad’s stunning and beautiful archipelago, you'll only get to know the city half-way.

You should indulge in a boat trip while in Fredrikstad. Several boat services offer tours of the area, even all the way to Strømstad, Sweden, if that's your desire. Fredrikstad has more than 40 beaches and places where you can swim. The Fredrikstad archipelago is among the most beautiful in Scandinavia. Fredrikstad's coastline consists of more than 1,000 islands and reefs. There are two lighthouses, Struten and Strømtangen, in the inlet to Fredrikstad. Both offer the possibility for tourists to stay overnight. Hankø is probably Fredrikstad's best known island and resort. Hankø is regarded as the Mecca of sailing, and the most fashionable holiday resort in the Oslofjorden basin. Here, both royalty and other celebrities enjoy the summer alongside other people. By the way, did you know that Hankø is one of Norway's oldest resorts and that it was used for classic summer vacations as early as in the late 1800's. Read more here about the Hankø island -->

The Old Town (Gamlebyen)

The Old Town is very close to downtown Fredrikstad - just two minutes away with the town ferry across Glomma, and you'll find yourself in one of the world's best preserved fortress cities. The Old Town has an almost magnetic atrraction for visitors. Here you walk on cobblestone streets, soaking in impressions from exciting views of the empire-inspired blocks of brick buildings and colorful wooden houses. Here are a number of personal and unique shops in a cozy 1700s environment where small shops and second-hand stores lie side by side with all the galleries and cafés.

 Market in The Old Town every saturday, all year around. 
Market in The Old Town every saturday, all year around.

In the Old Town you can visit the Fredrikstad Museum, the Glass Hut, the Jorunn Bråthen Pottery, art galleries, the Art Center Bastion 5, the Whaling Museum, the Model Railway Center and the Santa Night House, where Christmas products are sold all year long.

The Fortress Path (festningsløypa) is a walk that takes you to places and buildings where you can learn a lot about the everyday life in a fortress and national military historical events. Along the way are numbered signs to follow while reading the self-guiding map. The length of the walk is approximately 2 kilometres and the time to finish the trip is calculated to about an hour and a half at strolling pace.

You may feed the ducks, study the birdlife in the moat, take a ferry ride to Gressvik and back, bring a guidebook and study the city and visit the free market on Saturdays. There is a playgound for children, several restaurants and daily guided tours in the summertime. We highly recommend that you catch a guided tour in historical surroundings once you've made it to the Old Town of Fredrikstad.

The History

The Old Town is the oldest part of Fredrikstad. It was founded on the 12th of September 1567 on the east side of Glomma, where the river splits into two courses. King Frederick II signed the city founding letter and Fredrikstad became the first Norwegian city founded since the Middle Ages, and the first to be named after the king by the king's permission. It is a fun oddity that King Fredrik himself never visited the city he lent his name to, but he sits proudly on his pedestal in the town square, nonetheless.

The background for the founding of Fredrikstad in 1567, was a Swedish attack and torching of the city of Sarpsborg the same year during the Nordcic Seven Years War. Sarpsborg's exposed location led the citizens to ask King Frederick's permission to rebuild the city closer to Glomma's outlet. They felt that it would be easier to defend the city here and at the same time provide good living conditions for the citizens.

When Norway lost the Bohuslen area with the Bohuslen fortress to Sweden in 1658,  Fredrikstad was an important border town. The construction of a brand new fortress commenced in 1663, based on blueprints by the dutch engineering officer Willem Coucheron. Fredrikstad became the army's main supply base and training center in the South of Norway.

Star-Shaped Fortress System

Fredrikstad is one of three Norwegian cities that have been fortified, and the only one where the fortifications are still intact. Fredrikstad Fortress was built according to the old-Dutch system, with wide water-filled moats and deep earth walls. The fortress has three full and two half bastions on its land side and protruding star spikes with room for cannon.

The ravelins lie in the moats, and outside the fortress are advanced fortifications like the Kongsten Fortress. Towards the river the fortifications consist of a solid stone wall reinforced with earth walls. The entrance to the fortress was across the Vinde bridge and through the Voll gate, or through one of the gates towards the docks on the Glomma waterfront.

200 Years Without Attacks

We should be grateful that it's been 200 years since the Old Town was subject to shelling from an alien invading force. That one of the best preserved fortress cities is so idyllic today, is because Fredrikstad Fortress has avoided actions of war for the past 200 years.

In contrast to the Fredriksten Fortress in Halden, Fredrikstad Fortress has a less glorious war history. The fortress was attacked only once, in August 1814. The fortress was old, in poor condition and weakly manned. It took Crown Prince Karl Johan Bernadotte just a few hours of bombardment before the fortress surrendered.

It should be mentioned in this context that the Fredrikstad Fortress was not attacked for 150 years after it was built. It is therefore fair to assume that it had a deterring effect on the neighboring country in the east. Not even King Carl XII dared to attack the city, despite the fact that he had troops nearby and also despite the fact that the fortress restrained the river and its importance as a communication 



Travel to Holmestrand and experience the cozy wharf life, the sight of the trees in green splendor that climb along the black rock wall towards Holmestrand center, which was the architectural style of the 1700s. Go shopping in the city "To Levels", or just enjoy yourself at the town's two scenic beaches.

Even better than its reputation
Holmestrand has quite unfairly been perceived as a "town you pass by." Many people associate the city of waiting in endless queues, traffic congestion, and tunnel trouble. Earlier the heavy traffic on the E18 went right through Holmestrand’s narrow downtown streets. In 2001, the E18 moved inland, which led to Holmestrand regaining much of its former idyllic feel. It is amazing to think that the otherwise peaceful city was plagued by massive traffic problems before. We hope with this article to correct some of the false and negative impressions many have of this town with the dream location in Oslofjord.

Scenic recreational and leisure areas
Holmestrand is known as the town under the mountain. The cliff, Veggfjellet, behind the center gives Holmestrand a characteristic profile and creates contrast between the coast and inland. Holmestrand as a municipality is much more than the 11 km narrow coastal strip at Holmestrandfjord. From the bay, Holmestrand creeps up the mountain and extends inland. Here on top of the "mountains" are trade centers, large living spaces, and farmland.
The municipality's varied topography and geographical coverage is a good starting point for rich and varied outdoor activities. On the plateau of the center are very beautiful viewpoints with beautiful views of the bay and the scenic islands Kommersøya and Bjerkøya. The plateau behind the town also offers opportunities for great countryside experiences with a large network of trails that wind through forests and deep valleys. Some nice lakes are also along the trails.

But there is sun and sea which are natural summer attractions in the coastal town of Holmestrand. 1000 places for small boats and a premiere guest marina in the city center, clean water, and nice swimming spots are within walking distance just north and south of the city center. As so often when it comes to coastal cities, the brewery and the port area serve as the city's major tourist attraction. Here you can eat freshly cooked prawns on the wharf. Enjoy refreshments or a meal on the terrace while watching the crowded wharf and boating in the harbor. You can get up close and personal with the maritime environment and boat traffic. Leisure boats, fishermen, and merchant vessels lie side by side along the quays. Although it is nice and cozy in the harbor, it can be even better. The municipality has made a development plan for the port area and it is now gearing up for a NOK 100 million project which will result in even more magnificent facilities for city residents and tourists.

The islands in Homestrandfjord are well adapted for boaters with excellent swimming and recreation areas on the islands. Swim life is combined with plants and fossil studies in the nature reserves. The coastal trail through Holmestrand Municipality is part of the coastal path from Hurum in Buskerud to Borre in Vestfold.

Highway 319 winds and meanders along the coastal stretch of Sande and Svelvik. Sometimes down by the water, other times up on high hills and through valleys. The valley you see in the image extends from the highway down to the fjord at Sandvika in Sande.

Open your senses for our beautiful adventure in Vestfold’s two northernmost municipalities. Next time you are going to or from Vestfold, we recommend that you travel via Sande and Svelvik. Read why.


Reis til Holmestrand og opplev det koselige bryggelivet, synet av løvtrær i grønn prakt som klatrer langs den sorte fjellveggen ned mot Holmestrand sentrum, aristokratiets byggestil fra 1700-tallet, shopping i byens «to etasjer», eller bare rekreasjon på byens to naturskjønne badeplasser. 

Mye bedre enn sitt rykte
Ganske urettferdig har Holmestrand blitt oppfattet som en «by man passerer eller kjører igjennom». Mange forbinder jo byen med venting i endeløse køer, trafikkaos og tunneltrøbbel. Tidligere dundret tungtrafikk på E18 som gikk tvers gjennom Holmestrand smale sentrumsgater. I 2001 ble E18 flyttet innover i landet, noe som førte til at Holmestrand fikk tilbake mye av sitt tidligere idylliske preg. Det er utrolig å tenke på at den ellers så fredelige byen ble forpestet av all biltrafikk tidligere. Vi håper med denne artikkelen å rette opp noe av det feilaktige og negative inntrykket mange har av denne byen med drømmebeliggenhet ved Oslofjorden.

Naturskjønne rekreasjons- og friluftsområder
Holmestrand er kjent som byen under fjellet. Fjellveggen bak bysentrum gir Holmestrand en karakteristisk profil og skaper kontraster mellom kyst og innland. Holmestrand som kommune er jo mye mer enn den 11 km smale kyststripen ved Holmestrandsfjorden. Fra fjorden kryper Holmestrand opp på fjellet og strekker seg innover i landet. Her oppå «fjellet» finnes handelssentra, store boarealer og jordbruksområder. 

Kommunens varierte topografi og geografiske utstrekning er et godt utgangspunkt for et rikt og variert friluftsliv. På platået over sentrum finnes svært flotte utsiktspunkter med flott skue utover fjorden og de naturskjønne øyene Kommersøya og Bjerkøya. Platået bak byen gir også muligheter for flotte markaopplevelser med et stort løypenett som snirkler seg gjennom skog og dype daler. Noen flotte innsjøer får du også med på turen. 

Men det er sol og sjø som er naturgitte sommerattraksjoner i kystbyen Holmestrand. 1000 småbåtplasser og premiert gjestehavn i byens sentrum, rent vann og trivelige badeplasser i gåavstand like nord og syd for sentrum. Som så ofte når det gjelder kystbyer er det brygge- og havneområdet som fungerer som byens store trekkplaster, så også med Holmestrand. Her kan du spise nykokte reker på bryggekanten. Hygge deg med forfriskninger eller spise et måltid på uterestaurant mens du ser på det yrende folke- og båtlivet i havna. Her kommer du tett innpå det maritime miljøet og båttrafikken. Fritidsbåter, yrkesfiskere og handelsfartøyer ligger side om side langs kaiene. Selv om det er fint og koselig i havnen, så skal det bli enda bedre. Kommunen har laget en utviklingsplan for havneområdet og det skal nå rustes opp for 100 millioner kroner som skal resultere i enda flottere fasiliteter for byens innbyggere og turister.

Øyene i Holmestrandsfjorden er godt tilrettelagt for båtfolket med ypperlige badeplasser og rekreasjonsområder på øyene. Badeliv kombineres med plante- og fossilstudier i naturreservatene. Kyststien gjennom Holmestrand kommune er en del av kyststien fra Hurum i Buskerud til Borre i Vestfold

Riksvei 319 slynger og bukter seg langs kyststrekningen av Sande og Svelvik. Noen ganger helt ned ved vannet, andre ganger opp på høye koller og gjennom dype daler. Dalen du ser på bildet strekker seg fra Riksveien og ned til fjorden ved Sandvika i Sande.

Åpne sansene for vårens vakre eventyr i Vestfolds to nordligste kommuner. Neste gang du skal til eller fra Vestfold anbefaler vi at du reiser via Sande og Svelvik. Les hvorfor.

Sande | Svelvik

The islands in Homestrandfjord are well adapted for boaters with excellent swimming and recreation areas on the islands. Swim life is combined with plants and fossil studies in the nature reserves. The coastal trail through Holmestrand Municipality is part of the coastal path from Hurum in Buskerud to Borre in Vestfold.

Highway 319 winds and meanders along the coastal stretch of Sande and Svelvik. Sometimes down by the water, other times up on high hills and through valleys. The valley you see in the image extends from the highway down to the fjord at Sandvika in Sande.

Open your senses for our beautiful adventure in Vestfold’s two northernmost municipalities. Next time you are going to or from Vestfold, we recommend that you travel via Sande and Svelvik. Read why.

Lovely from nature’s side
The two municipalities Sande and Svelvik are the farthest north in Vestfold. Sande and Svelvik have excellent conditions for agriculture and the nature in both municipalities is made up of beautiful landscapes, one of Vestfold's longest coastlines, the sea, and beautiful forests that offer many experiences – in both summer and winter. The municipalities have a rich cultural life and high population growth. There is an active forestry operation in Sande and Svelvik which also places great emphasis on facilitating the public so that citizens and tourists find their way more easily into the forest and islands to experience nature. Svelvik and Sande are a special experience by bike when the fruit trees are blooming from about mid-May. Open your senses to a wonderful adventure in Vestfold’s two northernmost municipalities.

The Coastal Road on Vestfold’s Northern Riviera
Rarely does someone recommend someone to take a route that takes a while longer. Next time you are going to or from Vestfold, we recommend just taking a detour via Sande and Svelvik. You won’t regret it! From Sande (from the south) and Svelvik (from Drammen and north), you can drive the coastal road by car along the northern Vestfold Riviera. Nowhere else in Vestfold can you drive so long on a main road which follows close to the sea like Highway 319 does. The route meanders along the entire coastline of the Sande and Svelvik municipalities is a great attraction and destination just in itself. At several places along the route, there are welcoming picnic areas in both Sande and Svelvik.
The village, Svelvik, was granted city status in 1998 and is idyllically situated almost utterly in Drammenfjord. Svelvik is a small village with narrow streets, sometimes called "Norway's northernmost Sørland idyll." Here is Drammenfjord at the narrowest, and the stream at the roughest.  The ferry from Svelvik crosses here to the plant in Hurum over the fjord and is actually part of the coastal path. The large ships carrying cars to Drammen harbor, heading into the narrow Svelvikstrømmen, look like they are driving through center of the main street. A beautiful summer day on a bench in the center, while the boats pass by, is quite a special experience. Svelvik is the port for the loading of sand and gravel and the sand hunter used to be a pictorial element in a picture of the fjord. The old port still retains much of the character of the times of sailing ships. It is said that there could be up to 100 ships here.

Historical Berger and Fossekleiva
If you are interested in the arts, you should take a trip to Fossekleiva in Svelvik. At Fossekleiva center, you can follow the beginning of beautiful glass and decanters. If you’ve take the tour through Berger Museum in Svelvik, you’ll get to experience how people lived in this little industry community when 200 workers were employed on the site’s two wooden mills.  The famous Berg blankets are still produced in one of the buildings. The beautiful Berger farm is located on a hill just off the main road and has stunning views over the fjord. Below the farm, there is a sloping landscape of lush meadows and green pastures with grazing cows that extends right down to the fjord. Today the farm is run by the couple Anne Ma Jebsen Holm and Egil Holm.

It was Anne Ma’s grandfather Jurgen Jebsen who bought the farm in 1880. Together with his son, they built up the woolen mill that was located just below the Berger farm. An industrial community was created at Berger, which until then only consisted of farms and some smallholdings. The new industrial society was then composed of two plants (Berger and Fossekleiva) and eventually 30 houses with housing for nearly 130 working families as well as banking, an electric power station, hospital, school, post office, and church were established. One worked the laundry, dye, spinning, and weaving; and the two factories and related industries employed usually 300 workers. There continued to be textile production in Berger until 2003. The production has now moved to Latvia. Today, the former industrial area is called Fossekleiva Center and buildings house many new features, such as galleries, shops, offices, homes, café and museum.

The coastal path
The coastal path from Svelvik town at the head of the Sande bay in Sande is about 25 km long and mostly continuous. The coastal path in the two municipalities includes other older roads and trails, but some stretches are somewhat rough and difficult for those who have leg problems. The beach area is varied with a beautiful coastal landscape which also includes a cultural landscape that has evolved over time.

It is highly recommended to take a tour of the aforementioned village, Berger. On your tour of Berger, you’ll take the coastal path, gravel roads, and nice trails. It is on the route from Bjerkøya Pier to Leina and the route at Bjerkøya where the coastal path is the prettiest and most pleasant, as it winds through beautiful natural areas. When you arrive at Bjerkøya by car, you can start at the pier just before Bjerkøya. The walking tour around the island starts on paved road, and eventually goes over the trail. Part of the trail goes through the woods and over the beaches, with some steep and narrow sections. On top of the island to the south, there are stunning views of Langøya, Holmestrand, and the Oslofjord. This round trip on Bjerkøya ends on paved road.
During the summer, it’s smart to have swimsuits in your backpack so you can easily take a refreshing dip at one of the many beaches along the coastal path. Making a stop at the pretty arches of Vammen is recommended. The arches were used for storing fishing nets for salmon fishing and on the mountains, there are still traces of yarn drying.
Common to both municipalities, the coastal path passes wetlands of Grunnane (Svelvik) and the Sandebukta wetlands (Sande). In both of the wetlands, there are numerous types of birds, vegetation, and other wildlife that are native to the areas.
Fruitful Svelvik
Old fruit varieties are living heritage and also taste great. Svelvik has a long tradition of growing fruits and has a true diversity of various fruit trees and sorts.
Apple blossoms and strawberry fruit are the symbols of Svelvik municipality, which despite its small size is Vestfold’s largest fruit supplier and the country’s 5th largest supplier of apples. Local fruit farmers believe Svelvik is the best place in Norway. Svelvik in Vestfold has a microclimate that is optimal for apple growing. Apples have been grown here since the 1840s and fruit farmers in Svelvik have built up a long history. But over the past few years, apple cultivation has become quite modernized. The trees are nearly 3 meters tall, and they are much closer than before. The same lighting conditions throughout the tree provide favorable growth conditions for each fruit. Nonetheless, the apples from Svelvik are just as juicy and delicious as they always have been. 

Swimming paradise. The coast of Sande and Svelvik has many lovely swimming areas. Here from Sandebukta in Sande. 

Krok in Svelvik is an idyllic region by Drammensfjord. Holmsbu at Hurumlandet can be seen at the other side of the fjord.

From the fruit blossoming in May. Svelvik is the largest fruit municipality in Vestfold county and the country’s 5th largest. 

Typical fjord landscape in Svelvik. Here you see Kroksbukta and Kjelleråsen.

Berger farm. Watercolor painting by Johs. Torbjørn Rudrud


In Midgard´s Kingdom

What a great nature and location!
Almost right between Horten and Åsgårdstrand is Borre, the viking´s favorite area. It is not hard to understand why the Vikings chose this area as their home when you look at the beautiful nature going down to the Oslo fjord and the fertile soil everywhere you go. The summer of 2013, the Gildehallen opened, and has become one of Vestfold´s most popular attractions. 

Midgard historic center and the Borre park
At Borre in Horten county is Midgard historic center, which can offer experiences and activites for all ages. Inside, you can visit exhibitions with original items from the Viking era in Vestfold, as well as see relevant, international exhibitions. If you´re tired of spending the time indoors, we recommend visiting the Midgard´s Viking playground. This is where the young ones can play archeologists and excavate treasures from the ground, or practice their balance through a obstacle run. The older ones can test their bow and arrow skills, or try throwing axes. The whole family can play a log game, how about the children vs. adults? If you want to challenge your tactical skills, we recommend playing the viking´s own board game, Hefnatafl. 

The center has a café with a panorama view of the Borre mounds.  You can enjoy vaffles or other temptations in the café or on the outside terrace.

 Midgard is connected to the Borre park which has North Europe´s largest collection og large mounds from the young iron age (Viking era). The park has seven large mounds, around 40 smaller mounds, three rockeries and two star shaped mounds (“treodder”). It was believed to be all of one family, the Yngling family, that was buried in the mounds, but new research based on DNA analytics, suggests that large grave yards like these usually contains remains from different families. But there are no doubt that there are some very important people of the Viking era buried at Borre.

Just one of the large mounds at Borre is completely excavated, which happened in 1853, and this is where the valuable findings at Borre were found. Many of the items found at Midgard can be seen in the exhibition “Borre in the bay, Borre in the world”. Midgard also exhibits great findings from the iron age in the exhibition “Mounded – the viking´s burials at Gulli” and “There are no borders from space”. 

The Borre park is a favored hiking area for the locals, and is great of picnics and trips in summer time. Maybe a little swim is tempting if the weather is hot? Only a short walk between the park from Midgard is between you and the beautiful Borre beach with a view of the Oslo fjord´s outlet!
Explore the Borre park during the Viking era on your iPhone or iPad!
Have you ever wondered what the landscape at the Borre park was like during the Viking era? Download Midgard´s app “Borrehallen” to your iPhone or iPad from App store and experience a virtual Viking era where the Borre hall still stand at its original location, and the sea level is 4 meter higher than today. The app is like a window into the past, and you´ll se an almost identical picture of the virtual and real landscape because of the 3D graphics on the screen.

Photo text: The Gilde hall
Right next to the Midgard historical center is the new kings hall – the Gilde hall. This showpiece of a Viking hall was opened for visitor during the Viking festival, July 6th 2013. The whole building is covered in tree decorated by fantastic carvings. The entrance to the hall is decorated by a carved portal, and inside are four carved poles. The stories are about the Yngling family, born by Gods and giants which in the end takes the throne in their own gilde hall in 822 after Christ. Bjarte Aarseth is an educated carver and works at the Viking ship house in Bygdøy where he recreates wooden Viking art. He constructed and drew the carvings of the gilde hall in Borre.

See the Viking era from the Viking road
No other place is the memories from the Viking era as rich as here in Vestfold. The Viking road in Vestfold is a road leading to both exciting experiences and knowledge.

The Viking road extends from Mølen by Larvik to the Borre mounds and Midgard historical center in Borre, a 37 miles stretch. The memories of the Vikings are everywhere along the Vestfold-ra, the moraine that is left along the coast after the ice withdrew 10.000 years ago. This is where the people settled after the ice disappeared and the land rose. It was easy to cultivate here because of the self-draining soil. It was easy to walk along the moraine, so it became a natural road. It was just as nice to live in Vestfold back then as it is now. 

The Viking city of Kaupang
Between Larvik and Sandefjord is Skiringssal-kaupangen, the trading place that is counted as Norway´s first ever city. Today, there are not many visible traces from the city that is a key area of out Viking knowledge. The area where the city of Kaupang used to be is a part of the idyllic Viksfjord today. The area along the Viksfjord is a favored vacation paradise for the 1000 cabins on each side of the fjord. It is easy to imagine why the Vikings liked it here in the beautiful natural area with great soil and easy access to the open ocean.

Between 200 and 500 people lived here during the 800s, and the population could have been closer to 900 in the early 900s. Around year 930, the activates in the area stopped quite sudden, and we don´t know why.  After a while, forests grew, and during the medieval ages, the area was used for farming and animal keeping. 
The Skiringssal-chief probably lived on a farm with a large chief hall at Huseby, a little north of Kaupang. It is believed that Skiringssal was the viking´s name for Huseby. The Viking city must have developed from the protection and control of the chief. Craftsmen and traders lived in Kaupang. Ships came from north and south to unload and load at the dock. Whetstones and soapstone came from the nearby areas, ceramics, glass, amber from Baltikum or Denmark, and pearls from Asia, the Mid-east and the Mediterranean area. No other place has given us such extensive knowledge about the trading ativites during the Viking era as Kaupang. Today, visitors can learn about Kaupang´s history at the Vestfold museum´s exhibition located there. 

Where is the Viking road?
It is the pattern of the mentioned societies we follow when we follow the Viking road. The recent years, the traffic has found new directions, mainly on the inside of the moraine.  This is an advantage for those who want to follow the Viking road. The road takes you through coastal nature, beautiful and open culture landscape and an area with little traffic. You can follow the route by car, bicycle, or by foot. The Viking road offers many experiences. You will see large and impressive grave mounds, memories of Norway´s first city, Kaupang, and the places where our most important Viking findings were found. Vestfold county has made an informative brochure about this road that us from Møler, via Kaupang, Istrehågan, Gokstadhaugen, de large grave mounds in Tønsberg, Oseberghaugen and Tønsberg city, before the trip ends in the beautiful Borre park.

Picture Text: the Klåstad ship
Both Sandefjord and Tønsberg has their own replica of the Gokstad ship and the Oseberg ship that sails along the coast of Vestfold, but it isn´t common knowledge that Vestfold has an original Viking ship exhibited in the county! The trading ship from Klåstad is actually the only preserved ship exhibited outside of Oslo. The Klåstad ship was excavated in Tjølling around 1970, and is exhibited in the Slottsfjell museum in Tønsberg. In the Viking hall inside the Slottsfjell museum is also the history of the Oseberg finding, the grave ship with Europe´s larges Viking finding, found 3 kilometers north of Tønsberg´s center. The original Viking ships, the Oseberg ship and the Gokstad ship is exhibited in the Viking ship museum in Oslo.

A battle could begin in different ways. It could be a planned battle where they prepared and made plans before hand, but a battle could also happen by two groups “bumping into each other”.

The Borre park
Saga Oseberg is a full siza copy of the Oseberg ship from Tønsberg in Vestfold, built in 2011-2012 by the foundation New Oseberg Ship. The construction site was right outside Oseberg´s culture building in Tønsberg. The contruction was done as extensive and detailed as possible, with materials and techniques that were used when the original ship was made in year 820.

The Gilde hall is a great contruction, based on the Viking era´s construction techniques. 

The Gokstad ship and its 23 meters makes the longest Viking ship found in Norway. Here is the copy, Gaia, sailing next to the Vesterøya in Sandefjord.

The Viking era was one of the most expansive and innovative eras in the history of the Nordic countries. The plundering and wars lead the Vikings all the way to America, Greenland, and all corners of Europe, and even further. 


Strategem on the battlefield
The Vikings used stratagem on the battlefields. They often split the army in half before they met the enemy. One half were hiding while the others appeared to be weakened. When the fight started, the hidden part attacked the opponents from behind. 

The culture heritage is brought forward. A meeting of modern Vikings at the Gokstad mound by Sandefjord.

In the park, outside of the museum are many activities to chose from. Among those are throwing of axes, shooting with a bow and arrow lead by an instructor. 

The berserks are referred to as horrible enemies to run into. Is is said that they were so high on the desire to fight that they bit their shields, attacked rocks and trees, and they even killed each other waiting for the battles to begin.

Schools often visit the Saga in Oseberg.

The viking´s ravages were feared all over the world.

No matter how much you practiced, a status as a warrior had to be earned on the battlefield.

The Viking ship
The ship was the most potent symbol of power, and the most important way of transport during the Viking era. The ship was one of the most important prerequisites of political power and prestige, which in many cases was based on the control of the ocean.

The sail revolutionized the Viking ship
The use of sails made it possible to sail the open sea, and it opened the way to the countries in the North sea for the Vikings. It is believed that the sail has been used some places from as early as the 600s, and by the mid 700s, it was common in many places. By using a sail, they could get to the countries that used to be out of reach. You can see Gaia (the Gokstad ship copy) sailing between the island of Veierland and Sandefjord´s mainland in the picture. 

The Vikings had a nice view of the Oslo fjord from the beautiful area we called the Borre park today.

The city of Kaupang was an idyllic place next to Viksfjord in Tjølling. The beautiful nature is now used for vacation and cabins.

The Viking county of Vestfold
All the most famous Viking ships found in Norway, were found in Vestfold. 


Horten – a capital of great holiday experiences

In the middle of Vestfold, you’ll find Horten with its pleasant gardens, shopping, military past, museums, and last but not least, swimming areas. No matter where you have a cabin in Vestfold, the town is within easy driving distance and it’s not far from Østfold and the Bastøy ferry either. Horten is also a small boat’s town and the guest port has been on the top 10 of Norway’s best guest ports many times. You’ll find a jetty for bathing, restaurants, playgrounds, and the Horten Tourist Office here. Horten Harbor 

Her finner vi badebrygge, spisesteder, lekeplass og Horten turistkontor. Horten Harbor puts out overnight-buoys in the Horten archipelago, in cooperation with Oslofjord Recreation. 

Horten is a green town. Horten’s characteristics are small houses in lush, green gardens and large magnificent deciduous trees in the city's many green spaces. Part of what makes Horten so beautiful are the tall canopies bursting with mistletoe. The plant that otherwise is so rare in northern latitudes is found in Horten in large quantities. If you’d like to experience large trees and mistletoe, Lystlunden Park, Horten forest, and the marine station Karljohansvern are places you should definitely visit.

A Little History
Horten was an early ferry hub. There has been a ferry connection between Horten and Moss since 1582, but in 1815, Horten was designated to become Norway's new fleet station, which replaced Fredriksvern in Stavern. Plans for a new Norwegian Navy were large and the fleet port of Stavern was too small. At the time, Horten had a population of about 100 people at four farms and the old ferry landing. Karljohansvern was established in Horten Navy Headquarters by royal decree in 1818, a few years after the signing of the union with Sweden. They needed better defense for Oslofjord. Horten naval base was controversial from the start, and over the years, the naval base endured many setbacks. Work on the fleet station began in 1820, but it wasn’t ready until 1850. The many challenges of a destitute Norway, as well as the conflict between the monarchy and parliament, led to the naval base in Horten never to become what it was going to be. There were plans to build a large fortress at Hortenstangen, but these were shelved prior to 1850.

The houses that were built for the workers and soldiers in connection with yard eventually became the basis for Horten city. Horten grew rapidly and developed into a town of over 5,000 inhabitants as Karljohansvern stood ready. In 1963, the Navy headquarters moved to Bergen, but Karljohansvern had lots of military activity and still was the base for the Eastern Norway Naval District. It was the defense’s need for modern technology that led to the research that cared for a number of technology companies and has made Horten a marine electronic center in Norway.

Karljohansvern today
Today, the old naval base at idyllic Karljohansvern is under conservation protection by the culture center. Over time, the defense limited its military operations here. Several buildings, including the shipyard, have been sold for civilian use. In addition, you’ll find the Marine Museum here, which incidentally is the world's oldest naval museum in operation. Preus museum, which is the national museum for photography, is also worth a visit with its treasure trove of photographs, equipment and photography literature in a historical building. In addition, Karljohansvern offers everything from small specialty stores to large chain stores. Cafés and eateries with and without galleries are tempting with food from all over the world. There is no through traffic on the island. There are beaches, Horten forest and the picturesque Horten Channel that separates Karljohansvern from Horten city. Along the canal, you can walk in peace and quiet, only occasionally interrupted by an occasional silent “snekke,” or picnic boat, that uses this shortcut between the inner harbor and Oslofjord.

The Fortress
If you want to find an overview of Horten municipality, you should visit viewpoint "Festningen", or “the fortress,” which is an old military facility from the previous century. Here you can see the entire municipality surrounded by Oslofjord.

Explore the Submarine «Utstein»
The Mrine Museum in Horten is the oldest of its kind. The Marine Museum is located at the old naval headquarters and now has large collections related to the navy’s history through war and peace. Many items are unique globally. The collection includes vessels and equipment related to the Norwegian Navy, Allied and German equipment, ship models, paintings, and pictures just to name a few. The 45 meter long submarine "Utstein" occupies the land outside the Navy Museum in Horten, and is open to the public. "Utstein" operated at sea from 1964 until 1998.

Alfred Berg – Good old-fashioned colonial in Horten

On your visit to Horten, you should take a trip to the store of Alfred Berg on Storgata. The traditional, nostalgic store is 115 years old, and gives you the feeling of having traveled far back in time. Everything from the building, style, and products on old shelves is original from back in the day. The store was originally one of the few stores that only included the best ingredients, such as imported Swiss cheeses and healthy juices, and could rightly call itself "prettier colonial". Alfred Berg is up to this day a great colonial focusing on service and quality goods.

Exciting Car Museum
In traditional Horten Brewery's old beer halls is the Horten Car Museum. Here you can see a large collection of vehicles from 1900 until 1970. The collection includes everything from rare cars to old used cars. The museum went through a renovation period in winter, but opened recently with an upgrade of the exhibition and premises. A model railway of 24 m² is an extra special touch to your experience. 

Slightly north of Horten is the historic island called Løvøya. The peninsula is the western of the three islands originally named Western, Central and East Løvøy. Being  merely 0.7 km², Løvøya is a relatively small island. The bedrock of the island consists of lava from volcanoes that were active in the Permian period about 250 million years ago. Previously, it was possible to take boats across the strait between Løvøya and Drasundodden, hence the name Drasundet, or “the Dra sound.” This was practiced until the 1950s. Today, the sound is filled up and a road goes over Drasundet.

Løvøya has a nice marina for visitors at the bay Løvøypollen on the east side of Falkensten Bay. The place offers various facilities there including electricity, toilet, washing machine, garbage collection and camping. East of the island is a 200 meter long beach. It's nice to take a dive in the outdoors at Løvøysund. Remember to bring your fishing pole. The area around the strait and the bridge between Løvøya and Mellomøya are considered to be the most popular fishing spots in the region. There is a nice three kilometer long marked trail on the island and there are several sights worth checking out. There was a settlement here in the Viking Age.

The Løvøy Chapel
Løvøya is perhaps best known for its stone chapel that adorns the landscape when was built in the 1200s from local stone. The chapel is the smallest of Horten Municipality's three medieval churches, and is considered to be the most distinctive of them. The church was in ruins for many years after the Reformation in 1536, and became protected in 1882. Long restoration work started in 1928, and in 1950, the chapel could be reopened to religious use.

St. Olav’s Wells on Løvøya
According to legend, St. Olav was in contact with higher powers. It was discovered that water sources around the country were associated with Olav the Holy. It was said that the water in the well could cure disease. Adjacent to the chapel on Løvøya we find the holy well of St. Olav. The well was one of the main places in Østlandet of Catholic times. The belief in the healing waters was long lived and it is said that a sailor as late as 1820 went from Stavern to Løvøya and returned with two bottles of spring water to a sick marine captain. Today, the well is bricked up and restored.

Robber Cave
If you are good at climbing, you can search for caves on the north side of the island, the Veggfjell by Jesus Bay. There are a lot of legends and stories about Røverhulen, or Robber Cave. A legend tells of robbers who abducted a service girl in the neighborhood by the cave. One day when she was sent out to buy food, she was threatened with death if she were to reveal them. The girl did not dare reveal the robbers but was clever enough to cut a hole in a bag of noodles that she brought with her, so she was found. Røver trail runs 200 m along the vertical rock wall. There is also another cave which bears the “røver” name. This cave is difficult to get to, but a long mysterious cave.

Bicycling Haven
Horten and the surroundings are a paradise for cyclists. On all sides of the city, there is magnificent scenery that ranges from the general surface tension between Åsgårdstrand and Horten to forests and rolling hills and rural landscape on the other edges of the city.

Lovely lazy days on Løvøya

Shopping in the cozy town center. 
Next time you go shopping in Vestfold, give Horten a try! The city has a cozy trade center with pedestrian streets, squares, and a large variety of a very diverse range of shops. The three shopping centers along Horten’s new beautiful pedestrian street offer a total of 70-80 stores. You will find everything you need - and you will find that the Horten has a very dynamic and exciting commercial center to offer! The newest mall, Scales Farm, offers the city's "best" parking facility. Easy access - great spots - and very reasonable prices! Free after 4 p.m. and direct access into the Spar supermarket means easy and comfortable access to groceries.

Two of the country's leading museums within its genre are located inside the Karjohansvern. The Marine Museum shows Norway naval history and photo art, and you’ll find photographic history at the Preus Museum.

Løvøy Chapel. The island was flocked by people of the Catholic world. It was no more than reasonable that a church was built on site. Exactly when this happened is not known, but it must have been in the 1200s. To the right in the picture, you can see St. Olav's well.

Horten city seen from the southeast. 



Åsgårdstrand is an idyllic small coastal communities. Just to stroll around this small town and see all the manicured gardens provide a lovely ambience in the body. Beautiful and white painted snugly settlement in Åsgårdstrand, with a population of about 3,000 residents.

Overnight at the wharf in Åsgårdstrand ->

Munch's vacation paradise

Especially in summer, this city has much to offer. Åsgårdstrand is a wonderful mix of boats, galleries, cyclists and swimmers. One can swim almost all along the shoreline in the city center, and the shoreline is good about space. Åsgårdstrand is very popular among summer visitors by boat and cabin area. The port is however not so great, and it may be wise to bring in the sails before entering the harbor. The port is expanded with two new pools and it has thus become better accommodate visiting boats. Cobblestones give quay a special touch. In 2007 Åsgårdstrand classified as tourist because the number of tourists and visitors are so high in relation to permanent residents. Summer visitors are largely involved in shaping the atmosphere of the city.

The White City by the Oslo fjord - Åsgårdstrand

Åsgårdstrand is Horten Municipality smallest and oldest city, and was founded about 450 years ago on the basis of timber and shipbuilding. But not until the mid-1800s began passenger boats between Oslo and Vestfold towns to visit Åsgårdstrand, which made the city a popular bathing and holiday resort. Åsgårdstrand eventually became known as the center for artists because of the unique light here.

Ride on the coastal path from Horten to Åsgårdstrand? Read more ->

There is no doubt that Edward Munch enjoyed staying in Åsgårdstrand, and was inspired as an artist. In 1889, he spent his first of many summers in Åsgårdstrand, and bought a few years later a simple fisherman's house from the 1700s. In this house decorated his living room to serve as bedrooms, study and dining room. Today owned house of Horten Municipality, and it serves as a museum where everything is preserved as it was when Edward Munch lived there. The museum is open every day during the summer months of June, July and August, except Mondays.

The light of the Oslo Fjord and the beaches of Åsgårdstrand fascinates as much today as in Edvard Munch's time.

Edward Munch painted many of the most famous paintings in Åsgårdstrand res, including "Girls on the Bridge" in 1902. There have been many famous artists in Åsgårdstrand, and primarily painters. The place became known as the center for artists and since 1880 a number of artists painted in Åsgårdstrand, among them world names like Christian Krogh and Hans Heyerdahl as well as Edvard Munch, as already mentioned. In the center we find several galleries, and many artists have sommeratelierene its here. The place is known for its distinctive light that is reminiscent of the unique light at Skagen. Artists went to either Skagen or Åsgårdstrand to paint this special light.

Charming café life in Åsgårdstrand streets

In Åsgårdstrand we find a number of inviting restaurants and cafes. If you go up the steep hill from the harbor next to the hotel and turn left at the top, you are moving into a typical Åsgårdstrand-coat with picket fences and whitewashed houses. Here is Frantz Confectionery with backyard cafe next door to the cozy Munch's Café. Here you can sample the local traditional favorite crab wonder. A crab lure is a round donut baking, reminiscent donut. The cafe is a cross between patisserie and restaurant. The chowder here can heartily recommend. And in Åsgårdstrand only pub boathouse has been life for many years. Come and savor the local atmosphere.

Bike ride to art and donuts at
Åsgård Beach

Would you like to have culture, nature, and history without uphill slops this summer? Join the short ride between Horten and Åsgårdstrand, or Åsgård Beach. A bike ride without lots of effort but nonetheless beautiful stretches of coastal path. 

You need not be a bike enthusiast to enjoy cycling from Horten to Åsgårdstrand. You just have to know how to ride a bicycle. The ride is safe for kids, too. The path is clearly marked, and running mostly through forests and hills. It's not far. Uphill conspicuous by its absence, and there is much to see along the way. Don’t have a bicycle? At the tourist office on the pier in Horten, you can rent one for 35 kroner. Then you have the bike and helmet for three days, if you’d like. From Horten, you must ride through some lovely residential areas before going to the forest.

After a few kilometers through the forest, we arrive at Borre, Scandinavia's largest collection of graves from the Viking era. The nine large mounds still reign over the majestic landscape. You can have a picnic under an oak tree, or grab a cup of coffee and watch the show at Midgard Historical Centre. Now comes the final treat of the ride: The last part of the way through Fjugstad nature reserve, with Scandinavia's largest ash forest. The trail is sun speckled, with ash trees closing around us and buttercups growing in the grass. All we hear are birds chirping.

- I'm sitting in the only nice house I have lived in – the house in Åsgårdstrand, wrote Edvard Munch to his friend Sigurd Autumn. If you follow the road straight ahead when entering Åsgårdstrand, you’ll reach Munch's house. The house was bought by Åsgårdstrand municipality in 1944 and is a museum today. Everything here is preserved as it was when the painter lived there. His suit hangs on the wall, collars in the closet, inkwell and pen splits on the table. Munch bought the house in 1897 for 900 kroner. At the time, this was the poor district of Åsgårdstrand.  Fishermen here lived in small houses with their large families. But Munch enjoyed living here. He sought the real and original. Munch came here when he was very young, and was looking for his expression, which was largely shaped here in Åsgårdstrand. Here he met his great love, Mille Thaulow, which he never forgot. She was married, so they faced each other off in bird song, which is the forest we just rode through. Munch’s motives are everywhere in Åsgårdstrand. Portions of Munch iconography, moon pillar, and the shoreline are taken from this area.

Åsgårdstrand offers a variety of galleries, studios, restaurants and nice little shops. Munch Café has been the area’s confectionery since 1914. Back then, the painter often ate krabbelurer, or “crab wonders,” here, which is a kind of roll with donut dough. It’s normal to buy a krabbelurer and take it down to the pier where Munch painted girls on the bridge, sit down on a bench and recharge the return trip: The forty-five minute bike ride on a sunny trail along the lake.