Boats and islands
That fjord of ours isn’t just for looking at or swimming in. Taking a ride on a boat is the best way to appreciate the beauty and sheer size of the Oslo Fjord. Maybe you’re lucky enough to know somebody who owns a boat of their own—good for you. For the rest of us, there’s a perfectly good alternative: public ferries.
These double-decker vessels connect the city to about a dozen islands sprinkled around the fjord, each with their own unique personality. The ferries all have open decks from which you can watch the city recede from view as you motor out into the open water.
The best part? The ferries are integrated into the Oslo public transport network, meaning they are covered by your monthly transit pass. Which means you can hop on and off as much as you decide which island is your favourite (ours is Gressholmen).
How about getting a workout while you glide across the water? Kayaking in the Oslo Fjord has exploded in popularity over the past few years. There are beginner’s courses to help you learn the ropes and several places you can rent kayaks cheaply for a few hours or a full day out on the fjord.
Camp under the stars
Norwegian nature is pretty spectacular. Even in Oslo, it’s easy to find a tract of forest or a spot along the fjord that you can have all to yourself.
Whereas in many other countries sections of forest and long stretches of coastline are privately owned and off-limits to the public, allemannsretten, or “the right to roam,” ensures virtually unrestricted public access to nature.
This means you can camp more or less anywhere—by the side of the fjord, overlooking a lake, or deep inside the forest. All you have to do is pitch your tent at least 150 metres from the nearest inhabited house or cabin and you’ll be all set. Just make sure not to overstay your welcome—under Norwegian law you can spend up to two nights in one spot.
Stay in a cabin
Some of us prefer having a roof over our heads when we spend the night in the middle of nowhere.
That’s where the Norwegian hytte, or cabin, comes in. Nearly everyone who lives in Norway either owns a cabin or knows someone who does. These simple, typically wooden, structures are typically found in the forest, by the water or in the mountains. In other words, a cabin with a view is almost guaranteed.
A taste of the simple life
While some Norwegian cabins have indoor plumbing and electricity, many offer a return to a simpler time when people made dinner by candlelight, played cards with sunlight streaming through the window, and spent entire evenings talking.
Until you secure your first invitation to a Norwegian colleague or friend’s cabin, you have no shortage of options as you try your hand at cabin life:
Oslofjord kystled rents out cabins located in Oslo and further south along the fjord.
The Norwegian Trekking Association (DNT) rents rooms and entire cabins found in the forests around Oslo and in scenic locations all across the country.
- SiO, The Student Welfare Organisation of Oslo and Akershus, has several cabins it rents out to students.
All of these organisations keep prices low to ensure that everyone has the chance to get away from it all for a night or three. If you get hooked on cabin living, you might even want to consider becoming a member—both Oslofjord kystled and DNT rent out cabins to members at a discount.