South Norway Counties


Telemark borders on Vestfold, Buskerud, Hordaland, Rogaland, and Aust-Agder. County administration is in Skien. Until 1919 the county was known as Bratsberg Amt.

The county is located in southeastern Norway, extending from Hardangervidda to the Skagerrak coast. The coastline extends from Langesundsfjorden to Gjernestangen at the border to Aust-Agder. Telemark has a very broken and varying landscape, including many hills and valleys.

Telemark is well served by railways. The Sørlandsbanen railroad runs through the traditional districts of Vestmar and Midt-Telemark, serving the municipalities of Drangedal, Nome, Bø and Sauherad. Grenland is primarily served by Vestfoldbanen railroad, but also has connections through Bratsbergbanen railraod which runs between Skien and Notodden. Geiteryggen Airport in Skien offers flights to Bergen and Stockholm. From Langesund, Kystlink operates ferry services to Sweden and Denmark.

Click here for a list of lighthouses in Telemark county.



Aust-Agder borders on Telemark, Rogaland, and Vest-Agder. The administrative center of the county is in Arendal.

The county, which is located at the Skagerrak coast, extends from Gjernestangen at Risør to Kvåsefjorden at Lillesand. The inner parts of the area include Setesdalsheiene and Austheiene. Most of the inhabitants live at the coast. Tourism is important, as Arendal and the other coastal towns are popular attractions.

The county includes the islands of Tromøy, Justøya, and Sandøya. The interior of the county encompasses the traditional district of Setesdal, through which the Otra river flows to the coast.

Click here for a list of lighthouses in Aust-Agder county.



Vest-Agder borders on Rogaland to the west and Aust-Agder to the east. County administration is located in Kristiansand.

Shipping, commerce, and recreation are the main industries here. Vest-Agder is noted for having a very high level of foreign exports. Another international dimension linked to the county is the large-scale emigration to North America that took place from the 1850s onwards, which has resulted in many Americans returning to the county after Norway became prosperous. This  is particularly true in Kvinesdal and Farsund, which maintain strong cultural links with the United States.

Vest-Agder is the southernmost county in Norway, extending inland from the North Sea and its arm, the Skagerrak, to the southern fringes of Setesdalen, surrounded by the mountain range Setesdalsheiene. It includes the southernmost point of the entire country, Pysen island, south of Mandal, and the southernmost part of continental Norway, Lindesnes. The topography is generally very hilly .

From the coast, there are six valleys stretching north into the county; Audnedalen, Lyngdalen, Kvinesdalen, Mandalen, Sirdalen, and Otradalen (which continues into Aust-Agder where it is called Setesdalen).

Population is densest along the coast, in Kristiansand, Mandal, Flekkefjord, and Farsund. About 31 fjords are located there. The northern portion is mountainous and sparsely settled, while the central upland moors are used for pasture of cattle and sheep. Since the Gulf Stream touches the coast of Vest-Agder, it is also called “The Norwegian Riviera.”

Click here for a list of lighthouses in Vest-Agder county.



Rogaland is a county in Western Norway (although on this site we include Rogaland in the South Norway section), bordering Hordaland, Telemark, Aust-Agder, and Vest-Agder.

Rogaland is a coastal region with fjords, beaches, and islands. The principal island is Karmøy. Karmøy has large deposits of copper, some of which was used in the construction of the Statue of Liberty. Boknafjorden is the largest bay, with many fjords branching off from it.

The third largest urban complex of Norway is located in Rogaland and consists of Stavanger, Sandnes, Randaberg, and Sola. Other cities and towns are: Haugesund, Egersund, Sauda, Bryne, Kopervik, Åkrehamn, and Skudeneshavn.

Rogaland is the most important region for oil and gas exploration in Norway, and is one of the country’s most important agricultural districts.

Click here for a list of lighthouses in Rogaland county.