Along the coastline from Oslo to Kristiansand

Last update August 2016

Extended weekend trip

Åsgårdstrand, Kragerø, Risør, Grimstad, Kristiansand and further to Sogndalstrand: The charms of typically Norwegian white wooden houses, a skerry coast and the spirit of Munch and Ibsen are not to be missed.

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.



About 100 km south of Oslo, you find the little village of Åsgårdstrand, where Edvard Munch had his summer house and which today is a tiny museum worth a visit.


You get a nice impression about how simple and inconvenient life has been not that long ago.

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

  • (Grimstad)

  • (Lyngdal)




  • 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 


More information





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