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Private stays

Fredrikstad and Hvaler Islands

Spend a day exploring Fredrikstad’s medieval fortress and take in the natural beauty of the Hvaler archipelago. Your private guide and driver will shed light on the region’s past and present, helping to point out key landmarks as you venture beyond Oslo.

You’ll begin at Fredrikstad, one of the best-preserved fortified cites in Scandinavia. Explore the star-shaped bastions and the cobblestone streets of the old town inside and, in summer, take a 15-minute river cruise across to the new town.

You then head out to the Hvaler skerries, a group of more than 800 small islands that cluster at the mouth of Oslofjord. Many are still covered in pristine forest, though you’ll also have a chance to see the communities that live here or go swimming in the summer months.

Stop at the town of Drøbak on your way back to Oslo, visiting a Christmas shop and the office of Julenissen (Norway’s Santa Claus).

Your private driver will pick you up from your hotel in Oslo for the 90-km (56-mile) drive to Fredrikstad, a city that sits on the shores of Oslofjord in the estuary of the Glomma River (the longest river in Norway).

Founded in the 16th century by King Frederick II, the city’s home to one of the best-preserved fortified towns in Northern Europe, and you’ll get a chance to stroll its cobbled streets with your guide, taking in its bastion fortifications, which were built in the shape of a star.

If you’re visiting during the summer, you’ll also have the opportunity to take a 15-minute river cruise across to the newer side of the city, comparing its modern face with the history steeped walls of the old town.

You then continue to the islands of the Hvaler archipelago, scattered along the coast of Fredrikstad. There are more than 800 small islands clustered at the mouth of Oslofjord. Many are uninhabited rocky skerries or covered in dense forest, but you’ll also glimpse some of the remote communities that call these islands home. Your guide will tell you about the way of life here, and if it’s warm enough, you can swim in the clear waters of Oslofjord.

On your way back to Oslo, you’ll stop off at another town, Drøbak, which is located in the narrowest part of Oslofjord. Here, you can pay a visit to Tregaarden’s Julehus, a well-known Christmas shop, and the office of Julenissen (Santa Claus), which has its own post office where you can send letters to friends and family, marked with Santa’s official ‘nisse’ stamp.

Your driver-guide will then take you back to your hotel in Oslo.

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Audley Travel specialist Cara

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Experience it for yourself

You can enjoy this activity as part of the suggested tours below, or we can weave it into a trip shaped entirely around you.