Varberg fortress

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 history in the preserved fortress environment.


The mount Wardberg, around which the fortress is built, was used 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 that 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 Swedes. It was all the farmers in town who had to do the hard work of carrying soil and stone.

Fästningens rum vid havet på Varbergs fästning

Varberg fortress. Photo E. Rusch

In year 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 it. In year 1645 in Brömsebro, peace was made between Sweden and Denmark and since then Halland and Varberg counties have belonged to Sweden. Around 1830, the fortress ceased to be a military defense facility and there were plans of blowing up the fortress. Luckily this was never done and instead the fortress was used as a prison. 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 were held here until the year 1931.

Cultural history

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 views of the city of Varberg and the Kattegat Sea. The museum is open all year round and has exhibitions, a museum shop and a café. The exhibitions tell about Halland’s history, Varberg school of art and the main attraction is the medieval find – the Bocksten man. The museum also holds temporary exhibitions on various themes and guided tours on the fortress. Every summer medieval days are organized. Please visit 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 you will find the lovely café Kafé Längan, right next to the museum. Just below the fortress, facing the sea, is the restaurant Fästningsterassen where you can enjoy good food and drinks with fantastic sea views. In the summers we open Fästningens Våffelcafé in one our houses. Here you can enjoy scrumptious home made waffles, ice cream and Swedish fika. The entire fortress area is well attended all year round and many people come just to enjoy the fantastic views of both the sea and the city and perhaps for a cozy picnic on the fortress embankment.