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NATIONAL
FORTRESSES

Take a walk through
Norwegian defence history.

Many of the most well-known fortresses in
Norway are located in very idyllic places.

Oscarsborg Fortress .
Photo: NLE / Visit Greater Oslo
Oscarsborg Fortress .
Photo: NLE / Visit Greater Oslo

Like the majestic Oscarsborg fortress, located on an island that's just a five-minute ferry ride from the small town of Drøbak, or a 1.5 hour scenic boat trip from Oslo during summer.

The fortress in the middle of the Oslofjord has a history dating back to 1640.

Every summer, a big outdoor Opera performance is held in the beautiful courtyard.

Bring the kids on a guided tour through the tunnels below the fortress, have a tasty dinner, browse through the art gallery and museum, or enjoy a day spa or relax on the island's beach.

You can even spend the night there!

Oscarsborg, Drøbak .
Photo: E. Ingvaldsen / Nasjonale Festningsverk
Oscarsborg, Drøbak .
Photo: E. Ingvaldsen / Nasjonale Festningsverk

When you're in Oslo, you should definitely see Akershus Fortress. A venerable and imposing fortification, it offers a great way to learn more about the city's history, and commands wonderful views of the harbour and fjord.

Akershus Fortress was first built in 1299, and is a popular venue for big events like concerts. Stop by the visitor centre, visit the Norwegian resistance museum and join a guided tour.

Book a table at Festningen restaurant, or simply enjoy a beer with one of the best and most sunny views of the city!

Akershus Fortress .
Photo: Fredrik Ahlsen / Visitnorway.com
Akershus Fortress .
Photo: Fredrik Ahlsen / Visitnorway.com

Close by the Swedish border, in Halden, lies Fredriksten fortress, the largest border fortress in Norway, with a fantastic view of the town and surrounding fjords.

Join a guided tour, see a show or concert, or take a relaxing sunset stroll.

There are a couple of restaurants and a café at the fortress too.

Fredriksten festning in Halden .
Photo: Destinasjon Halden
Fredriksten festing in Halden .
Photo: Destinasjon Halden

A bit further north, you will find the 17th century Kongsvinger fortress and experience unique military history and panoramic views of the Glomma river.

Walk on the fortress' star-shaped ramparts and visit its museum, before exploring the charming wooden houses in Øvrebyen in Kongsvinger, just below.

Spend the night at the stately Festningen Hotel & Resort, and enjoy a meal in royal surroundings.

Kongsvinger fortress .
Photo: Visit Kongssvingerregionen
Kongsvinger fortress .
Photo: Visit Kongssvingerregionen

The history of Bergenhus Fortress can be traced back to the early 1500s. Explore the museum, and take a stroll around the old buildings and fortifications, just a short walk from the UNESCO-listed Bryggen wharf.

Visiting Bergen in the summer? Check out Bergenfest, one of the biggest open-air live music festivals in Norway, which takes place inside the fortress!

Bergenhus Fortress .
Photo: Bergen Tourist Board / Robin Strand / visitBergen.com
Bergenhus Fortress .
Photo: Bergen Tourist Board / Robin Strand / visitBergen.com

One of Trondheim's chief landmarks is the Kristiansten Fortress, whose cornerstone was laid in 1681. The popular grounds provide excellent views of the city and are a great spot to watch the sun go down over the city and mountains.

Visit the museum, enjoy a meal or a snack, and remember to check listings for cultural events!

Kristiansten Fortress .
Photo: Ronny Danielsen
Kristiansten Fortress .
Photo: Ronny Danielsen

Want to see more?
Scroll down for inspiration!

Kristiansten Fortress .
Photo: Ronny Danielsen
Kristiansten Fortress .
Photo: Ronny Danielsen

More national fortresses

Plan your route

Find your fortress
Vardøhus Fortress viewed from above, Northern Norway
Vardøhus Fortress
The world’s northernmost and Norway’s easternmost fortress. Appears today as it did when it was built in 1738.
Vardøhus Fortress
The Adolf canon at Trondenes Fort in Harstad, Northern Norway
Trondenes Fort
Still a military installation, famous for its long-barrelled canon “Adolf”.
Trondenes Fort
The Verdal Fortifications in Trøndelag, Norway
The Verdal Fortifications
Built to handle the strain between Norway and Sweden after the dissolution of the Union in 1905.
The Verdal Fortifications
Austrått Fort is a massive fortification with a five-storey cannon tower. The fortress was built by the occupying German forces during… Read more
Austrått Fort
Kristiansten Fortress by night
Kristiansten Fortress
An important part of the Trondheim’s recreational areas.
Kristiansten Fortress
Bergenhus Fortress at night, viewed from across the river
Bergenhus Fortress
Now a museum next to the famous Rosenkrantz Tower and close to the Bryggen Hanseatic Wharf.
Bergenhus Fortress
Akershus Fortress is a great place to discover Oslo's history and enjoy a summer day. The building of Akershus Castle and Fortress was commenced… Read more
Akershus Fortress
The border fortifications – Norwegian national fortresses
The Border Fortifications
22 small fortifications situated along the southern part of the border dividing Sweden and Norway.
The Border Fortifications
The entrance to Gamlebyen "old town" in Fredrikstad, Eastern Norway
Fredrikstad Fortress
An Old fortified town turned into a lively urban community.
Fredrikstad Fortress
Fredriksten is Norway`s largest, most important and most venerable border fortress.   Many also find it one of the most magnificent in… Read more
Fredriksten fortress
Fredriksvern is Norway's first main naval base, built in Stavern from 1750 onwards. The original name was Fredriksvern Verft, named after king… Read more
Fredriksvern verft
A canon at Oddane Fort in Larvik, Eastern Norway
Oddane Fortress
Listed and not open to the public, but you can book a guided tour.
Oddane Fortress
A historical WWII museum in Kristiansand that features a German coastal defence battery from 1940-45, with the world's second largest land-based… Read more
Kristiansand Kanonmuseum Cannon Museum
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