When visiting Kongsvinger, the fortress and the old town Øvrebyen are obligatory stops. Are you interested in military history? Or do you mostly enjoy strolling through the charming narrow streets, visiting small galleries or drinking coffee in a quirky café. Either way, the area is worth a visit.
Learn about the rich history of Kongsvinger
Kongsvinger Museum welcomes you to its exhibition about the Golden Age of Kongsvinger - the years between 1855 and 1905. It is artist Erik Werenskiold who takes you on this educational adventure through his works of art, in the exhibition Hjemland - "Homeland".
Erik Werenskiold was born in Kongsvinger and grew up at Kongsvinger Fortress as the son of Commander Fredrik Werenskiold. He illustrated Norwegian Folk Tales by Asbjørnsen & Moe, the folk version of the Snorre saga and drew both trolls and barnyard gnomes, which are important elements of Norwegian cultural heritage. Several of his paintings are now in the National Museum in Oslo.
More exciting exhibitions await you in the museum's main premises at Gyldenborg. Among other things, you can experience author Levi Henriksen's writing room - recreated by the author himself. The exhibition is called Elvis Presley Boulevard and is part of Traces in Words - the museum's focus on literary history.
Your ticket also gives you access to Aamodtgården, located at the foot of Kongsvinger Fortress. Step into a home as it looked a hundred years ago when you visit Aamodtgården. On the second floor you will find an authentic civil servant's apartment furnished and inhabited by Nina and Harald Aamodt in the 1920s.
Finish your visit with lunch at the café Hos Marie (currently closed) , or a visit to Kongsvinger Kunstforening, which is also located in Aamodtgården. You'll find a very nice cafe by the name Kafe Bohem in the middle of the old town of Øvrebyen.
Throughout the summer, city walks are arranged in the pleasant Øvrebyen, under the auspices of Kongsvinger Museum. The museum offers guided tours in Aamodtgården and a joint ticket with entrance to Kongsvinger Museum, the Fortress Museum and the unique Women's Museum - the only one in the whole of Scandinavia.
Accommodation in a fairytale setting
Did you know that Kongsvinger is named after Kongsvinger Fortress? When the fortress was built in 1682, it was named King's Wings - hence Kongsvinger. The fortress is central to the history of Kongsvinger and has played an important role in the region's cultural life for over 300 years.
Today, you can combine a visit to the fortress with accommodation in fairytale surroundings at Festningen Hotel & Resort. There you can enjoy a spectacular view of Kongsvinger town and Glomma river - surrounded by beautiful nature.
If you are curious about the history behind the star-shaped fortress, you should visit the fortress museum located in the fortress's storehouse. Here you can learn all about the history of the Norwegian Armed Forces as far back as the Viking Age.
If you are a larger group of travellers, you will enjoy a tailor-made adventure tour in the Kongsvinger region, organised by Lars Ovlien & co. History, food and cultural experiences are an important part of the Ovlien & co package. How about a historical banquet at the fortress inn? Here you will meet credible personalities, such as the innkeeper Ulla and the maid Helena, from the late 18th century. It takes a lot not to feel like you've stepped back in time.
The prison Museum
When visiting Kongsvinger Fortress, look out for the laboratory, a small brick building on the outside of the fortress wall. Before the days of modern prisons, this is where anyone caught on the wrong side of the law was placed.
Today, the Norwegian Prison Museum is located here at Kongsvinger Fortress. How have the horrific houses of chastisement and slavery of the past evolved into the modern, more comprehensive penal system? The prison museum gives you an insight into Norwegian prison culture from the 18th century to the present day.
Visit the old town of Kongsvinger - Øvrebyen
Located at the foot of Kongsvinger Fortress, the old town of Øvrebyen is packed with history and personality. You may have heard of Kongsvinger's charming and colourful old wooden houses before. If so, it was Øvrebyen they were referring to.
In the Upper Town, you can dream away among listed architecture, such as soldiers' houses and distinguished merchant houses from the 17th and 19th centuries. Many of the houses are protected wooden buildings but still housing some of the inhabitants of todays Kongsvinger. Take a stroll - or a "rusletur" as we say in norwegian - among the cosy gardens and houses. Take your lunch break in an atmospheric café, such as Kafé Bohem.
Visit the unique Women's Museum
In one of Øvrebyen's many charming wooden houses - and the childhood home of bohemian and multi-artist Dagny Juel - is the Women's Museum, established in 1995. In the artist's own bedroom you can experience the exhibition Damen i Berlin (Ladies in Berlin) and watch a film about her life.
This is the only Women's Museum in Norway.
The museum also looks at history from different women's perspectives and hosts a new major exhibition every summer in addition to its regular exhibitions. In late summer 2022, the exhibition Icebreaker Monica Kristensen opened.
The exhibition highlights three aspects of Kristensen's career: as a researcher, expedition leader and author. She has led eight expeditions to the Arctic and Antarctic, published ten books on polar themes and published a number of scientific articles as a glaciologist.
Play for Life is a permanent exhibition for young and old alike. It shows girls' and boys' play in different phases throughout history. There are lots of exciting things for children to look at. And maybe you'll see toys you used in your own childhood. In the same building, Café Dagny, with its popular bohemian cake, is on the menu.
Just a short drive from Kongsvinger you'll find Kongsvingers Golfclub elected Norways best golf course eight years in a row. A fantastic forrest course where you can enjoy the silence and proximity to the green nature.
A bit further east you may also visit one of Norways well known glassworks - Magnor Glassverk. Wonderful handcraft designed by excellent designers!
Welcome to the green heart of Norway!