Here are some of the best things to do in Fredrikstad.
On the command of King Frederick II, Fredrikstad, the first Renaissance city in Norway, was founded in the sixteenth century. At the mouth of the Glomma, the longest river in Norway, the Old Town is housed within a bastion fort. Additionally, Fredrikstad served as a Danish-Norwegian stronghold against the Swedes to the east, which is why it was fortified heavily.
Take the route around the moat to see the adorable small Old Town, after which you can attack the nearby forts at Isegran and Kongsten. The natural beauty of this area, the sunniest part of Norway and the south side of the Oslo fjord, may leave you speechless. Dreamy granite coves, the multitude of skerries and islets at Hvaler, and Hank Island’s beautiful royal estate are just a few places where you may see what we mean.
1. Gamlebyen (Old Town)
The fortified Old Town in Fredrikstad, which has been standing since 1567, is the oldest town in the city and is implausibly adorable. It is located on the left side of the Glomma. Fredrikstad became the first Norwegian city to be formed after the Middle Ages when Frederick II signed the charter.
The Dutch engineer and quartermaster Willem Coucheron is credited with creating the enduring star-shaped pattern.
Because of the effectiveness of the earthwork ramparts and zigzagging moat he built, Fredrikstad was never captured during a siege.
Within the walls, some 350 people reside in homes that range from adorable ramshackle wooden structures to elaborate Baroque heaps.
On Saturdays, browse the bustling flea market on the main square while taking a break in one of the inviting cafes or eateries.
An island that has been defended since the 13th century is located near the mouth of the Glomma.
During this time, Alv Erlingsson, a nobleman, owned a stronghold on Isegran. The King’s troops demolished this castle in 1287. After 400 years, Fredrikstad’s city defenses would be built on top of its earthworks.
Historic wooden sailboats are now being rebuilt in the same workshops where they were originally built at Isegran, a longtime center for shipbuilding.
These are on the island’s north side, where you can also see the old boats moored in the water and Norway’s only school dedicated to the craft of boatbuilding.
You can stop for a nice beverage in the cafe while touring the maritime museum in the powder magazine, which showcases all the knowledge required to restore “International One Design” yachts.
3. Kongsten Fort
Kongsten Fort, a freestanding castle southeast of the Old Town that was built in 1685 to protect Fredrikstad’s weak eastern approach, is connected to the Old Town by a “secret path.” You’ll understand why the fort was built here once you stand atop its walls and survey the topography.
The ramparts, gateway, bastions, powder magazine, casemate, and commander’s house are all still in tact at Kongsten Fort, despite the absence of a museum.
These areas are rented out for gatherings and lodging, and in honor of the fort’s 300th anniversary, Norwegian postage stamps featured it.
4. Old Town Model Train Centre
The largest model railroad in Scandinavia is located in the Old Town and is open on weekends and holidays.
A miniature environment with a surface area of more than 400 square meters and two kilometers of track for 35 locomotives is housed in a series of connected buildings.
The extraordinary level of detail, including people, landforms, animals, monuments, and Fredrikstad’s cityscape portrayed at 1:87 scale, will delight both children and adults.
The center’s control room is situated within a mockup of a Norwegian commuter train, which is a nice touch given that the trains are computer-operated.
5. Hanko Island
This island, a remarkable location for a stroll, was once the hunting ground for the Lord of the nearby Elingard Manor.
But when therapeutic sulphurous mud was discovered on the island in the 1870s, it was turned into a spa, baths, and open-air entertainment area that belonged to the Norwegian royal family.
In addition to introducing fallow deer and planting trees, King Olav V constructed a vacation residence on Hanko in 1930.
Take the ferry from Hankosundet, which drops you off at the island’s most northern point, to get there.
Stop at the crossing to admire the imposing Seilerkroa inn on the water, which was finished in 1883 and is painted red. Don’t forget to climb to the Hanko Fjordhotell and Spa, which was founded in 1877 and previously attracted the aristocracy of Norway.
6. Hvaler Islands
The Hvaler archipelago is a world of granite skerries and islands that range in size from a few meters to several kilometers across, and it is located at the far southwest corner of Ostfold county.
Since the islands resemble a pod of cetaceans in the ocean, they were given the name Hvaler, which is the plural form of the Norwegian word for whale, “Hval.”
Despite being far away, the 108 road connects the islands to the mainland, so you could leave before noon and return home before dinner.
As many activities as you can think of are available in the archipelago, including dining on local seafood, taking an island-hopping ferry, hiking through birch and spruce forests, discovering unexplored coves, taking a kayak tour, playing a round of golf at the Hvaler golf course, and looking for medieval churches.
7. Litteraturhuset Fredrikstad
The Litteraturhuset, a center for the written word that opened its doors in 2013, is one of the swanky new constructions on the Glomma.
The Litteraturhuset, a massive cube covered in wood boards and glass, is Norway’s second-largest institution of its sort.
The center hosts TED-style talks, science and art exhibits, as well as readings and performances for kids, and it has a coffee shop, auditorium, and exhibition space.
For the bustling program’s website, which features something new virtually every day, go there.
In addition, the Litteraturhuset hosts notable occasions like the International Women’s Day celebration in March and the Fredrikstad Animation Festival in November.
8. Roald Amundsen’s Birthplace
The polar explorer Roald Amundsen was born in the Borge parish, which is located just outside of Fredrikstad, and is one of Norway’s most beloved sons.
The first voyage to the South Pole was led by Amundsen, who was also the first to travel via the Northwest Passage of the Arctic.
He was raised by shipowners and is credited with developing his adventurous nature by sailing boats along the Glomma River.
His mother wanted him to stay away from the maritime industry, so until she passed away, he studied to be a doctor. After that, he spent the remainder of his life at sea.
A bust of Amundsen may be seen in front of the family farm, which is open for visitors on weekends in the winter and from Wednesday through Sunday in the summer.
The home features antique furnishings and mementos from Amundsen’s expeditions, and the educated tour guide will educate you on Amundsen’s accomplishments.
9. Hans Nielsen Hauge’s Memorial Museum
Visit the painted cottage where a significant early-19th-century social reformer was born on the beautiful Rolvsoy island.
After experiencing a spiritual revelation in 1896, Lutheran Hans Nielsen Hauge started traveling and preaching. From that point on, he published widely read writings and helped to build the gender-neutral Haugean Movement, which promoted informal religious gatherings (at the time banned), built factories and mills around the nation, and contested the authority of the Church of Norway.
If you’re curious to learn more about this mysterious figure, you can schedule a visit to his birthplace, and the owner will even make coffee and waffles for you if you ask in advance.
10. Ostfold Kunstsenter (Ostfold Art Centre)
The Ostfold Art Centre is devoted to contemporary and applied art and is housed in a stylish 19th-century palace in Fredrikstad.
The center is run by artists and features a sales gallery in addition to a gallery for frequently changing temporary shows.
The installation artist Beathe C. Ronning, the ceramics designer Margit Seland, the conceptual artist Hazel Barstow, and the painter Davood Zandian all had solo exhibitions at the time this article was written.
Additionally, there is a cafe, an art store, and programs for kids during the summer.
11. Fredrikstad Cathedral
Despite not being particularly old, Fredrikstad’s Gothic Revival cathedral has a lot going for it.
The cathedral, which was dedicated in 1880, is particularly notable for its 70-meter tower and copper-covered spire.
When the Borg diocese was established in 1969, this structure only then formally became a cathedral.
Emanuel Vigeland, a renowned religious artist who also contributed to the cathedrals in Lund, Aarhus, and Stavanger, produced the stained glass windows in the choir in 1917.
The altarpiece, on the other hand, was created by Axel Revold, a 20-year veteran of the Norway National Academy of Fine Arts.
12. Ostre Fredrikstad Church
The first church in the Old Town was constructed from wood in 1560 but burned down shortly after.
Each of the following five churches on this property would suffer the same fate.
After the city’s final wooden church was destroyed by fire in 1764, it finally chose to construct a stone and brick church that has stood intact since 1779. This 450-seater magnificent Baroque church contains minute remnants of its predecessor in its stonework.
If you make an appointment in advance, you can see the simple interiors, which have carved wooden pews and a gallery supported by Ionic columns with painted-gold capitals.
13. Mærrapanna Naturreservat
Located on a peninsula and accessible by automobile in 15 minutes, the Maerrapanna Naturreservat is a delight in the summer.
Massive granite rocks that gleam hypnotically orange in the sunlight are scattered over the landscape, making it a striking sight.
Ticks of heather, pine, and lush grassy spaces can be seen in between the stones.
The peninsula is never wider than 100 meters, and it features picnic tables, fishing piers, a playground, BBQ pits, and protected swimming areas where kids can paddle safely.
Foten, one of the most picturesque beaches close to Fredrikstad, is approximately 10 kilometers to the southwest and receives the Blue Flag each year for its amenities and water quality.
In preparation for the summer of 2012, a beach volleyball court and new playground for kids were added.
The beach is a little bay of sand that combines with sizable, rounded granite rocks where people in the summer sunbathe.
A wooden pier with bathing ladders allows swimmers to access the calm sea, and on the rocks next to deeper water, a multi-level diving board has been constructed.
15. Fredrikstad FK
Even though attending a football game in Norway might not be on your bucket list, there are a few reasons to consider visiting the city of Fredrikstad FK in the summer.
First of all, there is a decent possibility to watch a game because football is a summer sport in Norway and is played from March to November.
The well-equipped Fredrikstad Stadion, which opened close to the Glomma in 2007, is home to Fredrikstad FK, a team with real history and tradition. The Aristocrats, as they are known, were established in 1903 and are currently in the 2. Divisjon after being demoted from the OBOS-ligaen in 2017. The club has a history of being one of the most successful in Norway’s history, having won the top division nine times and hoisted eleven Norwegian cups, but their present dismal standing belies that past.