The county of Østfold lies right where the strait of Skagerak turns into the Oslo fjord, and is often referred to as "the gateway to Norway”. Stay for a while, and enjoy island hopping in the archipelago, intriguing historic landmarks, and a voyage on Norway's oldest canal.
Home to a world-class archipelago
Island hopping is a great way to experience the Oslo fjord and the famous archipelago of Hvaler. Frequent ferry departures take you between four islands in the archipelago, each with its own gems to explore. Distances between the islands are short, but with an abundance of scenic paths, sandy beaches, happy people and charming eateries, chances are you’ll end up wanting to stay for a few days.
A county that brings history to life
The old town of Fredrikstad was founded by King Frederik II in 1567, and is one of the best preserved fortified towns in Northern Europe. Cobblestone streets and houses built centuries ago send your imagination on a journey to ages past, and guides and museums tell tales about times of both occupation and prosperity. The old town is also home to several galleries, cafés and taverns.
Watching over Østfold's town of Halden, you'll find the venerable Fredriksten fortress. Fredriksten was built after Norway lost the Bohuslän district and Bohus fortress to Sweden in 1658, and has since remained Norway’s largest and most significant border fortress. The fortress grounds are perfect for a stroll or a picnic in historic surroundings.
Where even the woods are traversed by boat
The Halden canal runs about 50 miles through the forests of Akershus and Inner Østfold. Completed between 1852 and 1860, it is the oldest of its kind in Norway.
Boats of all sizes still navigate the canal, assisted by several sets of water locks. If you'd like explore it under your own steam - go ahead and rent a canoe.