On the outskirts of Horten you come to Karljohansvern, a national fortification which is surrounded by protected nature and the Oslofjord. Karljohansvern was the Norwegian Navy's main base, and is a magnificent military-historical cultural area. A great museums and recreation area, well worth one or more visits. It is furthermore a quiet place in an urban environment, with space to hike and bike in the most beautiful surroundings imaginable.
Karljohansvern is a national fortification in Horten, on the western shore of the Oslofjord, a good hour's drive from the capital Oslo. The fortress is beautifully situated on a peninsula between the fjord and the inner harbour and consists of both big storage buildings from the mid 19th century and ordinary houses from the 20th century. The oldest house that remains at Karljohansvern were a part of Horten farm built in the 16th century. There are also nice recreational areas along the fjord.
Parts of the area are preserved in order to protect bird wild life and plants.
Karljohansvern developed from a ferry place to a naval base, and subsequently to a civil society. The architecture is peculiar and follows the different style periods. Many of the buildings were erected shortly after the Navy established its main base here in 1819. The construction of the buildings has followed the technological development and is typical of its time. Karljohansvern may be defined as a living museum, where you can watch the growth of a modern town. Here the past and the present are brought together. Before parts of the area were blocked to the public, whereas today you can walk freely around in most parts of the military historical area of Karljohansvern.
Karljohansvern also offers cultural experiences, for example The Naval Museum with exciting collections connected to the naval history through war and peace, and the Preus Museum with exhibits within photography and visual art. The Local Historical Centre opened in 2007 and offers local history from the near past. Karljohansvern also houses artists with galleries and workshop sales.
The peninsula of Karljohansvern has three bridge connections across the beautiful Horten Canal separating the Naval base and town. Along the canal you can walk in peace and quiet, only disturbed by the soft humming of a typical Norwegian small boat called “snekke” - using this shortcut between the inner harbour and the Oslofjord.
Throughout the year various cultural events take place at Karljohansvern, such as concerts, music festivals and other features. Norway’s largest sailing race, the Færder Sailing Race, has its finish line here.