In our first week in Norway, we sailed the Oslofjord and crossed that bay from east coast to the westcoast (because we came out of the direction of Sweden). We really enjoyed the lovely islands and villages we visited in the Oslofjord. We would like to recommend 6 places (see the included map) we specifically enjoyed in this area!
When we crossed the border from Sweden to Norway we had to sail under 2 bridges (Svinesundbridge and Gamle Svinesundbridge) which formed an impressive bow over 2 islands. Then we came into a bay, south of the Norwegian city of Halden, still close to Sweden. In this calm bay were we dropped our ancher for 2 days. We took our e-step and e-bike, put them in our dinghy to get to land and drove to the city of Halden where we explored the largest Norwegian border fort, Fredriksten. The fort was on a high hill looking over the city of Halden and also a part of the Oslofjord. Very impressive. The Norwegians are proud this fort, because it was never been conquered in 500 years by the Swedish, Danes or English.
After Halden, we sailed out to the islands in front of the east coast of the Oslofjord. We ended up in another harbor then we intended, because we were obstructed by a new phenomenon to us: low hanging electricity cables between 2 islands! We did not discover those on our seamap when planning this route (we were also not aware to look for them anyway….!). The cables we encountered were hanging 15 meters above the water and our mast is 21 meters, so without noticing them, we would have damaged not only our boat, but would leave 2 islands (600 houses) with no power….. It happens regularly that sailboats don’t notice this cables hanging above the water. So we had to quickly replan our route and since the wind was picking up to 26 knots, we didn’t want to be a lot longer on the water. We ended up 1 hour later in a very small harbor called Vikerhavn on the island of Asmaløy. The island turned out to be very charming and the people very friendly by starting conversations with us (‘ this must be the biggest boat this harbor has ever seen’).
Now to the island we were actually headed for: Hankø and specifically Hankøsundet! That is a waterchannel between an island and the mainland and is very cosy which a high green coast line. Many ships anchor here and BBQ on their ships while music is playing on their radios. We joined them in this ritual by playing our music and grilled some hamburgers and sausages. A true summerfeeling, especially since the sunset is around 22.00h this time of year.
Tønsberg is the oldest town of Norway and has a castle on top of a high rock and a wooden promenade at the harbor with a lot of well regarded restaurants. Also some replica’s of Viking ships are in this harbor, so you can check what they looked like 1000 years ago. We enjoyed Tønsberg a lot, because it is a compact city and has more the atmosphere of an old village with small streets and lots of colorful house, rather than a large city with modern concrete buildings.
- Verdens Ende
When you sail south of Tønsberg you will reach on the last island before the sea starts, a place called ‘World’s end’, this is how the Norwegian village “Verdens Ende” is translated to. And it really looks like the end of the world: this national park has a harbor which is created around rocks. So you have to park your boat between rocks on which they have beaten in iron rings for your lines to hold the boat. Quite an exiting experience, but safe, because the depth of the water is easily 5-7 meters straight down. When you climb the rocks in this harbor, you have a great overview of the harbor and it’s quite a surreal image to see all the boats lying in between rocks.
The last place we visited on the westcoast of the Oslofjord is Sandefjord. So this is a fjord in the bay of Oslo and a very nice one. On the internet the city promised to have a ‘buzzing’ atmosphere in the summer and so it had! There were bands playing, music coming out of the restaurants, a very lively city with lota of activity. Most people in the harbor came for the musicfestival that week, and dressed up nice and were all excited to dance and sing! When we had our dinner on board, we saw a gentleman passing by: Toon from Holland, and he said hi! He was captain of a Norwegian scouting group which sailed the Oslofjord as well in the same week as we did. Their boat was called Havbraatt, a beautiful wooden Tallship! So we visited each others boats and spent the evening talking to Toon who has been living in Norway for 16 years and is really an active new habitant of this country: he is part of the scouting group in his hometown and also is a volunteer with RS (= Redningsselsekapet, the Norwegian Sea Rescue Society). Really an inspiring example of a well emigrated compatriot!