Tønsberg is the oldest city in Norway and lays on the west coast of Oslofjord close to road E39 between Oslo and Kristiansand. Some road travelers plan to visit or stay in Tønsberg for several days, but what things actually you can do in Tønsberg?
Most popular attractions and places in Tønsberg are:
- Slottfjelltårnet – Castle Rock Tower
- Tønsberg Brygga
- Saga Oseberg
- Verdens Ende
- Tønsberg Cathedral
- Torås fort
- DS Kysten coastal tours
During a short road trip in March along the Oslofjord coast with our caravan and we visited almost all the places mentioned in this article.
Slottfjelltårnet – Castle Rock Tower in Tønsberg
Slottsfjellstårnet is definitely the main symbol of Tønsberg, the oldest city in Norway. The tower was built in 1888 and itself symbolizes the Castle Mountain area and its direct connection to the Middle Ages.
The Slottsfjell area lays in the center of Tønsberg and is the most popular recreational outdoor area. From the top of the mountain and from the tower at 17 meters high opens a fantastic view of the city and surrounding areas.
Ruins after the Tunsberghus fortress, built by King Håkon Håkonsson are open for visitors all year round and are the largest ruin park in the Nordic countries.
Slottsfjell tower is open during summer season form April to October.
Brygga is the pier in Tønsberg city center and well known as a summer promenade and the guest pier. Brygga is your first choice for entertainment and active life! A large variety of restaurants, pubs, summer shows, musicians, concerts, and nightlife areas for any taste. Tourists are attracted by excellent hotels, but leisure boats by the big harbor and even local cabin owners by active life!
Boathouses along the piers create a special harbor atmosphere in the city center. Take a walk even if you are short in time to enjoy a great view from another side of the channel.
Saga Oseberg, replica of viking ship in Tønsberg
Saga Oseberg is a replica of a ceremonial ship built in AD 820 in Western Norway. This is a full-scale, exact archaeological copy of the Viking ship built with the use of tools and methods from the Viking Age.
Saga Oseberg is the richest find from the Viking, you can see the original at Viking Ship Museum in Oslo.
From 2005, Oseberg Viking Heritage Foundation aimed to build a replica of the world´s most beautiful Viking ship – the Oseberg. Oseberg Viking Heritage is a volunteer foundation and in 2012 launched Saga Oseberg replica. As a result, you can see Saga Oseberg moored at Tønsberg Brygga, under sails or oars or Tønsberg Brygga during winter period.
Verdens Ende or The End of the World
Verdens Ende (or “The End of the World”) is located in Færder National Park. Park easily accessible by boat, car and public transport. Driving a car, motorhome, or caravan you can reach the border of the National Park and have a walk to Verdens Ende which is popular for boat trips, kayaking, hiking, fishing, and swimming.
Firstly, Verdens Ende greets you with Vippefyret, the bascule light a type of small navigational aid popular in Denmark before the 18th century. This is a tilting lighthouse with a coal bucket.
Verdens Ende is a group of islets and reefs, the pier and small bridges connect islets and suitable for walks. A great view of the Skagerrak opens during the hike.
In the city center, right between Tønsberg Brigga and Slottsfjellet you will find Tønsberg Cathedral – a church build in 1858. 39 meters height church is the second tallest building in Vestfold.
The cathedral was built on the ruins of the Church of St.Lawrence from the first half of the 12th century, which was demolished in 1814. Architect Christian Henrik Grosch designed the brick Gothic church and on December 19, 1858, Bishop Jens Lauritz Arup consecrated Tønsberg Cathedral. In 1939 the cathedral was reconstructed under the direction of the architect Arnstein Arneberg. The cathedral is richly decorated with carvings: especially noteworthy are the four figures of the Evangelists and their symbols.
Torås fort – military fort from WWII
If you are excited about history and especially historical places related to World War II – these places should be on your bucket list! Military fortifications and installations combined with great views over Tjøme will make your day interesting and impressive.
Firstly, The Norwegian Armed Forces established this fort in 1939 as part of the development of the Outer Oslofjord fortress. Later, german occupants during World War II extended and completed the fort. Armed Forces built the facility as a part of an extensive system of military bases built using natural landscapes and were part of several flank forts on each side of the Oslofjord.
The Norwegian Armed settled down the fort as a military fortification and now opened it for visitors, including 3 cannons and various installations and command centers.
But, worth to say that this place is great for family recreation as there are several hiking trails around Torås fort.
Slottsfjellsmuseet is a museum in Tønsberg in Vestfold and Telemark county, located in the city center, in a rural setting at the foot of Slottsfjellet.
The museum and the surrounding area are a cohesive cultural environment that represents the city’s long history, with, among other things, city loops, marking of brick kilns from the Middle Ages, and the museum’s rural department.
The ruin park on the Slottsfjell plateau shows remains of one of the country’s and the Nordic region’s largest medieval citizens, Tunsberghus. The 27-meter whale skeleton in Hvalhallen is the world’s largest preserved skeleton.
The Slottsfjell Museum deserves its popularity and soon may become a central medieval museum. Here you will see the city’s and Vestfold’s history in connection with national and international interests.
DS Kysten coastal tours
DS Kysten is the steamship (DS) that was originally a modern liner that operated the Trondheim – Namsos section from 1909.
She came to Tønsberg for the first time in 1971. Since 2003, the boat has undergone extensive repairs and rehabilitation. As a result, she is finally was ready to embark on new adventures in the beautiful coastal area around Tønsberg and Byfjorden in 2019.
All these places you can see in our short video from the trip to Tønsberg and Verdens Ende.