Slottsfjellet Hiking Trail
Short walk fram the city center of Tønsberg
- Destination: Færder National Park
- Season: January-December
- Difficulty: Easy
- Distance: 3.2 kilometers (out‑and‑back)
- Elevation Gain: 0 meters
- Duration: 1-2 hours
You are now in Tønsberg, Norway's oldest city with its 1150 year long and proud history. A pleasant walk through the town's intimate center depicts a centre with its historical street-structure preserved, but also a town characterized by development and diversity. Many people choose a stroll along Kanalen on the harbour boardwalk, where the vitality of the town is shown by a wide variety of buildings, from traditional wooden houses to the town's new face that rises on the Nøtterøy side of Kanalen. But if you really want to get an overview, you should take a walk up the town's more than 60 meters high Slottsfjellet, the mountain hill that has given the town its name, and which provided the basis for a military and political centre. On Slottsfjellet you will encounter the historical depth of the town, and here you get a fantastic overview raised above the town`s busy daily life. You should be prepared for steep slopes and long stairs, so the hike is not suitable for people with walking handicaps.
The tour to the mountain hill Slottsfjellet can start from different points. If you arrive by train or bus, it is recommended to start with a walk through the town centre, passing the marketplace down to the harbour by Kanalen.
If you arrive by car, parking is recommended at Korten west of the city, which is easily reached by turning south on Kjelleveien at the first roundabout, entering Tønsberg on road 308 or 312 from the north or west from the E-18. From this parking lot, the recommended walking-route is straight south through the picturesque Nordbyen with traditional wooden houses, and further along the Guest harbour and Brygga along Kanalen.
From the attractive environment along Kanalen, where you can choose to enjoy a meal and drink before the trip to Slottsfjellet, it is recommended to start the walk up along Minneparken north of Hotel Klubben up to the church Domkirken. Up here, the town`s famous son Svend Foyn is waiting on his pedestal, the man who in the 1860s laid the foundation for industrial whaling and the city's prosperity. Following the marking signs for the Pilgrim-route and Grevestien (see photo), the walk continues up Baglergaten to the old Slottsfjell school. Here begins the rather steep hill up the Slottsfjellet from the south, and here we soon meet the statue of Princess Kristina of Tunsberg, the daughter of King Håkon Håkonsson who sailed out of Tønsberg in 1257 to marry Prince Felipe in the Spanish royal house.
Coming up on the Slottsfjell Plateau itself, you will see the remains of Tunsberghus, the stone castle built by king Håkon the 4th Magnusson in the 13th century. Here, kings Magnus Lagaböter and Magnus Eriksson later received their brides, and here died king Håkon the 5th Magnusson. Today, Slottsfjellet is the town's proud celebration and leisure area, with a fantastic view in all directions. This is best enjoyed from the Slottsfjellet tower, erected as a remembrance of the city's 1000th anniversary. Outside you can see the model of Tunsberghus, depicting how the castle was built 800 years ago. Below the mountain lies the dense town-centre, with the Byfjord to the west and Kanalen leading east. To the north the Jarlsberg landscape stretches, with the Jarlsberg castle in the middle and the cultural landscape leading down to Byfjorden and Ilene nature reserve. To the east is the inner fjord basin Træla with the Presterødkilen nature reserve in the north. Further southeast, the archipelago is seen within Færder National Park.
After your walk up the mountain hill, where the remains of Teglkastellet, Bredestuen og Mikaelskirken also should be seen, the hike naturally goes north down the stairs to Tallak with the Slottsfjell Museum's collection of old farmhouses and a charming outdoor café. A break here, enjoying a traditional meal of sour cream porridge, called “rømmegrøt”, or waffles is recommended. Further down is the museum itself with collections from the Viking Age, the Medieval-period, shipping and whaling. The Slottsfjell Museum is continuously developing and is definitely worth a visit. A café and toilet facilities are also available here.
After the museum visit you can choose alternative final routes on your round-tour. The fastest is back along Farmannsveien to the city centre. But if you have time it is recommended that you return to Tallak with the farmhouse collection and continue southwards past the Seterkaféen and down through the pleasant residential environment of wooden houses in Fjerdingen in Hertug Guttorms gate back to Baglergaten. Here you can take the road back to the parking on Korten through the Nordbyen, or via the town center to the railway station or bus terminal.
Alternatively, you can take the road leading north down from Tallak to Olav Trygvassons gate, and further to the left down to Kjelleveien and the parking on Korten. You can of course also continue to the town centre via Nordbyen. The different routes for the tour are shown in maps.
Besides the tour, you may like to join the different festivals held on Slottsfjellet. The Medieval Festival is held at the end of May - June each year. Well known for several years now is also the music festival Slottsfjell in July, which for financial reasons was not arranged in 2019. Efforts are being made to get the festival back in place from 2020.
More information about Slottsfjellet and the history can be found at: https://vestfoldmuseene.no/slottsfjellsmuseet/besok/slottsfjellstarnet/
Questions or comments? Let us know.