Norway is divided into 19 counties (or fylker) and last summer, I had the chance to visit my 7th fylke, Østfold, particularly the old cities of Fredrikstad and Sarpsborg. My awesome bf arranged everything, and it came out as a surprise as he carefully planned the roadtrip, including a boat tour along Glomma/Glåma, Norway’s largest and longest river. The said minicruise down the Glomma river was experimental, and it was organized to celebrate the 1000th anniversary of Sarpsborg and the 45oth anniversary of Fredrikstad. Cool, eh?
The city was founded and named after King Frederick II in 1567. Its center lies on the west bank of the river Glomma, while the fortified town is situated on the east. People can drive to the other side, but many prefer the short boat trip. Here are some of the things to see at the city center:
Just before we reached the port where the boat crossing the river was docked, we saw a monument of Roald Amundsen, a native of Østfold. Amundsen is a popular Norwegian explorer who was first to reach the South Pole in 1911, and the North Pole in 1926!
After the short boat trip across the river, we were awed to see Norway’s largest and most vulnerable fortress–the Frederiksten. It was built in the 1600s under King Frederick III’s command, after Norway lost the Bohuslän district and Bohus Fortress to Sweden. The fortification was filled with history, and several important building still stood there. Read more about the fortress here: Frederiksten. There are many activities being held in the old fortress, including Saturday flea markets, exhibitions, workshops, tours, ghost and historical trails, nature trails, and open theater performances. The list of activities can also be found on the link above. There are also museums to help better understand the purpose and history of the fortress.
Also found on the Old Fortress is the Østre Fredrikstad Kirke, the church where the first round of Norway’s first national election in 1814 was held.
When in Frederiksten, it is important not to miss the Fredrikstad Museum. The main building was built in 1903, and it houses permanent and temporary historical exhibitions. They also have an exhibition about the history of textile/clothing industry in the city and around the world called “Langåpent”.
Going back to the outside world, we followed the moat trails and did some Geocaching in the side. It was a lovely and perfect summer day!
At 4pm, we took the ferry cruising along the Glomma river and stopping at Sarpsborg, the administrative seat/capital of the Østfold region. We were very lucky to catch the summer cruise, as it was experimental! Sarpsborg is the third oldest city in Norway, after Tønsberg and Nidaros. It was founded by the Viking King Olav Haraldsson, who is also the country’s patron saint, in 1016.
We didn’t spend much time in Sarpsborg, perhaps only a couple of hours. We were able to visit the Sarpsborg church, a neo-Gothic basilica built in the 1800s, and the Kulåsparken, the biggest and most popular park in Østfold. Many events are being held in the park like bunny races and concerts. An amphiteater, a playground, water fountains, drinking fountains, training paths, pavilions, and big fields. There’s also a cliff where visitors can get a nice view of the city! Read more about the park here: Kulåsparken.
There you go– the major sights of Østfold in one day! It was a beautiful summer day for both of us. Hoping to visit the rest of the Norwegian counties with my love! ❤ Cheers!