Are you ready for a unique experience?

Are you ready for a unique experience?
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Photos were taken March 27, 2012. Temperature was 25ºC (77ºF), which is unusually warm for that time of the year.

Text and photographs by Sigrid Thorbjørnsen.
Translated and edited by Michael Holtermann and Rick Shupper.

Far out at sea, east of Kristiansandfjord, is Grønningen Lighthouse. On this little stone cairn at sea, shaped and kneaded by glaciers during the Ice Age, polished by the sea, inhabited only by birds for thousands of years, humans built a cry and a warning – Grønningen Lighthouse.

The first time the lighthouse lit the way for ship traffic was in 1878. And until 1980 there were people living at the lighthouse. No one lives here any longer, but the lighthouse is still in effect. Now, Grønningen Lighthouses has opened its arms to all who want a unique experience.

The island that the lighthouse stands on is small, and from April 15 to July 15, most of the island is a protected bird sanctuary. With views of the Skagerrak, the ferries sailing between Kristiansand and Hirtshals, and various fishing boats, this is a fantastic gem on the south coast.

The only way to get to the lighthouse is by boat. There is no regular ferry to this outer island, which makes a visit to Grønningen Lighthouse somewhat exclusive. One can get here by paddling, rowing, sailing, or by motor boat. And with this isolation comes an even better feeling when sitting down with people you have never met, starting new friendships, and being together in a slightly different way than in the city.

There are 40 beds and the standard is simple. The food must be brought along, but there’s cookware, cooking possibilites, and tableware. It’s possible to borrow a row boat, so, if desired, guests can fish for their own dinner. In the warehouse guests set the table, even set up a long table in the evening, and serve self-caught fish. This is a very good way to get to know each other.

It does no good to complain about the neighbors, since they all are seagulls …

Visitors are welcome at the lighthouse throughout the year. And in the hosted period (summer), you can also rent a berth on Grønningen. Accommodation costs NOK 200 per person. Members of the “Forbundet Kysten” (Coast Association) pay NOK 150, while children pay half price. If you would like to book, please call the hosts directly at +47 95 102 523. Or contact Sigbjørn Ubostad at +47 41 570 970 or via email at for booking berths at the lighthouse, or to schedule a ride out to Grønningen Lighthouse, if you do not have your own boat to get there.

Come with a curious mind, and leave with an overwhelmed heart.”
– Sigrid Thorbjørnsen

Your hosts are a group of friendly locals with ties to the lighthouse. These folks want everyone to get the best experience of sea and sky, nature and people. But it must be taken into consideration that the weather may prevent you from getting out to the island. If it is very windy, it is not possible to dock at the lighthouse, which would cancel your stay. And if you’re stranded on the island due to bad weather, there is a library to dive into, a lounge in the main building, and many games.

Check out the website:ønningen

Grønningen Lighthouse provides unique opportunities that are hard to find in everyday life

  • It is not so far from the city of Kristiansand that help and necessities are unavailable, but far enough that you get the luxury of being “away” from the city and in the open countryside.
  • It’s cheaper to stay at Grønningen than any other place in Kristiansand, and here you have the most amazing views, and a very special environment, surrounded by ocean on all sides.
  • You bring the food you want and do not have to pay for anything you do not want. And if you want to save more, jump in the boat and fish for dinner yourself.
  • It does no good to complain about the neighbors, since they all are seagulls … The gulls go to bed early, and are up early too. They are nature’s alarm clock that makes you get up. Take a morning swim in the ocean and greet the new day.

Getting to Kristiansand

  • SAS, KLM, Norwegian, and Widerøe airlines all fly to Kjevik, Kristiansand Airport.
  • From Oslo and Stavanger, you can arrive by train to city center.
  • You can also take a bus to Kristiansand from all over southern Norway.
  • Kristiansand has ferry connections to Hirtshals, Denmark.

Prices vary with seasons

The most important things you can bring to Grønningen Lighthouse

  • Windproof jacket and pants
  • Warm sweater and wool (even in summer there can be brisk wind and rain)
  • Drinking water
  • Your own food
  • Good humor to withstand all weather conditions

For further information, contact Sigbjørn Ubostad +47 41 570 970 or email

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