Kragerø is the southernmost city in Telemark, and it’s a true coastal town with beaches, piers, ferries that depart to coastal islands and plenty of summer activities. This rather small city is really something unique in the summer, and it’s a great place to visit if you want to explore the beautiful coast of Norway.
The city is busting with life in the joint holiday season in Norway, but is a lot more relaxed for the rest of the year. However, there’s always plenty of things to do in Kragerø.
While chilling at the beaches or just enjoying a nice lunch in Kragerø is amazing, there’s also a lot of different attractions and places to visit if you are ever in this city. So let us take a closer look at the best things to do in Kragerø.
1) Take a day trip to Jomfruland
Jomfruland is a pretty big island that can be reached by taking the ferry from Kragerø. It’s a truly beautiful island, and most of it is a nature reserve. The ferries go back and forth between Kragerø and Jomfruland (as well as the other islands nearby) all day long, and a day trip to Jomfruland is a popular attraction in Kragerø.
When visiting Jomfruland, you have plenty of things to do. There are cafés to chill out at, restaurants by the ocean that serves great food, forest trails, stone beaches, beautiful sand beaches and plenty of amazing nature.
Jomfruland is a popular destination for day trips, but it’s also possible to stay at the campsite if you prefer to stay the night. There are several small cabins for rent, as well as lots of space where you can put up a tent. There are great beaches very close to the campsite, which makes it an ideal place to stay if you are travelling with children.
2) See the Dypedalsgruva mining museum
Dypedalsgruva is a mine where miners used to mine for apatite. There are actually multiple of these mines in Kragerø, but it is only Dypedalsgruva that is considered safe to enter for guests.
You can enter Dypedalsgruva any time you wish, and it’s found in Løvebakken street very close to the city center. Anyone can enter, but you should bring a source of light with you.
Think of Dypedalsgruva mining museum more as a cave walk than a real museum. The museum part is really just some signs that teaches you the history of the mine, while the rest of the mine itself is pretty much like it was back when it was still active.
3) Visit Gea Norvegica Geopark to learn about geology
The Gea Norvegica Geopark is an open air geology museum with exhibitions spread out across several municipalities in Telemark. Four of these exhibitions are in Kragerø, with one of them being at Jomfruland, one at Dypedalsgruva, one at Langøy, and the final one at a place called Stangnes.
These places offer signs with a lot of different information about the unique geology of the area, and it’s very interesting for everyone that wants to learn about why the nature and ecology of the area is like it is.
Visiting the Gea Norvegica Geopark exhibitions are completely free of charge, so stop by one of these to learn more. There’s a Gea Norvegica Geopark visitor center in Porsgrunn that can be worth stopping by if you’re in Porsgrunn before going to Kragerø.
4) See the Edward Munch exhibition at Berg-Kragerø Museum
The Berg-Kragerø Museum is part of Telemark Museum, and consists of both permanent and temporary exhibitions. One of the most well-known exhibitions are the ones from Edward Munch, one of Norway’s most famous painters. Not only can you see some of his work, but you can also learn about his life and his time spent in Kragerø.
The museum is worth a visit for anyone who is even remotely interested in art. It’s not the biggest of museums, so you don’t need to spend an entire day there, and can experience most of it in just a few short hours.
5) See the ancient Gunnarsholmen Fortress
Gunnarsholmen Fortress is an old coastal fortress used to protect the city from pirates and warships during the 18th century, but it’s obviously no longer used for that purpose.
Today Gunnarsholmen fortress is a type of public park where you can go for a walk, spend some time at the beach, or go for a swim at the big public infinity pool there.
The infinity pool on Gunnarsholmen fortress is connected to the sea, but it’s a great place to visit if you have smaller children that want a more traditional pool experience instead of swimming in the ocean.
My 6 year old kid could just barely stand upright at the deepest end of the infinity pool on the island, so you can relax a bit while watching the kids from the shore.
The great thing about the infinity pool is that it’s generally a few degrees warmer than in the ocean outside, so it’s still enjoyable in a cloudy and chilly day.
In addition to the infinity pool at Gunnarsholmen, there’s also shower rooms, a cafeteria that sell coffee, drinks, ice cream and food, as well as lots of green areas where you can sit down and relax. There’s a beach at the opposing side as the infinity pool, and a dozen of real cannons that were actually used back in their day.
Gunnarsholmen Fortress a very popular spot for both tourists and locals, and a great place to just chill out for a while. It’s usually crowded with people, so expect more people than in the photos used in this article.
6) Look at the incredible Kragerø church
Kragerø Kirke is the church just by the pier in Kragerø, and it’s an important part of the city. The church itself is from 1870, and is located on a cliff that overlooks the ocean below. It’s one of few churches in Norway that does not have a cemetery, which is simply because there was no space for it. So the cemetery is located outside of the city center.
The high spire can be seen from most of the city, so it’s a great method to get your bearings if you are beginning to question where exactly you are.
The church is far from the most ornamented or biggest church in Norway, but it’s location makes it a wonderful sight to see when you are visiting Kragerø. It’s still in active use, so anyone who is interested can visit it on Sundays to hear a sermon.
7) See traditional Norwegian architecture at Sannidal Bygdetun
Sannidal Bygdetun is an open air museum located a short distance away from Kragerø city. This museum is dedicated to teaching people what life was like for regular people back in the 18th and 19th century in Kragerø and Sannidal. You can see different types of farm buildings and tools used to make the things needed to survive, and the museum has a big collection of different buildings.
There is no set opening times for the open air museum, so you can arrive at any time you want to see the buildings and tools. Each building has a lot of informational signs in both Norwegian and English. Sannidal Bygdetun is located in amazing Norwegian nature, so it’s a great place to go for a short walk while also learning something new.
8) Just wander the small streets of Kragerø
Kragerø is an old city filled with small and cozy streets. You will have a good time just wandering around in city center and seeing what you stumble upon. The city has plenty of cozy coffee shops, smaller restaurants, stores, ice cream vendors and other surprises that you will stumble upon in the city.
One of the cool things about the shops in the streets of Kragerø is that they’re mostly independent, so you won’t just find large retail chains like H&M or Cubus here. No, you can wander into locally owned and operated small businesses that sell all kinds of different things, so it’s a really nice place to go shopping if you want something special.
There are also plenty of cafés, bars, bakeries and ice cream shops where you can sit down and enjoy something nice to eat and drink while getting a much needed break from walking.
9) Get an incredible view of Kragerø from Steinmann lookout point
The Steinmann lookout point is a viewing point at the top of Kragerø that offers an amazing view down towards the city and out at the sea. You can even see some of the coastal islands from the viewpoint, and it’s for sure one of the best ways to experience the city.
You can easily walk to the lookout point from the city center, but it’s a 250 meter ascent, so be prepared for a bit of an exhausting hike. It’s also possible to reach the lookout point by car if you don’t want to do the hike yourself.
10) Get a tour of the home of Theodor Kittelsen
The home of Theodor Kittelsen (Kittelsenhuset) is the childhood home of the incredible artist Theodor Kittelsen, known for his paintings inspired by Norwegian fairy tales. His works are some of the most well-known paintings in Norway, and pretty much all Norwegians know some of his paintings from school and growing up.
His childhood home has been converted to a museum where you can see some of his works, and of course learn a lot about his life and how it was growing up in Kragerø in the 1850s and 1860s. It’s open all days in the summer, so make sure to stop by for a visit to learn more about this iconic Norwegian painter.
What to expect when visiting Kragerø
Kragerø is a beautiful little city on the Norwegian coast, and like most coastal towns, it’s absolute filled to the brim with tourists during the summer. At the same time it gets very sleep and relaxed in the winter when there are few tourists around.
In addition to all the attractions we’ve written about in this article, it’s also worth mentioning that Kragerø is a really nice place to travel to if you just want to experience the best of Norwegian summers. There are plenty of coastal islands that all have plenty of different beaches in the outskirts of the city, and it has an incredible nature to explore.
Many people own cabins in Kragerø or on the surrounding islands, but it’s also a common destination to visit if you just want to enjoy a nice summer day. The cabins in the area are incredibly expensive, and it’s a very popular cabin tourism destination.
How to get from Oslo to Kragerø
Kragerø is located just 10 minutes away from the main E18 highway that goes between the southern and south-eastern Norway, so it’s very easy to reach Kragerø by car. Just drive south on E18 if you’re coming from Oslo until you see the sign that you need to leave the highway to reach Kragerø. Now just follow that road until you get to the city center. It’s very easy to understand where to drive due to the signs pointing towards the city.
There are also buses that stop by Kragerø, and bus lines like VY190 and NW192 operates on the Oslo to Southern Norway line that has a stop at Kragerø. Total travel time from Oslo to Kragerø is around 3 hours and 30 minutes.
You can also ride the train from Oslo to Kragerø, but this requires a train change, and is just a bit of a hassle compared to just riding the bus. So it’s an option, but not really a great method to travel to Kragerø.
Most bigger cities in South-Eastern Norway will also have buses that can be connected with either VY190 or NW192 to get to Kragerø, so you don’t need to travel from Oslo. These buses stop at cities like Tønsberg, Horten, Sandefjord, Drammen, Skien, Porsgrunn, Arendal, Kristiansand, Grimstand and more.
Nicklas is the owner and editor of The Norway Guide, and is responsible for most of the content on the website.
He lives in Skien, Norway with his wife and two children. Nicklas is specialized in Norwegian ecology (including Norway’s geology, wildlife and flora) from his degree in Ecology And Nature Management at University of South-Eastern Norway, but has a particular interest in tourism and content creation.
His biggest hobbies are fishkeeping, going on hikes with his dog, and rooting for the local football team.