Are you planning the majority of your vacation around Norway’s capital Oslo? Then a day tour to the historical town of Kongsberg is the perfect opportunity to get away from the busy streets.
Kongsberg is a great destination for those who wish to see something else than the busy streets of Oslo. This small town is becoming a popular place to spend one or two days and it's only located an hour away. Kongsberg has a rich history and is most known for its silver mines and beautiful woods but it’s also a good place to test your skiing skills.
The Norwegian Mining Museum
The Norwegian Mining Museum has a comprehensive collection of artifacts and records dating back to the 1600s when the mining industry began in Kongsberg. Here you’ll find the largest collection of native silver in the world and a collection of Norwegian rubies, gold nuggets, emeralds and other gems.
Coin production was moved from Akershus Fortress to Kongsberg in 1686. The museum has a great collection of coins and medals made at the mint in Kongsberg and you’ll get an insight into the Norwegian coin production.
The museum also exhibits Kongsberg’s industrial history, focusing on the development from Kongsberg Arms Factory to today’s high-technology companies.
Lastly, the museum has a comprehensive collection of ski jumping medals and skiing history from 1924 to 1952, known as the golden era for Norwegian ski jumpers where the Kongsberg brothers Sigmund, Asbjørn and Birger Ruud dominated.
Into the Silver Mines
Though it’s located 8 km out of the Norwegian Mining Museum, the popular Silver Mines is one of the Museum’s main attractions. This is an exciting tour for kids and adults alike and you’ll get the chance to be guided around the historical mines.
The guided tour lasts for 1.5 hours and begins with a bumpy train ride that takes you 2300 meters into the mountain and 342 meters below the surface. In the depths of the mountains, you will explore the King’s Mine which dates back to the 1800s.
The Kongsberg Silver Mines offer a Mine Safari for those really wanting to explore the depths of the mines. This tour lasts for 3 hours and takes you deeper into the mines where you get to see many exciting destinations and hear unique histories dating back to the 1600s.
The Church of Kongsberg
Kongsberg's church was built between 1740 and 1761 and is the town's most iconic building. Today it remains the largest and one of the most beautiful churches in Norway. With its 3 magnificent chandeliers, it also has an important place in Norwegian history of art.
The beautiful Gloger Organ from 1765 is worth a visit itself. For almost 100 years the Organ has been out of use but it’s now fully restored.
Many concerts are held in the church throughout the year and a popular event is Glogerfestspillene, a festival where local and international musicians perform in the church.
The Traditional Lågdalsmuseum
Lågdalsmuseet is a cultural history museum for the region founded in 1924. The museum is located on the old Glitre Farm which is just five minutes walking from the city center.
During summertime traditional livestock breeds in the fields, which makes this a popular destination for both local and foreign families. During summer it’s not uncommon to see children running around the fields and families having picnics.
The thriving little “Kongsberg Street” consists of a traditional miner’s house, weapons dealing housing, watches farm a schoolhouse and a well-stocked general store that date back to the early 1800s.
Get your downhill skis on!
An old Norwegian saying states that all Norwegians are born with skis on their feet. So, what better place is there to go downhill skiing?
The chairlift takes you all 1600 meters to the top where the altogether 10 kilometers of white-clad slopes is revealed. Two escalators, also 1600 m long, complement the transport capacity to the top and a separate 500 m long ski lift takes you to the more daring terrain park!
Have you never done downhill skiing before? That’s no problem. Kongsberg Ski Resort offers snowboard and alpine classes for complete beginners so you do not need to be an expert to hit the slopes.
It’s also possible to rent all needed equipment at the resort.
Enjoy the nature and go for a hike
There’s no proper visit to Norway without taking a walk in the beautiful nature. Large woods surround Kongsberg and there are hundreds of opportunities for the outdoor lovers.
Knuten, a mountain located 10 kilometers outside of Kongsberg, is a popular area to go hiking. Many choose to combine a hike around Knuten with a visit at the Silver Mines as these are located in the same area.
Many local hikers choose to stop by Knutehytta for a hot chocolate and waffle, or a nice meal, after hiking around the scenic landscape. Since the road goes all the way up to the cabin you don’t need to hike if you want to enjoy a meal there.
Between the months of September and April, you've also got the chance to see the northern lights. While it's rare that they are as visible in Northern Norway, it's not uncommon to spot the lady in green on the northern horizon. For a greater chance to see the northern lights, be sure to step away from the city lights. Knuten is a good location to view the phenomena from.