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.
FACTS ABOUT HVALER:
• 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!
MINI ISLANDS GUIDE TO HVALER’S ARCHIPELAGO
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.
5. SØNDRE SANDØY
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.
6. NORDRE SANDØY
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.
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".
THIS IS WHAT IT LOOKS LIKE WHERE THE FERRY DOCKS AT HERFØL
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.
POTHOLE AT HERFØL’S SOUTH-WESTERN SIDE
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.
THE OCEAN’S CATHEDRAL. YOU WILL FIND MANY INTERESTING POTHOLES IN THE SOUTHERN PART OF HERFØL. YOU CAN SWIM OR JUST SIT IN THEM. THE PICTURE SHOWS THE POTHOLE "THE OCEAN'S CATHEDRAL2 OR "THE WHALE'S MOUTH", AS OTHERS MAY CALL IT. LOCALS CAN'T AGREE ON THE NAME.
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.
A CHARMING OLD SEA SHED WELCOMES YOU TO HERFØL.
THE ENORMOUS PEBBLE BEACH ON HERFØL IS A PART OF THE ORIGIN OF THE OSLOFJORD MORAINE STRETCHING ACROSS THE FJORD TO VESTFOLD AND WINDING SOUTWARDS TO JOMFRULAND OUTSIDE KRAGERØ ON THE COAST OF TELEMARK.
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.
A RAVINE FULL OF POTHOLES.
ANDHOLMEN IS AN IDYLLIC PART OF THE ISLAND’S SOUTH-EASTERN SIDE
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 NAVIGATION MARK «lINNEKLEPPEN»
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.
HERFØLSÅTA – BURIAL MOUND FROM THE BRONZE AGE. HERFØLSÅTA IS ONE OF NORWAY’S LARGEST MOUNDS.
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.
HERFØL'S NATURE AND ENVIRONMENT MAKE THE ISLAND SPECIAL. THE ISLAND IS EXPOSED TO WIND AND WEATHER, AND THE LANDSCAPE THEREFORE CONSISTS OF NAKED ROCKS AND SPARSE VEGETATION. EXCEPT FROM THE ISLAND'S CENTRAL PART, WHICH IS COVERED BY FOREST.
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:
IT IS A UNIQUE EXPERIENCE TO SWIM FROM A BEACH WITH AN ENDLESS VIEW OF THE HORIZON
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
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.