Norway’s southern beaches and picturesque seaside towns are a magnet for summer visitors, while the west coast is blessed with glorious fjords and the oil-rich city of Stavanger and the Hanseatic city of Bergen.
Draw an upward arc on the map from Oslo in the east to Bergen in the west, and south of it you see the part of Norway where the majority of Norwegians take their home country holidays. They head for their seaside cottages, camp in the forests and by the lakes, or set sail to explore the islands and the inlets.
Beaches and Picturesque Seaside Towns in Southern Norway
In clockwise order starting at Oslo, southern Norway can be divided into the principal regions of Sørlandet (southern country), comprising Telemark, Aust-Agder and Vest-Agder counties and their coasts around to about 7 o’clock; Rogaland county centered at the city of Stavanger on the west coast and Hordaland county around Bergen.
Norway’s fifth largest city, lively Kristiansand, is the unofficial capital of the southern coast. It’s a busy summer resort with ferry connections to Denmark. In 1639, King Christian IV of Denmark and Norway selected the site of the city for a fort to control the approaches to the North Sea and the Baltic. You can visit the remains of Christiansholm Fortress, which offers views of the harbor and coast from its stocky ramparts.
Related: Norway’s Countryside of Smiles
One of Norway’s most visited attractions is Kristiansand Dyrepark 11km (7 miles) east of the city, incorporating a zoo, wilderness park, water park and amusement park.
Norway’s best sandy beach
West of Kristiansand, the seaside resort and former timber town, Mandal, boasts Norway’s best sandy beach and a well-preserved center of cobbled streets and white clapboard houses, characteristic of this area of beaches and picturesque seaside towns in Southern Norway
The Lindesnes Lighthouse marks the southernmost point of Norway.
The last town before Vest-Agder rises to meet Rogaland is the port of Flekkefjord and the idyllic island of Hidra. The terrain is mountainous, with many splendid waterfalls, especially around Kvinesdal.
Beaches and Picturesque Seaside Towns in Southern Norway, written by Tor Kjolberg