Book a beautiful room Hankø Fjordhotel & Spa

This hotel is located on Hankø island, just a 3-minute ferry ride from the mainland and 16 km from Frederikstad. Guests have free use of the hot tub, pool, gym and sauna.Since 1877, Hankø Fjordhotell & Spa has provided accommodation in a peaceful, natural setting on the Oslo fjord.

Fredrikstad's coastline consists of a large and considerable archipelago with more than 1,000 islands and reefs. There are two lighthouses, Struten and Strømtangen, where it is possible for tourists to stay. Among the best known islands is Hankø, which is a popular hiking area with a lush flora. Hankø is also known as the Mecca of sailing and the most fashionable holiday resort in the Oslo fjord.

Hankø is a relatively large island west of Fredrikstad. It is divided by a north-eastern running valley. The northern part is scarcely populated and for a large part covered by forest, while the southern part has many cabins and a few local inhabitants.

Hankø's history goes way back and to before the sailing sport was invented. Hankø's highest point is currently 55 meters above sea level, i.e. when the ice cap retracted (about 10-12,000 years ago). At that time all of Hankø was below water. About 5,000 years BC, this point emerged from the  water. At the end of the Stone Age, approx. 2,000 years BC, the sea level was  20 meters higher than today. Hankø consisted of 10-15 small islands and reefs. It is from this time we find the first traces of human inhabitation on the island. Both north on the island and in two locations along the eastern side, there are ancient burial mounds dating back to the Bronze Age. It is, however, unclear whether the island was inhabitated or used as a hunting place in the Middle Ages. There are no signs of human activities from this period. The first permanent residents on the island came about the mid-1700's. Earlier Hankø belonged to the Elingaard Manor and was mostly used as a summer grazing place for the animals from Elingaard and underlying farms in Onsøy. 

Long before holidaymakers and sailors started coming to Hankø, it was known from the 1870's as a health and bath island, where one could enjoy mud baths with massage or hot baths with pine needle soap. During activities at a brickworks nearby in 1873, a healing sulphurous mud was discovered in the Hankø sound. This mud was believed to have a healing effect on a plethora of diseases. A Bath Hotel & Coastal Sanatorium was therefore established on Hankø. Hankø thus became one of the most famous spas in the country during the last decades of the 1800's.

Swimming and sunbathing was no common amusement in earlier times. Until the late 1800's swimming was regarded by most as a health building alternative and as a palliative treatment. In the late 1800's people in the cities and towns started going to the countryside during the warm summer weeks, especially when cities and towns started to grow bigger and tighter. This period from late June until the middle of August was called "Swimming Time", and those who had friends or family in the countryside, or money to rent a place near the coast, were called "Landliggere". Farmers and fishermen moved with their families into the wash house, while townspeople took over the farm house. Many of them also brought their own furniture for their summer stay, and some even their servants. People from Fredrikstad started building summer houses on the island, especially people in the lumber business. Everything Hankø is associated with today - stately summer houses, sailing and regattas, as well as being a holiday for society's elite - was developed in the same period in the  end of the 1800's. In connection with the building of Hankø Bath & Coastal Sanatorium, about 20 villas in the Swiss style was also built for the "plank nobility" of Fredrikstad. They also had sailing boats. The earliest regatta we know of, took place as early as 1882, starting from the later well known starting point of Garnholmen. A few years later a national regatta was arranged here, and it was not long before Hankø had achieved the same status as Holmenkollen has among ski jumpers. Hankø is still synonymous with King Olav for lots of people. Olympic Champion of sailing, King Olav, was a returning sailing guest at Hankø with his beloved "Bloksberg", and contributed to Hankø's fame. Noone in the history of Nowegian sailing can show such a track record of regattas and starts as King

Olav. From his debut in 1918 until the Vestfjorden Spring Regatta in 1990, which was his last, the King participated in an unimaginable number of regattas. He owned a total of 19 boats. His last was 5.5 is "Norna XII", which was contracted in 1986 when King Olav was 83 years old!


The Summer paradise of sport sailing. Hankø is famous for its regattas, where among others the royal family have been annual participants.

Today Hankø is the center of sailing in Norway. Numerous regattas have  been arranged here since 1882, when the Fredikstad Sailing Association (Fredrikstad Seilforening) was founded. On July 29 of the same year they staged the very first regatta at Hankø. The hotel had 300 guests staying at least one week this year. The original sanatorium house between the men's and women's baths was demolished in 1883 and a new and "modern" hot bath house was built at a more central location at the sound. This "hot bath" is known as Seilerkroa today.


It is nice to watch the regattas from soild ground if you're not participating yourself. The highest foothills at Vikane on the mainland, and the open landscape at Hankø's south-western side, are perfect places to watch the regattas. Fill a picnic basket and enjoy the maginificent view. The ocean is sparkling, the sail boats with their colorful sails cleave the waves and salty drops cloud your sunglasses.


The hotel's guest lists prove that lots of foreigners have been attracted by the environment and the beautiful nature, especially at the outer side of the island. There are a few nice sandy beaches on the north of the  island, which are protected nature reserves. Hankø has many nice hiking routes and paths and they are highly recommended. You will see deer often. There is a lot of them on the island, and they have become so accustomed to people that they are not afraid of being looked at. The deer are  descendants of the first ones that were put on the island in the late 1800's.

Hankø has a lot of nice skerries. Shiny rocks are facing the ocean, inland are enormous oak trees. Together they show how the archipelago once was along the coast of Skagerrak and the outer Oslo fjord, before almost everything was chopped down.

Pit Stop in Hankøsundet. Refueling is necessary on long Summer days.

Ice cream and fuel are the main ingredients on the mainland side of Hankø – Terje Andersen’s convenience store and kiosk in Vikane is a favourite destination to enjoy ice cream in the sun here. The Summer paradise, Vikane, has a petrol station, kiosk and convenience store, all thanks to Terje and his wife serving the boat people and tourists during the Summer. Ever since 1888 there has been a shop in this house. 


On the mainland side is the kiosk with a marina. Here you will also find a general store where you can get good food, drinks etc. If you want to shop for groceries here during the regattas, you need to be patient. The queues are long with lots of shoppers. A passenger boat runs continuously  between the mainland and the Seilerkroa and the Yacht Club on Hankø.


The archipelago of Fredrikstad stretches along the coast like a string of pearls. You don't have to travel far from the city to find charming fishing villages, Engelsviken is one of them. Engelsviken is famous for its fish soup, Summer Show, and with good places for swimming.

All photography provided by Visit Hvaler

This page is under construction. We are working hard to launch a new page about Engelsviken with new features. Stay tuned!


Some places in this world are like an exciting box of chocolates, wrapped in layers upon layers and filled with delicious surprises. Fredrikstad is one such place. No matter how many times you come here, there is always something new to explore in the largest city in Østfold county. 
Read about the Old Town, Fredrikstad's main Tourist Attraction


Adventurous City

  Fredrikstad has rich seafaring traditions through several hundred years.   
Fredrikstad has rich seafaring traditions through several hundred years. 

Fredrikstad enjoys the luck of having the river Glomma running thorugh the city. The river is split by the Kråkerøy island before it empties into the Oslo fjord. The city's nice location is helping to raise the number of attractions and activities that Fredrikstad has to offer.

  A trip with the Ferry in Fredrikstad is free of charge  
A trip with the Ferry in Fredrikstad is free of charge

Have you by the way found the time to take your family to see Europe's best preserved fortress? Here you can also visit Scandinavia's largest model railway center, or let the kids romp between cannon or oak trees on the grass-covered ramparts here. The walls back home may need to be re-decorated with lusty artwork - the Old City is packed with great art galleries and studios. And just a few hundred yards outside the fortress city you can enjoy a game of golf in a stunning landscape with the Kongsten castle as a backdrop.

Fredrikstad is definitely one of Norway's most beautiful cities. You're immediately grabbed by its atmosphere. The people, the swarm and the closeness are three keywords for the cozy wooden city. Whether you are shopping or having a good bite to eat, everything is within a comfortable walking distance.

  The Old Town  
The Old Town

Especially in the summer, there is a buzzing atmosphere in Fredrikstad. For a vibrant holiday vibe, head to the harbor promenade, where, especially in the summer, you can get a bag of prawns on the boardwalk or have yourself a good night out at one of the bars that line the harbor promenade. No wonder, then, that the city‘s “anthem“ is titled “Summer is wonderful in Fredrikstad“.


It happens in Beautiful Fredrikstad:

   Dragons of all colors and shapes, happy and eager children with their equally eager parents visit the Dragon Festival on Isegran in August.  
 Dragons of all colors and shapes, happy and eager children with their equally eager parents visit the Dragon Festival on Isegran in August.

Every summer is buzzing with delightful life, but this year's summer will probably be pulsating heavier than ever before. Few Norwegian cities can boast a taller summer menu than Fredrikstad. Here we'll only mention a handful of the good stuff that's going to happen this summer. Please see What's On for the complete list.

Fredrikstad is the place to be for shows, theatrical performances and concerts at venues all over the city, not to mention all the artists who each year are drawn to this beautiful city by Glomma's outlet.

  Fredrikstad is proud to be the best preserved fortress town in Scandinavia.  
Fredrikstad is proud to be the best preserved fortress town in Scandinavia.

Østfold's biggest festival, Glommafestivalen, takes place from the end of July until the first days of June as usual. This is a family festival where almost all events are free. Glommafestivalen has always focused on water because the river Glomma, which runs through the city, has been important for the development of the city. Top artists will perform during the festival, and among other activites are the River Duel, boat parade and the Cardboard Boat Race with the most creative craft you have ever seen, and all of them are made from cardboard!

Fredrikstad has rich seafaring traditions through several hundred years. On the island Isegran you can learn more about the city's maritime history at the Maritime Center shipyard. They specialize in re-creating wooden boats used in earlier times, and the Fredrikstad Museum has a special section on Isegran showing a maritime section in the navy's old mines storage room. Isegran also hosts a wooden boat festival with a regatta around Kråkerøy island. Dragons of all colors and shapes, happy and eager children with their equally eager parents visit the Dragon Festival on Isegran in August. See our cultural calendar for furher information, date and time for the Dragon Festival. The Literature Festival takes place in the beginning of September. Almost all of Norway's most prominent authors and quite a few of their international colleagues attend. 

  Trend-setting restaurants and vibrant nightclubs next to idyllic archipelago.       
Trend-setting restaurants and vibrant nightclubs next to idyllic archipelago.


There's no denying that the real "jewel in the crown" in Fredrikstad is the Old Town (Gamlebyen). The fortress city and Norway's first renaissance city with its lovely and rustic exterior has a unique and magnetic attraction for tourists, and is one of Norway's most visited tourist destinations. The Moon Festival (Månefestivalen) is held during the last weekend of July. This festival is very popular among Norwegian concert-goers, mainly because of the special atmosphere and surroundings in the Old Town, but also due to the jovial and charming way the citizens of Fredrikstad welcome the festival visitors.



Archipelago and Swimming


Beautiful roads lead from the city center into the archipelago: both to the south, west and north of Fredrikstad. The Fredrikstad coastline, where nature always changes with the seasons, is certainly something you should experience when visiting Fredrikstad. Indeed, if you choose not to visit Fredrikstad’s stunning and beautiful archipelago, you'll only get to know the city half-way.

You should indulge in a boat trip while in Fredrikstad. Several boat services offer tours of the area, even all the way to Strømstad, Sweden, if that's your desire. Fredrikstad has more than 40 beaches and places where you can swim. The Fredrikstad archipelago is among the most beautiful in Scandinavia. Fredrikstad's coastline consists of more than 1,000 islands and reefs. There are two lighthouses, Struten and Strømtangen, in the inlet to Fredrikstad. Both offer the possibility for tourists to stay overnight. Hankø is probably Fredrikstad's best known island and resort. Hankø is regarded as the Mecca of sailing, and the most fashionable holiday resort in the Oslofjorden basin. Here, both royalty and other celebrities enjoy the summer alongside other people. By the way, did you know that Hankø is one of Norway's oldest resorts and that it was used for classic summer vacations as early as in the late 1800's. Read more here about the Hankø island -->

The Old Town (Gamlebyen)

The Old Town is very close to downtown Fredrikstad - just two minutes away with the town ferry across Glomma, and you'll find yourself in one of the world's best preserved fortress cities. The Old Town has an almost magnetic atrraction for visitors. Here you walk on cobblestone streets, soaking in impressions from exciting views of the empire-inspired blocks of brick buildings and colorful wooden houses. Here are a number of personal and unique shops in a cozy 1700s environment where small shops and second-hand stores lie side by side with all the galleries and cafés.

 Market in The Old Town every saturday, all year around. 
Market in The Old Town every saturday, all year around.

In the Old Town you can visit the Fredrikstad Museum, the Glass Hut, the Jorunn Bråthen Pottery, art galleries, the Art Center Bastion 5, the Whaling Museum, the Model Railway Center and the Santa Night House, where Christmas products are sold all year long.

The Fortress Path (festningsløypa) is a walk that takes you to places and buildings where you can learn a lot about the everyday life in a fortress and national military historical events. Along the way are numbered signs to follow while reading the self-guiding map. The length of the walk is approximately 2 kilometres and the time to finish the trip is calculated to about an hour and a half at strolling pace.

You may feed the ducks, study the birdlife in the moat, take a ferry ride to Gressvik and back, bring a guidebook and study the city and visit the free market on Saturdays. There is a playgound for children, several restaurants and daily guided tours in the summertime. We highly recommend that you catch a guided tour in historical surroundings once you've made it to the Old Town of Fredrikstad.

The History

The Old Town is the oldest part of Fredrikstad. It was founded on the 12th of September 1567 on the east side of Glomma, where the river splits into two courses. King Frederick II signed the city founding letter and Fredrikstad became the first Norwegian city founded since the Middle Ages, and the first to be named after the king by the king's permission. It is a fun oddity that King Fredrik himself never visited the city he lent his name to, but he sits proudly on his pedestal in the town square, nonetheless.

The background for the founding of Fredrikstad in 1567, was a Swedish attack and torching of the city of Sarpsborg the same year during the Nordcic Seven Years War. Sarpsborg's exposed location led the citizens to ask King Frederick's permission to rebuild the city closer to Glomma's outlet. They felt that it would be easier to defend the city here and at the same time provide good living conditions for the citizens.

When Norway lost the Bohuslen area with the Bohuslen fortress to Sweden in 1658,  Fredrikstad was an important border town. The construction of a brand new fortress commenced in 1663, based on blueprints by the dutch engineering officer Willem Coucheron. Fredrikstad became the army's main supply base and training center in the South of Norway.

Star-Shaped Fortress System

Fredrikstad is one of three Norwegian cities that have been fortified, and the only one where the fortifications are still intact. Fredrikstad Fortress was built according to the old-Dutch system, with wide water-filled moats and deep earth walls. The fortress has three full and two half bastions on its land side and protruding star spikes with room for cannon.

The ravelins lie in the moats, and outside the fortress are advanced fortifications like the Kongsten Fortress. Towards the river the fortifications consist of a solid stone wall reinforced with earth walls. The entrance to the fortress was across the Vinde bridge and through the Voll gate, or through one of the gates towards the docks on the Glomma waterfront.

200 Years Without Attacks

We should be grateful that it's been 200 years since the Old Town was subject to shelling from an alien invading force. That one of the best preserved fortress cities is so idyllic today, is because Fredrikstad Fortress has avoided actions of war for the past 200 years.

In contrast to the Fredriksten Fortress in Halden, Fredrikstad Fortress has a less glorious war history. The fortress was attacked only once, in August 1814. The fortress was old, in poor condition and weakly manned. It took Crown Prince Karl Johan Bernadotte just a few hours of bombardment before the fortress surrendered.

It should be mentioned in this context that the Fredrikstad Fortress was not attacked for 150 years after it was built. It is therefore fair to assume that it had a deterring effect on the neighboring country in the east. Not even King Carl XII dared to attack the city, despite the fact that he had troops nearby and also despite the fact that the fortress restrained the river and its importance as a communication 


A short trip of less than 2 hours from Oslo you can experience the world of Hvaler. A world which is best described as breathtaking and magical.

For a long time Hvaler has been regarded as one of Norway's most exciting holiday and recreational areas. The sea, the beauty of the coastal landscape, the many rustic villages and the record many hours of sunshine attract holidaymakers to this amazing archipelago.

Hvaler must be experienced, you must have been there to understand…



Fantastic in the Summer, Magical in the Winter. Nice Experiences – All Year.


The archipelago and the unique environment of the rustic island communities have a magnetic attraction for visitors, whether they come by car, bus or boat. In the hectic summertime the inhabitants multiply because of all the cabin guests and holiday makers. A stunning archipelago and a 691 kilometres long coastline provide room for everyone - all year round.

However - more and more people are discovering that Hvaler has a lot more to offer. Also in the wintertime it is nice to go for a walk or take a trip to Herføl by ferry to really feel the weather and the changing nature. In contrast to the coastal environment you may also experience the inland idyll with its rare flora and abundant wildlife. The largest of the Hvaler islands also has vast forests with almost all the forest types you can find in Scandinavia. Here the forests alternate from coniferous to moist black alder swamp. And the best part is that you as a hiker or biker can use all of this wonderful nature, either via trails or over polished rocks.



•              Over 4,000 inhabitants. The population multiplies in the summer because of all the cabin- and holiday guests.


•              The total area is 89.56 square kilometres.


•              Consists of 833 islands, islets and reefs. The biggest town is Skjærhalden.


•              The largest primary industry is fishing.


•              Is one of the places in Norway which boasts the most sunshine hours.


•              Outer Hvaler National Park was established in 2009 and has great conservation value.


A Trip On the Oslo Fjord Is an Experience!


The Oslo Fjord archipelago is large and diverse. Taking a trip on the fjord you will travel through quiet inlets and coves via huge fjords and out to the outer reefs that have been washed naked by waves from the Skagerrak. The coast of the Oslo Fjord is many things - depending on who sees it and where it occurs. Furthest out is the fishermen's kingdom. furthest in the agricultural fields, the woods and the farms take over, along with small settlements and cities. All possible transitions and combinations add up to a varied and interesting picture for lovers of nature. Here freedom is found in untouched nature, ocean, waves and fresh winds. And those living, vacationing and working here give both life and movement to the area.


Shoreline with pebbles in lovely grey and brown, rocks in glistening orange, beige and grey-black shades, blue sea against the wide horizon. This is how the coast of the Oslo fjord rises into the day. In this beautiful and interesting archipelago: Mølen, Heia, Svenner, Færder, Torbjørnsskjær, Tisler, Bolærne, Verdens Ende, Akerøya, the Søster islands, Struten, Kuvauen, Tønsberg Tønne, Hankø, Saltholmen, the Sletter islands and Jeløy.

Norway's capital Oslo is located at the beginning of the fjord. This lovely city, which is surroundedby hills, is probably one of very few capital cities that can offer such a wide and diverse range of sights and attractions - all year round!


The mighty Færder, Svenner and Torbjørnskjær lighthouses reminisce of human presence and are guiding mariners. Many sailors and ship's crews have been put to the test in storm and nice weather alike, against the treacherous underwater reefs, currents and breakers, in small and large boats and ships, all year round. The Oslo fjord has had its share of shipwrecks and acts of heroism. Thousands in the fishermen's cottages between rocky outcrops and in ports have been waiting for their loved ones during long stormy nights and days of uncertainty and fear.


The same coastline is also a vacation paradise in the summer, when the sea is calm and tiny waves gurgle against the boats cruising between islets and reefs in the archipelago. Plastic, wooden and sailboats swarm around, headed for fishing spots or a sheltered cove for picnics or sunbathing. Most vacationers at the Oslo fjord keep coming back, time and time again. No one remains untouched by the grandeur and splendor that the archipelago offers, the borderline between ocean and land.


Looking at the rocks, islands, islets and reefs around us, they seem eternally unchangeable and incorruptible. As they are colored red by the setting sun, or when sea foam detaches itself from the grey-blue waves and washes over the cliffs, we think that this is how it always will be. Our presence is but a glimpse in geological history...


Looking at the oldest bedrock (gneiss) along the Oslo fjord we need to go far back in time - 1 billion years! - to find the origin of the Oslo fjord and the surrounding landscape. During this period the south-eastern part of the country went through a troubled time. Land masses began drifting apart and volcanos appeared. Lava from the depths flooded large areas. Far down the lava congealed into rocks with large crystals. During millions of years everything on top of this bedrock was worn away. It was subjected to further wear. 600 million years ago the land was flooded. Norway transformed into a shallow tropical coral sea. 200 million years Oslo, as large parts of the rest of the country, was quite like today's Red Sea or the Great Barrier Reef along Australia's eastern coast. Several kilometers thick layers of sediments consisting of clay and limestones were built up during all this time. These sediments have since been petrified into cambro-silurian bedrock. Several places offer fossils and thus an insight into what the environment was like at the time. All the Oslo islands originates from this period in time.


Weather, wind, ice and water have done their work over millions of years. The last Ice Age, leaving a heavy sheet of ice across Norway, and the weight of the ice pushed the land down. About 11,000 years ago the climate became milder and the ice retracted from the coast. At the same time the sea level rose. The highest peaks along the shores of the Oslo fjord ended up 70 meters below sea level - as deep underwater reefs!


Where the front of the glacier stood still for a while, or where the glacier advanced, large masses of clay, sand and rocks were deposited. These moraines are called "ra" in Norwegian. The large ra going around the south of Norway actually starts in Østfold. Remnants of this ra can be seen on the large pebble beach on the Herføl island in the Hvaler archipelago. Remnants of the glacial moraine are also visually present on some of the other islands. The ra continues across the Oslo fjord south through Vestfold, plunges into the depths of the Skagerrak before it re-appears at the Jomfruland island outside Kragerø, Telemark, before continuing down the coast. 


After the Ice Age land masses began to arise, and soon the highest peaks emerged above sea level as islands and reefs. The land has continued to rise, more and more reefs have emerged, washed smooth by the waves, and have been joined together with the mainland and larger islands. Clay and gravel have been deposited in valleys and become the sandy and calcareous soil along the coast of Østfold. The land is still rising, at present approx. 2 millimeters per year, or about 20 centimers per century. In not too many millenniums the Oslo fjord and its islands may become landfast, a future we will not live to see. If the crustal continues at its present pace, Hankø and the Hvaler islands may be connected with the mainland in about 20,000 years. But for the time being we will still have to connect to the mainland by bridges, boats and ferries.


A Magical Welcome

Most people who are fond of Hvaler have a loving relationship with the grand and beautiful sight that meets the eye when driving over the "gateway" to the islands; the Puttesund Bridge. First time visitors who are being served this magical appetizer, ask with a captivated and puzzled face: "Does it get even better than this?"
Many feel that the first part after the bridge, where one drives by small islands, some of them only a few centimeters above water, is the best area in the whole Hvaler archipelago. They get so mesmerized sitting in their cars looking at the glistening sea with the many boats, that they just have to stop at the nearest islet and get out to study all the islands and the blue sea stretching outward as far as the eye can see. Not many municipalities in Norway are able to greet their visitors in such a spectacular way. Welcome to Hvaler!




Vesterøy is the first big island you arrive at when you drive by car to Hvaler. The island can be characterized as "Hvaler in a nutshell". Vesterøy has a very varied nature. Except for the high peaks, here you will find almost all the nature you would expect to find in Scandinavia. The western side of the island is dramatically beautiful with areas with big rocks and secret sandy beaches in the bays. Further inland are both wet alder woods and typical Norwegian spruce forests. Vesterøy is very popular with boaters because there are so many attractive natural harbors here. Vesterøy has many shops, some cafes and Hvaler's only manned gas station.


Spjærøy is the smallest of the islands with a permanent road connection. Despite the island's modest size, it offers rich cultural and outdoor activities. You will find Kystmuseet ( The Coastal Museum) here, showing Hvaler's hisory, both on land and at sea. The amphiteater "Brottet" incorporates Hvaler's history in their performances on summer evenings. The scenery is magical, and a road trip on the Dypedal road turns into a wonderful and unforettable experience. A trip by boat or kayak in the idyllic Skjelbu sound is also something you should try. Except Sand Marina there are no no permanent shops or cafes on Spjærøy, but this is rarely any problem with the short distance to Vesterøy or Asmaløy. Hvaler Campground is located near Highway 108 - the last road to the right just before the bridge that runs over to Asmaløy.



Asmaløy is the island for botanists, ornithologists, geologists and naturalists. Not only does the island give you great archipelago experiences through its large network of hiking trails, it also ooffers a rare species richness of plants, birds, butterflies and dragonflies. Of all the Hvaler islands, is Asmaløy the one island with the largest continuous areas of coastal heath. Here you can walk on purple blankets almost like fields of lavender. Listranda Camping is located by the sea on the island's eastern side.


Kirkøy is Hvaler's largest island, and the "capital" Skjærhalden is located here with all its shops and restaurants and with Hvaler's largest marina. On Kirkøy you can walk on a marked trail through varied nature with a wind-swept old forest, sandy beaches and polished rocks. You can start from the National Park Center in Skjærhalden and follow the coastal trail to the protected lighthouse Homlungen. The trail runs through some rugged terrain to the beach at Storesand, which is one of the best sandy beaches in the country. A beach cafe here is open during the summer. The island is otherwise characterized by rustic and tiny settlements here and there, often with farms and agriculture in the surrounding landscape. Here is also a golf course. You can stay at Hvaler Gjestgiveri (Guest House), rental cabins, and you are free to find your own tent sites according to the Public Rights Act.



Søndre Sandøy is the largest island of all the car-free islands and is perfect for island hopping by bike or for just filling a day with swimming and relaxation. The island has a pleasant cafe, Cafe Oline. It is the island's hub and several of Norway's most beloved artists perform every summer in the garden filled with a devoted audience. It is not just the concerts that attract many visitors. The legendary quiz nights are packed every Tuesday during the summer. Søndre Sandøy is Norway's most forested island, which opens for hiking in the summer, skiing in the winter and berry or mushroom picking in the fall.



Beautiful Nordre Sandøy is Søndre Sandøy's neigboring island. The beautiful Graving sound that separates the two islands is one of the most lovely parts of Hvaler. Several grand villas are located at the Sanne ferry port. The picturesque island has an exciting nature, great beaches, and numerous hiking trails. Nordre Sandøy is a bit more hilly and rocky than its neigbor and you're on your own here without any kiosks or cafes. Nordre Sandy has fewer cabins, which makes most of the island pure nature. The island has lots of chanterelle mushrooms, which is ideal for combining mushroom picking with a hike in crisp autumn weather, which is when Nordre Sandøy perhaps is at its best.


Singløy is the northernmost of the islands in Hvaler municipality and it is close to the Sarpsborg coast. The island is located north of Kirkøy in the Single fjord. There is no ferry to Singløy so you will need to go there in your own boat or by taxi-boat. This popular island has a few holiday homes and is covered by forest. The coastline is dominated by twisted pine trees. In the south-western part of Singløy you can enjoy interesting rock formations - potholes that capture your imagination. To see the amazing potholes should be a good enough excuse to visit Singløy. Chances are good that the fish is abundant near Singløy, and sea trout have a favorite place here. Singløy had its own school until 1939 and there are still residents on the island, which has an area of 2.2 square kilometers. Singløy's highest point is at 34 meters above sea level.


To visit Herføl is alone worth the trip to Hvaler. You have to look long and hard to find an island with more natural history and spectacular scenery. Herføl is located in the southern part of the Hvaler islands on the border to Sweden in the south-east and the open ocean to the south and west. The island is much calmer inland with forest and residences. The majority of both private homes and cabins are located here. Herføl has many potholes and the two largest Bronze Age burial mounds. An enormous pebble beach shows traces of the glacial moraine that formed this region. Heføl also has a cozy store with a cafe. Herføl's marina with a kiosk and a cafe is located near the ferry port.


Would you like to take a trip to an idyllic island far out at sea? Go to the Lauer islands!


«I’m most at home in open landscapes, near the sea I want to live”. Such is the opening line of Swedish artist Ulf Lundell's beloved and popular song, "Open Landscapes". The song fits the Lauer islands very well. These naked islands are located 10 minutes by ferry south-west of Skjærhalden. There are beautiful white-painted cottages with small gardens on Nordre Lauer. The remaining summer houses can be found on Søndre Lauer, where there are excellent conditions for angling. Lauer was previously an important center for the extensive herring fishery in Hvaler. Today Lauer is a holiday resort with about 50 cabins. Here is nothing much else to do than just let life take its course and enjoy the sun and salty swims, which suffices perfectly for most people. If you move away from the cabin area on Nordre Lauer and follow the path down to the "Sauehølet", a deep ravine surrounded by dense brushes and small trees, you will have a sense of lush rain forest. Isn't it funny that of all places on earth you should find this exotic natural element on the almost naked Lauer? After you're out of the ravine, walk over a hill and on to a pier that leads you to the Rødskjær islet. Here is a nice recreational area and great swmming off the rocks. Sunbathers have great

conditions here. Lauer has no kiosks or cafes so remember to bring your own lunch and something to drink.


This group of islands consists of the main island Tisler and numerous smaller islands around it. The islands are located far out at sea. In spite of their exposed position, the islands have been populated for centuries, maybe for over a thousand years. The settlement history dates back to the Middle Ages and until 1939. At the most, 30 people made their living here as fishermen or pilots. A few houses have been preserved as summer houses and there are also between 5 and 10 cabins here. Large areas on the islands are open for public recreation. There is no ferry to bring you to or from Tisler. If you want to visit these islands, you'll need your own boat or hire a taxi-boat. Here are two high-quality sandy beaches. Sheep graze here and the coastal climate helps in providing extra quality of the meat. Grazing is an important part of the maintenance of the islands so please keep your dog on a leash. Tisler is well worth a trip. However, being as far out in the ocean as they are, you'd better go there when tbe weather is nice.



11. HEIA

Fishing, also for lobster, have brough people out here in the past. Fishermen from Herføl put up five or six cabins here. The remains of the cabins can be seen in the bay. Activity is supposed to have been particularly great in the1870's, when "weekly commuters" both from Norway and Sweden, fished for lobster in the area. There is a large cairn with a cross on top of it on Heia, and beside

it two smaller cairns. There is also a rescue cabin for shipwrecked fishermen and sailors, and a restored signal basket on a rocker arm in which the shipwrecked could light a fire and signal for help. The rescue cabin was built of stone and was formerly a fishing cabin. It was given to the Norwegian Rescue Society after the ship "Savanna" wrecked at Christmas in 1896 and five survivors came ashore on the island. History has it that a hermit lived on Heia for a long period sometime in the 1800's. He was supposed to come from Kråkerøy and was called Ole Stråsen på Heia. It was told about him that he could cast spells and that heartbreak made him seek solitude for himself out here.


Akerøya - what a summer paradise! After you have visited the island on a sunny summer day you will understand why boat- and swimming guests have taken this island to heir heart. Akerøya is located just west of the islands Spjærøy and Asmaløy. Akerøya is also a favorite spot for bird lovers and is the best known bird locality in the Outer Hvaler National Park. The island is an important resting place for migrating birds. An ornithological station is located on the island, which is considered the best place in the country to acquire knowledge about all the birds that arrive in Norway and use Akerøya as their first stop before continuing their journey. The oldest trace of human activity on Akerøya is a burial mound, probably from the Bronze Age (approx. 1800-500 BC). The Fortress islet with Akerøy Fortress is located just east of Akerøya. The fortress was built during the period 1680-1750 as an outer fortification of the Fredriksten fortress in Halden and the Fredrikstad fortifications. Akerøy Fortress is one of the most visible and spectacular heritage sites in the Outer Hvaler National Park. Here, both children and adults will get a sense of the archipelago's history, the islet's great location and the area's rich flora. The island has been inhabitated during several periods, and small farms have been here. Akerøya is one of the most widely used recreational areas in the Hvaler archipelago. The most attractive part of the island is the area around the farm in the middle of the island and the beaches and rocks on the island's north-eastern side. Here are good morring opportunities for your boat and for going ashore for a walk, a swim or to tent. Akerøya's popularity is also caused by the short travel distance, whether you come from Fredrikstad or any of the Hvaler islands. There is no ferry to or from Akerøya.


Polished Rocks and Potholes


The coastal landscape of Østfold is beautiful. Here are no high peaks or deep valleys, but in return the polished rocks and islets are ever so inviting. Do not be fooled into thinking that geology is not very exciting. The rock

formations you can see jumping ashore on an island or islet, tell us that mighty geologival processes have taken place here.


The nice, smooth forms of the rocks are ideal for sunbathing and as resting places for relaxing summer days.

Although the rock is hard, it is in a way like silk to the touch. The lines are soft and round. Who wouldn't doze off for a moment with the heat from the mountain on one side, the warming sun on the other, and the sound of the waves in the ears?


Most people know that polished rocks have something to do with the ice sliding over them. Ice and water formed the rocks. The glacier gathered pebbles and rock particles underneath. When it moved over water, sand and gravel, it acted like a gigantic water sander. Ice becomes plastic under pressure. The result is fantastic looking rocks, often with visible scratches from larger stones, called scrubbing stripes.


The reason why we rarely find smooth rocks inland is that the rocks have been covered by vegetation during the last 10-11,000 years. The plants' roots have dissolved the nourishing minerals, while the hard minerals remain. Thus the surface has been roughened over time. Only rocks that have been protected from plant roots have managed to retain their smooth surfaces.Out by the coast, only a "short" time has passed since the land rose, and the rocks have thus been protected by the sea and mud ever since the Ice Age. Today sea spray and harsh weather conditions ensure that there is no vegetation.


You have probably noticed that you always find the sandy beaches on the inner side of the islands while pebble and rocks are left on the outside? The ocean has washed the sand, gravel and small pebbles over the island and

left them on the inner side, where the waves are not so heavy. Sand desposits are also found at a few meters depth outside the pebbled beaches. This is sand washed out by the waves and left where the waves don't have the same force as on the surface. But some years they wash the sand back onshore and the result is an exotic, fresh beach.


Potholes are smooth, rounded depressions in the rock and have been made by glacier rivers setting stones and gravel in turbulent motion beneath the ice. The width and depth of potholes range from a few centimeters to several meters. In ancient times people believed that these potholes were created by wizards and giants.





Few places by the Oslo fjord are perceived as axotic as the southernmost inhabited Hvaler island - Herføl. Rarely has anything as unmasked been as beautiful as on Herføl. Flirtatious in the summertime, icy cold and naked in the winter, and harsh in its own exciting way. One is lured here to the crossing point between the outer Oslo fjord and Skagerrak by nature, the rugged and beautiful rolling rocks, the country's largest burial mound, the spectacular potholes, and - of course - the delicious cinnamon snurrs at the café "På Posten".




Magnificent Nature

There is no car traffic on Herføl - only cries from the sea gulls, the muffled "dunk-dunk" from the occasional motor boat, or kids racing the outboard or rattling their bottles. There used to be a customs station and a pilot on Herføl, and it once was an important fishing center. Today Herføl is a summer- and tourist center. There are only 14 permanent residents on the island. The summer guests dominate in the summertime, but it is still not an island with many cabins - only 150.




For those of us wishing to go for a walk along the coast, Herføl is a great discovery - all year round! Only interrupted by a few cabins, which are not annoying at all, one can have a walk for several hours - at one's own leisure. Polished rocks, several bays, pebble beaches, the country's largest burial mounds and the largest collection of spectacular potholes and a heather moorland reminiscient of Norwegian mountains provide highly varied experiences.




There is a ferry from Skjærhalden on Kirkøy, and a boat trip to the Herføl main pier on the island's eastern side provides a starting point for

wonderful walks. It might be a good idea to bring a bike to cover more ground.

Herfør is an unusually beautiful and interesting island divided into two

natural landscapes. You can draw a line from the northernmost point to

the southern tip, and you have to different nature- and landscape areas;

the tranquil and lush in the east and the rugged, wild and open to the west. The eastern part of Herføl is sheltered by the ridge dividing the

island. Therefore, the eastern part is protected from the ocean winds

that pound the western part. The island's eastern side has a tranquil archipelago scenery with forests, beaches, a great view of the Herfølrenna, the strait that separates Herføl and southern Sandøy. Most of the buildings on Herføl are located on the eastern side.






To take

advantage of the large parts of polished rocks, a powerful wind is

preferrable, and the wind is rarely in short supply on Herføl's western

side. All year round (watch your step when snow is covering the ground) it is a great experience to walk here in a strong southerly or westerly wind. It is a great experience to soak up the sun on the many rock shelves in the southwest that act as stands with the ocean as the stage. The shelves are also convenient to dive and swim from, or as solid ground for keen anglers.






The island's network of paths is remarkably well marked. In open landscapes, as in the rocks and the large heather areas, there are no signs showing you the way, but some painted marks on stones do. And if you move outside the paths, you can find your way easily enough because of the open landscape. Besides, it just adds some "spice" to the walk having to find your own way.




The Largest Burial Mounds in the Country

"Herfølsåta" is a large burial mound from the Bronze Age and can be seen from far out at sea. It has a great view in all directions, which is just as it should be. Herføl is the saga island of Østfold. The name Herføl, in old Norwegian "Herfyili", means a gathering site for the army. The island was a central location even in the Bronze Age and saga time. All the Bronze Age burial mounds indicate this. "Herfølsåta" ("Røsset" colloquially) is one of the country's largest mounds, with a diameter of almost 30 meters. This is one of Norway's finest burial mounds where it sits on top of Herføl's highest point. It bears witness of faith and beliefs of the people at the time.




At the south of the island a rarity of a burial mound, about 100 meters long, "Langrøset" can be found. The burial chamber can be seen clearly, but you have to baloance your way there over pebbles. "Langrøset" is Norway's longest in its kind. Both "Herfølsåta" and "Langrøset" tell of the region's facinating Bronze Age history and make quite an impression with their age of well over 3,000 years.



Spectacular Potholes and the Bordering Ocean’s Navigation Mark


Another landmark which can be seen from far out at sea, is the 32 meters

high Linnekleppen with a towering 9 meters tall beacon. The beacon is

supposedly one of the most dominant in the archipelago. Linnekleppen is located south-west of the island, and if you walk up to the beacon you

will be rewarded with a breathtaking view of the horizon to Skagerrak and Sweden with the Koster islands. It is easy to understand why many sailors use the beacon as a navigating point to the Hvaler archipelago. From Linnekleppen you can continue your trip south across the rocks to "The Cathedral", the big pothole shaped as a Gothic church window. A stunning landscape of rocks is next to the pothole. Enjoy all the rocks' forms and shapescreated by the ice.


A Paradise For Swimming

There are many and varied possibilities if you want to go swimming on Herføl. The water is sparkling, salt,refreshing and tempting for all. We take the trip around the island, starting in the east:



Tøftebukta is a small and sheltered bay with a sandy beach. Stutehavna is located to the south and east. It has a landing pier and several smaller bays with sandy beaches. Gyltebukta with Gylteholmene near the south-east end of the island is a southern idyll with small islands and reefs. There are also some good fishing spots here. Vestre Gylleholmen has a great view from the beacon. Here is the monogram of the Swedish King Oscar II and the year 1904, the year before Norway left the union with Sweden. 


Stormona has a long sandy beach with a nice hinterland and is limited

on both sides by shielding rocks. Grønnebauen is located in the western

part of the island, a little north-west of Linnekleppen. Grønnebauen is

shielded from the south-west, and has a nice sandy beach. West of Grønnebauen is the paradise Svanetangen which is the favorite spot for many of the summer guests at Herføl. Here are many potholes in very unusual shapes, almost sculptural. Idyllic Kaffebukta is just 500 meters north of Grønnebauen. A grass level provides space for games and activities. Swimming should be done from rocks or diving boards found here. If you have your own boat, we recommend that you go exploring Herføl's skerries on your own. You will then find small islands and idyllic coves particularly on the west and north side of the island. Especially Fløyholmen with its little "south pacific"-like beach and Ekholmen with the Hvalertuftene are highlights in this area. See map below for location details.


The Island’s Great Son

Herføl's great son, Henry A. Larsen was born Andholmen at Herføl. He was the first to sail the Northwest Passage from the west to the east, and the first to do so without wintering along the way. Henry A. Larsen is famous in Canada, but relatively unknown in his native country Norway.
Andholmen is located on the eastern side of Herføl, and is a nice and idyllic place with a cluster of old stately homes and sea sheds. Here is also the old customs station which was closed in 1976.


 «På Posten» - The Island’s General Store and Meeting Point

Herføl’s flora

Some of the exciting aspects of Herføl's nature is the island's rich flora. Despite the fact that parts of the island are barren and harsh, there are rich types of vegetation and many rare plants to be found on this adventurous island. The highest density of plant species are to be found in areas with shell sand in the north-western part of the island.


Two particularly valuable vegetation types are present on Herføl: rødsvingelstrand, meadows, and calcareous meadows. Demanding plant species grow here, such as strandmalurt, smalsøte, dverggylden, hartmannsstarr og tusengylden.

Most of Herføl is being grazed, yet the island is about to be covered by forest. There are particularly many pine trees on the southern, central part of the island, and also some spruce trees. The deciduous groves in the north grow mostly on former farmland.

Strong Impressions and Nice Memories


We end our excursion on Herføl by walking the last leg on the gravel road from Andholmen to the ferry next to the marina. The first part of the road passes through lush forest. After a while everything opens up and we are walking by beautiful white houses surrounded by gardens with fruit trees. Onboard the ferry back to Skjærhalden we can see Herføl, and we're processing all the nice impressions this lovely summer island gave us during our 24 hours close to the ocean. We were mesmerized by this pearl of an island, and we can very well understand that most people visiting Herføl return there time and time again. No one are untouched by what this magnificent and wonderful archipelago has to offer, and neither are we. And if we visit Hvaler again, we will surely return to adventurous Herføl.


The Veierland Golf Club sits on the north end of the idyllic Veierland. The course is a 6-hole par 3 training course.

Island Hopping Gem Veierland 

Don’t like reading maps, but feeling adventurous? On the island Veierland, nothing can go wrong. You can cross the island on superb bike trails within an hour! If you’re looking to play some golf in these new surroundings, you've come to the right place.

Bring your family and friends on an island hopping adventure; explore the islands and the archipelago in Vestfold in a whole new way. Island hopping by bike is a popular activity for the whole family. Set aside a day of your holiday to visit the exciting and car-free island of Veierland. The island is made for bicycling around to find spectacular views. Here there is a large network of wide gravel roads and narrow forest trails. There are few steep hills on the island so you can rest assured that the whole family can manage a ride around the island. Veierland also has several nice child-friendly swimming areas where you can have a well-deserved, refreshing swim.

The café and beer garden Dagros opens in the summer season where you can get a meal, snack, or something to drink. The cafe also has a restroom. On the north side of the island is Veierland church. A few yards off the church’s farm, you’ll find an outside toilet and sink.

The ferry "Jutøya" carries people and goods between Veierland and Tenvik on Nøtterøy Island, and Engø in Sandefjord every day. The ferry ride from the mainland takes just a few minutes (see timetable on vestfoldguide.no). If you don’t have time to go ashore, a trip to this cozy ferry can be a great trip in itself, also for children. From the sundeck, you’ll see the beautiful archipelago of Nøtterøy’s western side and the lush countryside of Stokke and Sandefjord's east side.

In the northern part of the island, there is a 6-hole golf course. It is both surprising and lots of fun to find a great golf course right in the archipelago paradise. The course is excellent as training for green cards. All are welcome to come along with a person who has a valid green card (see Veierland Golf Club on the web for further info).

Veierland has a 17 km land beach line, paths, and gravel roads without car traffic. The burial finds from the late Iron Age show evidence of early settlement here. The island is excellent for outdoor activities, rambling and cycling in these beautiful surroundings.

Arøyene and Stokkøya




Archipelago on the border of the Telemark coast 

Vacation Idyll

Near Vestfold’s border with Telemark furthest out in the Langesundsfjord, are Stokkøya, Store Arøy, Lille Arøy, and Vesle Arøy. The Arøy islands are together with Stokkøya, the only one of the islands in Langesundsfjord that stands in Vestfold county and Larvik municipality. The four islands are located no more than a few minutes swimming distance between each other. Lille Arøy is the northernmost island with Vesle Arøy to the west, Stokkøya is located east of Store Arøy, which is the southernmost of the islands and is there as a last stand against Skagerrak. The islands are located in a wonderful archipelago in the outer part of the area between Helgeroa and Langesund. Most of the buildings on the islands are summer cottages. There are few permanent residents on the islands, mostly fishermen and some artists. The islands are connected by ferry with Helgeroa and Langesund throughout the year. During the summer, there are a considerable amount of summer visitors using the ferry connections. There is a summer kiosk in the bay at the top of Lille Arøy. This is the only retailer on the three islands.


If you’re choosing to take a trip to one of the islands in the summer, you are guaranteed an idyllic trip whether you arrive by boat or ferry from Helgeroa. The islands are located so far out in Vestfold that vacationing anywhere in Vestfold, a trip out here could be described as a day-long trip. It’s also this that makes it so exciting to visit these relatively unknown islands. Although there are many cabins on the islands, there are still much more space without buildings. There are large areas of forest, small sandy beaches, and lots of rocks. Here the clean seawater flows in and the fish bite often.



On Store Arøya, there is a small campground with tent sites and cabins. The four islands are very suitable for outdoor tours, offering varied scenery and great experiences. On the largest island, Store Arøya, it may in some places have very dense vegetation so that you can hardly see the path, and all the lush vegetation and damp clay soil almost reminds you a little of swamp-like jungle. On Store Arøya, you can actually walk for an hour without seeing the sea, although the sea is seldom farther than 100 meters as the crow flies. On Lille Arøya, there are some great viewpoints where you have a great 360 degree views of Langesund, Porsgrunnlandet, Mørjefjorden, Helgeroa, and Skagerrak. Lille Arøya has an exciting landscape of numerous islets and rocks facing Skagerrak. You can literally "island hop" over the rocks and find your favorite rocks for sunny days. Especially in the southwest part of Stokkøya, there is the large area of open grassland and child-friendly sandy beaches. Yes, Stokkøya is probably the most kid-friendly if you decide to go out on a walk. IF you should just settle on a beach spot with the whole family one day, it really does not matter which of the islands you choose. You’re bound to find great archipelago experiences in any case.


The narrow, picturesque strait between Lille Arøya and Vesle Arøya is called Bukkespranget. It is said that the name comes from an observation of a buck that actually managed to jump across the narrow strait of the steep rock walls. Miles of film have been used over the years at this place.




Travel to Holmestrand and experience the cozy wharf life, the sight of the trees in green splendor that climb along the black rock wall towards Holmestrand center, which was the architectural style of the 1700s. Go shopping in the city "To Levels", or just enjoy yourself at the town's two scenic beaches.

Even better than its reputation
Holmestrand has quite unfairly been perceived as a "town you pass by." Many people associate the city of waiting in endless queues, traffic congestion, and tunnel trouble. Earlier the heavy traffic on the E18 went right through Holmestrand’s narrow downtown streets. In 2001, the E18 moved inland, which led to Holmestrand regaining much of its former idyllic feel. It is amazing to think that the otherwise peaceful city was plagued by massive traffic problems before. We hope with this article to correct some of the false and negative impressions many have of this town with the dream location in Oslofjord.

Scenic recreational and leisure areas
Holmestrand is known as the town under the mountain. The cliff, Veggfjellet, behind the center gives Holmestrand a characteristic profile and creates contrast between the coast and inland. Holmestrand as a municipality is much more than the 11 km narrow coastal strip at Holmestrandfjord. From the bay, Holmestrand creeps up the mountain and extends inland. Here on top of the "mountains" are trade centers, large living spaces, and farmland.
The municipality's varied topography and geographical coverage is a good starting point for rich and varied outdoor activities. On the plateau of the center are very beautiful viewpoints with beautiful views of the bay and the scenic islands Kommersøya and Bjerkøya. The plateau behind the town also offers opportunities for great countryside experiences with a large network of trails that wind through forests and deep valleys. Some nice lakes are also along the trails.

But there is sun and sea which are natural summer attractions in the coastal town of Holmestrand. 1000 places for small boats and a premiere guest marina in the city center, clean water, and nice swimming spots are within walking distance just north and south of the city center. As so often when it comes to coastal cities, the brewery and the port area serve as the city's major tourist attraction. Here you can eat freshly cooked prawns on the wharf. Enjoy refreshments or a meal on the terrace while watching the crowded wharf and boating in the harbor. You can get up close and personal with the maritime environment and boat traffic. Leisure boats, fishermen, and merchant vessels lie side by side along the quays. Although it is nice and cozy in the harbor, it can be even better. The municipality has made a development plan for the port area and it is now gearing up for a NOK 100 million project which will result in even more magnificent facilities for city residents and tourists.

The islands in Homestrandfjord are well adapted for boaters with excellent swimming and recreation areas on the islands. Swim life is combined with plants and fossil studies in the nature reserves. The coastal trail through Holmestrand Municipality is part of the coastal path from Hurum in Buskerud to Borre in Vestfold.

Highway 319 winds and meanders along the coastal stretch of Sande and Svelvik. Sometimes down by the water, other times up on high hills and through valleys. The valley you see in the image extends from the highway down to the fjord at Sandvika in Sande.

Open your senses for our beautiful adventure in Vestfold’s two northernmost municipalities. Next time you are going to or from Vestfold, we recommend that you travel via Sande and Svelvik. Read why.


Reis til Holmestrand og opplev det koselige bryggelivet, synet av løvtrær i grønn prakt som klatrer langs den sorte fjellveggen ned mot Holmestrand sentrum, aristokratiets byggestil fra 1700-tallet, shopping i byens «to etasjer», eller bare rekreasjon på byens to naturskjønne badeplasser. 

Mye bedre enn sitt rykte
Ganske urettferdig har Holmestrand blitt oppfattet som en «by man passerer eller kjører igjennom». Mange forbinder jo byen med venting i endeløse køer, trafikkaos og tunneltrøbbel. Tidligere dundret tungtrafikk på E18 som gikk tvers gjennom Holmestrand smale sentrumsgater. I 2001 ble E18 flyttet innover i landet, noe som førte til at Holmestrand fikk tilbake mye av sitt tidligere idylliske preg. Det er utrolig å tenke på at den ellers så fredelige byen ble forpestet av all biltrafikk tidligere. Vi håper med denne artikkelen å rette opp noe av det feilaktige og negative inntrykket mange har av denne byen med drømmebeliggenhet ved Oslofjorden.

Naturskjønne rekreasjons- og friluftsområder
Holmestrand er kjent som byen under fjellet. Fjellveggen bak bysentrum gir Holmestrand en karakteristisk profil og skaper kontraster mellom kyst og innland. Holmestrand som kommune er jo mye mer enn den 11 km smale kyststripen ved Holmestrandsfjorden. Fra fjorden kryper Holmestrand opp på fjellet og strekker seg innover i landet. Her oppå «fjellet» finnes handelssentra, store boarealer og jordbruksområder. 

Kommunens varierte topografi og geografiske utstrekning er et godt utgangspunkt for et rikt og variert friluftsliv. På platået over sentrum finnes svært flotte utsiktspunkter med flott skue utover fjorden og de naturskjønne øyene Kommersøya og Bjerkøya. Platået bak byen gir også muligheter for flotte markaopplevelser med et stort løypenett som snirkler seg gjennom skog og dype daler. Noen flotte innsjøer får du også med på turen. 

Men det er sol og sjø som er naturgitte sommerattraksjoner i kystbyen Holmestrand. 1000 småbåtplasser og premiert gjestehavn i byens sentrum, rent vann og trivelige badeplasser i gåavstand like nord og syd for sentrum. Som så ofte når det gjelder kystbyer er det brygge- og havneområdet som fungerer som byens store trekkplaster, så også med Holmestrand. Her kan du spise nykokte reker på bryggekanten. Hygge deg med forfriskninger eller spise et måltid på uterestaurant mens du ser på det yrende folke- og båtlivet i havna. Her kommer du tett innpå det maritime miljøet og båttrafikken. Fritidsbåter, yrkesfiskere og handelsfartøyer ligger side om side langs kaiene. Selv om det er fint og koselig i havnen, så skal det bli enda bedre. Kommunen har laget en utviklingsplan for havneområdet og det skal nå rustes opp for 100 millioner kroner som skal resultere i enda flottere fasiliteter for byens innbyggere og turister.

Øyene i Holmestrandsfjorden er godt tilrettelagt for båtfolket med ypperlige badeplasser og rekreasjonsområder på øyene. Badeliv kombineres med plante- og fossilstudier i naturreservatene. Kyststien gjennom Holmestrand kommune er en del av kyststien fra Hurum i Buskerud til Borre i Vestfold

Riksvei 319 slynger og bukter seg langs kyststrekningen av Sande og Svelvik. Noen ganger helt ned ved vannet, andre ganger opp på høye koller og gjennom dype daler. Dalen du ser på bildet strekker seg fra Riksveien og ned til fjorden ved Sandvika i Sande.

Åpne sansene for vårens vakre eventyr i Vestfolds to nordligste kommuner. Neste gang du skal til eller fra Vestfold anbefaler vi at du reiser via Sande og Svelvik. Les hvorfor.


The islands in Homestrandfjord are well adapted for boaters with excellent swimming and recreation areas on the islands. Swim life is combined with plants and fossil studies in the nature reserves. The coastal trail through Holmestrand Municipality is part of the coastal path from Hurum in Buskerud to Borre in Vestfold.

Highway 319 winds and meanders along the coastal stretch of Sande and Svelvik. Sometimes down by the water, other times up on high hills and through valleys. The valley you see in the image extends from the highway down to the fjord at Sandvika in Sande.

Open your senses for our beautiful adventure in Vestfold’s two northernmost municipalities. Next time you are going to or from Vestfold, we recommend that you travel via Sande and Svelvik. Read why.

Lovely from nature’s side
The two municipalities Sande and Svelvik are the farthest north in Vestfold. Sande and Svelvik have excellent conditions for agriculture and the nature in both municipalities is made up of beautiful landscapes, one of Vestfold's longest coastlines, the sea, and beautiful forests that offer many experiences – in both summer and winter. The municipalities have a rich cultural life and high population growth. There is an active forestry operation in Sande and Svelvik which also places great emphasis on facilitating the public so that citizens and tourists find their way more easily into the forest and islands to experience nature. Svelvik and Sande are a special experience by bike when the fruit trees are blooming from about mid-May. Open your senses to a wonderful adventure in Vestfold’s two northernmost municipalities.

The Coastal Road on Vestfold’s Northern Riviera
Rarely does someone recommend someone to take a route that takes a while longer. Next time you are going to or from Vestfold, we recommend just taking a detour via Sande and Svelvik. You won’t regret it! From Sande (from the south) and Svelvik (from Drammen and north), you can drive the coastal road by car along the northern Vestfold Riviera. Nowhere else in Vestfold can you drive so long on a main road which follows close to the sea like Highway 319 does. The route meanders along the entire coastline of the Sande and Svelvik municipalities is a great attraction and destination just in itself. At several places along the route, there are welcoming picnic areas in both Sande and Svelvik.
The village, Svelvik, was granted city status in 1998 and is idyllically situated almost utterly in Drammenfjord. Svelvik is a small village with narrow streets, sometimes called "Norway's northernmost Sørland idyll." Here is Drammenfjord at the narrowest, and the stream at the roughest.  The ferry from Svelvik crosses here to the plant in Hurum over the fjord and is actually part of the coastal path. The large ships carrying cars to Drammen harbor, heading into the narrow Svelvikstrømmen, look like they are driving through center of the main street. A beautiful summer day on a bench in the center, while the boats pass by, is quite a special experience. Svelvik is the port for the loading of sand and gravel and the sand hunter used to be a pictorial element in a picture of the fjord. The old port still retains much of the character of the times of sailing ships. It is said that there could be up to 100 ships here.

Historical Berger and Fossekleiva
If you are interested in the arts, you should take a trip to Fossekleiva in Svelvik. At Fossekleiva center, you can follow the beginning of beautiful glass and decanters. If you’ve take the tour through Berger Museum in Svelvik, you’ll get to experience how people lived in this little industry community when 200 workers were employed on the site’s two wooden mills.  The famous Berg blankets are still produced in one of the buildings. The beautiful Berger farm is located on a hill just off the main road and has stunning views over the fjord. Below the farm, there is a sloping landscape of lush meadows and green pastures with grazing cows that extends right down to the fjord. Today the farm is run by the couple Anne Ma Jebsen Holm and Egil Holm.

It was Anne Ma’s grandfather Jurgen Jebsen who bought the farm in 1880. Together with his son, they built up the woolen mill that was located just below the Berger farm. An industrial community was created at Berger, which until then only consisted of farms and some smallholdings. The new industrial society was then composed of two plants (Berger and Fossekleiva) and eventually 30 houses with housing for nearly 130 working families as well as banking, an electric power station, hospital, school, post office, and church were established. One worked the laundry, dye, spinning, and weaving; and the two factories and related industries employed usually 300 workers. There continued to be textile production in Berger until 2003. The production has now moved to Latvia. Today, the former industrial area is called Fossekleiva Center and buildings house many new features, such as galleries, shops, offices, homes, café and museum.

The coastal path
The coastal path from Svelvik town at the head of the Sande bay in Sande is about 25 km long and mostly continuous. The coastal path in the two municipalities includes other older roads and trails, but some stretches are somewhat rough and difficult for those who have leg problems. The beach area is varied with a beautiful coastal landscape which also includes a cultural landscape that has evolved over time.

It is highly recommended to take a tour of the aforementioned village, Berger. On your tour of Berger, you’ll take the coastal path, gravel roads, and nice trails. It is on the route from Bjerkøya Pier to Leina and the route at Bjerkøya where the coastal path is the prettiest and most pleasant, as it winds through beautiful natural areas. When you arrive at Bjerkøya by car, you can start at the pier just before Bjerkøya. The walking tour around the island starts on paved road, and eventually goes over the trail. Part of the trail goes through the woods and over the beaches, with some steep and narrow sections. On top of the island to the south, there are stunning views of Langøya, Holmestrand, and the Oslofjord. This round trip on Bjerkøya ends on paved road.
During the summer, it’s smart to have swimsuits in your backpack so you can easily take a refreshing dip at one of the many beaches along the coastal path. Making a stop at the pretty arches of Vammen is recommended. The arches were used for storing fishing nets for salmon fishing and on the mountains, there are still traces of yarn drying.
Common to both municipalities, the coastal path passes wetlands of Grunnane (Svelvik) and the Sandebukta wetlands (Sande). In both of the wetlands, there are numerous types of birds, vegetation, and other wildlife that are native to the areas.
Fruitful Svelvik
Old fruit varieties are living heritage and also taste great. Svelvik has a long tradition of growing fruits and has a true diversity of various fruit trees and sorts.
Apple blossoms and strawberry fruit are the symbols of Svelvik municipality, which despite its small size is Vestfold’s largest fruit supplier and the country’s 5th largest supplier of apples. Local fruit farmers believe Svelvik is the best place in Norway. Svelvik in Vestfold has a microclimate that is optimal for apple growing. Apples have been grown here since the 1840s and fruit farmers in Svelvik have built up a long history. But over the past few years, apple cultivation has become quite modernized. The trees are nearly 3 meters tall, and they are much closer than before. The same lighting conditions throughout the tree provide favorable growth conditions for each fruit. Nonetheless, the apples from Svelvik are just as juicy and delicious as they always have been. 

Swimming paradise. The coast of Sande and Svelvik has many lovely swimming areas. Here from Sandebukta in Sande. 

Krok in Svelvik is an idyllic region by Drammensfjord. Holmsbu at Hurumlandet can be seen at the other side of the fjord.

From the fruit blossoming in May. Svelvik is the largest fruit municipality in Vestfold county and the country’s 5th largest. 

Typical fjord landscape in Svelvik. Here you see Kroksbukta and Kjelleråsen.

Berger farm. Watercolor painting by Johs. Torbjørn Rudrud