Ostfold combines history, culture and art with beautiful coastal scenery. Known as the Gateway to Norway, it’s set at the mouth of Oslo Fjord and boasts some of the best beaches in the country. Base yourself in the lively fortress town of Fredrikstad or escape to postcard-perfect islands like Vesterøy in the Hvaler archipelago.
Things to do in Østfold
The Ostfold coast is dotted with postcard-perfect towns and villages filled with colourful wooden houses and whitewashed churches. Parts of the coastline are referred to as the “Norwegian Riviera” and will charm you with its sandy beaches and rocky bays.
Island hopping around the Hvaler archipelago is one of Ostfold’s signature experiences. The archipelago features more than 800 islands and skerries, including gems like Vesterøy. Relax on the sand at Guttormsvauen Beach, explore picturesque fishing harbours like Bukta and visit independent studios and galleries along the Art Road.
The Halden Canal stretches for almost 80 kilometres through Ostfold and is surrounded by lush forests and farmland. Enjoy a leisurely boat ride on a historic steamship or rent a kayak and explore the canal at your own pace.
The former fortress town of Fredrikstad is the largest city in Ostfold. Explore the modern waterfront district, then ride a public ferry along the river to the historic Gamlebyen district. Stroll around the cobbled streets and admire the centuries-old houses, many reimagined as eclectic cafes, galleries and gift shops.
Ostfold is home to one of the largest collections of ancient rock carvings in Norway. The Oldtidsruta driving route takes you past some of the most impressive carvings, some more than 3,000 years old. See if you can pick out the Nordic gods, sun motifs, ships, animals and symbols from the Bronze and Iron Age.
Getting around Østfold
Ostfold is easy to get around by car, bus and train. Major settlements like Fredrikstad, Sarpsborg and Moss are pedestrian-friendly and easy to get around on foot. Rental cars are a good way to explore Ostfold at your own pace, while trains run between Fredrikstad and Oslo in just over an hour. Oslo Airport is a two-hour drive north.