Our county has more than a 1000 islands along our endless coastline. No other place in Norway has more sun, and with its 100 beaches Østfold is often called the holiday paradise of the Oslo Fjord. Østfold has charming villages, great fishing lakes and bright yellow fields. An ancient landscape where you will be unable to resist the call of history and beautiful nature. Here nature is meant to be explored, where everyone can find their own acre of serene landscape while walking in the great woods.
The old name for the Oslo Fjord was The Fold, and Østfold therefore means “the county east of the Oslo Fjord”.
If you want a huge variety of attractions to choose from, you have come to the right place. There are important historical sites everywhere in the county and museums with many different profiles. The reason that there are so many heritage attractions here is because Østfold played a key role in many important periods of Norway´s history.
One example is the Fredriksten Festning (Fredriksten fortress) which towers above Halden. It was here King Karl XII of Sweden fell in 1718. Also worth a visit is the best preserved fortress town in Northern Europe, the Old Town (Gamlebyen) in Fredrikstad, founded in 1567.
We can also recommend Østfold Museum´s branch in Sarpsborg (Borgarsyssel Museum), which has a uniquely decorated church and a fantastic collection of old buildings housing some 20.000 objects from Østfold. The lakes, rivers and canals of the Halden waterways offer nature at its most beautiful in the borderlands between Sweden and Norway. The canal with its three locks can be experienced from the deck of the steam ferry ”Engebret Soot”, which can be taken from Ørje or joined at one of the other stops. Galleri F15 is a great place to start for art enthusiasts wanting to explore the gallery town of Moss!
You never have to travel far in Østfold to find a heritage site. There is a concentration of historical attractions dating from the flowering of Bronze Age culture 3000 years ago along the “Road of the Ancients” (highway 110) between Fredrikstad and Skjeberg in Sarpsborg municipality. Some of Northern Europe´s largest and most mysterious rock carvings are to be found here. These fascinating sites are brought to life in the guide book “Ships of the Sun : A round trip of Bronze Age Østfold”, available in English from most tourist offices and museums. There are also many monuments of the Stone and Iron Ages here in the form of circles of standing stones, monoliths and burial barrows.
The traces of some of the first people to make Østfold their home some 10.000 years ago have been found at Høgnipen in Rakkestad. Høgnipen, 191 metres above sea level, is on the border between Skjeberg and Rakkestad, and is a favourite spot for walkers because of its 6 metre high observation tower. It can be reached on foot or by bike.
An active stay
The first thing that strikes visitors to Østfold is its varied, open and green landscape. The county is only 100 km long and 80 km wide, but it offers a huge range of outdoor activities.
The county is relatively flat, with only a few hills. Slavasshøgda is the highest, at 336 metres. This gentle terrain makes it perfect for people wanting to explore by foot or by bike.
There is a wide range of outdoor activities such as golf, town walks, island hopping, sea rafting, cave climbing, canal lock tours, story telling, art exhibitions, shopping and much more. We have a list of activities for those who are travelling with children, and those who are travelling without.
A round trip of Østfold by car is a great way to get to see the county. If you don´t come by car, you can hire one at Moss Airport Rygge.
More information about Østfold: www.visitoslofjord.no