Explore the nature in and around Norway’s oldest city
- Destination: Færder National Park
- Season: January–December
- Difficulty: Easy
- Distance: 12.1 kilometers (loop)
- Elevation Gain: 160 meters
- Duration: 2–4 hours
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Tønsberg, the oldest city of Norway, is full of historical sites and surrounded by beautiful nature. The Grevestien nature trail takes you on a loop exploring a variety of landscape and cultural remnants dating back to the middle ages. The trail travels through protected wetlands, up to the ancient castle on the hill above Tønsberg, and back again to city’s harbor.
Grevestien was established in 1991 by the Tønsberg Municipality in cooperation with the County Governor of Vestfold.
From Oslo, head southwest on E18 for 95 kilometers towards Kristiansand. Take exit 35: Gullikrysset, for Rv 308 toward Tønsberg/Nøtterøy/Tjøme. Follow Rv 308 for 31 kilometers through Tønsberg and Nøtterøy until you reach the island of Tjøme and finally Stall Verdens Ende, where there is a parking lot just north of the harbor. The travel time is normally around two hours.
From Oslo, there are hourly train departures to Tønsberg with NSB. From Tønsberg, there are hourly bus departures from early in the morning to late at night on the VKT public busses traveling to Verdens Ende. Visit the website (VKT) to view the schedule from Tønsberg stasjon to Verdens Ende and the exact departure times.
You are able to purchase train tickets on the NSB’s website and app or buy them onboard with a card. You are also able to purchase tickets for the local bus on the app, VKT Mobilbillett.
The trail takes you from the Tønsberg harbor to Korten through the city’s oldest neighborhood, Nordbyen. Further along, you will pass the nature reserve boundary on the inside of the seawall, past the Ilene visitor center, and towards the bird observatory tower. The northern lapwing is a common sight at the Ilene reserve and is present on the signs found throughout.
The trail follows the road, Semslinna, back towards the city. Near the roundabout, the trail turns northwards and up into the Greveskogen forest. Follow the path back down towards the city and follow signs towards Slottsfjellet, where you will see remains of Norway’s largest castle dating back to the middle ages.
When you arrive at the castle, it is a great place to relax and enjoy a bite to eat at the restaurant, Seterkafeen, which is known for serving sour cream porridge “rømmegrøt” and cured meats “spekemat”. From here, it is a short trip back to the harbor where you started the adventure.
- You will pass through Tønsberg on the way to Færder National Park.
- Tønsberg is Norway’s oldest city where you can visit the remains Norway's biggest castle dating back to the middle-ages.
- The Grevestien trail is a nature and culture trail which takes you by some of the important historical places in Tønsberg.
- The wetland areas found at the Ilene Nature Reserve is the first stop along the trail.
- Tønsberg harbor has many cozy restaurants with both in- and outdoors seating.
- Tønsberg has all of the necessary amenities you will need. There are many grocery stores, restaurants, shopping, and hotels.
Where to stay
In Tønsberg, there are many choices for places to stay the night.