The walking trails along the Hvaler coast, or “Kyststien”, are found throughout the Hvaler islands and are protected as a recreational area within Ytre Hvaler National Park. Here, you will see a variety of coastal flora and fauna while you walk along the seaside and through the forests. You can find more information about the wildlife and plants on the national park website.
There are coastal hiking trails on Vesterøy, Asmaløy, and Kirkøy islands.
The 6 kilometer coastal trail on Vesterøy follows the sea from the idyllic Papperhavn to Kuvauen, further on to Guttormsvauen and ending up in Utgård, on the southeastern side of the island.
The landscape is extremely varied along the whole trail. You will come across many headlands and inlets with their own distinctive features and surprises.
Geologically, you will not only cross over smooth-cut granite but you will find elements of gneiss, diabas and pegmatite fields. The impressive scratch strips, giant pots, and large pebbles all date back to the Ice Age.
Along the trail, you pass by the popular beaches at Kuvauen and Guttormsvauen. Papperhavn is an idyllic place with white houses scattered in the midst of rocky shores in the sheltered harbor. Here you will find the gallery of the renowned nature photographer Rolf Sørensen.
Utgårdskilen is Hvaler’s largest fishing business with lots of activity. There, you can shop for fresh fish and the sought-after Hvaler prawns which can be eaten in the cozy dining area on site. You can also enjoy a good seafood meal at Restaurant Havkatten, which serves fresh lobster and other delicacies plucked right from the ocean.
Parking can be a challenge during the summer months, so plan the trip around where you are allowed to park. There is free parking located about 500 meters before you reach Kuvauen, and also along the road next to the trail heading down to Guttormsvauen. There is paid parking near Utgårdskilen but there is no parking at Papperhavn. You can walk from the parking lot at Kuvauen and follow Vauerveien to Papperhavn and return along the coastal trail back to Kuvauen and your car.
Along the trail, there are many nice places to pitch a tent by the ocean and enjoy a night under the stars. The sunsets along the coast are absolutely magical. There are no special restrictions on where you can set up a tent but you are not allowed to spend more than two days at the same location and must stay at least 150 meters from private homes. Read more about the Right to Roam which determines the rules regarding of staying overnight outdoors. Alternatively, there are many Airbnb options on the island.
Asmaløy is a “must” stop for anyone interested in soaking up the fantastic nature. Along the relaxing forest trails, there is an impressive variety of birds, butterflies, plants, and insects. Southwest of the island lies the harbor of Brattestø, with piers, lovely beaches and idyllic red-painted boathouses along the shore.
The coastal walking trail on Asmaløy starts at the parking lot at Åsebu along the road Rv. 108. The trail takes you towards Vikerhavna, located on the south side of the island. About 7 kilometers long, the route passes over a variety of terrain including gravel paths, beaches, narrow trails and through pastures and forests. The trail is easy to walk and it is well-marked with blue signs according to coastal standards. You can walk all the way or split up your trip into nice loops.
There are few parking lots on Asmaløy. Parking is limited to the coastal trailhead at Åsebu and at the end point in Vikerhavna.
Hvaler Camping is located on the west side of the island. There are many Airbnb rentals found on the north and south sides of the island.
The coastal trails are excellent for those who want to learn about and experience the nature of Hvaler. The route from Skjærhalden to Lille Rødshue is about 6 kilometers long, but there are several shorter walks to do as well. You will experience many natural habitats, from old woods to pleasant sandy beaches. The trail is well marked but is not suitable for strollers.
Along the coastal trail on Kirkøy, you will pass landmarks dating back to the Bronze Age, ancient house ruins, and the old quarry at Rødshue. In the old quarry, a sculpture park has five works of art excavated by international sculptors.
Skjærhalden is a lively and busy town center on a summer day. The Hvaler ferries depart from Skjærhalden harbor, serving the eastern isles. Skjærhalden has a supermarket, wine and spirits shop, and restaurants. At the pier you can enjoy the restaurants Førstereis, which serves seafood, and Big Fish Café, which serves all types of meals, desserts, and has excellent coffee. In Skjærhalden you’ll also find the tourist office, public toilets, the library and the National Park Centre. Skjærhalden has its own beautiful harbor beach, Kroksand, with nice clear water. The beach is accessible for all visitors and has public toilets and showers.
Near the town center, there are the two popular beaches, Storesand and Ørekroken. The shallow water makes them attractive for families, and on windy days Ørekroken is one of the best places near Oslo for surfers and kiters.
Many people drive to Skjærhalden and there is a large paid parking lot a few hundred meters before you reach the town center, next to the Town Hall. You will also find parking at Hvaler church and at Ørekroken beach.
On Kirkøy, there are a couple of good accommodation options to choose from. Hvaler Resort is a hotel just outside of Skjærhalden. For campers, Storesand Camping provides a nice place to pitch your tent. In addition, there are many Airbnb listings in the area.
Whether you chose to explore one or all of the beautiful coastal hiking trails on the Hvaler islands, you will find a peaceful and relaxing experience by the sea.
Cover Photo by: Oslofjordens Friluftsråd