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Krikken Coastal Fort, a German construction from World War 2 is well worth visiting. The fort is located at Skåtøy island outside of Kragerø, and is an excellent hiking area wth beautiful surroundings and a very intersting history.
Krikken Coastal fort is located at the one end of the island Skåtøy, strategically located right at the sea entrance to Kragerø. With tons of cannons, 130 ranges of gun positions, trenches and large mountain caves, Krikken was one of the country's largest coastal forts during World War Two. Today, the area is a beautiful hiking area, towering over the sea with a spectacular view - from Portør in the west to Jomfruland in the east. Although it's starting to be a few years since the coastal fort was in use, the area boasts of the history related to the place and it's easy to fall into its history and fantasize about the olden days.
The history of Krikken Coastal Fort
The Coastal fort was built by the Germans in April 1941 and was used until the liberation in 1945. The fortress was one of the strongest fortified places between Sandefjord and Kristiansand, with almost 200 men stationed, and it is assumed that the German's main purpose with the Skåtøy fortress was to protect the city from a possible Allied invasion, and not least because Kragerø had a connection to Sørlandsbanen at that time.
The state's plans were to replenish and clean up the coastal fort, but thanks to a number of coincidences large parts of the fort still exist today - with its pathways, mountain halls, houses, artillery and commando bunks. The commando bunker was secured against gas attacks, and the steel doors are still there. Besides the well-preserved fort, you still see many original foundations where both dorms, barracks, weapons stores and more have stood. The old barracks of the crutch still intact. This was moved to Jomfruland after the war and is today the main building at Haga Vertshus.
The old fortress is therefore well placed for historical explorations and voyages of discovery through the many trenches and underground corridors. The site was last secured in 2005 and with a good flashlight everything is set for a real historic exploration trip, just remember that all activity is at your own risk.
In 1876 the customs station was moved from Portør to Krikken and the station was in operation until 1957. The customs officers had a good view over the sea and the road to the coastal entrance to Kragerø was short. During the war, however, the buildings were seized by the Germans and used as housing.
Transportation to Krikken
The road to Krikken starts with transportation by boat to Skåtøy, whether you choose public or private, there are several docks and routes to choose from. The road to Krikken offers idyllic and beautiful scenery whether you go by foot, bike or boat. From the rocks below the coastal fortress it’s possible to enjoy a refreshing dip in the ocean so remember swimwear and most importantly a flashlight!
Public transportation to Krikken
To get to Krikken you can take the ferry from Kragerø to Skåtøyroa. You follow Skåtøyveien inland on the island for about 1.3km until you reach the old big Oaktree which divides the road in two. From the Oaktree turn right and onto Krikkenveien. Follow that road all the way to the end of it, this is approx. 2.5km. At the end of Krikkenveien you will find Øytunet and you will start on the forest trail to Krikken. From here on forth, it’s approx. 1km until you arrive at Krikken Kystfort.
In addition to Skåtøyroa, the express boat and taxi boats also have a port of call at Skåtøy Brygge, this pier is more in the middle of the island and shortens the road a few hundred meters. From here on you will also walk along Skåtøyveien until the big Oaktree and Krikkenveien, but from Skåtøy Brygge you take the opposite direction on Skåtøyveien towards the oaktree. You turn right at the first crossing and pass Skåtøy Café and Skåtøy Church on your way. From Skåtøy Brygge to the crossing at Krikkenveien it’s approx. 1km. Please note that the bicycle capacity of the speedboat and taxi boats may be limited.
Read more about public transportation and timetables etc. here!
Going by private boat to Krikken
The site is easily accessible to private boaters, and a public bridge on the southwest side of the island, in the bay of Sjursholmen and Krikkholmen, is a great base for an expedition up to the fortress. You can sail in here with big boats, south from the east side of Sjursholmen, but also from the west with some smaller boats on the north side of Krikkholmen.
If you come from the north and have a smaller boat, you can take the road through the Eidkil Canal from 1924 which parts Skåtøy in two. The sailing depth here is 1.1 meters, the width is 4 meters and the maximum height below the bridge is 2.8 meters.
Every July at full moon, Kjetil Valldal arranges a cave concert at Krikken. The concert is held in the mountain, in the largest of the caves in the coastal fortress. Enjoy the view and a beautiful summer's night - then go down intothe cave to enjoy a concert of local music forces in a room lit by hundreds of candles – afterwards you rise from the cave to a magical full moon hanging over the horizon. A breathtaking view and after an amazing concert you’re unlikely to forget right away.