Estimated time: 4 days
It is known that Norway is a big country with a small population. Not everybody knows, for example, that from Oslo to Tromsø is the same distance as from Oslo to Bratislava, Slovakia. With more than 3.380 km of land, Norway offers its visitors many options to have a roadtrip. In this article we suggest an amazing route for South Norway – maybe one of the least known destinations for foreign tourists in the country.
First day: Departure from Oslo. Destination: Kragerø
The first thing you have to know is that the best way to get to Southern Norway is to take the E-18 highway direction Kristiansand. Half way between Oslo and Kragerø you can stop in Bamle to see the magnificient Olavskirken, a beautiful protestant church near the highway road. Beside this church, from the 18th century, you can contemplate the ruins of a disappeared church from the 12th century. It contains some beautiful murals and amazing stone carvings.
It takes about 2 and a half hour by car from Oslo to Kragerø, “Norway’s Venice”. This small village on the coast is one of the most famous summer resorts for Norwegian people. It is usually said that many people from Oslo enjoy their holidays here because of the short drive. In Kragerø you can see the typical white houses from Southern Norway, take a walk in the small and beautiful streets inside the town, take a picture in the harbour or even go to the beach for a swim.
From Kragerø, you can continue the E-18 to Arendal and then take the road to Blakstad, an amazing small town in the middle of the forest. This is the perfect place to enjoy the southern Norwegian nature, take part in some adventure activities or take a walk into the woods. We recommend staying in the HI Froland Hostel, an affordable accomodation perfect for families with a beautiful breakfast room.
Second day: Drive to Kristiansand, the most important city in Southern Norway
Take the opportunity to visit the Old town, walk through the Markens Gate, the main street full of cafe’s and stores. Visit the harbour and go for a swim at Bystranda, the most visited beach in the city. Kristiansand also has a famous Dyreparken zoo, popular amongst families. If you are interested in seeing an elk or perhaps a wolf, this is your best option!
From Kristiansand you can drive to Evje. This small village offers the amazing nature and scenery of the lower Setesdal Valley. We really reccommend visiting the TrollAktiv center/Evje Hostel, which offers many kinds of adventure sports, such as rafting, climbing, hiking, etc. Another alternative for families is the Mineral Park, which contains more than 10 thousand different stones and is one of the most important mineral and stone collections in Europe.
Third day: Drive to Mandal and discover the one of Norway’s most popular beaches
Mandal is another famous summer resort, often visited by people from Stavanger. It is known for its amazing seafood. Take the opportunity to try the famous fishcake, one of the most popular local dishes made from fish caught in the sea just outside the town. Mandal is also famous for its genuine white houses. By the way, Mandal is the city where sculptor Gustav Vigeland was born, so you can take a tour to his house and see where he started his creations. For accommodation, we recommend you to stay in HI Hostel Mandal, an old prison from the 18th century. It is a small stone building with just four rooms where you can have a real prison experience. To a perfect ending, we suggest you to visit the Sjøsanden beach which is one of the longest beaches in Norway, with its 800 metres of natural sand.
From Mandal you can continue along the E39 to Lyngdal and then take the Rv43 to Lista. Lista has a famous lighthouse from the 18th century. Even if you are afraid of heights we really recommend to go up and contemplate the stunning view of the ocean and the surronding nature. You can also spend a night here in the HI Hostel Lista, situated in an old flight military base.
Fourth day: Last stop at Kvinesdal. Enjoy the Fedafjord view
From Lista take the Rv465 to Kvinesdal. Many people from this area emigrated to the United States from 1850s to 1950s. In fact, Norwegians call Kvinesdal the “American village“. One of the most famous emigrants is the local artist Kristian Marcelius Førland, whose house is nowadays a museum where you can see some of his sketches and personal properties, like a French piano and a violin. Is this small village he brought in an indoor toilet and the first car (a Ford from 20s) that it is functioning even today. Near the house there is a beutiful view point where you can see the Fedafjord and scenic view of the nearby places. If you don’t know where to stay you can choose HI Kvinesdal Hostel which is located in quiet surrodings, perfect for families and people with dogs.
Hope this will give you some inspiration for planning your trip to Southern Norway.
Enjoy your journey!!!
article written by Gordana Bulić