Fredrikstad on a budget

Situated 100 km south of Oslo, Fredrikstad is considered one of the most well-conserved and beautiful fortress cities in Scandinavia. The city was founded in 1567 by King Federic II and since its creation has been a strategical trade and military center for Norway. Fredrikstad is currently the sixth biggest city in the country, with more than 78.000 citizens. Gamlebyen (the Old Town) attracts each year hundreds of visitors fascinated by the charm and historical past of this beautiful fortress. Out of Gamlebyen, the visitor could visit the amazing Cathedral (1880) which contains beautiful stained glass designed by Emanuel Vigeland. The bell tower of the church hosts an old light house which is currently still working. 

Cobblestone street of Gamlebyen. Picture by Geir Olav Lisle


Fredrikstad is located in the region of Østfold, in the South-East of Norway, and it is just 100 km away from Oslo. The city is well connected either by bus or train each day. If you plan your trip on advance it is easy to get go&return tickets not for more than 300Kr (35€). The one-way trip is about one hour and 20 minutes, which means Fredrikstad is the perfect one-day trip out of Oslo!


As previously said, Fredrikstad was founded in the XVI century by King Frederic II. Situated by the mouth of the river Glomma, Fredrikstad became one of the most important commercial hubs with the rest of Europe. Because of its strategical position, the fortress of Gamlebyen was built to avoid attacks and invasion from Sweden. The city was inspired by the Dutch military cities of the age, famous for its star-shaped design. Gamlebyen is the only Scandinavian city with this particular and genuine architectural design.

Drawbridge of Fredrikstad. Picture by Morten Brunslid



Most of the main attractions of Fredrikstad are actually sited on Gamlebyen, the old fortress. The wooden houses, the old arcs and the drawbridge look exactly the same as in the past. We really recommend to get lost into the cobblestone streets and to have a walk through the old high protective walls of the fortress. It is also mandatory to visit the Fredrikstad Museum. Situated in a building from the XVIII century, this picturesque museum contains a wide range of items which show the military and commercial past of the city. Don’t miss the opportunity to visit the old prison and the Kongsten Festning, the hill on where the public executions took place in the past. If you have time enough, we also recommend to visit the Hvalfanger Museum, dedicated to the whale fishing of the area.

Inside Gamlebyen. Picture by Betoinorge

Out of Gamlebyen, you should drop into the Cathedral and spend some minutes admiring the colorful stained glass designed by the famous Norwegian artist Vigeland. We also recommend you to take a walk to admire the industrial bridge of Fredrikstad.

Between Storgata and the river you can enjoy a lot of cafes and restaurants. Some of them offer terrace service, perfect in the long spring and summer nights.

Glomma River. Picture by Wrote


Since Fredrikstad is not that far away from Oslo, we recommend you to take a one-day trip to the fortress city. In Oslo you could enjoy a nice and a cheap accommodation in HI Oslo Haraldsheim, HI Oslo Rønningen or HI Oslo Holtekilen.

Article written by Marcos Doespiritusanto

Cover picture by Morten Brunslid

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