Arendal, the town

Arendal is a small town on the south coast of Norway. After the geographical boundaries were extended to include four surrounding communities in 1992, the town now is the tenth largest in Norway in terms of populations, but still contains only about 40.000 inhabitants in total.

[Map of Norway with Arendal]

It was originally called the Venice of Scandinavia because the town is built on seven islands, with a network of canals surrounding it. Most of these have later been filled in, but plans are afoot to reopen some again.

The most glorious period of the town history was during the sailing ships era, in the 18th and 19th century. It was at one time one of the largest and most important towns in Norway. Its wealth was based on shipping, with the surrounding iron ore mining, iron works and timber providing the most important trade. It had connections to all important trading centres of the world, and had better contact with Europe than with the country's capital of Christiania (or Oslo, as it was later to be called).

The introduction of steam ships gradually reduced the town's importance, but the old traditions have been retained, for example in the atmosphere of the Tyholmen area, where the collection of wooden buildings is reckoned to be among the most picturesque and best preserved of its kind, and in 1992 was awarded the much coveted Europa-Nostra prize.

The town has a number of tourist attractions to offer. Apart from the town itself, which is well worth a leisurely guided walk, the main attraction in summer is the sea and the skerries landscape. The harbour area "Pollen" teems with boats and life in the summer, and idyllic swimming beaches or skerry rocks are within easy access.

For a picture of "Pollen", click here (67 Kb). Tyholmen is the area to the left. If you would rather look at sea and summer, here is an inviting picture from Hisøy (64 Kb), one of Arendal's many islands.

The inland area with forests, mountains, rivers and lakes offers its own attractions.

There are museums, art galleries, historical buildings and landmarks, metal and mineral mines, old iron works and a number of other attractions to visit. There is even a golf course only about 20 km (13 miles) away, for those who are thus inclined. Sailing, riding, canoeing, fishing and other sports are also available. The famous Norwegian writers Ibsen and Hamsun both had strong connections to the nearby area.


By car:

The main road from Oslo, called the E 18, is a modern highway to high standards for most of the way. The distance from Oslo is about 260 km (160 miles).

There is a car ferry from Hirtshals in Denmark to Kristiansand, which is about 70 km (45 miles) southwest of Arendal. This runs several times a day during summer. Another daily car ferry runs from Fredrikshavn in Denmark to Larvik, which is about midway between Oslo and Arendal.

During summer a car ferry runs between Amsterdam in Netherlands and Kristiansand. This runs once a week, Monday from Amsterdam and Tuesday from Kristiansand.

There is also a car ferry from Newcastle, England to Stavanger on the west coast of Norway, about 316 km (200 miles) away. This runs thrice weekly during summer: Monday, Wednesday and Saturday from Newcastle, Tuesday, Friday and Sunday from Stavanger.

By Boat:

Apart from the car ferries mentioned above, there is a daily fast passenger boat connection between Oslo and Arendal during summer. The trip takes about six hours and is an experience in itself, travelling some of the most charming parts of the Norwegian coastline.

By Train:

There are five daily train connections between Oslo and Arendal, including a night sleeper. The trip takes about 4-5 hours.

Between Stavanger and Arendal there are four daily trains, also taking about 4 1/2 hours. From Kristiansand there are six connections daily.

By Bus:

There is a daily bus service between Oslo and Arendal, taking about 4 hours.

There are numerous daily bus services between Arendal and Kristiansand.

By Air:

Kjevik Airport, Kristiansand is about 70 km (45 miles) away. The airport has direct connections to Oslo (7 daily), Stavanger (5 daily) and Copenhagen (3 daily). Copenhagen has direct connections to most of the world.

Oslo has direct connections to most of the major airports in Europe, and via Copenhagen to the world, and Stavanger has direct connections to Copenhagen, London, Amsterdam and others.

There are direct bus services between Kjevik and Arendal for all airplane arrivals and departures.

Where to stay

You can choose between several accommodation alternatives at a variety of price levels.

Top class hotels:

 -    InterNor Tyholmen Hotel, situated in town right on the 
      quay, with direct view of the harbour. 
 -    Phoenix Hotel, central in the town in the middle of 

Good, reasonable hotels:

 -    Arendal Hotel, located centrally in town. 
 -    Ting Hai Hotel, located centrally in town, chinese 
 -    E 18 Hotel, located near E 18 about 2 km from the town 

Holiday centres, pensions:

 -    Breidablikk Guesthouse, located at the Tromøy Island, 
      about 15 minutes away by bus. One of the few remaining 
      old style holiday hotels. All rooms with en suite 
      bathrooms. Swimming pool. Short distance to beach. 
 -    Sjøverstø Holiday Guest House, located by the seaside 
      in a sheltered bay, about 30 minutes drive from the town 
      centre. Bathing jetty, boats, swimming pool.

Camping sites:

 -    Hove Family Camping, located in a recreational area at 
      Tromøy Island, one room cabins available. 
 -    Nidelv Camping, located on the Nidelv river about 15 
      minutes by bus from the town centre. Cabins with WC and 
      showers available. 
 -    Vippa Camping, located on the Nidelv river. Cabins 


  • Arendal is capital of the Aust-Agder county. The county stretches along the south east coast line from north of Kristiansand through the town Risør. For Norwegian language information about the larger area, click here.
  • The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) in the US publishes The CIA World Factbook with information about most countries in the world, including Norway.
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