Vesterøy - Hvaler – island by island - The Hvaler Islands - Fredrikstad and Hvaler - Visit Østfold


The first island we come to is Vesterøy, and perhaps the one that has most to offer: Hvaler’s highest point, mysterious woods, marshland, ancient monuments, bathing beaches, sun-warmed granite for sunbathing and The Art Road.

After leaving the mainland, Vesterøy is the first island you come to. Soon after crossing over to Vesterøy you arrive at Ødegården, a small cluster of shops where you can stock up on essentials. With Hvaler being a tourist spot, shops are allowed extended opening hours, and the food stores are open late most days. After Ødegården many make the mistake of driving straight on along the main road, which only touches a little corner of the island – and thereby miss out on much of Vesterøy’s character and beauty. Vesterøy has Hvaler’s highest point, mysterious woods, marshland, ancient monuments, bathing beaches and The Art Road. We recommend a detour up the Bratte Bakke road.

The Art Road (Kunstveien)

While Skjærhalden on Kirkøy has its Art Street, Vesterøy can boast The Art Road at Hauge. Here you can visit the studios and galleries of local artists specialising in pottery, glass, jewellery, wood carvings, textiles and tapestries – as well as a good deal of bric-a-brac. The most well established galleries are open every summer. Føinum pottery and glass art: The renowned artists Åse and Oluf Føinum live, work and sell their creations here on The Art Road. At Låven (The Barn) Reidun offers an astonishing variety of interior articles, clothes and bric-a-brac. Mostly for the ladies, but we gents can perhaps take a breather in the garden. As we approach Utgårdskilen we come to Galleri Svalgangen displaying the watercolours of local artist Arild Ådnem. Flyndreflat is in Elisabeth Nordang’s charming garden on the way down to Papperhavn. She was educated as a silversmith but now makes pottery with distinctive maritime motifs – such as flatfish and well-fed gulls. Other local artists contribute works with characteristic Hvaler motifs. Since we have come out to Papperhaven, let’s drop in on the Hvaler fotogalleri of renowned nature photographer Rolf Sørensen. He works with both film and digital and has revitalised an old form of offset printing.

Bukta, Papperhavn and Utgårdskilen

Bukta is an old fishing harbour, in summer there is a small shop, refreshments, and fuel for pleasure boats. Just beyond is Fredagshølet, a popular spot among boat owners for an excursion. Papperhavn is also a charming old fishing harbour. On a little skerry beyond the harbour is perhaps Norway’s most photographed boathouse. Utgårdskilen is always busy, as it is the largest fish processing harbour in Eastern Norway. The fresh seafood here, especially the prawns, is a real treat. You can also get a snack or a meal.

Ytre Hvaler National Park

Though mostly a marine national park, Ytre Hvaler National Park also embraces much of the western coast of Hvaler. This protects unique recreational areas – everything from dark woods to coastal rocks polished by the sea. These granite rocks are perfect for walking on, and if the wind is bothersome, take shelter among the geological formations that make the area so special.

Places to bathe

On the way to Papperhavn there are large parking areas near Guttormsvauen and Kuvauen. These are the most popular bathing spots on Vesterøy, but also a starting point for hikes along the coast. Guttormsvauen is broad and sheltered with shallow water ideal for paddling. Kuvauen is smaller, but also with a shallow bay. At Kuvauen you can see the characteristic boathouses of fishermen and pilots, some listed as heritage monuments. Animals grazed down by the beach while quarrymen cut stone further up. At both places you can dive into the sea from the rocks, and here and there you will come across small sandy inlets.

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