The last town of any size on the Oslofjord’s western shore, TØNSBERG, some 100km from Oslo, was founded by Harald Hårfagre in the ninth century, and rose to prominence in the Middle Ages as a major ecclesiastical and trading centre: its sheltered sound made a safe harbour, the plain behind it was ideal for settlement, and the town’s palace and castle assured the patronage of successive monarchs. All of which sounds exciting, and you might expect Tønsberg to be one of the country’s more important historical attractions, but sadly precious little survives from the town’s medieval heyday. On the other hand, the recently upgraded waterfront makes for a particularly pleasant stroll, zeroing in on a handsome set of renovated, nineteenth-century warehouses, the Tønsberg Brygge, where the narrow lanes are dotted with bars and restaurants.

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