The Sørlandet - this is Risør, Kragerø, Arendal, Kristiansand, Grimstad, Mandal - all great little towns worth a visit
On a sunny day, the skerry landscape, the traditional wooden white houses crawling up soft hills, the sailing boats in the harbours, the small shops and cafes just gives you the imagination of a never ending summer, whatever the actual temperatures. Having said that, the summer can be really warm here and it does usually not come with a lot of wind.
We have been to the south of Norway a few times now; in early June when the season was just about to start for the bit until Kristiansand; another time a bit later in the year when we explored more Lyngdal and Flekkefjord. And lastly during a nice weekend trip in March when we travelled the Northern Sea Route towards Haugesund (see Nordsjøvegen). Always by car, taking an enjoyable, relaxing ride with plenty of stops along the way.
Risør and Grimstad
Risør features a surprisingly big harbour and a busy promenade along side the waterline, with proud white wooden houses on the other side. We walked for about an hour up and down and decided to have a first proper break in a little cafe.
After a lunch consisting of a traditional tasty herring dish we headed towards Grimstad where we had a resevation for the wonderful Cafe Ibsen Bed&Breakfast right opposite the Ibsen museum - the former farmacy where Ibsen started to work as an assistant and wrote his very first play "Catilina".
As the season had not really started yet, Grimstad still had the charme of a sleepy town, we enjoyed the day with walking, relaxing on the beach and a dinner on the terrace of one of the open restaurants.
When travelling to the south, you should not miss its 'capital'. But to be honest we just drove through it the first time. It was more the small villages, Cape Lindesnes and the coastline we were after that time.
However, we came back once and spend day there. It does have really some nice places, in particular the 3-4 streets with the traditional small wooden houses with their colourful doors as well as the pedestrian zones with its shops, the church and old city hall. In good weather, also the harbour is a nice to place to spend a warm summer evening outside.
Heddal stavskirke (on the way back to Oslo)
The Heddal church is a triple nave
stave church and is Norway's largest stave church. It was constructed at the beginning of the 13th century
For more about Norways stave churches, have a look at our entry here.
Distance from Oslo
Oslo - Kristiansand 320 km / 4 hrs by car
Oslo - Lyngdal 400 km / 5 hrs by car
1st trip: Oslo - Åsgaårdstrand - Risør - Grimstad - Kristiansand - Heddal - Oslo
2nd trip: Oslo - Holmestrand - Rønsberg - Åsgårdstrand - Sandefjord - Kristiansand - Mandal - Kap Lindesnes - Lyngdal - Helleren - Sogndalstrand - Oslo
Overnight stay we can recommend
It´s just cute how the little towns come one after another along the coastline of the Oslofjord and then the Skagerak
To see how Munch spend few summers and painted well known motives at Åsgårdstrand is quite something
Click on the map for opening the right clipping in google maps in a new window