Norway – Hvaler – staying on Søndre Sandøy

My brother and I are half Norwegian on my mother’s side and we both spent many summers in Norway when we were growing up. Our family has a summer house on Søndre Sandøy (Southern Sand Island) a small, beautiful and very quiet island that is part of the Hvaler archipelago in the Oslo fjord in the south of Norway. Google map here.

It’s an idyllic spot; a log cabin surrounded by real natural pine forest, bursting with berries, mushrooms and many kinds of wildlife including foxes, squirrels and birds that will eat out of your hand. If you’re lucky you might see wild deer or elk that have become stranded on the island over the winter.

Ant hills, always a sign of a healthy forest, are everywhere.

No surprise that wood is the fuel of choice in people’s houses here.

Very few cars are allowed on the island and to get there you have to catch the small ferry that runs from Skjaerhalden on the mainland out to Hvaler. Video here.


There are no shops on Søndre Sandøy so we have to take all our supplies with us which is quite an operation.

We get off the ferry at Nedgården which is one of two ferry stops on Søndre Sandøy. Usually we’d load everything onto a wheelbarrow here for the twenty-minute walk to the summerhouse.

On this occasion though we were fortunate to bump into Svein; the husband of my mum and auntie Gro’s cousin Eva. As one of the fifty or so permanent residents on the island he’s one of the very few people who are allowed to use motorised transport and he kindly gave us a lift in his van with all our bags and boxes.

Finally, once we’d stowed all the provisions, we could get into relaxation mode. The first thing to do is go for a dip down at our local beach at Bakkevik.

The red house in the picture is a landmark we look out for whenever we pass by on the sea. Video here.

There’s very little to do on the island other than sleep, read, cook, eat, swim, walk and, if you’re fortunate to have a boat, go fishing. Click on the Søndre Sandøy or Hvaler links below for more posts about those!

More about Norwegian food in the next chronological post…

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