Want to get away from the city centre and take an excursion on the Oslofjord? Welcome to the capital’s summer island paradise!
If you’re enticed by a day on the fjord, the islands just outside of the Oslo city centre might be just what you need.
The Oslo ferries from Rådhusbrygga (the City hall pier) near the Aker brygge wharf service many islands that are popular for day trips. Whether you want to go for a swim, have a picnic with friends, or just soak up some rays on a smooth rock slope at the edge of the water, this is a guide to the best spots.
The closest island to Aker brygge is Hovedøya, which is both the first and the last stop on several of the ferry routes. In other words, you can choose to stay on the ferry for a trip around the fjord, passing by numerous other islands, and then get off at Hovedøya on the return trip.
If you’re most keen on going for a swim, you should head for the west side of the island where you will find two nice beaches. The large grassy area in the middle of the island is ideal for ball games, playing, and other fun outdoor activities.
If you walk southwards from the ferry landing, you will come upon the ruins of the Cistercian Order monastery dating from 1147. In the same vicinity, you will also see traces of Norwegian military history. Two large gun emplacements dating from 1808 and two gunpowder depots remain from the period when the Norwegian Armed Forces used the island as a military facility.
In summer, there are usually art exhibitions in “Lavetthuset”, which is one of the former military buildings near the ferry landing.
Klosterkroa is situated just near the old monastery ruins and is a kiosk and café that serves snacks and simple dishes in the summer. If you are really hungry, the à la carte restaurant Revierhavnen kro lies near the guest harbour to the north.
Flowers, trees, animals, and anything else you might come across is protected, and parts of the island are actually included in a nature reserve. It is also strictly forbidden to stay overnight or light campfires here. You are allowed to barbecue at the grilling facilities, on gravel or in sandy areas, though.
Only one ferry stops at Langøyene, which is the island furthest from Aker brygge.
Up until the 1950s, Langøyene consisted of two islands: North and South Langøy. The strait between them was then filled in and now holds a large grassy area where there once was water.
The island also has a separate beach for naturists, football fields, sand volleyball courts, nice terrain for short hikes, and a kiosk for basic provisions.
If one day is not enough, you can spend the night in a tent as long as you comply with the rules stipulated by the municipality.
Several ferry routes stop at Gressholmen, which consists of the three connected islands Gressholmen, Rambergøya, and Heggholmen. Here, you’ll find great spots for swimming, especially at the east side of Gressholmen and the south side of Rambergøya.
If you want to do some exploring, you can walk to Heggholmen lighthouse, one of the oldest lighthouses in the inner Oslofjord. History buffs will perhaps also want to look for traces of the little industrial community that existed on Gressholmen and dates from the end of the 1800s. This is also where Norway’s first main airport was established in 1927, which maintained its status until 1939.
Camping and/or lighting a fire are strictly prohibited on these islands, but you can barbeque on gravel or sandy areas.
Although Lindøya has around 300 red, yellow or green summer cottages, it is nonetheless possible to drop by for a day visit. There are two beaches with swimming platforms on the southwest side of the island, and you’ll find both a small shop and a football field in the middle of the island.
If you walk to the southeast side of the island, you’ll see Oslo’s own meridian monument – the Christiania meridian – which facilitated an exact calculation of the city’s eastern longitude.
On the southwestern side, there is a swimming stadium dating back to 1949, and swimming competitions are still held there. Near the ferry landing Skytterbrygga on the east side lies the distinctive building Stamhuset, which is an old inn from the 1700s.
The northern part of Lindøya island consists mostly of a nature reserve, and the flora and fauna is protected. You are not allowed to camp or light a fire anywhere on the island, but you can set up your barbeque on gravel or sand.
These two islands are primarily for cottage owners. People who stay at their cabins in the summer take the ferry into the city in the morning and back again in the afternoon.
You can still spend the day here swimming and sunbathing, just note that facilities are only accessible to cottage owners with a key.
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