Grabbing a fall fling on the fjord
October 15, 2010
EXCURSIONS: The sun is sinking visibly lower in the sky all over Norway, but while it’s still shining over the Oslo Fjord, it’s possible to soak up what’s left of it with a cruise over to Nesodden or around the islands. It doesn’t even have to be your last before next summer.
While many of the sightseeing firms in the capital have taken their boats out of service for the season, there are still some options for those craving a breath of salt air. One local venture keeps its high-masted vessel going year-round, the ferries still operate on an abbreviated schedule to the islands, and then there’s an often-overlooked option: The commuter ferry to the Nesodden peninsula.
It leaves every half-hour all year long from Aker Brygge and offers a relatively reasonable way to sail in comfort and watch the maritime scenery roll by as it crosses the Oslo Fjord over to the quiet peninsula known for its artistic and residential community.
The trip takes around 25 minutes and offers great views of Aker Brygge, the new Tjuvholmen development rising next to it, some of the small islands dotted with cottages and the Bygdøy Peninsula, known for its museums and high-priced housing.
In the background are all the hills and forests around Oslo, so if you bundle up a bit, the view is best from the open-air decks on the new ferries that went into service just last year.
They’ve won generally good reviews from those who ride them every day, back and forth to work. They feature deck-to-ceiling windows, comfortable seating, wooden floors, snack bars and a few tables. Some passengers have called them “luxury boats” compared to the old ferries that plied the route for many years.
On arrival at the peninsula’s northern tip called Nesoddtangen, there’s a new terminal building with a kiosk and signs for a coastal trail (Kyststien) that heads off in both directions from the port. The trail is fairly well-marked and offers a scenic trek south towards the small boat harbor (Småbåthavn at Oksval brygge), for example, or along the western shore, which can be sunnier. Bus service also coincides with the ferries, so another option is a bus ride south towards Skoklefalltjern and the trails down to Kavringstrand.
Closer to town, the ferries to the islands such as Hovedøya and Gressholmen still leave from Vippetangen while the tour company Båtservice Sightseeing runs its “hop-on hop-off mini-cruise.” The small version of a tall ship stops at piers opposite City Hall, the Opera House and over on Bygdøy, beginning at 9:45am at City Hall. Each leg of the cruise takes around 30 minutes and it’s possible to get off and reboard 90 minutes later when the vessel returns. Tickets cost NOK 170 (children half-price), much more than the island ferries or the boat to Nesodden, but are good for 24 hours.
Landlubbers can stroll along the shore from the Opera all the way over to Bygdøy, pretty much along the fjord the entire way. Lots of Norwegians do so, even in the middle of winter.