RoadTrip #28: Exploring the idyllic Skjærhalden in Hvaler municipality – the Norwegian archipelago that resembles a pod of whales

Hvaler municipality lies on the eastern part of Norway and borders the country to Sweden. The archipelago has been mainly dependent on boating, fishing and sailing as their economic means. At present, Hvaler is a pretty popular holiday destination, with summer houses dotting some of the islands. One can also visit the Ytre Hvaler National Park, which is Norway’s first marine park. The 354 km2 park is located side by side with Sweden’s Kosterhavet National Park. Carl and I visited Skjærhalden, the seat of the municipality, and took the ferry boat which goes around the archipelago earlier this year.

We left early from home so we could have more time exploring the archipelago, and later do some shopping in Sweden before going home via the Strömstad – Sandefjord ferry. The Hvalerporten (picture above) serves as the gateway to the the municipality. Then we drove through some tunnels to get to Skjærhalden.

It was April when we did this roadtrip, so it wasn’t surprising that there weren’t too many tourists in Skjærhalden. The Tourist Information Center was open though, and they gave us information about the ferries and diving activities in the national park. I also managed to buy some postcards from there, and got some free ones, too.

The red houses would later be manned and open for business, selling local produce, souvenirs, clothes, etc. There are also a number of restaurants in the port.

We took the ferry that actually makes a stop to some of the islands, but we didn’t get off the boat because of the rare schedule times in early spring. We didn’t want to get stuck on an island and wait hours to get fetched by the next boat. Nevertheless, just enjoying the fresh air and the lovely scenery from the boat was still so worth it! For boat schedules and tickets, click here: Here are some of the amazing views from the ferry ride:

Yes, it would be even better if we could have done island-hopping, but it’s still nice to get a glimpse of the islands. Besides, the boat was really spacious, especially the upper deck.

When we got back in the Skjærhalden around noon time, the red houses were open for business.

Then, we took the opportunity to visit the beautiful sandy beach called Storesand, not far away from Skjærhalden. The Ytre Hvaler National Park information center was located there. We also saw a family camping in the beach. The parking lot was a bit far, and you have to walk across a protected forest area to get to the beach. It was lovely! The trees were bended by the wind – it was like walking in a painting.

Then, this!

It’s a white sand beach (yes, in Norway!). I bet the water was freezing cold though, and there were algae/sea weeds all over. I really enjoyed the view and the atmosphere.

I felt the inner child in me, as we climbed the rocks and hoppity-hopped along the beach. ❤

Visitors can buy some refreshments in the Visitor Center. They didn’t have postcards though.

Hvaler is a very nice place to visit, for recreational purposes, meditation, or just appreciating nature and the lives we’re living.

After the beach, Carl and I continued the road trip, did some shopping in Strömstad, Sweden, and then took the ship back to Norway. I remember it to be a wavy ride..

..thankfully, we arrived back in Norway safe and sound!

It was yet another memorable roadtrip/day trip. I could finally scratch Hvaler off the map. 🙂 Norway, why so beacutiful? Anyway, this is it for now. Until the next roadtrip! #spreadloveandpositivevibes



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