Varberg's Fortress is one of the best preserved Middle Ages fortresses in the world The rock on which the fortress is built was called Wardberget long before the fortress and the town of Varberg existed. Ward means guard. The rock was used as a look-out point and fire beacons were lit as a signal to take up arms.
The castle around which the fortress is built was constructed at the end of the 13th century. Walls and fortifications are from the 16th and 17th century, and after the war between Sweden and Denmark from 1563 and 1618, the Danes rebuilt the castle as a fortress with large iron-clad earth embankments and bastions. The stone walls surrounding the castle courtyard no longer sufficed as a defence against the new cannons of the time.
When a peace agreement was signed in Brömsebro in 1645, it was decided that Halland and Varberg would belong to Sweden. Since the 17th century, the fortress has been used to incarcerate prisoners, but the main prisoner era was from 1848 to 1881 when 400 to 500 inmates were housed here at any one time. The prisoners worked mainly with stonemasonry.
The Kronohäktet prison with its preserved cells where one can stay today was built in 1856. One part of the old dungeons can still be inspected but just so you know it is home only to spiders.
The hostel also offers more modern rooms, furnished in the old 18th and 19th century buildings, which previously were used for instance as a bakery and a hospital.
Varberg's Fortress is today a popular tourist destination and somewhat of an experience centre. In addition to Fästningens Vandrarhem with its many different types of accommodation and conference facilities, the site also has the Vin & Skafferi Hus13 restaurant and Halland's cultural historical museum.