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Last winter Mad Goats decided to bite the bullet and go all horns in with winter kayaking. What this entailed was first, staying open all year round! Then we bought drysuits to keep you warm, happy and safe, then we finally launched our winter kayaking activities: winter kayak rental, winter kayaking courses, and winter kayaking tours – all perfectly combined with a floating sauna experience to warm up afterwards at Oslo Fjord Spa

Discovering the joys of winter kayaking (eventually)

Why did we take so long to get around to this you ask? They have been providing winter kayaking activities in places like Bergen, Stavanger and Trømso for yonks! Well, unfortunately, I had it in my head that kayaking was more enjoyable during the summer, and thus should only be reserved for that time of year… oh boy was I wrong! When I finally decided to open up my goaty mind to the possibility and potential of winter kayaking on Oslo Fjord, it really stuck like a beaver biting into a tree, and there was no goat-ing back! 

The thing is, once you start winter kayaking on Oslo Fjord, you quickly realise that it is an absolutely kick-ass activity, it is ridiculously beautiful and calm out there during the winter. There are no smelly and noisy boats – and consequently, the sounds and the water is so much clearer! The colours and lights are unique to the season, and can quite honestly only be experienced during this time of year. Something about the contrasts in light, the sharp lines, fresh cold air,  and the deep red, orange and purple hues of the sunset, just all add up for a truly special and spectacular experience. Let’s just say that I am very glad that I finally opened up my mind to winter kayaking! 

Bjørvika from Aker Brygge

This is an urban and short trip where you get to see many of Oslo’s famous landmarks from a kayaker’s perspective – the best perspective! Starting from Aker Brygge Marina, you paddle over to Vippa Tangen where you could stop for a quick snack, then around the corner into the Bjørvika bay area. Here you can take your time to paddle past all the coolest sites, from Salt Art Musics Northern Norwegian tents, the Oslo Opera House, Opera House Beach, Sukkerbiten, Oslo Badstuforening, Akerselva River, into the Oslo Bukta bay area (Bispevika) and finally around the famous new residential area of Sørenga. Note: be aware that there can be ice formed on the surface of the water in the more sheltered and shadowy areas. If you are going to attempt pushing through the ice, then we recommend you have a very good kayak roll (eskimo roll), a very good self-rescue, are wearing many layers of warm clothing and are with other paddlers. 

Around Hovedøya from Aker Brygge

Hovedøya is Oslo’s closest and most famous island, rich in history and covered in unusual plants. It is extremely special to have these types of locations so close to a large capital city like Oslo, so if you live here or are visiting, be sure to take advantage of this! The trip is a short one and you can stop on one of the many beaches dotted around the island – bring a warm thermos flask of tea or coffee to warm yourself up with!  

Kavringen Light House + urban exploring around Aker Brygge and Tjuvholmen

Yes, a lengthy title and for good reason – there are many nooks and crannies to be explored! Urban kayaking is really a delightful experience. You get to see things that 99.9% will never get to witness by entering a magical subterranean-like world underneath the central Oslo promenade. Surprisingly, there is a lot more marine life than you might first think inhabiting the inner-city Oslo Fjord waterfront, from starfish, crabs, seagulls, seaweed and fish! Keep your eyes peeled and your wits about you so you don’t mistakenly come out beside the ferry docking platforms, and have fun on your urban kayaking adventure! 

Ulvøya, Malmøya and around the Bydøy Peninsula

Longer trips can be totally epic and we definitely recommend them. We do however advise you to not be an absolute beginner, that your kayak group consists of at least two people with intermediate experience – for instance, has completed the Grunnkurs Hav Våttkortkurs and has a reasonable fitness level. Remember, there is limited light so bring a head torch and plan to be back well before you need to use it! Have fun but be safe goats! 

Requirements to rent a kayak during winter and explore Oslo Fjord

To rent a kayak from us during winter (October – April) you must have your våttkort and go with at least one other person – this is all to keep you safe! You can sign up for a våttkort course from us at any time throughout the year. Our main kayak base is at Aker Brygge Marina and this is where we do our winter activities from. We provide all winter kit including drysuit, hood, mittens etc. From May to September we also have paddling bases in Lysaker, Sukkerbiten, Lysaker, Tønsberg and Sjoa. We offer kayaking and SUP courses, tours, and rentals both on the sea and the river. We love having a good time out on the water and we want people to have access to the joys of paddling as much as possible.

Thanks for reading! Don’t hesitate to get in touch regarding all things kayaking and stand up paddleboarding in Oslo and Norway! Maaeeeeeeeeehhh!!!! 

Tomas Hansson

Tomas is founder of Mad Goats, a keen kayaker and all-round outdoor adventurer. He goes by the official title of "Goat Chieftan", and is usually to be seen with Thug, his loyal companion, by his side.