Edvard Munch called Kragerø the "pearl of coastal villages", and with its lively arts scene and numerous islands, reefs and islets, this cosy little town continues to live up to its reputation.
The population of Kragerø swells to four times its usual size in the summer months, when Norwegians and international visitors alike flock to experience the town's charming narrow streets and alleyways. Among these, you will find a number of galleries, small boutiques and restaurants that all contribute to the town's unique atmosphere.
Art has always been an important element in Kragerø. The town is home to artist Theodor Kittelsen, and has been a source of inspiration for countless others. To experience art in Kragerø today, you can visit Galleri Nicolines Hus, which is one of Norway's leading contemporary arts museums, showing works by artists such as Kjell Nupen and Håkon Gullvåg.
And from here it is not far to Kirkegaten, considered Kragerø's Arts District. This is where you can find many artist ateliers, not least of all Helmersen Glass, where glassblower Vigdis Helmersen has her workshop and gallery with both homewares and fine art glass on display, often created using local sand.
Many Norwegian artists have drawn inspiration from the special light over the Kragerø archipelago – most notably Edvard Munch. To learn more about this side of the town while on holiday in Kragerø, you can take the Munch Walk. The town has set up information panels and images in the locations Munch used as motifs for some of his most celebrated paintings, and you can either join a guided tour or walk the route at your own pace.
One of Kragerø's major natural attractions is the island Jomfruland, with its idyllic beaches, impressive lighthouse and not least of all the Tårntjernet, meaning "Tower Pond", which was immortalised in Theodor Kittelsen's painting "The Water Sprite". Take a ferry over to the island to swim and relax in the sunshine, or go for a soothing walk through the beautiful natural surroundings. And take care not to miss one of the theatre performances given here in the summer.
You can reach Kragerø by car by taking the E18 towards Sørland. There are also good bus connections from both Oslo and the towns of Sørland, with the closest airports in Kristiansand, Sandefjord and Skien.