Why You Should Visit Tønsberg At Least Once

The Tønsberg port
The Tønsberg port | © Tønsberg Næringsforening, Courtesy of Visit Tønsberg

Safely tucked away in the southeastern end of the country on one of the arms of Oslofjord, Tønsberg is a beloved summer destination for locals – but most tourists haven’t really discovered it yet. Just a one-hour train trip from Oslo, the oldest city in Norway should definitely be in your list. Here are eight reasons why.

Explore a 13th-century fortress

Tønsberg was founded during the Viking Period, so it’s no wonder that there are so many historical gems here. Start with the most obvious: the imposing Mount Slottsfjell (literally, ‘castle hill’), which comprises Scandinavia’s largest ruin site. The site is basically what remains of Castrum Tunsbergis – and the Slottsfjell Tower, apart from an impressive monument, is one of Norway’s most popular outdoor festival areas every July, thanks to Slottsfjellfestivalen.

The Slottsfjell Tower

…and learn all about its history

Once you’re done exploring the tower, you should head to Slottsfjell Museum, where you can visit an exhibition of the city’s long and impressive history. Apart from important documents and historical artifacts, you will also find cool everyday objects – ever wondered what dice looked like in medieval times?

Slottsfjell Museum

Ride a Viking ship

Remember that Viking ship you were admiring at the Viking Ships Museum in Oslo? Well, the Oseberg ship was actually unearthed in Tønsberg, and there’s a full-scale replica of the ship at the city’s harbour. And you know the best thing about replicas? This ship you can actually board, and feel like a Viking explorer for a day!

Tønsberg

Get a glimpse of life as it was in the old days

The city’s Medieval Festival takes place in June. Prepare for jousting knights, medieval music, theater performances – and a lot of dancing. Best part? There’s also a medieval market where you can taste the flavours of the era and buy souvenirs.

Middelalderfestivalen in Tønsberg

Literally travel to the World’s End

Right outside the city on the charming island of Tjøme, Færder National Park, you’ll find the end of the world. Well, almost. Verdens Ende is, in fact, one of the five ‘World’s End’ monuments around the world. It was probably called that because at the time, being the southernmost point of the area, it really looked like the end of the world. The highly Instagrammable Vippefyret, was built from pebbles on Tjøme’s beach.

The world’s end at Tjøme

Stand on the shoulders of giants

There are countless climbing opportunities all around Tjøme. Aktiv Fritid is a group that organises adrenaline-pumping activities like in Færder National Park, doing high-rope courses and ziplining along Tjøme’s beautiful coastline. Ready to see the world(’s end) from a new perspective?

Climbing in Tjøme

Swim at one of Tjøme’s beaches

For a small island, Tjøme has a spectacular seaside. Whether you like your beaches pebbly, child-friendly (a.k.a. with shallow waters, like Skallevold Beach) or long and sandy (like Ringshaug Beach), here you’ll be spoilt for choice.

Tønsberg seaside

Just look around

The thing about Tønsberg: it’s beautiful all year long. There are ski slopes in the winter, fantastic foliage in autumn and all the perks of a seaside destination during spring and summer – from sailing to swimming. Looks like the oldest city in Norway is definitely not old news.

Nature in Tønsberg is beautiful all year long

Culture Trips launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes places and communities so special.

Our immersive trips, led by Local Insiders, are once-in-a-lifetime experiences and an invitation to travel the world with like-minded explorers. Our Travel Experts are on hand to help you make perfect memories. All our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.

All our travel guides are curated by the Culture Trip team working in tandem with local experts. From unique experiences to essential tips on how to make the most of your future travels, we’ve got you covered.

close-ad
Edit article