- Cultural treasures and vacation paradise


Stavern – Norway's dimple - an apt characterization of this charming small town. And the one who made he announcement was none other the town's own Herman Wildenwey. Not only is it a charming little town, but the climate is also very beneficial in this part of the coast. Summer tourists and locals flock to Stavern region's countless beaches and galleries during the day and the city's small downtown at night.


Named as Norway’s best summer town

A few kilometers from Larvik is idyllic Stavern. Stavern is a unique and authentic small town by the sea. Very few places on Skagerrak can offer a wide variety of cultural events, the archipelago experiences, architecture and vibrant urban environment like Stavern can. Stavern is beautiful by nature, but the place also has a rich history. The fortress Fredriksvern yard is located right in the city and is an attraction alone that you can spend days exploring. So it was no surprise that this quaint coastal town was named this summer for the second year in a row as "Norway's best summer city “ in a competition to conducted by Reiseguiden.

Norway’s vacation paradise and “dimple”


Stavern boasts a total of 200 days of sunshine a year. You must not have been long in Stavern before anyone tells you about the meteorological phenomenon that makes a total of 200 days of sunshine a year. True or not - Meteorological Institute chose Stavernsodden lighthouse as its holiday and summer retreat for its employees. A better blessing and assurance of good weather is hardly possible to find.


The beaches around the city are close together, and Stavern is one of Vestfold's coastal cities that come alive in the summer. Each year, summer guests flow in. There’s a separate atmosphere over Stavern, or Fredriksvern that the called before. Cozy bright, white wooden houses in most of central Stavern, and the old fortress area with beautiful lush small parks around and inside the fort area.

On the rocks around the town, there are great hiking opportunities. Just as it is along the seashore and at south of the city, there are several nice beaches. 

Stavern has many summer idyllic locations. Two of the finest are island of Stavernsøya and Citadelløya, or Citadel Island. From there we can see Stavern from the finest side - especially when the sky is bright blue and it lights up the green surroundings. The panorama is almost endless - and just from Stavern island, you’ll catch a glimpse of three lighthouses - Svenner, Tvistein and Færder. 

From Fredriksvern shipyard, there is a picturesque path across the peninsula Bratten. On Bratten, there are several fine natural bathing places. There is a diving board there as well. Bratten is very well suited to the excursion into the archipelago nature. 

In his time, the local author Herman Wildenvey mentioned Stavern as "Norway's smile." Home of poet Herman Wildenvey, Hergisheim, where he lived with his writer wife Gisken, is one of Stavern more protected house today. The house is occasionally open to the public during the summer months. Wildenvey’s workroom on the second floor is just the way the poet once left it.

The name "Staferni" is found in written sources from the 1100s. Although the old place name and the current name of the city is Stavern, the whole area the same name as the navy base in the period 1799-1930, namely Fredriksvern. The town was early described as a fishing location with good harbor, and has probably been harbor and anchorage since ancient times. Islands off the coast made he place a good harbor. With the establishment of the sailing station developed Stavern trading and great shipping. Stavern Port currently has space for about 900 boats.

Military Past
The small town has made itself known by his military past. Fredriksvern shipyard, Garrison Church, and Citadel Island tell the military history. The first seed of military facilities started during the war with Sweden in the 1670s, when barricades and batteries were built at Gyldenløve. Stavern Fort on Citadel Island was the first military unit in Stavern, and was also brought under Gyldenløves during the 1680's to protect the harbor in the feud against the Swedes. Stavern Fort later became an important base for Tordenskiold and his fleet during the Great Northern War from 1709 to 1720, while being a central point for maritime traffic to and from Denmark. Fredriksvern was place for holding war fleets and a place for new construction and repairs of war vessels. Later, the fort expanded and eventually (in 1750) became a part of Fredriksvern. In 1757, the fort was renamed "The Citadel". Parts of Stavern Fort was removed and renewed when Fredriksvern was built as the main station for the Norwegian Navy from 1750 to 1758. The old fort was part of Fredriksvern shipyard, and the oldest building in the plant, the Gunpowder Tower, has a distinctive architecture and a famous tourist attraction today.

Cultural melting pot
Today the fortress area is known as a cultural melting pot. After a quiet winter, crowds gather in Stavern and Fredriksvern shipyard to enjoy all of the cultural events. It starts with the great Easter exhibition, and continues throughout the summer and well late autumn. Powder Tower is a landmark and hosts theater and cultural events each summer. The houses are rented out to artists via Norwegian Visual Artists Association.

Memorial Hall
The Memorial Hall for fallen Norwegian seamen from the first and second world wars is on the Krutthus knoll south of Fredriksvern shipyard. The 22 meter high pyramid which is unique to Stavern, was completed in 1926. Names of 7562 the fallen are found on copper plates inside the hall, and the local poet Wildenvey poem "Sailors Memorial Hall" is carved into a stone block.

Young Sea Hero
Peter Jansen Wessel was a Norwegian naval hero who, for his heroism, was ennobled under the name Tordenskiold. Because of his resourcefulness, daring courage, and luck he suffered both criticism and envy. He was promoted to commander in 1716; when, on 8 July, he attacked a Swedish transport fleet in Dynekilen, conquered nine war vessels and five transport ships and destroyed seven others. This led to Karl 12 gave up the siege of Fredriksten Fortress. He died 30 years old and had no children. Worn steps take us up to the Utsikt and Mølleberg with Gustav Vigeland Tordenskiold Statue. The name "Mølleberget" comes from a windmill that stood here in the 1800s. Up here we have views of the harbor with Stavern Island and the fortifications from 1689.

Tordenskiold was often in Stavern, which has given rise to legends and myths. It is said that a local spike that he fell in love with still walks the ramparts of the Citadel. According to legend, two female figures, Tordenskiold’s girlfriend and The Grey Lady, have ended their days in a well at the Citadel Island.

Spectacular Sea Battles
Every other summer in Stavern, a naval battle "Battle of Dynekilen: Year 1716" is held. The next event will be held in July 2015. This naval battle recreates the battle where Tordenskiold, with his fleet, surprised the Swedes and prevented an attack on Norway. This day can help relive the battle of contemporary vessels on the bay, Swedish and Danish / Norwegian soldiers in intense combat, and spectacular naval battles with lots of "powder and shot" that captivates young and old.

Across the bay outside Stavern city is the 360 acres of Stavern Island and shields against Skagerrak. The Stavern Island (Stavernsøya) is a wonderful archipelago paradise with its beautiful swimming and hiking.
Stavern Island, Torkild Island, and Citadel Island were originally three separate islands off of Stavern, but a causeway connects Torkild Island with Stavern Island and Citadel Island has kind of grown together with Stavern Island via a series of reefs and wetlands foundations. Once you’ve come to Stavern Island, we recommend a walk out to Stavern Fort and Citadel Island. There is an idyllic path to the lighthouse from Stavernsøya. 
The island Stavernsøya is a wonderful archipelago paradise with its beautiful swimming and hiking. The island has a rich biodiversity. Favorable climate, shell deposits, varied natural conditions, and major infrastructure development provide the basis for the rich biodiversity of the island. Several very rare red-listed flora species have been recorded here: bulbous meadow-grass, woodland sage, ballota nigra, golden oat grass, and mallow. And then of course you will find the familiar and common flowers and the archipelago: thrifts, sticky catchfly, and Cow Parsley. The island also has a fairly diverse bird and mammal fauna.

The Stavernsodd Lighthouse was established in 1855, but the current lighthouse building was erected in 1874. The lighthouse was automated and unmanned in 1984 and listed in 1997, the lighthouse is part of Kystled with the possibility of accommodation. It costs 200 per night per bed for simple but functional standards, and there are a total of 14 beds. A great opportunity to go exploring the archipelago with your family!

That there are at least 65 ballast plants on the three islands, Stavern Island, Torkild Island and Citadel Island, because the sailing ships in the 1600s and 1700s prepared and depleted the soils of Stavernsøya. Most ships sailed with lumber to overseas ports, but it was rare that they brought back loads. Sailing without load was hopeless because the great weight of the rig and sails made sailing ships dependent on cargo or ballast to be stable in the water. Therefore ballast was aboard ships when they were returning without carrying cargo. When the ships came back to Stavern, the ballast discharged - often right in the sea or on the island and the mainland by Fredriksvern shipyard
Festtning Port in the north, for example, was base port for Peter Wessel Tordenskjold. A former burial place also existed on the island. It is situated on the plain to the north of Torkild Island and has the name "Kjærregårdsbukta” (Dearest Farm Bay). It is said that Tordenskjold is buried slain there. 

Happy Days
The association "Happy Days Stavern" working for the lighthouse in Stavern presents cultural activities at various levels in collaboration with governments, businesses, associations, organizations and individuals in Stavern. This year, Happy Days with be here from 21 June to 3 August.

Milestones in Fredriksvern shipbuilding history

Fredriksvern shipyard was Norway's first, founded by Frederick V in 1750 and largely developed during the 1750s. Among other important phases of the shipyard's history, these include: 

1760-1814: Shipyard time nearly 50 naval vessels and the seat of the admiral. 
1814: Fredriksvern is the Navy's main station and the seat of the admiral. 
1817: Naval Academy created a long barracks at the park. 
1850: The Navy's headquarters moved to Horten. 
1864: Naval Academy moved to Horten. 
1895: Thestation for gunboats closed down, and the yard is taken over by the Army for summer exercises for war school cadets. 
1918: The area will be drill ground and practice area under Fortress Artillery. 
1934: Anti-aircraft regiment takes over the camp as able minutes. 
1940-1945: Fredriksvern shipyard is "Bearing Breeze" by the Germans, extended towards Helgeroveien and Memory Hall Road and developed with barracks. 
1947: Anti-aircraft Artillery create educational and training department in Stavern camp, beginning of the recent institution, the Air Force Schools in Stavern.

Pamper yourself in Stavern 

Tradition-rich hotel
Hotel Wassilioff is a 170 old hotel with soul. A place you can relax and enjoy the interior, painting and the great food. It’s a nostalgic hotel with a perfect location in the heart of Stavern. 

Do you think chain hotels are too boring? Do you love old hotels with charm and coziness? With a great location on the seafront in the center of Stavern, Hotel Wassilioff overlooks Skagerrak. This is a charming hotel that is dedicated to preserving the history behind Wassilioff. The story starts in the mid-1800s. The Russian Michael Wassilioff had escaped from the Russian military, and joined the ship captain Wurschmidt of Stavern. Not long after arrival, he met and married a local girl named Anne Marie Jacob Daughter, who was landlord down on Poles Kaia. The contractor Michael made his place a bakery and hotel, and also established a steamship expedition. Later, their son and daughter continued the family business.. The siblings passed away in 1898 and 1905, and since they had no descendants, only the name Wassilioff that reveals the international history of the hotel. In 2012, the hotel was sold to four couples who still run the family hotel.

Hotel Wassilioff is an atmospheric, old hotel with classic decor and cozy atmosphere. Safeguarding of old-world charm combined with new design makes the different rooms very  unique. The hotel was built up through the years, which has resulted in all rooms vary in nature. Several of the cozy bedroom and common rooms have great sea views. This is a place you can really relax. The hotel has recently upgraded public areas and the offer of the rooms. The bedrooms are now equipped with, among other things, minibar, hairdryer, kettle with coffee and tea, bathrobe and slippers etc. 

The restaurant is named after the steamship that went into service between Christian Sand and Christiania and had stops at Dampskipsbrygga, or Dampskip Wharf, in Stavern. Restaurant Excellence is a large and airy room with picturesque views of  the Dampskipsbrygga and Citadel. And adorned with paintings av Odd Nedrum, Edv. Didrick and Hjalmar Johnsen. À la carte menu focuses on seafood and is inspired by the proximity of the sea and Brunlanes' fields. The menu features a great selection of seafood delicacies with fresh seasonal vegetables. 

In the cozy piano bar off the lobby, you can relax and look out over the harbor. The bar on the weekends plays live music, a popular place not just for overnight guests. The hotel is open all year round and also offers conference facilities for parties, events and conferences as well as experiences and culture. As the first hotel in Vestfold, Hotel Wassilioff has been labeled with 4 stars by Quality Mark Norway. 

If you’d like to enjoy the sun at a leisurely pace, you can sit on the hotel's sun terrace. However, this independent hotel is also a wonderful base for hiking and cycling. There are many beautiful beaches to be found in the surrounding area. With great walks along the coast, Stavern is a small coastal gem. It is a short distance to walk to the Fredriksvern fortress, as well as several interesting art galleries in the city. 

Head to Hotel Wassilioff this summer and enjoy the breathtaking views and marine life. But note that it is as just as wonderful here in winter as in summer.

Outdoor patio with the best location
With Stavern’s sea-glistening archipelago right outside of the Wassilioff ‘s outdoor seating, there are few that can match this location in Norway.  

Out on Saturday? 
The classic piano bar at Hotel Wassilioff has become legendary and known well for its pleasant atmosphere. Whether you’d like a quiet moment to yourself with a good book and drink in the afternoon or be out and about in the evening, this is the place to visit.