Experience a magical winter in Vestfold
By Celina Tran | Photos: Visit Vestfold
With each tree whose crown of branches is laid bare, the days of warmth and light melt binto a darker, colder and more mysterious season. In the east of Norway, the winter offers magic like no other. In the archipelago of Vestfold, the drumming hearts of historical towns are alive with entertainment and excitement.
Home to the town and cities of Larvik, Stavern, Sandefjord, Tønsberg, Horten and Holmestrand, the traditional region of Vestfold offers everything from excellent culinary experiences and charming town life to inner peace, soft waves lapping the shore at ‘The World’s End’, and windows into a fascinating history. Whatever you’re looking for, they’ve got it.
“There’s a short distance between each of the towns, but also from the cities to the archipelago and other activity hotspots,” says VisitVestfold’s product manager Trude Schelbred. “Around here, we say that there’s a short distance between hiking boots and high heels!”
Despite the plummeting temperatures, rest assured that Vestfold still has fun, exciting and even romantic experiences up its sleeve. Winter paddling, Viking history and excellent, world-class art is only a taster of the region’s offerings for the Winter season.
Picturesque peace at the World’s End
Worry not, Verdens Ende or ‘The World’s End’ is not as far from shore as it sounds. As a part of the Færder National Park, Verdens Ende offers fresh sea air, romantic sunsets and dinner with a view like no other – a picture-perfect date. Even in the winter, you may enjoy hiking and alpaca hiking, or even winter paddling if you’re feeling adventurous. No matter how you choose to spend your time at the archipelago, don’t forget to take a moment to breathe and admire how the sun shines against the water as it disappears below the horizon.
Inspiring the world-renowned Munch
Like many artists before and after his time, Edvard Munch’s art draws inspiration from the places he fell in love with. The small port town of Åsgårdstrand in Vestfold, where he spent many summers, is one of the key inspirations behind several of Munch’s pieces, including The Girls on the Bridge and The Dance of Life. Take a walk along the area’s beautiful walking paths for the chance to look through the eyes of the artist, or simply to enjoy the inspiring coastline. If you’re lucky, you might even catch Andy Warhol’s tribute to Munch at Haugar Art museum – when it’s not on loan.
A window to the past
The Vikings left their cultural imprint on all of Scandinavia, but Vestfold is perhaps one of the primary locations of Viking history. The county boasts several archaeological sites where Viking ships were unearthed, and is the only place in Norway where you can see a real-life Viking ship, while the Viking Ship Museum in Oslo is closed until 2026. For those who truly want a glimpse into the past, the Midgard Viking Centre and the Borre Mound offers activities, food, architecture and the promise of uncovering exciting, Nordic history. Should you find yourself by the Borre Mounds, you’ll also encounter one of the Viking Age’s most important graves: according to Snorre Sturlarson, it is the resting place of the Ynglings, a dynasty of kings that claimed descent from the Norse gods.
If Vikings and art-inspiring scenery isn’t enough, Vestfold also has an excellent food scene. It’s a county of culinary geniuses, boasting excellent chefs, bakers and pastry chefs. Described as ‘Norway’s vegetable garden and pantry’, it’s no surprise that the area prides itself in their traditional, local food. You’ll find restaurants, shops and cafes, many of which offer home-grown and home-made food experiences.
The vast food and activity options make Vestfold and its cities the ideal destination for winter getaways or romantic holidays in anticipation of the brightest and cosiest time of the year.
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