islands & the sea

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There is nothing better than cooling off in the friendly summer sea when Oslo is at its hottest. Visiting the islands is one of the highlights of summer in Oslo.

Huk & Paradisbukta, Bygdøy
Take bus 30 Bygdøy from the National Theatre or Central Station.
Ferry 91 to Bygdøynes from pier no. 3 by the City Hall. Summertime only.

Two excellent bathing spots are located at the Bygdøy peninsula. Several museums, such as the Norwegian Folk Museum, the Viking Ship Museum and the Kon-Tiki Museum are also situated there. Bygdøy is populated with a fairly highbrow section of Oslo’s population, but luckily large sections of the peninsula are public areas. Bygdøy is situated a few kilometres west of Oslo city centre, and is easily reached by different means of transport. Huk and Paradisbukta are two beaches covering the South-Western part of Bygdøy. In between the two there is a nudist section. While at Bygdøy, ask for the restaurant café, Lille Herbern, which has the best view over the fjord. Paradisbukta is less crowded, and this area is popular among families with toddlers.

the islands

Ferry from Vippetangen
Ferries run less frequently off-season, but both Hovedøya and Gressholmen have good connections all year. The ferries in the fjord is a part of the public transportation system in Oslo, thus are regular tickets valid here as well. They are like buses on water.

Hovedøya is the largest island in the Oslo Fjord, but also the most crowded one. Hovedøya is green and lush with plenty of small paths covering the island. At Hovedøya there are ruins of a Cistercian abbey from the 11th Century, built by English monks. Hovedøya later formed an important part of the defense of Oslo, and you’ll find military buildings and installations, mostly from the 17th Century, at different strategic spots on the island. Hovedøya is perfect for picnics.
The ferry runs more frequently to Hovedøya than to any other island. The beaches are small and often pebbled, but still lovely.

It is possible to camp at Langøyene (see the accommodation section), and it it is the only island where overnight stay is permitted. If the weather is nice, you don’t need a tent, just a sleeping bag. Summer evenings in Oslo are bright and snug, and swimming in the sea past midnight is a pleasant experience you certainly will remember. The south side of the island is reserved for nudists.

Until recently this island was populated by thousands of rabbits. Unfortunately the rabbits ate too much of the vegetation, so the authorities reduced the livestock considerably. Not far from the pier is Gressholmen Kro, a small restaurant serving sandwiches, dinners and cold beers. Gressholmen doesn’t have large sandy beaches, but is still a lovely place to take a dip. Dive from the rocks and count the numerous birds. 160 different species have been observed until now.


Any lake will do, except for the two reservoirs for drinking water; Maridalsvannet and Skjersjøen. The most popular lake is Sognsvann, it gets crowded fast. Take metro 3 to Sognsvann. You can also take bus 54 to Kjelsås and get off at Stillatorvet. In upper part of Akerselva is a deep pool called Frysja, which is great for swimming. Here is also a waterfall where you can take a shower. Here you have the chance to have a closer look at the nineteenth century factories along the river.