At Varberg fortress people have lived and worked for many hundreds of years. It is a mighty place on the cliff by the sea and it is easy to feel the wings of the history in the preserved fortress environment.
The mount Wardberg, around which the fortress is built, was used for a long time as a guard mountain where you could light warning fires if the enemy approached. The old swedish word ward means guard and the mountain later gave name to the city below. Around the year 1300 a castle was built at the top of the mountain, and this is the oldest part of the fortress. Around 400 years ago, Varberg fortress was completed with its impressive walls and bastions. Halland was Danish at this time and due to battles between Denmark and Sweden, the Danish king Christian IV gave order to build a fortress to defend himself against the Swede. It was all the town’s farmers who had to do the hard work of carrying soil and stone.
In 1618, after 30 years of tiring work, Varberg fortress was completed. It became Europe’s most modern defense facility and so powerful that no one dared to attack. In 1645 in Brömsebro, peace was made between Sweden and Denmark and since then Halland and Varberg have been Swedish land. Around 1830, the fortress ceased to be a military defense facility and there were plans of blowing up the fortress. This was luckily never done and the fortress was used as a prison instead. During the great prisoner era between the years 1848 – 1881, about 400-500 inmates stayed here at the same time. During this period the Kronohäktet was built where the prisoners were isolated in separate cells. Prisoners was held here until 1931.
From being a rather awful place for many people, Varberg fortress has been transformed into a nice and popular destination during the 20th century. In the courtyard at the top of the fortress is Halland Museum of Cultural History and from here you have wonderful wievs of the city of Varberg and the North Sea. The museum is open all year round and has exhibitins, a museum shop and a café. The exhibitions tell about Halland’s history, Varberg school of art and the mail attraction is the medieval find – the Bocksten man. The museum also have temporary exhibitions on various themes and guided tours on the fortress. Every summer medieval days are organized. Please visit museumhalland.se for more details about their program. When you stay with us during autumn and spring, free admission to the museum is included in your booking.
Café and restaurant
At the fortress there is the nice café Kafé Längan, which you will find next to the museum in the courtyard. Just below the fortress, out to the sea, is the restaurant Fästningsterassen where you can enjoy good food and drink to a fantastic sea wiev. The whole fortress is well visited all year round and many people come to enjoy the fantastic views of both the sea and the city and perhaps for a cozy picnic on the fortress embankment.