How to Spend A Day in Kragero, Norway (+Photos)

Between June and August, a quiet coastal town called Kragero becomes a popular vacation destination for local Norwegians. Only a few full-time residents call the area home for the remaining bulk of the year.

The small town is located less than three hours south of Oslo in the Telemark County fjords. I have been lucky enough to visit the town with family friends who have a vacation home on one of the islands. Safe to say – it’s one of the most beautiful areas I have ever been to, and I am always stunned at how few international tourists make the journey to visit.

Kragero municipality includes close to 500 separate islands, islets, and rocky outcrops known as skerries. Most of these islands are residential, dotted with luxury homes or vacation cabins.

Getting to Kragero

Getting to Kragero

It might not seem like it, but the main town is actually a part of mainland Norway, which means it can be accessed by car or bus from the capital of Oslo. I’ve traveled to the town via bus and private car, and a few locals make the trip by boat or even seaplane.

From the center of Oslo, the drive will take between 2.5 to 3.5 hours, depending on which side of the fjord you drive. Both journeys are around 200km in distance, so the fastest route would be via the E18. The drive is easy and painless, with little traffic and great-quality roads.

To take the bus from Oslo to Kragero, you’ll need to make your way to the Oslo Bus Terminal next to the Oslo Central Station. The terminal is just behind the station and services buses traveling throughout Scandinavia.

Catch the VY190 towards Kristiansand and take it to the Tangen station. This trip takes around two and a half hours and costs 515 NOK ($47). Once at Tangen, a local bus (number 609, run by Farte) will transport you down into Kragero, dropping you at the Rutebilstasjon. The trip takes a lot of stops, so it takes around 25 minutes.

A one-way trip on this local bus costs just 46 NOK ($4). The Kragero bus stop is right in the heart of the coastal village. My friends typically pick me up on their boat and jet me off to their nearly island home.

A Slice of History


This small town’s history dates back to the Viking Age. However, it was not until the 17th century that Kragero began to thrive as a port town.

With a strategic position at the entrance of the Oslo Fjords, it blossomed into what was once one of Norway’s leading trade and shipping centers servicing boats from the Netherlands and the UK.


One of my favorite facts about the town is its ice industry history. In the middle of the 19th century, ice exporting became the town’s main industry. Ice harvested from the frozen winter fjords was used as refrigerators on boats to help store and preserve fresh fish and other food. Some was even exported across Europe.

Kragero is also intricately tied to one of the world’s most famous artists, Edward Munch. The Norwegian native settled in Kragero, which would prove to be one of his biggest artistic inspirations. It’s easy to see why!

A Morning Stroll

Morning Stroll

Since I was staying with family friends on a nearby island, visiting Kragero was one of my favorite ways to spend a day. Most (if not all) locals and holiday homeowners own boats here. In fact, even ten-year-old kids can be seen zooming into town in their small Zodiacs. It’s quite a sight.

On arrival in the main town, you’ll likely be dropped off at the main dock in the center of the village. Conveniently, Kragero is really small, which means it’s easy to walk around on foot.

As you arrive at the dock, step off your boat onto the Jens Lauersøns Plass / Lilletorvet. During summer months, this plaza is packed with boats and vacationers enjoying cold ice cream (known as ice), surrounded by the fragrant scent of red and pink roses.

During summer, the shops around the town center open at 10 am. and close around 5 pm. Although a bit overpriced, the town is home to an incredible selection of shops selling gorgeous women’s clothing, sporting goods, gifts, books, and homeware.

Among my favorites are Stilk As, Paa hjørnet, and Atelier Revilla. I could spend hours strolling these streets.



You could also get from one main island to another using the Kragero Ferry. One of the more popular routes is to take the ferry from Kragero to Jomfruland, a long island that forms a barrier between the inner islands and the North Sea. It might look big from a distance, but this island is all length and no width. It’s a great place to hire a bicycle, ride along flat roads, explore the local countryside, and go for long walks.

The island is a national park and is open year-round. Make sure to check out the old and new lighthouses, which are located alongside each other close to where the ferry docks. On weekends, you can buy homemade waffles in front of the old lighthouse or visit one of the four restaurants on the island (disclaimer: one is more of a canteen than a restaurant).

Pro Tip: Pack for varied weather. Norway’s weather can be unpredictable, even mid summer. Be sure to pack layers and a waterproof/ windproof jacket for unscheduled rain showers and chilly boat rides.

Coffee at November Cafe

November Cafe

Back in Kragero, I recommend grabbing a coffee and a freshly baked croissant at November Cafe, one of the more charming dockside coffee shops. During summer, the restaurant is open from breakfast to dinner, while only for lunch and dinner in the colder months.

A cappuccino here costs 47 NOK, while a croissant costs 35 NOK. They also serve delicious sandwiches and have an impressive wine selection if you want to come back for lunch.

Fresh Seafood Feasts

Fresh Seafood Feasts

When it comes time for lunch, there are plenty of places to grab a bite. I’ve tried a few, and my favorites have to be the November Cafe, PA17, and Kragero Sushi.

November Cafe is great for homestyle salads, sandwiches, and some of the best mussels in town. PA 17 is a new brasserie that recently opened overlooking the dock. It has outdoor seating but also a cozy interior, where you can order anything from a pulled pork bao bun to traditional fish soup. I recommend going for the pizza, which is freshly made on-site.

Last but not least, what better food to order in Norway than salmon? While not traditionally a Norwegian dish, Kragero Sushi and Wok is home to some of the best fresh sushi in town. The restaurant is also right on the dock, with its own floating seating section above the water.

A 13-piece Bento Box costs around 200 NOK. They serve all your favorite sushi combinations and a few unique ones, all freshly prepared to order.

Pro Tip: Norway can be expensive—and that’s an understatement. Instead of eating out three meals a day, make sure to visit the local grocery store (Kiwi or Spar in Kragero) for some healthy snacks.

Sauna and Swim

Sauna and Swim

With a full tummy, it’s time to get your cultural fix in and head for the sauna. Scandinavia is known for its cold plunges and steaming saunas. It’s so much a part of the culture that it’s not uncommon for luxury homes to have a private sauna by the water’s edge.

If you don’t have access to a private sauna, there is a new public sauna floating in the water near the center of the town. It’s about a ten-minute walk along the dock from the Jens Lauersøns Plass / Lilletorvet and has spectacular views across the Gunnarsholmen Fortress.

Sauna and Swim

The sauna can fit up to 14 people and has changing and shower facilities. A drop-in for non-members costs 150 NOK. When you book a drop-in slot, you can use the sauna for one hour between 5 pm and 9 pm on Thursday and Friday and from 10 am to 4 pm on Saturday and Sunday. The best way to experience any sauna is to hop between the hot sauna and the cool ocean.

Pro Tip: If you plan to take advantage of this stunning sauna, bring along two towels, sandals, and water to keep you hydrated. You’ll need one towel to bring into the sauna with you and another to dry you after your cold plunge.

Tea at Dahlia Cafe

Tea at Dahlia Cafe

Dahlia Cafe is one of my favorite places to visit in Kragero, especially when the weather is overcast or rainy. It’s a cozy cafe in the center of the town that doubles as a knitting shop. You heard me—you’ll find all the colors and types of wool and yarn, sewing patterns, and accessories you could imagine, available here.

Knitting is BIG in Norway. Not only is it popular to knit for friends and family, but wearing knitted sweaters is a current trend (and one I am a huge fan of myself). Join in on the fun and grab some supplies at Dahlia, accompanied by a cup of steaming hot tea (or coffee) and a freshly baked pastry.

As the day draws to a close, you’ll want to experience a Telemark sunset from the Kragero og Bamble Methodist Church. This church is perched at a high point of the town, towering over the stunning coastal village and overlooking the islands that surround it.

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