City Visit: Oslo, part one – the Aker Brygge area and its marina
The Oslo Boat show was winding down when we arrived in the Oslo area, which meant that the Aker Brygge marina was still closed to the public. We decided to stay in one of the lovely anchorages not far from the city. The Ostøya-Grimsøya-Kjeholmen group of islands is only about 6 nautical miles from Aker Brygge in Oslo and outside of the “high” season in the middle of summer, it’s not crowded at all. Several houses dot these islands so lying at anchor is the best solution so as not to disturb the inhabitants.
Anchored in beautiful weather at Ostøya
The Aker Brygge marina had announced on their website that it would open to the public on the Tuesday after the boat show, so we left the anchorage for Oslo city.
Surprise! The workers who were taking down the tents and temporary pontoons were not yet finished with their task. We were given the choice of lying on the outside of the pontoons or finding another marina. The wind was brisk and coming straight into the marina making the waves in the entire harbour quite choppy. We clearly did not want to moor on the outside of the marina. The ferries and cruise lines that enter and exit Oslo also create a lot of waves. We opted to go to Dronninghavna.
A view of the Dronninghavna boat club, with the Holmenkollen ski jump in the background
Unfortunately, Dronninghavna did not a berth for our boat and we were given a waiting pontoon. We weren’t pleased with the situation. We were told that all of the marinas in Oslo were full because all of the visiting boats and even the permanent renters of berths at Akerbrygge were relegated to the other Oslo marinas. There was nothing to do but accept the situation. At least they let us use the waiting pontoon free of charge (there’s no water, electricity or access to toilets, etc.)
Dronninghavna boat club on the island of Bygdøy, just outside of Oslo city centre
The Dronninghavna is otherwise a good choice for those of you who want to visit the most famous of all of the Oslo museums: the Viking Ship Museum, the Kontiki Museum, the Fram museum and the Norwegian Folk Museum. They are all on the same island as the marina, Bygdøy.
Finally, on the Wednesday after the boat show, we were permitted to up at the Aker Brygge marina. This is the marina closest to the city centre of Oslo. Aker Brygge is a modern waterfront neighbourhood that successfully blends restaurants, cafés, boutiques, offices and living space. For anyone who loves modern architecture, this place is just amazing!
Aker Brygge Marina
The marina at night
Marina Review: The Aker Brygge marina
The marina is relatively new and you’ll find everything you need, including toilets and showers, a laundry room, wifi, and a small café. The toilets, showers and laundry room were all spotless and in brand new condition. We absolutely loved staying here!
It’s relatively expensive, but you get a pristine marina and walking distance to downtown Oslo for the price.
The only downside is that it can get quite noisy if the weather is nice and there are lots of people out.
Marina Prices: 14 NOK per foot. This includes WiFi, use of toilets, showers, washers and dryers, electricity and water.
Freja moored at the Aker Brygge Marina. The harbour office and facilities are to the right in the photo
The view towards Tjuvholmen from the boat
The Akerbrygge/Tjuvholmen borough of Oslo
The Aker Brygge/Tjuvholmen area was built from land that served as a shipyard and small mechanical factories until 1982. It was then developed, step by step, into the amazing architectural wonderland that it is today.
Aker Brygge on a sunny morning
A few of the buildings were not removed, but renovated and reborn as shops, offices, restaurants and apartments.
A late evening view of the Aker Brygge Marina
Walking Senna through the Aker Brygge/Tjuvholmen area at night
Another part of our dog-walking route
More of the amazing architecture at Aker Brygge
Some of the more well-known architects represented here include Niels Torp (who also designed the beautiful SAS building outside Stockholm), Space Group and Renzo Piano, who designed the Astrup Fearnley Museum on Tjuvholmen. Renzo Piano is also the architect responsible for the Shard in London, the Paul Klee Centre in Bern, Switzerland and the New York Times building in New York. If you are passionate about architecture as an art form, you will love this area.
Tjuvholmen by day…
And Tjuvholmen by night
The Astrup Fearnley Museum of Modern Art on Tjuvholmen island
The Aker Brygge is the part of this new area with the most restaurants, shops, bars and cafés. We had dinners or lunches here and found what we think are Europe’s best croissants for breakfast (it’s the incredible Norwegian butter)! You’ll find lots of different shops and boutiques, but for essentials, there is the Coop grocery store. You can get your internet access card for your router at Telia.
Another part of dog-walking route (and tour of amazing architecture)
One of the many sidewalk restaurants at Aker Brygge/Tjuvholmen. This one has a view of the marina and the Oslo Fjord
Here’s another of the many cozy sidewalk restaurants in the Aker Brygge area
Lovely sculpture and water art in front of yet another sidewalk restaurant
Another view of the incredible modern architecture in Aker Brygge
In my next post, I’ll go over our favourite places to visit in and around Oslo.
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 via the Dockspot site.
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 boat club (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).
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 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. Electricity costs 50 SEK per night (2016). Open from 1st of May until end of September. Contact info (not reservations!): email: firstname.lastname@example.org, phone: +46 76 309 3229, There is no harbour office as it’s a boat club. All reservations, arrangements and payments are now made using the Dockspot website.
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 atmosphere is a lot more “marina” here, as all the boats are occupied. You’ll have more of a boat “social life” here compared to Navis.
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: email@example.com, phone: +46 (0)8 661 9187 Harbour office hours: 8.00–20.00
Google Earth photo of the Wasahamn and surrounding area
After spending a day at the marina in Oxelösund, we were once again northbound for the Stockholm Archipelago. But before I get into the anchorages, I’d like to provide a short review of one of the two marinas in Oxelösund, because it’s a good stop for provisioning if you want to spend the next week or so at anchor. Oxelösund is the home of a big steel works, so it’s not exactly the most beautiful place you’ll see in Sweden. There isn’t any smoke pouring from smoke stacks, so the air is clean — it’s just not a very pretty site.
Sailing past Gamla Oxelösund (Old Oxelösund). Fisherman’s cottage.
You can chose between two marinas in Oxelösund. We stayed at “Oxelösunds Gästhamn” – it’s the closest one to the center of the small town – about a 15 minute walk. The other one is the Femöre marina. It’s farther away from town but has the advantage of having a restaurant right at the marina.
Sorry about the lack of photos, but it was raining hard while we were there!
The Oxelösund marina provides great service! We were met at arrival by a young man who showed us the best place to come alongside and took our lines. Although the marina doesn’t have a restaurant, it does have a small café that serves cold and hot drinks, snacks and — ice cream! All of the staff were kind and very helpful. The large ICA Kvantum supermarket in town has just about everything you’d need to provision, and it’s open from 8.00-21.00 every day. For those who hate to cook, there’s a good choice of ready-to-eat or -heat selections from the deli counter. It was still Swedish strawberry season, so we loaded up on some (a lot!) from a local organic grower.
Oxelösund Gästhamn Facts:
Total number of berths: about 100
Mooring Methods: Buoys, Alongside
Water depth: 1.2 – 6 meters
Facilities: Toilets, showers, sauna, washing machines and dryers, microwave oven, free WiFi, fresh water, electricity (50 SEK per day), bicycle and kayak rentals, play area for children, basketball and boules areas, black tank pump-out self-service dock, fuel dock, snack bar with outdoor seating.
The small town hosts shops and museums as well as a children’s “adventure land” called Boda Borg.
Prices per day (2016): 200 SEK (electricity is 50 SEK extra per day)
Telephone: +46 70 600 1105. If you phone just before arrival, someone will come to help you dock.
The routing from Oxelösund to Ringsön takes you through a fabulous part of the east coast archipelago chain. Be sure to pass through the “Stendörren” (stone door) on your way to Ringsön. It’s amazingly beautiful and it’s appreciated by all Swedish sailors who pass through.
Approaching Stendörren (the Stone Door) passage.
Stendörren – not far from Ringsön
Going through the Stendörren (the Stone Door) passage.
We discovered Ringsön with our friend and coach, Leon Schultz back in 2015. It’s a huge anchorage providing shelter from all winds.
Th approach to Ringsön via Stendörren.
At anchor in the southern part of Ringsön.
The nature at this anchorage is exquisite, seemingly untouched by man. We had a short swim, but the water was still rather cool at 18°C.
Anchoring spots on Ringsön. GPS coordinates: 58°44’1N, 17°26’38E
The weather had cleared up considerably.
The route from Ringsön to Rånö takes you past the Landsort lighthouse, one of the most famous ones in Sweden. It also marks the southern limit of the Stockholm archipelago. You’ll also notice more summer cottages and fishing cabins on the islands, as we are now getting closer to Stockholm.
Along the route, between Ringsön and Landsort
The inner route takes you past Nynäshamn, a medium-sized town know for its huge ferries to both Gotland and Latvia. The marina is right next to the ferry terminal. If you didn’t stop in Oxelösund to provision, you can do so in Nynäshamn, which is a bigger town with a greater choice of shops.
We actually tried to anchor up at the island of Nåtterö, famous around Stockholm for its sandy beaches. We tried five times to get our anchor to hold in the cove called Östermarsfladden. To no avail – there was just too much thick seaweed growth on the bottom. Each time, it seemed to hold, but as soon as we got to around 1,600 rpm during our backing down process, we started to drag. Since we’re not happy until it holds at 2,200-2,500 rpm, out we went!
We saw on the charts that Rånö seemed to have a well-sheltered bay called Rånöhamn. It’s sheltered because the entrance is quite narrow, just as it is at Ringsön. It then opens up to nicely sized harbour. It’s great for all winds except for hard northerly. Just be careful not to anchor on the east side – there’s an underground cable there. Our Spade held on the first try, at about 10 meters’ depth.
Summer cottage at the Rånöhamn anchorage
Beautiful sunny day at Rånö
One helpful tip — avoid the urge to explore the island of Ängsholmen on the east side of the anchorage. Cows are kept there and attract horse flies. If you’re bitten by a horse fly you certainly know it! Ouch.
Approach to Rånöhamn. GPS coordinates: 58°56’12N, 18°10’39E
Fjärdlång – Mörkviken on midsummer weekend
The route north from Rånö to Mörkviken on the island of Fjärdlång takes you past the wonderful marina of Utö. You can read about it in this post.
Beautiful summer weather on the way to Fjärdlång
The views are just incredible in the archipelago!
Mörkviken turned out to be perhaps a favourite anchorage in the Stockholm archipelago. There are actually two parts to this anchorage — a small inner harbour which is perfect if you want to anchor up the “Swedish way” (two lines ashore with a stern anchor), and a much larger outer harbour – perfect for dropping your anchor off the bow.
The outer part of the anchorage in Mörkviken on the island of Fjärdlång
That wonderful moment after the anchor is dug in, you’ve filled in your log book and you’ve gotten the dinghy in the water. Jacques takes Senna out while I wait onboard to really make sure the anchor isn’t moving anywhere. We usually wait an hour before leaving the boat unattended.
If you chose the inner harbour, you need to hug the western cliff face quite closely to get past the two underwater rocks. We noticed that most of the to-land/stern-anchored boats were using the finger-shaped out-cropping on the southern edge of the anchorage.
The inner part of the Mörkviken anchorage
We chose the outer harbour. We had winds from the southwest, and the forecast for the next couple of days was for weak winds from the S to SW. As you can see from the chart, the outer harbour would not be good in winds from the N to NE.
The anchorage of Mörkviken – here you see the inner and outer parts of the harbour. GPS coordinates: 59°03’3N, 18°31’21E.
Our anchor held on the second try, in about 12 meters’ depth. It was now time to get Senna into the dinghy and take her to one of the islands to take care of her “needs”. Afterwards, it’s time for a swim. She loves to swim and we’ve started to follow alongside in the dinghy. It’s great exercise and the low salt content in the Baltic waters doesn’t leave her sticky and crusted with salt.
Senna getting her exercise
It was midsummer — the weekend following the summer solstice — and everyone was celebrating with BBQs, herring and potatoes, music and lot’s of drinking. We ended up staying here for three days — it’s just that lovely. We worked on boat maintenance (mostly cleaning and polishing) had a few short swims and explored the anchorage by dinghy during long sunny days of midsummer. It’s not always sunny and warm during mid-summer, but in 2016 it was!
View towards the entrance of the anchorage. Our boat Freja is on the left.
The beautiful midsummer light at about 10.30 in the evening.