Norwegian 101: Larvik and Farris Bad (Spa)

Photo: Heidi Håvan Grosch
When bad means good: Farris Spa.

Heidi Håvan Grosch
Sparbu, Norway

I was lucky (jeg var heldig) enough a few weeks ago (for noen uker siden) to find myself (å finne meg selv) at a conference at Farris Bad (, Norway’s most famous (mest berømte) and largest (største) spa. Fortunately (heldigvis), the conference organizers (konferansearrangørene) took this into account (tok hensyn til dette) and allowed time in-between (tid mellom) the day’s final sessions (dagens siste økter) and the evening meal to spend a few hours (for å bruke noen timer) soaking, sweating, and purifying (bløting, svetting og rensing) in the mineral waters of Larvik.

The town’s first spa (byens første spa) opened in 1843, and it didn’t take long (det tok ikke lang tid) before the healthy waters (det sunne vannet) of Larvik were known throughout Europe (var kjent over hele Europa). Farris Bad’s current location opened its oceanfront property (sin eiendom i havgapet) in 2009, with 176 rooms and suites (rom og suiter), a 2,500 square meter (kvadratmeter) spa, and conference facilities (konferansefasiliteter) for up to 400 people. “We’ve one foot on land and one foot in the ocean (vi har en fot på land og en fot i havet), one foot in history and one foot in the future (en fot i historien og en fot i fremtiden),” they claim, “and are the only hotel that has established its spa on a true mineral source (og er det eneste hotellet som har etablert sin spa på en ekte mineralkilde).” The stone larvikite (Norwegian Moonstone) is the area’s main export production (er områdets viktigste eksportproduksjon). It too is rumored (ryktet) to have health qualities, for some inspiring clearer thinking (klarere tenkning).

Larvik also has golden nuggets for the historian (historikeren). One can find excavations from the Viking area (utgravninger fra Vikingområdet) or visit (besøke) the Larvik Museum ( to learn more about the Treschow-Fritzøe ironworks (jernverk). Thor Heyerdahl, of Kon-Tiki fame, was born (ble født) in Larvik, and an entire section (en hel del) of the museum is devoted to (er viet til) his expeditions (sine ekspedisjoner). If you are a nature lover (naturelsker), you can hike in Bøkeskogen, the world’s most northern (verdens nordligste) and Norway’s largest (Norges største) beech forest. If you have an urge (har du lyst) to visit Denmark, there is a daily ferry connection (en daglig fergeforbindelse) from Larvik to Hirtshals (

The clean, clear water (det rene, klare vannet) of Larvik is also drinkable (drikkbart) and was first bottled (ble først tappet på flaske) under the label Farris ( in 1915. The water is now available (tilgjengelig) in many varieties and flavors (i mange varianter og smaker). So whether you choose (om du velger) to pamper yourself (å skjemme bort deg selv) by bathing (bade) in or drinking (drikke) mineral water from its source (fra kilden), or if you choose to immerse yourself in history (å fordype seg i historien), a stop in Larvik will be well worth your while (være vel verdt tiden din).

This article originally appeared in the June 30, 2017, issue of The Norwegian American. To subscribe, visit SUBSCRIBE or call us at (206) 784-4617.

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The Norwegian American is North America's oldest and only Norwegian newspaper, published since May 17, 1889.