Norway is a destination with several layers of character, both historical and architectural. Mansions, fortresses and castles established between the 13th and 20th centuries stand as symbols of this country’s courage and bold spirit. Travel to the most charming and picturesque castles in Norway and explore impressive architecture. Here are 20 of the most remarkable Norwegian castles to visit.
- Norway Castles
- 20 Castles In Norway
- 1- Akershus Castle
- 2- Fredriksten Fortress
- 3- The Royal Palace
- 4- Gamlehaugen Castle
- 5- Oscarshall Castle
- 6- Steinvikholm Castle
- 7- Bergenhus Fortress
- 8- Vardøhus Fortress
- 9- Kristiansten Fortress
- 10- Sverresborg Castle Ruins
- 11- Fritzøehus
- 12- Båhus Fortress
- 13- Audunberg Castle Ruins
- 14- Egeberg Castle
- 15- Barony Rosendal
- 16- Tønsberg Fortress
- 17- Ledaal
- 18- Austrått
- 19- Stiftsgården
- 20- Oscarsborg Fortress
- 20 Castles In Norway
20 Castles In Norway
1- Akershus Castle
Akershus Castle is a medieval castle situated in the capital of Norway, Oslo.
It was built by King Håkon V in 1299 to ward off attacks from Norwegian nobleman Earl Alv Erlingsson of Sarpsborg.
At first, it served as a prison for lawbreakers but became a fortress after the Swedish attacks.
The national importance of this castle is underlined by the fact that it is now used as the government’s venue and hosts the Royal Mausoleum.
The castle also houses Akershus Castle Church and the Armed Forces Museum, where everything related to Norway’s military history from medieval times to the years after WWII is on display.
Akershus Castle is at 0150 Oslo, Norway.
2- Fredriksten Fortress
Located in Halden, Fredriksten is the most important border fortress in the country.
Fredriksten Fortress was constructed in 1661 as a replacement for the Bohus Fortress after Norway lost its Bohuslan district to Sweden.
This historic fortress covers a wide area of 2,000 sqm and is a popular tourist attraction offering panoramic views of Halden city.
The site also hosts several art exhibitions.
In summer, outdoor concerts are arranged here with both contemporary and classic music.
Fredriksten Fortress is at Generalveien 27, 1769 Halden, Norway.
3- The Royal Palace
Located at one end of Oslo’s main thoroughfare, Karl Johans gate, the Royal Palace is among the significant buildings in the country.
This palace has been a concrete icon of the course of Norwegian history since 1814.
Originally used as the Norwegian residence of King Charles XIV, it is where the daily work of monarchy happens.
The King and Queen of Norway also live there.
The highlight is the changing of the guard ceremony that takes place every day at 1.30 pm.
The Royal Palace Park surrounds the palace and has tall trees, small ponds, grassy areas, and statues.
During summer, guided tours are available to show visitors a dozen rooms, including King Håkon VIII Suite, the Council Chamber, the Palace Chapel, the Cabinet Parlor, Ballroom, Banqueting Hall, and more.
The Royal is at Slottsplassen 1, 0010 Oslo, Norway.
4- Gamlehaugen Castle
Located in Bergen, it is one of the most famous European castles constructed in 1901 in the Scottish architectural style.
Gamlehaugen Castle is a beautiful white mansion where the Norwegian Royal Family currently resides.
Constructed near the Rosenkrantz tower, Bergen’s Royal Residence is a 13th-century structure built for King Håkon Håkonsson.
This splendid Renaissance building has been expanded multiple times and is an impressive fortress that remains open to the public year-round.
You can climb to the roof to see a lovely view and there are other interesting nooks to explore, such as the dungeon.
The castle’s rooms and halls are decked out with neo-renaissance and baroque décor.
People can visit the library, music room, and the office of Christen Michelsen (former prime minister) on the guided tour.
The castle is framed by a nice English-landscaped park full of trees and flowers.
The park remains open to the public and is a famous recreational spot used for walking and swimming.
Gamlehaugen Castle is at Gamlehaugvegen 10, 5230 Paradis, Norway.
5- Oscarshall Castle
Oscarshall Castle sits on the peninsula of Bygdøy in Oslo and was commissioned by King Oscar I and Queen Joséphine completed in 1852.
Several Norwegian artists got commissions during the construction of Oscarshall, and today, this castle stands as the monument to Norwegian art from the 19th century.
With its other structures and surrounding park, Oscarshall Castle is among the finest examples of neo-Gothic architecture in Norway.
King Oscar II opened this property as a museum to the public in 1881. Guided tours are available during summers to admire the opulent interior and royal collections within the castle.
Oscarshall Castle is at Oscarshallveien, 0287 Oslo, Norway.
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6- Steinvikholm Castle
Steinvikholm Slott or Steinvikholm Castle is an island fortress located on the Skatval peninsula in Nord-Trøndelag near Stjørdal.
From 1525 to 1532, this imposing structure was built by Olav Engelbrektsson, Norway’s last Roman Catholic archbishop.
It is the biggest construction raised in the Norwegian Middle Ages.
One of Norway’s most significant historical events occurred here, the Danish takeover of power and reformation from Catholic to Protestant faiths.
Today, an annual August midnight opera is held here, offering an excellent chance for people to see a performance about the life of the archbishop.
Steinvikholm Castle is at Steinvikholmen, 7510 Skatval, Norway.
7- Bergenhus Fortress
Bergenhus Fortress is among the best-preserved castles in the country, dating back to 1261.
This fortress stands at the harbour entrance and was originally King Øystein’s estate on Holmen Island.
Constructed to guard the entrance to the Bergen port in the 17th century, Bergenhus Fortress now functions as a museum and stands next to the Rosenkrantz.
The three-story Royal banqueting hall and the Rosenkrantz Tower are the only surviving parts of this once-royal fortress.
The exhibition of the grounds highlights the history of the castle along with the history of Bergen.
Bergenhus Fortress is at 5003 Bergen, Norway.
8- Vardøhus Fortress
Vardøhus Fortress is a picturesque fortification located in the town of Vardø on the Vardøya Island.
The world’s northernmost fortress was built to guard the Norwegian dominion of Finnmark and the surrounding regions.
From 1734 to 38, around 40 soldiers from Bergen built this fortress in a star shape, having 18th-century fortification style and low embankments designed to resist cannon fire.
During WWII, the fort was used to keep prisoners, and later, it became a prison for Norwegians convicted of treason or collaboration with the German people.
The unique thing about this fortress is its gunshots to salute to the sun at the end of Polar night.
Vardøhus Fortress is at Festningsgaten 20, 9950 Vardø, Norway.
9- Kristiansten Fortress
Looking down upon the centre of Trondheim, Kristiansten Fortress is the country’s best-preserved 17th-century tower fortress.
It was constructed on the orders of the King of Denmark and Norway, Christian V, to defend the city against attack from the east after the great fire in 1681.
Kristiansten is a unique-looking white fortress that offers stunning views across the city towards the fjord and mountains from its top location.
The museum and dungeon are the main attractions within the fortress.
The fortification is surrounded by a huge recreational area, which is open to the public.
Kristiansten Fortress is at Kristianstensbakken 60, 7014 Trondheim, Norway.
10- Sverresborg Castle Ruins
Sverresborg, or Sverre Sigurdsson’s castle, is Norway’s first medieval castle built in Nidaros (which later changed its name to Trondheim), 250 m northeast of Bergenhus Fortress.
It was constructed in the late 1100s on the orders of King Sverre Sigurdsson to support his struggle against King Magnus to claim Norway’s throne.
Today, the castle forms a part of the Sverresborg Trøndelag Folk Museum – one of the most prominent open-air museums for the Trøndelag area.
Though this property serves the military of Norway for office administration, it is open to public visits also.
Sverresborg Castle Ruins is at Sverresborg Alle 13, 7020 Trondheim.
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It is a manor house designed by Jacob Wilhelm Nordan and constructed in 1865 for Michael Treschow.
The property has 75 rooms in total, with 21 basement rooms. It is a designated conservation site built for the preservation of extended forests and unique landscapes.
Many trees, including walnut and spruce trees in the park, spread over 1700 acres.
This park was made in the 1860s in the English style and has a collection of mouflon and fallow deer in the Mediterranean.
In the courtyard, there is a water fountain and a bear statue made by Anne Grimdalen.
Fritzøehus is at Brunlanesveien 201, 3267 Larvik, Norway.
12- Båhus Fortress
Båhus Fortress is a 700-year-old castle along the old Norwegian-Swedish border where the Göta river splits into two.
It was built during the years 1299 to 1319 under the King of Norway, Haakon V Magnuson.
This medieval castle commands the nearby area from a 130-ft-high cliff, with the river forming a natural moat around it.
The fortress sustained major damage during the Northern Seven Years War of the 16th century.
In the 18th century, the fortress was demolished, but they ran out of budget, and much of it remains, including the northern tower called Fars Hatt.
The fortress opened as a museum in 2015 and is open to the public in the summer.
Båhus Fortress is at Fästningsholmen, 442 81 Kungälv, Sweden.
13- Audunberg Castle Ruins
Audunberg, or Hegrenes-borga Castle, was a fine fortification constructed between 1276 to 1286 by Norwegian nobleman Audun Hugleiksson.
Today, only the castle ruins remain at the top of Hegreneset by the lake Jølstravatn in Sunnfjord.
It was initially excavated in 1934 and modelled after Bergen’s Håkonshallen, which was twice as wide and high.
In 1960, a memorial to Audun was also erected on the site, carved by Jørgen P. Solheimsnes from Jølster.
Audunberg Castle is at Hegranes, Jølster, Sunnfjord, Norway.
14- Egeberg Castle
A celebrated architect, Halfdan Berle built Egeberg Castle in 1899-1901 for Einar Westeye Egeberg and Birgitte Halvordine.
This property was the largest private residence in Oslo at 1600 sqm over two floors and a part of the tower.
Almost a century later, the castle stood tall around a sprawling park and offered breathtaking views of the harbour and city.
It was constructed with top-notch materials like granite and soapstone.
The ceilings inside were made by Italian stucco workers, and the first floor consisted of a dining room, smoking lounge, hall, and dressing rooms.
This site has been turned into an apartment building as Egeberg sold it off after his wife’s death.
Egeberg Castle is at Akersveien 24F, 0177 Oslo, Norway.
15- Barony Rosendal
Barony Rosendal is another 17th-century building established in 1665 by Karen Mowat (the richest heir of Norway) and Ludvig Rosenkrantz (Danish nobleman) in Kvinnherad Hordaland.
The property was privately owned until 1927, when the last owner bequeathed it to the University of Oslo.
Today, this mansion runs as the Baronet Rosendal Museum that offers valuable information about the significant era of Norwegian history.
This manor house is known for its most magnificent Victorian garden in Norway with almost 2000 roses.
In the summer, the site hosts a cultural program with exhibitions and concerts.
Barony Rosendal is at Baronivegen 60, 5470 Rosendal, Norway.
16- Tønsberg Fortress
Tønsberg Fortress is a medieval fortification in the oldest Norwegian town Tønsberg, protected for over 300 years by the fort.
It’s a 17m-tall tower constructed to celebrate 1000 years of Tønsberg history.
The site has ruins from Castrum Tunsbergis, Norway’s biggest castle in the 13th century, originally built by King Sverre’s grandson, King Håkon IV.
People often visit this fortress to climb to its top to witness the panoramic views of the city.
Tønsberg Fortress is at Dronning Blancas gate 14A, 3111 Tønsberg, Norway.
Built from 1799 to 1803, Ledaal was established as a second home for the Kielland family.
Today, this manor is a royal residence, a museum, and a representation structure of Stavanger municipality.
The central building is an excellent example of the era’s style.
The interior is richly furnished with the furniture and other furnishings in the empire, ornate, and Biedermeier.
At the right corner of the building is a small house occupied by a celebrated Norwegian author named Alexander Kielland.
Though the palace has never been in much use, people should visit it to see its superb interior.
Ledaal is at Eiganesveien 45, 4009 Stavanger, Norway.
Austrått Fort is a medieval fortification with a five-story cannon tower.
It is one of the country’s oldest manors, dating from as early as the Viking Period.
Since the 10th century, it has been the residence of many officials, noblemen, and noblewomen who significantly contributed to Norwegian history.
The courtyard, museum shop, and café remain open daily during summers. In addition, guided tours are offered inside the halls and chapel.
Austrått is at Lundahaugen, 7140 Opphaug, Norway.
Stiftsgården is another 18th-century property that has been in use by Norwegian Royal Family members since 1800.
It is built on Trondheim’s most important thoroughfare, Munkegaten (north of the main square).
Measuring 4,000 sqm, the palace has almost 140 rooms with splendid interiors and furnishings.
The palace is one of the biggest wooden structures in Scandinavia.
Stiftsgården is at Munkegata 23, 7011 Trondheim, Norway, and the property is open to the public in the summer.
20- Oscarsborg Fortress
Originally built to resist attacks from sea and not over land, the Oscarsborg fortress was later regarded as the strongest fortification in northern Europe having a defensive line that stretches 10km from the Heer.
This fortress functions as a recreational space for families and those interested in history, culture, and nature in summer.
The site also houses a museum that presents the history of the fortress and organizes guided tours.
At Oscarsborg, visitors will find several activities, a spa, exhibitions, and places to eat.
Oscarsborg Fortress is at Husvikveien, 1443 Oscarsborg, Norway.