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Orrestranda
Orrestranda.
Photo: Øystein Dahle / Jæren Friluftsråd
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A number of Norway’s beaches have been awarded with the prestigious Blue Flag certification. This year, another gem was added to the list.

Published: 25 June 2018

Have you ever noticed a blue flag fluttering above your favourite beach? In that case, you can feel confident that the water quality, facilities and safety standards live up to the rigorous demands of one of the world’s most well known environmental awards.

“A lot has happened in Norway in recent years. More and more people understand the importance of preserving our beaches, and making sure they remain available to everyone,” says the coordinator for Blue Flag Norway, Marit Kjellesvik.

All in all, Norway has 17 beaches with the Blue Flag mark – a list that has grown steadily since Bystranda in Kristiansand became the first one 18 years ago. This year, the beach at Dyreparken i Kristiansand (Kristiansand Zoo), Dyreparkstranda, became the latest addition to the prestigious list, and it is now placed in the same category as some of Norway’s most popular beaches.

“We are very exited about the recent addition. Dyreparkstranda has all bases covered, with good water quality, accessibility for guests with disabilities and facilities of a high standard,” Kjellesvik says.

Dyreparkstranda

Dyreparkstranda.
Photo: Ole Martin Buene / Dyreparken

Promoting sustainability

Behind the Blue Flag award is the Foundation for Environmental Education (FEE), whose purpose is to promote sustainable development for beaches and marinas through rigorous demands for water quality, safety, environmental education and information, Kjellesvik explains. 
 
“It is a mark that signals a high level of sustainability to the guests. As a Blue Flag beach, the water quality, safety and facilities will be checked regularly, both by national and international inspectors,” she says.

Helleneset, Bergen

Helleneset, Bergen.
Photo: Bergen og omland friluftsråd

Blue Flag beaches are found all over the world. Countries like Greece and Spain have been ahead of the pack for years, with several hundred entries on the international list. Comparatively, Norway has relatively few, but this isn't necessarily because of a lack of water quality, says Kjellesvik. 

“Norway, with is wild and hilly coastal nature, will never have the same number of Blue Flag beaches as southern Europe. That being said, more and more municipalities have started testing the water regularly,” she says. 
 

Åkrasanden

Åkrasanden.
Photo: Friluftsrådet Vest

More to come

The Norwegian beaches that are included on the Blue Flag list experience a boost in both environmental quality and the annual number of visitors. For that reason, more candidates will appear in the years to come, says Kjellesvik.

“There will probably be more Blue Flags above Norwegian beaches in the future,” she says.

Here are the Norwegian Blue Flag beaches for 2018:

Huk, Oslo 

Huk is one of the capital’s most popular beaches, beautifully located at the Bygdøy peninsula. Huk is one of two beaches in Norway with a permanent lifeguard during the summer season.

Tronvik, Moss

A clean and spacious sandy beach on the west side of Jeløya. Facilities include a kiosk in the summer, a volleyball court and a coastal path – in addition to lovely swimming opportunities.

Vansjø, Moss 

This gorgeous beach in Nesparken was Norway’s only freshwater beach with a Blue Flag award for many years, until Dyreparkstranda was added in 2018. It offers pleasant, clean sand, a kiosk and a wheelchair ramp.

Sjøbadet, Moss 

Popular sandy beach with easy access from downtown Moss. Regularly checked during the summer season with water quality tests.

Foten, Fredrikstad 

Foten was named Norway’s best beach in 2006 and has long been one of Fredrikstad’s most popular summer spots. In addition to nice and child-friendly swimming, it sports a playground, volleyball court, diving tower and a guest pier. 

Ringshaugstranda, Tønsberg 

Experience tropical atmosphere at one of the Oslo Fjord’s largest beaches, located only five kilometres from downtown Tønsberg. The spacious, crescent-moon-shaped beach first became a Blue Flag recipient in 2012. 

Holmenskjæret, Asker 

A great, child-friendly beach with a swimming float, diving board, kiosk, playground and toilets. The minigolf course is open during the summer. 

Sjøstrand, Asker

In addition to two lovely beaches, Sjøstrand Bad offers a diving tower, floats, a kiosk in the summer, ramps for disabled visitors and volleyball courts. A favourite in Asker since 1934. 

Sjøstrand

Sjøstrand.
Photo: Tor Arne Midtbø

Hvalstrand, Asker 

Askers Hvalstrand has been awarded Blue Flag status every year since 2008, thanks to its high water quality and excellent facilities. The beach has a great diving tower, floats, a popular restaurant and several picnic spots. 

Hvalstrand

Hvalstrand.
Photo: Tor Arne Midtbø

Hvamodden, Asker 

A small sandy beach at the tip of Nesøya, surrounded by spacious grassy plains. Offers sandboxes and a playground for the kids, in addition to several benches and tables. 

Hvamodden

Hvamodden.
Photo: Dag Solbakken

Kroksand, Hvaler

Kroksand beach – known to most people as “the city beach” – has been a popular gathering point for Hvaler’s population since 2013. A short walk from the beach you’ll have access to cafes, restaurants and shops. Special efforts have been made towards accessibility.

Storøyodden, Bærum 

Storøyodden beach is a large area near the southern end of Fornebu. In recent years, it has been upgraded for several million kroner. A perfect place for those who need plenty of space. 

Helleneset, Bergen 

Popular beach 15 kilometers from downtown Bergen, with comfortable sand, smooth rocks, a diving board and a children's pool. The nearby cliffs are enthusiastically used by local climbers. 

Dyreparkstranda, Kristiansand

The latest addition to the Norwegian Blue Flag list is located right in the family favourite Dyreparken i Kristiansand (Kristiansand Zoo). Excels with high levels of water quality, a permanent lifeguard present and excellent facilities.  

Bystranda, Kristiansand 

Centrally located, well maintained and popular beach with every facility. Among the facilities you’ll find a climbing net, seating areas, fishing spots, a viewpoint, table tennis and a swimming float. The annual festival Palmesus celebrates its tenth anniversary in 2018.

Orrestranda, Klepp 

The longest beach in Norway stretches from Vik to Jæren’s reef and tempts its guests with gorgeous white sand from beginning to end. The beach is especially popular for casual strolls, jogging and surfing. 

Åkrasanden, Karmøy 

Previously named Norway’s finest beach, with a unique animal life, vegetation and history. The beach is a 15 minute drive from Skudeneshavn, and it remains one of several beaches at Vest-Karmøy with lovely sand and high water quality.

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