Aust Agder County Norway

Aust Agder County is one out of 19 countys in Norway with a area of 9.212 km2. It has a population of approximately 114,767.

Each County is divided into different municipality. For Aust Agder County you can read a short story given below.

Southern Norway extends from Flekkefjord in the west to Risør in the east, and from Lindesnes in the south to Hardanger in the north. The Skerries is Destination Sørlandet´s trademark. Sørlandet is the region with the highest number of hours of sunshine in Norway, and since time immemorial the inhabitants have been involved with the sea, the islands protecting the mainland (the skerries) and everything smelling of seaweed.

The best-known poets from the region, Vilhelm Krag and Gabriel Scott, in anecdotes and novels, have described the humour and temperament typical of this part of the country. Both were born with “seaweed between their toes” and are much loved. We have a number of boats which can take you out among the skerries. Most of the boats have scheduled departures, and they can all be chartered.


We have decided to describe the trip through Blindleia from Kristiansand, but it can be made in either direction. The trip starts by crossing Byfjorden in Kristiansand. through Randesund where the typical, white wooden houses lie cheek by jowl. After crossing Kvåsefjorden we arrive in Blindleia, with its beauty spots one afterthe other.

We pass old trading posts such as Gamle Hellesund, Kjøbmanns-vik Ågerøya and Brekkestø before arriving at what is perhaps the most beautiful town in the region – Lillesand. “Blindleia” is a cultural delight with the tang of the salt from the setting of islets and reefs. Summer guests are strongly recommended to pay a visit to this coastal sea-way with historical roots far back into time as a means of communication for dwellers on the coast.


From Kristiansand we go west through Vestergabet (the “western gap”) to Høllen and Åros. West of Høllen we go further out into the Skerries to what is perhaps the best known idyll in the region – Ny Hellesund. Here we see and hear the legend about King Olav the Holy from the twelfth century, who christianised Norway. His facial profile can be seen in the rock almost 1OOO years later.

In Ny-Hellesund we also visit the interesting German coastal fort from the Second World War Ny-Hellesund is an old outport with no wadays just under twenty residents. If you want to experience the skerries in a very short space of time, you should take the trip which we have called Randesund Skerries. Here you will experience Skippergada, a canal in the skerries with idyllic “Skipperhus”, i.e. houses built by sea captains in a very distinct, traditional style, as well as new summer houses.


Sailing area, from the centre of Lillesand to Gamle Hellesund – Ulvøysund. The inner archipelago affords plentiful opportunity for open-air activities, enjoying the coastal scenery and outports. Blindleia has its own activity map together with a brochure which contains information about the maritime coastal culture, nature, outdoor life and local places of historical interest. Public park. Regulations governing the use of boats. Owned by the state, the local district authority and privately.


Scenery and environment in abundance. Kristiansand Zoo is Norway´s most frequently visited attraction. The zoo is 30 years old and an institution in Norway. Every single tourist should visit the zoo, which covers an area of 150 acres of, among other things, wild Nordic terrain. The wild Nordic countryside in the zoo offers you the opportunity to see the Nordic wolf, Iynx and wolverine in their natural environment. Of especial interest is the unique, so-called capercaillie lek (when the cocks display). which you can see almost all summer. This is a marvellous sight, which only a few Europeans have observed in the wild.

Key words to describe the zoo are nature, scenery and the wild. The zoo is totally different from other European zoos, which are characterised by bars and heavy padlocks. In Kristiansand Zoo the animals have wide open space, where the visitors nevertheless can get close up, for example, to the red panda, which is threatened by extinction. The zoo is cooperating closely with the World Wildlife Foundation to save animal species under threat of extinction.

More than 800 animals and birds live in as much freedom as is possible in a natural environment. Several kilometres of good paths provide the opportunity for visitors to roam around for hours. In the zoo you will also find Summer Island (a bathing area) and a summer bobsleigh. AII activities in the zoo are included in the entrance tic ket. Kristiansand Zoo offers a whole day”s experience for both children and adults.


Fifty kilometres north of Kristiansand you will find Setesdal Rafting & Activity Centre, run by Troll Mountain. This is a centre which arranges rafting, canoeing, mountaineering and mountain biking activities as well as elk and beaver safaris. The rafting trips last from 2 – 6 hours, and take place at the idyllic waterfall Syrtveitfossen. The trips, which vary in degree of diffculty, take place every day in scenic, demanding surroundings. For the most advanced there is the opportunity to surf down Syrtveitfossen. If you want to climb, then everything from simple to demanding routes is available.

If you are happier under, rather than above, water we can offer everything in diving: basic course, advanced, rescue diving, first aid, diving leader and assistant instructor courses, as well as a number of special courses, for example, wreck, night and deep-diving courses. AII imaginable equipment can be hired from diving centres in the region.

The whole of the skerries from Lillesand to Søgne is an eldorado for all types of diving. If you want to dive on one of Norway”s most interesting shipwrecks, then the Second World War wreck M/S Seattle is one of the best preserved diving targets along the whole of the Norwegian coast.The ship lies at a depth of 20-60 metres in the Kristiansand Fjord. In Kristiansand there are several places where you can hire a bicycle.


Situated in southern Norway, on the coast of Skagerrak, Aust-Agder county borders onto the counties of Telemark to the east, Vest-Agder to the south-west and Rogaland to the north-west. The Hardanger plateau, one of Norway´s major national parks, is located roughly 250 km. north of the coastal area. Several rivers run through Aust-Agder, starting in the mountains to the north, and winding their way through deep valleys to the coastal areas in the south.

Nearly 80 % of Aust – Agder´s inhabitants live in the coastal area, in small cities such as Risør, Tvedestrand, Arendal, Grimstad and Lillesand. Arendal, with nearly 40.000 inhabitants, is the county capital. The remaining population is spread out in rural inland areas, with some smaller villages such as Evje, Valle in the valley of Setesdal and Åmli in the eastern region.

Aust-Agder has a varied landscape, consisting of a coastal area, river valleys, forested areas and mountains. This unique composition provides ample opportunity for a wide variety of sports and recreation throughout the year. Aust-Agder is a favoured area for tourism and holidays , both for visitors from abroad as well as Norwegians from all over the country. The summer season is especially attractive, with a myriad of yachts and sailboats plying the many harbours and inlets that dot the coastline. During the winter season, our mountain resorts offer excellent winter sports facilities, both for hardy outdoor sportsmen and more comfortable family living in cosy apartments or cottages, located close to modern alpine skiing facilities.


The cultural background of Aust-Agder is deeply rooted in shipping tradition in the coastal area and farming tradition in the inland areas. Along the coastal area this tradition is based mainly on export of lumber and wooden goods. Many of the present- day towns and villages along the coastline were founded as a direct result of the shipping trade. A typical place is the island of Lyngør in Tvedestrand municipality, famous today for being awarded the title of “Best kept village in Europe” in 1991. In addition, all of the coastal towns and villages display wonderful examples of traditional architecture, dating back to the 18h and 19h centuries.

Aust-Agder County Museum in Arendal, and the local museum on the island of Merdø (originally a maritime captain´s home, built in 1736) describe how world- wide shipping activities affected this area, and what this still means in the form of cultural impact. In the literary field, local authors like Gabriel Scott and Wilhelm Krag are well known for their novels and poems depicting local customs and the natural environment to be found in coastal areas.

Agriculture and forestry, which are the economic backbone and primary activity for those settling in the inland areas, have helped shape a characteristic landscape with numerous fields, meadows and farms. The valley of Setesdal deserves special mention due to its well maintained traditions of house-building and folklore. The local museum in the valley is situated in Rysstad, in the municipality of Valle and has displays showing the unique architecture of the valley. Special presentations of folklore, poetry, music and dance are often arranged.

Mining and metal industries were also important aspects of daily life for many of the inhabitants ofAust – Agder, both in coastal areas and inland. The area around Arendal was widely known for its mines and iron ore products. This segment of industry can be studied when visiting Næs museum, situated close to Tvedestrand. A nickel plant, once situated in Evje in the lower part of Setesdal, was cornerstone industry in the area rich with mineral deposits.

Visitors to Aust-Agder can visit museums or attend the many summer festivals that are arranged annually. Most well-known are the Wooden Boat Festival and the Chamber Music Festival in Risør, the Inter-Nordic Skagerrak Festival in Arendal and the Ibseniana, presenting famous works of Henrik Ibsen, in Grimstad.