Arendal, the Town
Arendal is a small town on the south coast of Norway. After the geographical
boundaries were extended to include four surrounding communities in 1992,
the town now is the tenth largest in Norway in terms of populations, but
still contains only about 40.000 inhabitants in total.
It was originally called
the Venice of Scandinavia because the town is built on seven islands, with
a network of canals surrounding it. Most of these have later been filled
in, but plans are afoot to reopen some again.
The most glorious period
of the town history was during the sailing ships era, in the 18th and 19th
century. It was at one time one of the largest and most important towns in
Norway. Its wealth was based on shipping, with the surrounding iron ore mining,
iron works and timber providing the most important trade. It had connections
to all important trading centres of the world, and had better contact with
Europe than with the country's capital of Christiania (or Oslo, as it was
later to be called).
The introduction of steam
ships gradually reduced the town's importance, but the old traditions have
been retained, for example in the atmosphere of the Tyholmen area, where
the collection of wooden buildings is reckoned to be among the most picturesque
and best preserved of its kind, and in 1992 was awarded the much coveted
The town has a number
of tourist attractions to offer. Apart from the town itself, which is well
worth a leisurely guided walk, the main attraction in summer is the sea and
the skerries landscape. The harbour area "Pollen" teems with boats and life
in the summer, and idyllic swimming beaches or skerry rocks are within easy
For a picture of "Pollen",
click here (64 Kb). Tyholmen is the area to the left.
If you would rather look at sea and summer, here is an inviting picture
from Hisøy (55 Kb), one of Arendal's many islands.
The inland area with forests,
mountains, rivers and lakes offers its own attractions.
There are museums, art
galleries, historical buildings and landmarks, metal and mineral mines, old
iron works and a number of other attractions to visit. There is even a
golf course only about
20 km (13 miles) away, for those who are thus inclined. Sailing, riding,
canoeing, fishing and other sports are also available. The famous Norwegian
writers Ibsen and Hamsun both had strong connections to the nearby area.
HOW TO GET THERE
The main road from Oslo, called the E 18, is a modern highway to high standards
for most of the way. The distance from Oslo is about 260 km (160 miles).
There is a car ferry from
Hirtshals in Denmark to Kristiansand, which is about 70 km (45 miles) southwest
of Arendal. This runs several times a day during summer. Another daily car
ferry runs from Fredrikshavn in Denmark to Larvik, which is about midway
between Oslo and Arendal.
During summer a car ferry
runs between Amsterdam in Netherlands and Kristiansand. This runs once a
week, Monday from Amsterdam and Tuesday from Kristiansand.
There is also a car ferry
from Newcastle, England to Stavanger on the west coast of Norway, about 316
km (200 miles) away. This runs thrice weekly during summer: Monday, Wednesday
and Saturday from Newcastle, Tuesday, Friday and Sunday from Stavanger.
Apart from the car ferries mentioned above, there is a daily fast passenger
boat connection between Oslo and Arendal during summer. The trip takes about
six hours and is an experience in itself, travelling some of the most charming
parts of the Norwegian coastline.
There is a daily bus service between Oslo and
Arendal, taking about 4 hours.
There are numerous daily
bus services between Arendal and Kristiansand.
Kjevik Airport, Kristiansand is about 70 km (45 miles) away. The airport
has direct connections to Oslo (7 daily), Stavanger (5 daily) and Copenhagen
(3 daily). Copenhagen has direct connections to most of the world.
Oslo has direct connections
to most of the major airports in Europe, and via Copenhagen to the world,
and Stavanger has direct connections to Copenhagen, London, Amsterdam and
There are direct bus services
between Kjevik and Arendal for all airplane arrivals and departures.
Where to stay
You can choose between several accommodation alternatives at a variety of
Top class hotels
InterNor Tyholmen Hotel, situated in town right on the quay, with direct
view of the harbour.
Phoenix Hotel, central in the town in the middle of Tyholmen.
Good, reasonable hotels
Arendal Hotel, located centrally in town.
Ting Hai Hotel, located centrally in town, Chinese atmosphere.
E 18 Hotel, located near E 18 about 2 km from the town centre.
Holiday centres, pensions
Sjøverstø Holiday Guest House, located by the seaside in a
sheltered bay, about 30 minutes drive from the town centre. Bathing jetty,
boats, swimming pool.
Hove Family Camping, located in a recreational area at Tromøy Island,
one room cabins available.
Nidelv Camping, located on the Nidelv river about 15 minutes by bus from
the town centre. Cabins with WC and showers available.
The Arendal Tourist office is at
and their web at www.arendal.com. You
may also want to try www.sydnorge.no
Arendal is capital of
the Aust-Agder county. The county stretches along the south east coast line
from north of Kristiansand through the town Risør. For Norwegian language
information about the larger area,
The Central Intelligence
Agency (CIA) in the US publishes The CIA World Factbook with information
about most countries in the world, including Norway.