Kvalvik Fort - History and Facts | History Hit

Kvalvik Fort

Ornvik, More og Romsdal, Norway

Kvalvik Fort is a well preserved World War II fort and onetime submarine station in Norway.

Peta Stamper

29 Mar 2021
Image Credit: Shutterstock

About Kvalvik Fort

Kvalvik Fort is a well preserved World War Two fort and onetime submarine station in Norway. In fact, Kvalvik Fort is considered to be one of the best kept fortifications of its kind. Open to the public, the site has a range of items and weapons on display to be explored.

Kvalvik Fort history

The German occupation of Norway began after the army invaded Norway in April 1940. During the war, the occupying Germans built an extensive system of coastal defences between 1942 and 1944, known as the Atlantic Wall or Atlantikwall, in order to defend against an anticipated Allied attack. The wall was frequently mentioned in Nazi propaganda, exaggerating its size and strength, claiming it stretched from Spain to Norway’s cape.

Among these fortifications was Kvalvik Fort, on the Norwegian island of Frei. Part of the Festung Norwegen (Norwegian stretch of the Atlantic Wall), the fort was strategically placed to defend two fjords within the Norwegian archipelago, overlooking the shipping lanes. Built by Russian prisoners of war in 1943, the fort consisted of underground tunnels, four cannon bays, extensive bunkers leading to a central command centre and anti-aircraft guns. Yet by peacetime in 1945, Kvalvik was uncompleted.

Kvalvik was also used as a submarine base, as many other fortifications and ports such as nearby Trondheim were, the Kriegsmarine (German navy) converting bases to hold U-boats.

Kvalvik Fort today

Today, much of the fort is still intact, restored by local enthusiasts, and you can spend a long time exploring the bunker, canons and other war artefacts. Through agreement with the cultural office, guided trips in various languages are offered. The area is maintained by the municipality in close cooperation with Kvalvik Fort’s Friends. There is all-day access, the doors kept open for those who bring a torch with them to explore.

The area is well adjusted for wheelchair users, and there are several information boards on site. The fort is set in a beautiful location and is a great spot for sitting to picnic, looking out from the gun platforms across the Norwegian fjord to the mountains framed by clouds.

Getting to Kvalvik Fort

Because of its particularly remote location, reaching Kvalvik Fort is difficult without a car. The fort is a 20 minute drive from Kristiansun, and a 3 hour drive across the E39 to Trondheim. There is parking on-site, but be aware signage from the road is minimal.