Southern Norway is an enchanting corner of Scandinavia dotted with picturesque towns and villages. The region is known as the “Smiling South” by locals and lives up to its reputation with blue skies, warm weather and postcard-perfect beaches. The food is fantastic, with most restaurants serving freshly-caught seafood hauled in from the North Sea.
Things to do in Southern Norway
Perched on a hillside, the seaside town of Tvedestrand has a fairy-tale feel. Cobbled streets wind down to the harbour and are lined with white wooden houses, many reimagined as antique bookstores and cosy cafes.
Arendal spans across seven islands and is one of the liveliest cities in Southern Norway. Head down to the marina to dine at waterfront restaurants and enjoy open-air concerts. The Old Town occupies an island of its own and is filled with beautifully preserved historic houses built in the 1800s. Visit the engaging Kløckers Hus local history museum to find out more about the region.
From hiking in Raet National Park to white water rafting along the Mandal River, there are plenty of opportunities for adventure in Southern Norway. The North Sea Cycle Route skirts the coast and boasts beautiful scenery. The sandy beaches of Lista are perfect for sunbathing and surfing.
One of the largest cities in the country, Kristiansand is an excellent base for touring Southern Norway. You’ll find excellent shops, cafes and restaurants in the lively downtown area, as well as some great family attractions such as Kristiansand Zoo and Amusement Park.
Across Southern Norway, cafes, restaurants and bistros are passionate about local cuisine and fresh produce. Save your appetite for specialties such as Norwegian fish soup, “sursild” pickled herring and “raspeballer” potato dumplings. Gourmands won’t be able to resist a visit to the famous underwater restaurant in Lindesnes.
Getting around Southern Norway
Rental cars offer the freedom to explore Southern Norway at your own pace. The region is well-serviced by local buses and many towns can be accessed by train. Driving between Kristiansand and Oslo takes around four hours and Kristiansand Airport offers easy air access to the region.