Sarpsborg is the tenth largest city in Norway with 54,000 inhabitants in the municipality and another 202,000 in twelve neighbouring municipalities that all are within half an hour's drive. Situated in Østfold county in Norway it is the largest city alongside the E6 motorway between Oslo (1 hour north of Sarpsborg) and Gothenburg (2 hours south of Sarpsborg).
Sarpsborg is the only Norwegian city to have both the archipelago and skiing areas within 10 minutes from the city, and in the city centre is a large park and the largest waterfall in Europe. But it is also a very industrial city with several paper mills and other factories.
In 1567 the King of Denmark relocated Sarpsborg 14 km further down the river. That place is now a separate city called Fredrikstad, and Sarpsborg has grown together with Fredrikstad to form the fifth largest urban area in Norway, with 105,000 inhabitants in a contiguous built-up area surrounding both sides of the Glomma, Norway's longest river.
Sarpsborg is served by the Norwegian State Railway. From Oslo the travel time is 1hr 20 min, while it is 2hr 20 min from Gothenburg. The trains from Oslo depart every hour from 06:02 to 00:02 and stop in Ski, Moss, Rygge, Råde and Fredrikstad on the way to Sarpsborg and Halden. Three daily trains are prolonged to Gothenburg, connecting Trollhättan, Vänersborg and Ed in Dalsland with Sarpsborg. Departure time from Gothenburg is 07:00, 13:00 and 18:00. Around 550 passengers a day use the train station in Sarpsborg. There is a reduced service on Saturdays, Sundays and public holidays.
Sarpsborg is served by the Timekspressen. This bus line to Moss and Oslo departs from Oslo every hour from 07:05 to 21:05, plus 23:15. All departures continue to Halden after Sarpsborg, except the 07:05, 09:05, 13:05 and 17:05 departures from Oslo that, instead, continue to Nordby Shoppingcenter (one of Scandinavia's largest malls) and Strömstad in Sweden. Travel time by Timekspressen is 1.5 hr from Sarpsborg to Oslo, and 1 hr 5 min from Sarpsborg to Strömstad with reduced service on Saturdays, Sundays and public holidays. While the Timekspressen goes from the city centre, the Nettbuss Express line from Oslo to Gothenburg and Copenhagen only stops at Quality Hotel Sarpsborg by the E6, 3 km north of the city centre. Nettbuss Express operates 3 times a day, more frequently some days of the week. Swebus Express from Oslo to Copenhagen also serve Quality Hotel, but only on the 2PM and 9PM departures from Copenhagen on Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. Daily at 7AM from Oslo, and 11PM on Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. Nettbuss and Swebus also stops in Moss, Tanum and Uddevalla before Gothenburg, and in Halmstad (only Swebus), Helsingborg, Malmö and Copenhagen Airport (Terminal 2) before Copenhagen. The most popular bus line in Sarpsborg is Glommaringen with up to 8 departures to Fredrikstad every hour, and around 2,800 daily passengers. It is also daily bus connection between Sarpsborg and the smaller towns Askim and Mysen in northern Østfold.
The nearest airport is Moss Airport Rygge only 15 minutes away, but this airport is small and the only daily route is to London (Stansted). There are routes to a total of 17 countries: Portugal, Spain, France, Italy, Malta, Croatia, Greece, Cyprus, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Germany, United Kingdom, Ireland, Denmark and Norway (Bergen, Trondheim and Stavanger). Getting from Rygge to Sarpsborg is easiest by taxi. The Fredrikstad og Sarpsborg Taxisentral has fixed price from Rygge to downtown Sarpsborg, 390 NOK. Another alternative is a shuttle bus to Rygge train station and the train to Sarpsborg. The total price is just below 100 NOK.
Copenhagen's Kastrup Airport (CPH) is the only airport with a direct bus line to Sarpsborg. But with only 3 daily routes and almost 7 hours travel time, it is a poor alternative. More usual is to travel to Oslo's Gardermoen Airport, Torp Airport or Gothenburg's Landvetter Airport and take a train or bus to downtown, and find a bus or train to Sarpsborg there. Doing this the travel time from the airports to Sarpsborg usually will be between 2 and 3 hours.
Arriving from south use Exit 5 or Exit 6 on the European Route E6 motorway. Exit 5 passes Sarpsfossen, the largest waterfall in Europe on the way into the city centre. Exit 6 passes Amfi Borg, a large shopping mall with over 70 stores. Arriving from north use Exit 7, where the Quality Hotel Sarpsborg is situated. Above 20,000 vehicles a day use the E6 through Sarpsborg. By car the travel time from Sarpsborg is 15 minutes to Fredrikstad, 20 minutes to Moss and Halden and 30 minutes to Askim, Mysen and Strömstad. Sarpsborg is a popular transit station for tourists going further north in Norway, because it is half-way between Denmark and the most spectacular fjords and mountains of Norway, around 6 hours from both Copenhagen and Sognefjorden.
Sarpsborg has around 15 restaurants, and a similar numbers of pizza places (mostly take-away). Most restaurant are situated in or near the pedestrian street in downtown Sarpsborg. In addition to this the city also have a lot of fast food places, including two Mc Donald's restaurants.
A La Carte
Sarpsborg's night life is dominated by the pubs. Serving is allowed until 1.30 PM in Sarpsborg, and all places must be closed at 2 AM. In the weekends the drinking places are allowed to serve until 2 AM, and in the summer months even until 2.30 AM. Before these strict regulations was introduced, Sarpsborg had 4 bars, but now Oppe & Nede is the only one left. Norway's second largest brewery group is from Sarpsborg. Be sure to taste the Borg pilsner during your stay.
Sarpsborg makes a good base for exploring the Oslo Fjord archipelago as well as the Swedish West Coast and Bohuslän region.
For day trips from Sarpsborg, the followings are popular: