South from Risør, it’s about 45km to the bustling town of ARENDAL, one of the most appealing places on the coast, its sheltered harbour curling right into the centre, which is further crimped and cramped by the forested hills that push in from behind. The town’s heyday was in the eighteenth century when its shipyards churned out dozens of the sleek wooden sailing ships that then dominated international trade. The shipyards faded away in the late nineteenth century, but there’s an attractive reminder of the boom times in the striking medley of old timber buildings that make up the oldest part of town, Tyholmen, which rolls over the steep and bumpy promontory just to the southwest of the modern centre. To explore Tyholmen’s every nook and cranny, sign up for one of the tourist office’s guided walking tours.

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