The heart of Southern Norway

Sailing out of Arendal through the Galtesund strait. Photo: Port of Arendal

Why Arendal?

Located along the stunning Norwegian coast, the city of Arendal harbours the perfect combination of historical and cultural ambiance, outdoor activities, and big city vibes. Reflected in the opulent ocean front architecture is a heritage of grandeur and the Age of Sail. A tranquil coastline with rows of charming homes and boathouses is offset by the inner harbour Pollen, a vibrant string of cafes, shops, bakeries and even a chocolate factory nearby.

Taking the iconic Glass Lift that connects the Market Square below to the upper hill, this imponent architectural landmark offers a spectacular panoramic view of Arendal, Galtesund, Tromøy and Hisøy islands. A stroll through the streets of Tyholmen, the historic district, feels like stepping back in time. The architecture adds to the town’s unique charm and character and combines it with a safe and welcoming atmosphere. Timber, trade, and iron ores are key words to the history of Arendal.

One of the first iron works was established here, as well as shipping and timber export. A city surrounded by islands connected by bridges and ferry services, where you will find that everything you need is just “around the corner”.

Glass elevator. Photocredit: Marianne Pedersen

What to see & do in Arendal

Arendal has a rich maritime heritage, with a history deeply intertwined with shipbuilding and seafaring. Explore maritime museums, visit Bratteklev, one of the best-preserved shipyards from the wooden ship era along the Skagerrak. Admire the biggest collection of ships in a bottle in the world to learn about the town’s fascinating past at Kløckers Hus. The Ironworks Museum gives an insight into the town`s historical role as a centre of iron industry. At KUBEN, a cultural history institution and you will find exhibitions focusing on the history of Arendal and Aust-Agder. Looking 

for something unusual? Say no more, a visit to The Prison Hotel, sounds about right. Go through the prison’s 160-year history, learn firsthand from your host who also tells about “the life of an inmate” here, spectacular escapes from the place and shows both open and closed areas. 

Nature enthusiasts will appreciate the chance to explore Hove and Spornes Beach located in Tromøy island, part of the protected Raet National Park and the southern moraine. It offers ample opportunities for outdoor activities such as hiking, or kayaking, climbing and zipline at TrollPark Hove. RIB safari or a real sailboat are available and can take you in and out of inlets for a close-up view of the many islands, rolling rock beaches or even the lighthouses. Arendal is known also for its delicious seafood, sample local seafood on the docks like the peel-and-eat North Atlantic shrimp or a bowl of fish soup. Overall, Arendal offers a unique blend of natural beauty, cultural heritage, and outdoor activities, making it an appealing destination for those seeking an engaging coastal experience.

Deutschland docked in Arendal. Photocredit: Marianne Pedersen

Who is this destination suitable for?

Arendal is suitable for a wide range of travellers, from nature lovers and history buffs to food enthusiasts and families. The town’s diverse offerings and welcoming atmosphere ensure an enjoyable experience for visitors of various ages, interests, and preferences. Mostly paved and flat, the city centre is utterly friendly to people with disabilities, and suitable for both wheelchairs and prams. The city trail runs through the historic city centre, along the sea, along the water, past parks, and playgrounds, as well as hiking trails in nature. A laid-back atmosphere, make it ideal for those seeking a peaceful and relaxing getaway, go people watching along the waterfront, or venture out of town. 

The approach through the Galtesund fjord is probably among Norway’s finest, sailing in to Arendal makes for a spectacular entrance, but also allows for a smooth pilotage operation, the cruise quay is only a 5-minute walk from downtown. Cruise 

ships are welcomed by a children’s dance show, inspired by the world-renowned Frozen films. A pop-up information centre is set outside the gangway, where independent guests have access to city maps and information. Guests can select a wide range of shore-excursions carefully planned and guided by local professional guides to the highlights of the region. Arendal has a “one ship” a day policy, this ensures that guests experience the real feel of a typical southern Norway coastal town life.