Tjøme´s archipelago paradise
Out by the sea, south of Tønsberg and the island Nøtterøy, you´ll find the holiday paradise and island of summer, Tjøme. That´s where the sun is shining, the waves are coming in, and the people enjoy life. It is one of Norway´s cities with most hours of sun, combined with great sandy beaches and warm rocky shores which has made Tjøme´s islands to an attractive destination and a place for artist, nature enthusiasts and boaters. Tjøme, the next to largest city in Vestfold offers varying nature, summer life, hotels of top notch, music and shows, relaxation and a wonderful boat life.
Tjøme, the island kingdom
In addition to the main islands Tjøme, Brøtso and Hvasser, the county consists of about 500 smaller islands, islets, and skerries. The three main islands has permanent settlement and a bridge connection. Some of the other islands has been inhabited earlier, like Sandø (or Sandøy), the vacation colony island Hudøy (Hudø or Hui) and Ildverket. Furthest out towards the Oslo fjord lies Leistein which shows the sailors the direction of Vrengsundet. Furthest south lies the Tristein islands and Færder lighthouse. This is considered the Oslo fjord´s most southern point.
Tjøme lies on old sea floor which the old clay deposits in valleys and singings clearly shoes. When the last ice age started to withdrawal about 200 000 years ago, Tjøme was under the surface of the sea. About 4000 years ago, the contours of today´s Tjøme started to take shape.
Naturally, Tjøme is most known as a holiday paradise because of the beautiful nature. You cannot find more holiday houses anywhere else in Norway. There are 2800 of them in the county. In the month of July, the population rises from about 4 500 to 50 000. The largest proportion of the holiday guests are the cabin people. The recent years, more and more hotel guests, camping guests and one-day guests have found their way to this summer paradise. In addition to this, the boaters visit the guest docks. Tjøme´s city center, originally called Kirkely is the county center. There are about 800 jobs in Tjøme.
Green forest trails leads to polished rock formations almost wherever you go. Tjøme has great hiking areas that are great for the whole family. It is often surprising how many great forest trails you can find out on this island by the ocean. At Rød, straight south for the Town Hall, you can find a small golf court, and westbound, by the coast, is Øvre Rød Natural reserve. The archipelago around Tjøme, Brøtsø, and Hvasser can offer many islands and islets with thick vegetation, polished rocks, fine-grained sandy beaches and many sheltered boat places. At the very south of Tjøme, the walk is short to the islands most famous places, The World´s End and Moutmarka.
The coastal landscape in the southern part of Tjøme with Moutmarka and The World´s End has always pulled a large audience. This is because of the location with a great view of the sea, but also the special nature with thick vegetation between naked mountain crags.
The World´s End
At the World´s End, it is easy to gaze at the horizon towards the ocean and the sky that meet at infinity. If you look eastbound, you can see the neighbors in Østfold, or maybe even Sweden.
Bring a lunch basket and enjoy it on one of the outermost islands you can get to. Polished rocks honed by the ice age, and salty water through thousands of years seems special designed to sit and lie down on. In these surroundings, you´ll find hundreds of places to have nice conversations with family and friends, sunbathing, read a book, or just gaze at the archipelago life with music from seagulls, waves and kids bathing.
The area called The World´s End was originally called Helgerødtangen. The name The World´s End was given by travelers at the beginning of the 19th century. Earlier, the area was most knows as a fishing harbor and a lookout spot for sailors looking for missions.
The nature is dominated by rocky shores formed by glaciers over 10.000 years ago. Strandnelliken is one of the few plan species which lives in the cracks of the rocks facing the sea. In the north and south facing mountain hills are bushes and trees sheltered from the wind. The birds species are common gulls, herring gulls, black-backed gulls, eiders, and oystercatchers. South of the restaurant lives the nightingale. If you´re lucky, you might spot the seals laying on the outermost rocks.
The restuarant, the lighthouse and the old aquarium was built in 1932-35. The lighthouse has no historic background in the Tjøme area, but was built in the end of the 30s as a tourist attraction as well as the restaurant. Pebbles for these building was picked up from the pebble beaches of Moutmarka, among other places. The recreation area of The World´s End is especially adapted for disabled, with a bathing platform and a fishing ramp, among other things. The aquarium was closed in 1974. The harbor with the pier was constructed in 1946 as a fishing harbor and emergency harbor. Today, the harbor is also used as a guest harbor for hobby boats, with a service building, water and electricity for the boats. A new fishing harbor with boathouses for the fishermen was constructed in 2002. The restaurant and kiosk are open in summer.
On the west side along the archipelago is a natural area called Moutmarka. This is a great recreation area where you can walk all the way down to the water. Moutmarka has a great collection of large rock ridges which you can only see a few places in the coast of Vestfold. It´s tempting to just look at the view, but if you look down to the water, you might find some small orange snail houses which kids in many generations have been making jewelries from or collection into mason jars. Remember, when you´re on vacation, you have the time to just stop and enjoy summer.
Moutmarka used to be a shared pasture for many farms in the area. Most of the animal business ended in the 50s and 60s, and therefore also the pasturing. This resulted in the open fields being overgrown by blackthorn, juniper, rose hip bushes, and other bushes. Large parts of the Mouthmarka is therefore not easily available, but there are three different marked trails that will take you through the area.
The beach trail is marked with blue and heads south along the sea. The landscape will go from grey rocks, pebble beaches and open fields. Normal plant species in this area are gulmaure, yarrow, blue button, Geranium, bluebell, tiriltunge and many more. In the spring, different kinds of orchids will flourish in Moutmarka.
Hvasser is the nest to largest island in Tjøme county. The road leading to Hvasser crosses the Vrengen bridge from Nøtterøy to Tjøme, then to Ormelet and across the Røssesundbroa to Brøtsø. A bridge will lead to Hvasser from here. Hvasser has a unique contact with the archipelago and the sea.
Few places has such a significant maritime atmosphere like Sandøsund, which is considered Hvasse´s center. Krukehavn, or Sandøsund like most people call it nowadays, is an old fishing harbor with a fish store that sells shellfish and the fish of the season.
It is one of the most used harbors around. This is also where the rescue company´s coastal patrol is stationed, ready for escort services across the Oslo Fjord tip Hvaler. Sandøsund also has a harbor for small boats and guests.
In 1882, our great artist Christian Krogh creates his well known painting «Hardt le.» The painting is showcased at the National Gallery. A funny thing about this is that Krogh used the sailor Julius Pedersen Grepan from Hvasser as the model.The island Hvasser in Tjøme county was at that time - and still is - the most important pilot station in Vestfold. Already in Magnus Lagabøter´s law from 1276, the provision of piloting was embodied, but in 1561 a pilot obligation for ships was introduced.
Sandøsund has through all times been the place for both small and big events. The vikings has sailed here, Tordenskjold´s naval vessels stayed here in 1718 as a shelter from the storm, Norwegian canon boats were stationed here during the Napoleon War of 1807. Intense smuggling of spirits during the prohibition also took place here. From 1858-70s ocean postal expedition had its own stamp from Sandøsund postal office of post between Norway and United Kingdom. But also the passenger traffic to Denmark, Germany and England had its headquarters in Sandøsund. If you´re visiting Sandøsund, we recommend visiting the Coastal Museum, which is about Tjøme´s maritime history and the sailor business here.
At the pier, there is a grocery store and the cozy coastal restaurant «The Blue Pier». On the other side of the harbor, you´ll find the «trattoria» of the area, The Sunny Side, where Giuseppe Sapienza offers great Italian dishes for both dinner and lunch. Giuseppe is also responsible for the most popular take away among the vacationers. Many also visits the restaurant´s ice cream and coffee bar. They also have an outside restaurant where you can enjoy the view of the teeming life of the harbor. Hvasser Guesthouse is the last addition to the restaurants in Sandøsund which opened its doors in 2011. This restaurant also lies in the harbor and has a great view of the ocean and harbor.
You´ll also find the Gudem Gallery in the harbor which opened in 2011. A place for sale and showcasing of contemporary art; pictures and crafts. On the «strip» leading away from the harbor are several specialized stores like interior stores, boat equipment and clothing, ceramic workshop, antiques and the venerable Hvasser Motel. Slightly outside of Sandøsund, you can visit the popular Kilen Gallery to get inspiration from art and crafts of high standard.
But Hvasser is much more than a harbor and a base for the coastal patrol and sailors. The people who lives there or owns a summer house, would call Hvasser a summer paradise. Hvasser offers rocky shores and nice beaches, forests, hills, and mountains, sheltered bays, islets and reefs. At the northern part of the island lies Lilleskagen. This place is idyllic and has a nature of great flowers. The name Lilleksagen (Little skagen) is a new name, and comes from the flat landscape of sand which can remind some of Skagen, north in Jylland, in Denmark. This 350 acre recreational area lies next to cabin areas in both north and south. The area has both hills and plains, forests and rocks.
Rocks polished by the ice made of monzonite are nicknamed whale-carcasses mountain s. There are several potholes by the shore, and one is below the small lantern. The area has two great beaches with a lot of people on sunny days. The area is also used for hiking. Parking spaces can be found close to the Hvasser Chapel. Paths lead to Lilleskagen from there. South of Krukehavn is Mellombakken with the Fyn beach - another name that comes from the similarity of Danish nature. This 40 acres space is a great recreational area.
Rich and unique fauna and flora
If you keep traveling south of Krukehavn, you´ll end up in the natural reserve of Storemyr-Fagervarn Conservation Area. This area has a large selection of noble woodlands. Half dry areas are dominated by hazel and pine trees with some aspen in the southern parts. You can also find a few cherry trees. The more humid swamp areas are dominated by black alder. There are also some ash and elm here.
There are colorful flowers in this natural reserve during the spring and summer. There are white anemones, blue anemones, golden stars, Solomon´s seal, early purple orchids and Lesser celandines. On the dry fields, especially at Fagerbakke, the special and poisonous Small Pasque Flower blooms. Small Pasque Flower grows only in this area and few places along the Oslo Fjord. The most northern part a Small Pasque Flower has been found is Hovedøya in Oslo.
The birdlife is especially rich in the conservation area. You´ll find a lot of nests for robins, blackbirds, thrush, redwing, chaffinches, monks, gardensingers, willow warblers, great tits, blue tits, Nuthatch, great spotter woodpeckers, woodcocks, and more. The loud singing of the nightingale can also be heard here, and in May, the Cuckoo is crowing. The forest has a rich insect fauna, and you can also meet predators like foxes, badgers and deers. In some ponds inside the protected area lives the small salamander, and the rare moor frog, but it seems like the most normal frog is absent in Hvasser. Several red listed dragonfly species has been observed in Hvasser. Remember that the adder is preserved!
After the hike through the lush forest, the landscape will open up to nice fields and rocky shores. There is also a great view of the Færder lighthouse from here.
Sandøsund separates Sandø from Hvasser in the west. Sandø is something special. In the northern part, there is a big, beautiful beahc, Furustrand, which is very much known and used, but has no harbor. The waters here are shallow, so the boats has to stay pretty far away from the beach. South in Sandø, the terrain is more varied. There are lots of cabins, around 50 of them, but most of the cabins in Sandø are located along the Sandøsundet in the west, towards Hvasser. Along this strait, are some old, well tended and small farms. The sailors, the master pilots and the ship owner who lived out there.
Boat trip in Røssesundet
Røssesund is the strait between Hvasser and Brøstso in the east, and the island of Tjøme in the west. Røssesundet goes all the way from Engø in the north and the World´s End in the south, and contains many small islands. If you travel by boat, the Røssesund is a fun, tight and crooket, and of course crumble, sheltered from all the islands facing the sea.
Several types of cabins has national price records.
Tjøme is not only nature, the island also has a rich culture. Tjøme, and the islands of Brøtsø and Hvasser can offer a rich culture life with art galleries which presents everything from ceramics to paintings and photographies. The concert stage at the Old Ormelet has a lot of traditions, and a sunrise concert at The World´s End is recommended. Outdoors concerts with well known artists can also be experienced in the garden of Engø Farm. The many artists at Tjøme got their inspiration from the landscape and the beautiful and special lighting. If you take some time off after a long day at the beach to visit one of the galleries, you might return home with a piece of one of the local artists, a memory for life.