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Kragerø Municipality borders in the southwest to Risør, in the west to Gjerstad, in the northwest to Drangedal and in the northeast to Bamble. Kragerø city has per January 1st. 2013 all together 5446 inhabitants, while the municipality has nearly 11,000 and a total land area of 307 km². The settlement is largely concentrated on certain centers in the urban area, Helle area and Sannidal area. Otherwise there are smaller settlements throughout the municipality. Kragerø became township in 1666. The city was in era of sailing ships, one of the largest seafaring towns. In 1960 Kragerø municipality merged with Skåtøy and Sannidal. There are 190 freshwater lakes within the municipal boundaries and in all 495 islands and islets in the archipelago which together cover an area of 36 km². Our archipelago covers appox. 6,500 acres with many recreational areas secured to the public. Here you have many opportunities to enjoy boating in all forms. There are approximately 4,000 holiday homes in the municipality and in the busy summer months the population quadruples because of the tourist influx.
Kragerø downtown is an attraction by itself with its old wooden houses, narrow streets and alleyways, small squares and winding streets. A marina, long piers, charming bridges and a pleasant promenade pier creates a maritime atmosphere. The swimming areas, small parks, galleries, sights, shops, cinema, restaurants, cafes and pubs will keep you busy throughout the day. Take a short walk to Steinmann or Veten, where you can take in the beautiful view of the town and archipelago.
Kragerø means lazy afternoons on sunny shores and fresh seafood in the cool of the evening. But that is only part of its charm. The town can offer so much more. All summer long, Kragerø is overflowing with cultural events of many kinds.
The concert series “Under two towers” in the lighthouse-keeper’s garden on Jomfruland is one of the highlights of the summer season. The house itself is the venue for a summer exhibition of the works of Kragerø’s artists. The Skåtøy Folk Song and Poetry Festival has also become an event known throughout the country just as the Philosophy festival "På Kanten". The Kragerø Harbour Festival is held in august every year and is a maritime festival for the whole family.
We turn the seasons upside-down here in Kragerø. The traditional Easter Swim, arranged every Easter Eve, is when the toughest of the tough plunge into the fjord and open the swimming and tourist- season.
The Virgin Island “Jomfruland” is located on the outskirts of Kragerø's spectacular archipelago and is a moraine that was created during the last ice age and stretches under the sea all the way to both Arendal and Larvik. When sea levels dropped, Jomfruland appeared with its beautiful pebblebeach. Today Jomfruland is also known for its lovely sandy beaches, beautiful landscape and great variation in botany, geology and ornithology. Other major islands to visit are Skåtøy, Gumøy, Langøy and Bærø.
Kragerø city is referred to as "The gem among coastal cities" of Edvard Munch. "This city should be painted," said Christian Krohg when he was visiting Kragerø. Art and culture have long traditions in Kragerø. The coastal area's unique light and the charming town with well-preserved ancient wooden buildings in the narrow streets and alleys has attracted and inspired many artist, among them Edvard Munch when he painted some of his most famous paintings like The Sun and History for the university of Oslo. Munch lived in Kragerø from 1909-1915 and had a very creative period in Kragerø. There is a signpostet route through his works/motifs, called “In the foosteps og Edvard Munch”. This informative and adventurous walk winds through streets and areas normally not visited by tourists, and this will give you a different perspective of the town. In summer you have the possibility to join an organized Munch-trip.
Theodor Kittelsen, Norway's beloved illustrator of fairy tales, was born in Kragerø. His childhood home is now a museum right in the centre of town. Annual exhibitions are held in the Kittelsen House in honour of the artist.
In 2013 opened the Kragerø School of Art, a 2-year pre-school to higher education in art, design and architecture. The school is in partnership with two universities in England that gives the students the option to get a Bachelor-degree in Fine Arts.
Autumn in Kragerø can be dramatic when the Skagerak flexes it's muscles. Winter is a quiet season with its beauty of its own. Then spring return, bringing back the sunlight. The flower-covered forest floors of Jomfruland carry a promise of a new summer. Every season has its charm, experience them all.