A perfect day trip from Stavanger or Kristiansand, picturesque Flekkefjord is just waiting to be discovered.
Home to just 6,000 people, this lovely town in southern Norway is just two hours by bus from Stavanger and a little less from Kristiansand. If you're looking for a day trip from either city, this is an ideal option.
On a recent trip to Kristiansand I had some spare time and so pulled out a map.
I'd originally intended on heading east to Lillesand or Arendal, but Flekkefjord caught my attention for its location, with water in almost every direction.
So, why should you visit? On a summer's day, the white wooden houses gleam. From the well-kept historic Dutch Quarter to the charming shopping streets, every inch of Flekkefjord just begs to be explored. So, let's do that!
Exploring the town
What first struck me about Flekkefjord is that it's a really well-kept town. Throw into that the amount of waterside views found throughout the town and this is one really pretty place to be.
The importance of the water to the town is obvious. Small boats puttered around the harbour throughout my stay.
Because of the layout of the town centre, you'll end up at the water no matter in which direction you walk – or at least it feels that way!
Although several thousand people live here, the narrow streets make the place feel much more intimate.
This is especially so around the shopping streets immediately south of the Dutch Quarter.
Considering the relatively small size of the town, I was quite surprised at the variety of shops. While not many international visitors make it down here, Norwegians definitely do.
The white, octagonal church was built of wood in 1833.
It has seats for 650 people inside, including galleries with seating on two floors along five of the walls. The altarpiece is a gold cross in an arch, flanked by columns carrying a gable.
The old railway
The Oslo to Stavanger railway used to have a spur down to the town. But at the end of 1990, Flekkefjord's days as a railway town came to an end.
However, you can now ride the 17km track on these specially made rail bikes. They seat two adults and can carry either one adult or two children as a passenger.
The trip starts in the city centre at the former railway station and riders immediately enter one of the 17 tunnels on the route.
There are two departures times each day (summer only) to ensure there are no issues with bumping into people coming back the other way!
Riding each way takes around 1.5 hours, and taking into account the waiting time at the turnaround it takes most people 3.5 hours to complete the journey.
This was one part of the town where I finally found some other international visitors. A large tour group from Germany was queuing up for a bike, and the manager told me they get German tourists here every day throughout the season.
The Dutch Quarter
This lovely neighbourhood had a strong relationship with the Netherlands in the 1500s and 1600s. That legacy is preserved today in the buildings and streets of the gorgeous Dutch Quarter.
Flekkefjord grew up on trade, and trading stone and wood with the Netherlands was a key element. Silver, grains, porcelain, silk, liquor, and tobacco came in the other direction.
The exchange was just as much cultural as anything else. Dutch-influenced words came into the regional dialect, while many Norwegian-Dutch families were formed.
While most of the houses are white, the area is brightened up a little with the odd different colour, and a spot of street art very much in the style of Stavanger.
The Flekkefjord Museum (above) is located inside an old merchant’s house, but the real exhibits are the streets themselves.
It only takes 15-20 minutes to stroll around, but it's well worth doing so. You can read more about the Dutch Quarter here.
Surrounding the town and stretching all the way along the coast to Egersund is the Magma UNESCO Global Geopark. The majority of rocks in the area were formed from molten rock about 930 million years ago.
The five focus areas of the park are adventure, creativity/innovation, culture, sustainability, and enlightenment. Popular activities in the region include hiking, cycling, fishing, swimming, bird watching, and rock climbing.
15 meters above the ocean, these giant potholes in the Brufjell mountains were formed 20,000 years ago in the last Ice Age. Today, it's a popular hiking destination at Åna-Sira, close to Flekkefjord.
I didn't have time to make it down here, but it looks awesome!
Where to stay
It's easy to visit the town on a day trip from Kristiansand or Stavanger whether you have a car or you're using public transport. However, if you adopt a slow travel philosophy, perhaps you'd prefer to stay the night?
There are a couple of options within the town itself. The most notable is the 29-room Grand Hotel, known for its Swiss architecture and characteristic octagonal towers.
As there's only 29 rooms the hotel can be fully booked during even small events, so book in advance to guarantee a spot. Check rates and availability here.
Aside from the Grand, the town also has the Maritim Hotel and its popular waterfront terrace. Around two miles out of town, Egenes Camping offers cabins and apartments with access to their private lakeside beach.
How to get here
I rarely drive in Norway and didn't rent a car for my trip to Kristiansand, so I was reliant on public transport. Thankfully, it couldn't have been easier.
The Sør-Vestekspressen travels between Kristiansand and Stavanger three times daily, calling at Flekkefjord roughly half-way along the route. It takes two hours from Stavanger, and a little less from Kristiansand.
Booking tickets online in advance saves some money. My fare was 215kr each-way and I booked my tickets a couple of days in advance.
The coach is comfortable, although there wasn't any Wi-Fi, always annoying for a blogger.
Have you been to Flekkefjord? If you're planning a day trip, why not share your plans on Pinterest? We've got just the pin for you: