Arendal is a charming coastal town in Southern Norway, with a lot of attractions and activities to offer.
Whether you are looking for adventure, culture, or relaxation, you will find something to suit your taste and interest in Arendal.
Arendal is also a great base for exploring the surrounding area, which includes the island of Tromøy, the skerries of Raet National Park, and the towns of Tvedestrand and Grimstad.
You can enjoy a variety of outdoor activities, such as hiking, biking, kayaking, fishing, swimming, and more.
You can also learn about the history and culture of the region, such as the slave trade, the industrial development, the maritime heritage, and the folk art.
Arendal has something for everyone, whether you are traveling solo, with your family, or with your friends.
You can have fun, relax, and enjoy the charm and beauty of this coastal town. Here are 15 of the best things to do in Arendal that you should not miss!
Best Things To do in Arendal
1. Admire the Wooden Houses in Tyholmen
If you wanna see the old-school charm of Arendal, you gotta check out Tyholmen, the town’s oldest part. Tyholmen is a former island that is now connected to the mainland by bridges and filled canals.
Here, you can admire the well-preserved wooden houses from the 17th and 18th centuries that give the town its character.
You can walk along the narrow streets and alleys, visit the Trinity Church, the oldest building in town, and enjoy the views of the harbor and the sea.
Tyholmen is also home to several cozy cafes, restaurants, and shops where you can enjoy the local atmosphere.
You can also see some of the most impressive buildings in Arendal, such as Arendal old town hall, which was once considered to be Norway’s second largest wooden building.
Only surpassed by Stiftsgården in Trondheim. You can also see Trefoldighetskirken, which has Norway’s second highest church tower, 82 meters high.
Tyholmen is a living museum of Arendal’s history and culture, and a must-see for anyone who loves old wooden architecture.
Tyholmen was awarded the Europa Nostra prize for environmental conservation in 1991 for its successful restoration of the old buildings.
Tours & Things to do hand-picked by our insiders
Tyholmen is a chill spot where you can totally vibe with the Arendal spirit and its maritime roots.
2. Dine at the Waterfront in Pollen
Pollen is this super cool waterfront spot in Arendal where you can chill and take in the awesome views of the harbor, the sea, and the islands. Pollen is also the place to go for a delicious meal, as it offers a variety of seafood restaurants that serve fresh and local dishes.
You can choose from traditional Norwegian cuisine, such as fish soup, bacalao, or fried herring, or try something more exotic, such as sushi, tapas, or pizza.
Pollen is also a great spot for a drink, as it has several pubs and bars where you can relax and mingle with the locals.
Pollen is not only a gastronomic destination, but also a cultural one. Pollen is the venue for many events and festivals throughout the year, such as Canal Street Jazz Festival, Hove Festival, and Arendalsuka.
You can enjoy live music, art exhibitions, political debates, and more at Pollen. Pollen is also a historical site, as it has some of the oldest buildings in Arendal, such as the old customs house from 1676 and the Kløckers house from 1724.
Pollen is a place where you can experience the best of Arendal’s seaside life. You can chow down at the waterfront in Pollen and soak up the vibes of this chill coastal town.
If you’re up for some underwater fun, you gotta hit up Raet marine national park. It’s this huge area that stretches from Grimstad to Tvedestrand, covering both the coast and the sea.
Raet is named after the long moraine that was formed by the retreat of a huge glacier about 12,000 years ago, and that can be traced all over Scandinavia. In Raet, you can see parts of this moraine both on land and under the sea.
Raet is a paradise for snorkelers, as it offers a rich and diverse marine life. You can see forests of kelp, eelgrass meadows, rocky reefs, sandy bottoms, and a variety of fish and invertebrates.
You can also spot some of the rare and endangered species that live in Raet, such as the European lobster, the red king crab, and the seahorse.
You can also explore some of the shipwrecks that lie on the seabed, such as the Måen pebble island, which is known as a ships’ graveyard.
You can join an underwater safari with a guide who will take you to some of the best snorkeling spots in Raet, or you can rent a kayak or a stand up paddleboard (SUP) and explore the coastline on your own.
You can also check out some of the islands and coastal spots in Raet, like Hove on Tromøya, Merdø, and Lyngør. Raet is an awesome place where you can witness the gorgeous and varied marine nature of Norway.
4. Stay Overnight in a Lighthouse
If you’re looking for a cool and romantic stay in Arendal, you gotta book a night in one of those lighthouses that mark the entrance to the town from the sea.
Lille and Store Torungen are two white lighthouses that stand on separate islands, about 4 km (2.5 mi) from the mainland.
They are both part of the Raet national park, and offer stunning views of the sea and the surrounding nature.
Lille Torungen lighthouse was built in 1844, and is 28.5 m (94 ft) high. It has a distinctive red lantern on top, and flashes a white light every 10 seconds. Store Torungen lighthouse was built in 1846, and is 34.3 m (112 ft) high.
It has a white lantern on top, and flashes a white light every 30 seconds. Both lighthouses are still active and automated, but they also have accommodation facilities for visitors.
You can stay in one of the cozy rooms in the lighthouse keeper’s house, or in one of the cabins on the island. You can also use the kitchen, the living room, and the outdoor area with a fireplace and a grill.
You can enjoy the peace and quiet of the island, or explore it by hiking or biking. You can also take a boat trip to the other island or to Arendal.
Staying overnight in a lighthouse is a memorable way to experience Arendal’s maritime history and culture. You can feel the charm of the old buildings, and watch the sun set and rise over the horizon.
You can also check out the stars and the northern lights on clear nights, and listen to the waves and the wind. Spending the night in a lighthouse is like a dream come true for travelers.
5. Glamp in a Cocoon or a Yurt at Canvas Hove
If you wanna have a fancy and cozy nature experience, you should go glamping at Canvas Hove.
It’s a bougie hotel located smack dab in the center of Raet national park, which is this huge marine park stretching from Grimstad to Tvedestrand.
It covers a whole bunch of coastal area and sea. They offer glamping in cool cocoon or yurt accommodations too!
Canvas Hove offers different types of accommodation, such as a fancy cocoon, a Mongolian yurt, or a safari tent, all equipped with comfortable beds, heating, and electricity.
A cocoon is a spherical tent that hangs from the trees, and gives you a feeling of floating in the air. A yurt is a circular tent that has a wooden frame and a canvas cover, and gives you a feeling of living in a nomadic culture
. A safari tent is a rectangular tent that has wooden poles and a canvas roof, and gives you a feeling of being on an African adventure.
All the tents have access to the outdoor kitchen, the living room, and the outdoor area with a fireplace and a grill.
Canvas Hove is not only a place to sleep, but also a place to have fun. Canvas Hove offers various outdoor activities, such as SUP, windsurfing, kayaking, underwater safari with underwater scooter, and mountain biking.
You can also have a good time at the spa and sauna, or go on a boat ride to the islands close by. Canvas Hove is the spot where you can have the best of both nature and luxury.
6. Visit Merdø, the Car-free Island
Merdø is this cute little island near Arendal that’s perfect for a quick day trip or even a weekend escape.
The island is car-free and has a charming cafe, a museum, and a beach. You can take a ferry from Arendal to Merdø and enjoy the scenic ride along the archipelago. Once on the island, you can relax on the sand, swim in the clear water, or hike around the island.
Merdø has a long and rich history as an important port and customs station for the shipping traffic on Skagerrak.
You can see some of the old buildings and artifacts that date back to the 16th century, such as the Merdøgaard museum, which is a well-preserved wooden house that belonged to a wealthy shipowner.
You can also see two compass designs cut into the rocks with the date 1654, and two cannons that were placed on the island in the 1700s for the defense of Arendal.
Merdø is also a paradise for nature lovers, as it is part of the Raet national park, a marine park that boasts a rich and diverse marine life.
You can see forests of kelp, eelgrass meadows, rocky reefs, sandy bottoms, and a variety of fish and invertebrates.
You can also spot some of the rare and endangered species that live in Raet, such as the European lobster, the red king crab, and the seahorse.
Merdø is a place where you can experience the beauty and tranquility of Arendal’s archipelago. Merdø is a chill spot to get away from the city chaos and just enjoy the simple things in life.
7. Have Fun at the Science Center South
If you’re into science and tech stuff, you gotta check out the Science Center South. It’s a cool place where you can learn and have a blast at the same time.
The Science Center South is located in Arendal, and is part of the national network of science centers that are supported by the Department of Science and Innovation (DSI).
The Science Center South offers a variety of interactive and hands-on exhibits and programmes that cover topics such as astronomy, biology, chemistry, physics, engineering, and more.
You can also visit the planetarium and watch shows about the stars, planets, and space exploration.
You can also join workshops, experiments, games, puzzles, and competitions that will challenge your mind and skills. You can also meet scientists and experts who will share their knowledge and passion with you.
The Science Center South is a place where you can discover the wonders of science and technology, and how they affect our lives and society.
The Science Center South is like this awesome hangout spot where you can totally feed your curiosity and let your creativity loose, all while having a total blast with your fam and friends.
8. Indulge in Homemade Chocolate at Heimdal Chokolade
If you’re a fan of all things chocolate, you absolutely cannot pass up the chance to swing by Heimdal Chokolade. It’s this wicked local chocolate factory and shop located at Torggaten 1 in Arendal.
Here, you can see how the delicious chocolate is made by hand, using only the finest ingredients and traditional recipes.
You can also taste and buy a variety of chocolates, from truffles and nougat to mint and marzipan. Heimdal Chokolade is run by Morten Arnesen, a skilled chocolatier who learned his craft in Denmark and Belgium.
He is constantly experimenting with new flavors and products, inspired by his travels and passion for chocolate.
Heimdal Chokolade is more than just a shop, it’s an experience for all your senses. You can smell the rich aroma of cocoa, see the colorful shapes and designs, feel the smooth texture and hear the crunch of the nuts.
And obviously, you gotta try the insanely delicious sweetness that just melts in your mouth. Heimdal Chokolade is a must-see place for chocolate fans in Arendal. You won’t be disappointed!
9. See Contemporary Art at Bomuldsfabriken Kunsthall
If you’re into contemporary art, you should totally check out Bomuldsfabriken Kunsthall. It’s the biggest gallery of its kind in Southern Norway.
The gallery is housed in a former cotton factory from 1898, which adds to its charm and character.
The gallery showcases changing exhibitions of local and international artists, as well as a permanent collection of works by some of Norway’s leading artists. You can see a variety of art forms, from paintings and sculptures to installations and multimedia.
The gallery also offers guided tours, workshops, lectures and events for different audiences. Bomuldsfabriken Kunsthall is not only a place to see art, but also to experience it.
You can explore the gallery’s surroundings, which include a beautiful lake and a historic mine. You can walk over a bridge that connects the gallery to the mine, where you can see the remains of the old machinery and tunnels.
You can also enjoy a cup of coffee or a snack at the cozy café inside the gallery. If you love art, you gotta check out Bomuldsfabriken Kunsthall in Arendal. The artworks they have on display are so creative and diverse, it’ll blow your mind.
10. Learn About Cultural History at Kuben
KUBEN is this really cool museum and archive in Aust-Agder county. They’re all about preserving and showing off the cultural history of the area.
The museum is located at Langsæ, a historic farm and manor house that dates back to the 17th century.
The museum has several exhibitions that showcase different aspects of the region’s past and present, such as the slave trade, the industrial development, the maritime heritage, the folk art and the everyday life.
You can also see a permanent collection of paintings, sculptures and crafts by local artists.
KUBEN also has a large archive that contains documents, photographs, maps and books related to the history of Aust-Agder.
You can access the archive at the reading room, where you can also get help from the staff. KUBEN is a great place to learn more about the rich and diverse culture of Aust-Agder.
You can also join guided tours, workshops, lectures and events that are organized throughout the year. KUBEN is open from Tuesday to Sunday, and admission is free for children and students.
If you’re into cultural history, you gotta check out KUBEN in Arendal. Trust me, you’ll be blown away by the amazing exhibits they’ve got on display.
11. Enjoy the Beach Life at Løkholmen
Løkholmen is a tiny island that’s great for beach lovers in Arendal. It used to be part of the Vindholmen industrial area but has now been transformed into a green and recreational space for everyone to enjoy.
You can reach the island by walking or cycling over two bridges that connect it to the mainland. Løkholmen has a lot to offer for everyone, whether you want to relax, play or explore.
You can swim, sunbathe, picnic or barbecue at the sandy beaches, or enjoy the views of the Tromøysund and the boats passing by.
You can also try volleyball, obstacle course, playground, diving board or wheelchair ramp for some fun and exercise. Løkholmen is not only a place to enjoy the sun and the sea, but also to learn about the history and culture of Arendal.
You can see some historical traces of the former industrial activities on the island, such as old machinery and buildings.
You can also check out the KUBEN museum and archive nearby. It’s all about the cultural history of Aust-Agder county.
Løkholmen is the perfect spot to chill on the beach in Arendal. Trust me, you’ll fall in love with the island’s stunning beauty and laid-back vibe.
12. Visit the Norwegian Mining Museum
If you’re into mining and stuff, the Norwegian Mining Museum in Kongsberg is a must-visit. The museum is located in the former mint building, where silver coins were produced from 1686 to 1873.
The museum displays the history of the Kongsberg Silver Mines, which were in operation from 1623 to 1958 and were the largest silver mines in Norway.
You can see a collection of coins, medals, tools, machines, maps and documents related to the mining and minting activities. You can also learn about the geology, mineralogy and ecology of the area.
The museum also offers guided tours of the King’s Mine, the largest and most productive mine in Kongsberg. You can take a mine train deep into the mountain and see how the miners worked and lived underground.
You can also visit the activity grounds outside the mine, where you can see demonstrations of fire-setting, an old mining technique, pan for silver, break and examine rocks, and mint your own coin.
The Norwegian Mining Museum is like, super awesome for finding out all about the cool mining history in Kongsberg. The stories and secrets of the silver mines will totally blow your mind!
13. Shop at the Arendal Farmers’ Market
If you wanna get some fresh, local and organic produce, you should check out the Arendal Farmers’ Market. It happens every Saturday from 10 am to 2 pm right at the town square.
The market is a great place to meet the farmers and producers who grow and make the food you buy.
You can find a wide range of products, such as fruits, vegetables, cheese, bread, honey, jams, eggs, meat, fish, flowers and more. You can also enjoy some delicious street food, such as waffles, crepes, burgers and wraps.
The market is not only a place to shop, but also to socialize and have fun. You can listen to live music, watch cooking demonstrations, join workshops and activities, or just relax and enjoy the atmosphere.
The market is also a good opportunity to support the local economy and the environment, by buying directly from the source and reducing food miles.
You gotta check out the Arendal Farmers’ Market if you’re into yummy food and good vibes. The products they offer are top-notch and come in a wide variety that’ll blow your mind.
14. Hike to Hovekilen
Hovekilen is this cool bay on Tromøy island, near Arendal. It’s shallow and safe, making it the perfect spot for hiking, biking, kayaking, or even birdwatching. Lots of people love to go there!
You can enjoy the scenic views of the Skagerrak sea, the islands of Merdø and Gjessøya, and the Hove Woods, a windswept pine forest that is part of a moraine landscape.
You can also explore the historical and cultural attractions of the area, such as the Hove Farm, which dates back to the Viking Age.
The Hove Camp, which was used by the German occupation forces during World War II and later by the Norwegian Armed Forces, and the Hove Festival, which was Norway’s largest music festival in 2007.
You can also visit the nearby Raet National Park, which protects the unique natural and cultural landscape of the skerries. Hovekilen is a great place to experience the nature and culture of Tromøy and Arendal.
You can hike along the marked trails that circle the bay, or rent a bike or a kayak from the Hove Leirsenter (camp), which also offers accommodation and activities.
You can also join guided tours or workshops by different groups and associations. Hovekilen is a must-see for anyone who loves outdoor adventures and awesome views. You’ll be blown away by the beauty and variety of the bay.
Arendal has so much more to offer than what we have listed here. You can find more information and inspiration on the official website of Visit Arendal , where you can also book your accommodation, activities, food and drink, and more.
Greetings, travellers! I’m Molly Martin, the passionate explorer behind this vibrant travel platform. Alongside my team—Lorena, Jermaine, Ana, and Alen—we curate awe-inspiring travel destinations to ignite your wanderlust.
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