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The Oslo Fjord harbours a handful of islands that can be reached by ferry from the city: the perfect destination for a relaxing day on the water, beach or in nature. It only takes 5 minutes to get to Hovedøya, where you can visit the medieval monastery. Alternatively, you could go and enjoy a long, leisurely lunch at an old inn on Gressholmen, or go camping for free on Langøyene. All 3 of these relaxing islands are within easy reach from Oslo.
The islands are especially easy to reach in the summer, when taking the ferry from the ferry boat station on the Vippetangen peninsula near Aker Brygge at the foot of Fort Akershus. Line 92 departs for Hovedøya, Lindøya and Nakkholmen around once every hour and line 3 takes you to Bleikøya, Gressholmen, Lindøya and Hovedøya. In the winter, the ferry goes 5 times a day. Line 94 only operates to Langøyene in the summer (May-August). For the schedule and more info, see www.ruter.no.
It only takes 5 minutes to get to Hovedøya from Vippetangen as it is the island closest to Oslo. The ‘main island’ is popular for a day out in the summer. It is covered in woods, has a marina and a sandy beach – although many sunbathers prefer the sun-heated rocks. On the western tip, there is a battery of canons that served to defend Fort Akershus directly opposite in the 19th century. The ruins of the Cistercian monastery from 1147 are the island’s main attraction.
Hovedøya, Oslo Fjord, Oslo
Three islands for the price of one: Gressholmen, Rambergøya and Heggholmen are connected by footpaths. You can sunbathe and swim along the east coast of Gressholmen and south coast of Rambergøya. The bay between the 2 islands is a breeding ground for water birds. A romantic wooden lighthouse sits atop a small jetty on Heggholmen. The Gressholmen Kro café has been serving drinks, snacks, sandwiches and a daily special in the summer since the 1930s.
Gressholmen, Oslo Fjord, Oslo
The H-shaped Langøyene island was once made up of two islands connected by the urban waste belt. Today, you might find that hard to imagine, as the rubbish heap has made way for a large, lush grassy field with forested ‘long islands’ on both sides. This is the only island close to Oslo that is not a protected nature reserve and where tourists can spend the night. Thanks to the Norwegian right to roam, camping is free. There is also a long sandy beach that covers a semi-circular bay. Facilities are limited, but there is a kiosk that sells beer and wine.
Langøyene, Oslo Fjord, Akershus