Tønsberg is a city that, although calm and quite sleepy today, was in the past one of the most important centers of Norway. It belongs to the group of the oldest towns in the country, and until the 16th century it was one of the royal seats. Its remnants are a vast complex of ruins of a medieval fortress, churches and residential buildings.
The first mentions of the city can be found in the Norwegian sagas, and the date of its foundation is considered to be 871. The fortress Tunsberghus stood on the hill then, whose ruins under the name Slottsfjellet Fortress are today the most important attraction of Tønsberg. You can see the remains of the Church of St. Michael in the 12th century, the great royal hall and the fortified castle. The castle was destroyed in 1503 by the Swedes during one of the invasions.
The Tønsberg area is rich in Viking souvenirs. There are numerous burial mounds and stones with engraved marks. unearthed here, among others a complete Viking ship from the 10th century, the reconstruction of which, along with other items from this period, can be seen at the Slottsfjell Museum. A completely different collection is presented by the Haugar Vestfold Art Museum, which focuses on contemporary art created by Norwegian artists.
The city's entertainment life is centered on the Tønsberg Promenade. There are colorful houses with restaurants and smokehouses, and boats and small yachts moor at the quay. A little further from the center, the coast is dotted with summer houses with their own jetties and mooring boats.