Great Discoveries: Norwegian anchorages part one: the eastern Oslofjord area
It seems that most people who sail to Norway skip over the entire Oslofjord region. If they’re coming from Sweden they’ll sail directly to Farsund or Eggersund. If they’re coming from Scotland, they’ll sail straight to Stavanger or Bergen. It’s really a shame, because the Oslofjord region is breathtakingly gorgeous!
We use three different guides to Norwegian anchorages and marinas.
2. Norske Los (free to download as pdf files)
3. Norwegian Cruising Guide by John and Phyllis Harries (morganscloud.com)
We recommend them all, but the Havneguiden is the one with the most photos, taken from the air so you can really see what the anchorage looks like. If you download the inexpensive Eniro charts (charts for Norway and Sweden) for your iPad or smartphone, you see lots of anchorages marked. In addition, the paper charts for Norway often have anchorages marked out.
If you’re coming up from Sweden, a good stop may be Fredrikstad. It has a marina in the middle of town and a lovely historic old town, Gamlebyn, to visit. We arrived from the east, first going up the fjord, then river Østerelva that leads to the city of Sarpsborg There’s quite a current here, so consider yourself warned. You can also approach from the west side, in which case you’ll avoid having to wait for bridge openings.
Vintage boats in Fredrikstad
When you enter from the east to enter the city, you’ll see an old mill in full working order — that’s how strong the current is.
The mill at Fredrikstad
You’ll have to request and wait for a bridge opening to get to the marina if you come from the east side. They don’t open the bridge at request, but if you call, they know someone wants to pass and they will open the bridge at the set times. If you don’t let them know, the bridge doesn’t open at all (because they think no-one needs an opening). You can wait for the bridge opening along the quayside just before the bridge.
View towards the centre of Frekrikstad
The town itself is quite small but has a good choice of restaurants, cafés and bars along the quayside. We had dinner at a tapas restaurant there – excellent dishes and good prices (for Norway, that is).
The prices of berths at quayside range from 250 NOK to 600 NOK (15 meters and up). They have showers, toilets and laundry facilities.
We planned Fredrikstad as our first stop because we thought we’d have to check in our boat and our dog. We well called the Norwegian customs , we found out that you just need to carry your dog’s passport (with the stamps for all of the necessary vaccinations and the special worm treatment for Norway) in your pocket or purse — just in case anyone wants to check. The customs explained to us that since our boat is registered in a Schengen county and we are from a Schengen country, we didn’t need to clear in.
Filling up the diesel tanks. Diesel is a bit cheaper in Norway than Sweden.
If you leave Fredrikstad from the eastern side, you may want to fill your diesel tanks at the Nøkledypet marina. Glommen Bunkerservice is open between 8.00 and 20.00 during the summer season (until end of Sept.)
It seems that you don’t pay the road tax on diesel at marine fuel stations. You do pay the VAT though.
Another idea for a first stop in Norway is the charming anchorage of Korterødkilen on north side of the island of Kjeøya.. It’s kind of a Norwegian summer neighbourhood, though there’s not much activity outside the vacation period and the weekends. It is protective of winds from any direction. You just need to be careful of your anchor scope as there are several boats lying on buoys.
The lovely anchorage on Kjeøya called Korterøkilen
The anchor bottom consists of sticky mud/clay — good holding.
Summer houses in Korterøkilen
Our anchorage at Kjeøya. The GPS coordinates: 59°5’48N, 11°13’8E
Our first anchorage on the way up to Oslo was Hankø’s west side. Hankø also has a big marina on it’s east side. We chose the anchorage because we didn’t want to waste time going around the island.
Dramatic evening skies at Hankøhavna
In hindsight, we should have done so because the Hankø anchorage is not really suitable for a large boat like Freja. The problem here is that many boats are lying on buoys, and there are additional buoys for the Norwegian cruising club to use. The anchorage is so crowded with buoys, it’s difficult to put out enough chain to have a proper scope for strong winds.
We had strong winds at the anchorage of Hankøhavna
If your boat is 9 tons or less, you can use these buoys if they aren’t taken by a cruising club member. Since our boat displaces far more than 9 tons, (about 27 tons fully bunkered) hooking onto one of these buoys wasn’t possible. We prefer to use our big anchor in any case, as we know once it’s bedded in, we aren’t going anywhere.
Our 55kg Spade held throughout a night of 30-38 knot winds, even on short scope (about 4:1) but I didn’t get a lot of sleep. I was constantly waking up to check my iPad (which acts as a remote for our Furuno TZ plotter) to check the wind speed and to see if we were dragging.
Our anchorage at Hankøhavna. GPS coordinates: 59°11’53N, 10°46’7E
We found the seaside town of Son utterly cozy and charming. Hyggelig as they would say in Danish. We arrived on a Saturday, so the village was full of activity and all of the littles shops, restaurants and cafés were open all weekend (except for the Vinmonopolet which is always closed on Sunday.)
View of Son Marina
Speaking of the Vinmonopolet — this is the Norwegian version of the state-run shops that sell alcoholic drinks. You see the same system in Sweden (System Bolaget) and in Finland (Alko). Norway has the most expensive wine of the three countries, so you may want to stock up before arriving. In Norway, Finland and Sweden, you can buy light beer (lower alcohol content) in grocery stores, but normal beer is also sold only at the state-run shops. You may think that because it’s a monopoly system that the prices are higher than in “normal” shops, but that isn’t always the case. We saw, for example, a 75 cl of 2014 Tignanello for sale at 600 SEK (61 Euros or 68 USD) in Sweden. The same bottle in Switzerland would cost twice that.
Out for a walk in the seaside town of Son
The beautiful cobblestone streets of Son
Getting back to Son Marina, we spent 2 and a half sunny days there. We sampled one of the restaurants, “Solsiden”, had coffee in one of the pleasant cafés, “Torvgården”, both very good. Jacques even had a haircut at the marina salon.
A view of the boardwalk at Son marina
Having some early morning cappuccino in a café at the marina.
Be warned though, that outside of the normal summer holiday period (from around the 25 of June to around the 10th of August, the restaurants and cafés are only open on the weekends.
The fire brigade museum in Son
A view of the town square in Son
We will definitely come back to this lovely marina town!
This dachshund was out for a ride on mom’s kayak.
Information on Son Marina:
This marina is open all year ‘round, with lower prices between around mid-September to mid-May.
Prices include: electricity, water, wifi, toilets, showers, laundry room, exchange-a-book library, septic tank pumping station.
Prices: 250 NOK to 500 NOK depending on the size of the boat. We paid 500 NOK for Freja (55 feet). A warning about prices — if you reserve a place with Dockspot, the price is 100 NOK higher than the official price. We reserved our first night with Dockspot. It was 600 NOK instead of the official prices of 500 NOK.
Marina telephone: +47 649 587 38
Marina email: firstname.lastname@example.org
This cutie was waiting for his owners to get back to the boat.
This anchorage is extremely well- protected from winds and seas from all directions. It’s located on the north side of the island of Seiløy (Sail Island!). Getting to anchorage is a bit tricky, no matter if you’re coming in from the night or south, so pay attention — there are underwater rocks on both sides of the channels.
The anchorage of Fredagshølet
The nature is that of a typical outer archipelago island — mostly smooth, rounded granite and small bushes and trees. It’s easy to find a warm rock for sunbathing if that’s your thing. The anchoring holding is excellent — we brought up lots of sticky mud on or anchor.
Smooth granite islands around Fredagshølet
If you prefer marinas, there is a small marina close to Fredagshølet called Bukta Gjesthaven.
A view of the small marina near Fredagshølet called Bukta Gjesthavn
Our anchorage at Fredagshølet. GPS coordinates: 59°7’21N, 10°51’21E
Marinas in Stockholm
The city of Stockholm is situated between the sea and a large lake called Mälaren. You’ll find two marinas for visiting boats on the sea side: the Navishamn, which is actually a boat club marina, and the Wasahamn marina. We stayed at the Navishamn.
The island of Djurgården (on the right side of the map) and its two guest marinas (red stars). Ferries leave from Djurgårdstaden to take you directly to the Old Town (Gamla Stan). Otherwise, the tram route (S) takes you right into town.
The reason we chose the Navishamn is that we are willing to give up some convenience in terms of closeness to the main parts of the city in exchange for more peace and quiet. A distance of about 1.5 km separate the two marinas.
The Navishamn is actually the marina for a club called the Navigationssällskapet (Navigation society). Guest berths become available when members leave their permanent berths to go out sailing or to occupy a summer berth further out in the archipelago. Their berths are then rented out to visiting boats. You can mail or call ahead to reserve a berth.
View of the Navishamn
The marina is located next to a small palace called Prins Eugens Waldemarsudde. Prince Eugen (1865–1947) was an artist, specialising in landscape painting. The palace showcases not just his amazing body of work; it presents temporary exhibitions of other artists as well. Upcoming exhibitions in 2017 include Joan Miró and Carl Larsson. It’s a must-visit if you are a fan of landscape painting. It’s a 5-minute walk from the marina. The gardens around the palace are free to visit and they are worth a visit for anyone interested in landscaping/ gardening and sculptures. There are quite a few famous sculptures spread around the gardens, including those of August Rodin and Carl Milles.
The Archer in the Waldemarsudde gardens, created by Sweden’s most famous sculptor, Carl Milles
The old stables of the palace. You can sit here and look out over the water and the traffic going to and from Stockholm.
We walked through the gardens and the forest next to the palace every morning and evening with Senna. The path continues for several kilometres around the island if you enjoy long walks.
Senna is always up for a swim! This little “beach” is about a 15-minute walk from the Navishamn, just after the Palace of Waldemarsudde.
Here are a number of Stockholm’s tourist attractions within a 15-25 minute walk from the Navis marina (or take the tram if you’re in a hurry):
- Skansen, Stockholm’s fabulous open-air museum of life in Sweden during the “old days”
- The Wasa Museum (the Wasa was a warship built in the early 1600s. It capsized during its maiden voyage, was recuperated in the 1950’s, meticulously restored and then housed in its own museum for all to look upon with wonder).
- Aquaria, Stockholm’s Aquarium
- Lilljevalchs Konsthall (an art gallery),
- Gröna Lund, Stockholm’s Tivoli, with attractions, concerts and restaurants
- The Nordic Museum (about life and history in the nordic countries
- Junibacken – if you have children. This is fairytale paradise for small children
- In April of 2017, a brand new viking museum opens
- Spritmuseet – the museum of wine and spirits (has an excellent restaurant)
View of a residential part of Djurgården from our berth
Going back to the marina itself, here is what we appreciated most about the Navishamn:
- We were met at arrival be the marina master, who showed us our berth and took our lines
- The tram (nr.7N) into town stops just outside the marina gates
- Great area for long walks or bike rides if you love nature
- Relatively calm for a city marina
What could have been better:
- The electricity is only 10A. 16 would have been better for us.
- The toilets and showers, although clean and in proper working order, could use a renovation.
Around 22.00 during the first week of July
Jacques is replacing the USB hub for our Furuno chart plotter remote. The hub suddenly stopped working. Lovely view from the cockpit!
View of a moonrise and steamboat returning to Stockholm from our cockpit
Fiery colours of sunset reflected in the buildings across the water from the marina.
Prices in 2016:
- Boat up to 12 meters: Day: 150 SEK, Overnight: 300 SEK, Week: 1750 SEK including electricity
- Boat over 12 meters: Day: 200 SEK, Overnight: 500 SEK, Week: 2750 SEK including electricity
- Boat over 18 meters: Overnight: 800 SEK, Week: 3500 SEK. Electricity 100 SEK
- Boat over 22 meters: Overnight: 1000 SEK, Week: 5000 SEK, Electricity:: 100 SEK
Number of berths: up to 175. Berthing method: bow or stern to quay, buoy (are usually far enough away for a boat up to 55-60 feet.) A few alongside berths on the outside that are for very large or heavy boats only. Facilities: toilets, showers laundry, electricity (10A), fresh water, free wifi (although if your berth is far from the office, you’ll need a wifi booster to get the signal) air pump for your fenders(!), berths for large boats up to 25 meters and 50 tonnes. Electricity costs 50 SEK per night. Open from 1st of May until end of September Contact info: email: email@example.com, phone: +46 70 732 34 41, Harbour office hours: 8.00–20.00 (during high season).
Google Earth photo of Navishamn marina and the surrounding area.
The Wasahamn is located next to the Wasa Museum. It is a private marina that functions as a guest harbour and has 146 berths. The advantage of the Wasahamn over the Navishamn is its proximity to a large number of tourist attractions and restaurants. They are a stone’s through away from the marina gates.
The Wasahamn marina on Djurgården. The tower you see on the left is the Nordic Museum. The 2 red buildings on the left make up the museum of Wine and Spirits.
This does come at a price, though. The noise level here is much higher, especially the noise coming from Gröna Lund or Skansen, where regular concerts are held. Thankfully, the concerts usually end by around 22.30, so you will be able to get your sleep. But forget about having a peaceful evening meal in your cockpit.
Here you see that the marina is right next to the Wasa Museum.
Facts: Wasahamn marina
Prices during summer season (15 May 2016 to 15 September 2016):
- Boats up to 12 meters: Day only: 200 SEK, Overnight: 350 SEK. Electricity: 50 SEK
- Boats over 12 meters: Day only: 350 SEK, Overnight: 650 SEK. Electricity: 50 SEK
- There are reduced fees during the autumn/winter/spring
Facilities: toilets, showers, laundry, free wifi, black water pump Number of berths: 146 Contact info: email: firstname.lastname@example.org, phone: +46 (0)8 661 9187 Harbour office hours: 8.00–20.00
Google Earth photo of the Wasahamn and surrounding area