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Go island hopping in Oslo

Want to venture beyond the city centre and take an excursion on the Oslofjord? Explore the capital's summer island paradise!

If you’re enticed by the thought of spending a day on the fjord, the islands just outside Oslo city centre are just what you need.

The Oslo ferries from Rådhusbrygga (the City Hall pier) near Aker Brygge wharf offer a quick and inexpensive connection to many islands that are popular for day trips. Here are some of the best spots to go for a swim, picnic with friends, or simply soak up some rays on a smooth rock slope by the water's edge.

Explore military history on Hovedøya island

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 disembark on Hovedøya on your return trip.

If you’re keen on going for a swim, you should head for the west side of the island, where you will find two delightful beaches. The large grassy area in the middle of the island is ideal for playing football and other fun outdoor games and activities.

If you head south from the ferry landing, you will encounter the ruins of the Cistercian Order monastery dating from 1147. You can also see traces of Norwegian military history. Two large cannon emplacements dating from 1808 and two gunpowder depots remain from when the island was used as a military facility.

In summer, there are usually art exhibitions in Lavetthuset, one of the former military buildings near the ferry landing.

Klosterkroa, by the old monastery ruins, is a café that serves snacks and light meals in the summer. If you are really hungry, visit the à la carte restaurant Revierhavnen Kro near the guest harbour to the north.

Flowers, trees, animals, and anything else you might come across is protected, and parts of the island lies within a nature reserve. It is also strictly forbidden to stay overnight or light campfires on the island. However, you are allowed to barbecue at designated barbecues, and on gravel or in sandy areas.

Spend the night on Langøyene

Only one ferry stops at Langøyene,  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.

Look for airport remains at Gressholmen

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.

In summer, grab a cold drink or sample some fresh seafood at Gressholmen Kro. 

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 also want to look for traces of the small industrial community that existed on Gressholmen, dating from the late 1800s. This is also where Norway’s first main airport was established in 1927, which remained in operation until 1939.

Camping and lighting a fire are both strictly prohibited on these islands, but you can barbecue on gravel or in sandy areas.

Stroll among the cabins on Lindøya

Lindøya has around 300 quaint, colourful summer cabins. You don't need to stay in a cabin, though, just go 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 pitch 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 from 1949, where swimming competitions are still held today. Near the ferry landing at Skytterbrygga on the east side lies the distinctive building Stamhuset, an old inn dating back to the 1700s.

Most of the northern part of Lindøya island consists is 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 barbecue on gravel or sand.

Bleikøya and Nakholmen islands

These two islands are primarily home to summer cabins. People who stay at their cabins during the summer months sometimes commute by ferry into the city.

You can spend the day here swimming and sunbathing, just note that some facilities are only accessible to cottage owners who have a key.

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