Kayaking trip in Vestfold, Norway

Kayaking trips in Vestfold / Tønsberg

In this blog post, I will share my experience of kayaking around Nøtterøy, which is a large island located on the southwestern side of the Oslo Fjord, just south of the coastal city of Tønsberg. The trip took two days and was approximately 30km. What I think is cool about this area, is that it is not far from Norway’s capital city, Oslo (where there are 1000’s of eager paddlers in search of new kayaking locations), which means you really don’t have to travel far to have access to beautiful coastlines and slightly more exposed waters. Not everyone wants to travel all the way to Lofoten for a kayaking adventure – but if you do here is our blog post about kayaking in Lofoten – so instead, why not catch the train (only 1.5 hours) down to Tønsberg from Oslo. Talk about saving time and money, while still going on epic kayak adventures!

packing for overnight kayak trip

Our kayak trip kayaking around Nøtterøy 

Starting in the coastal city of Tønsberg, two intrepid kayakers (my girlfriend, Anoushka and I) pushed off from land and started paddling south down the Tønsberg Fjord on the western side of Nøtterøy. It started off quite scenic (see banner photo) but quickly the landscape became full of holiday homes, and there was quite the overbearing and loud presence of heavy boat traffic. Now, if you are a boat person and, also love looking at houses that are not overly unique, then these sights may excite you, but I go kayaking to experience nature and wilderness, with the wind, waves and birds as my music…not the loud roar of petroleum fuelled boat engines! Anyway, that rant is for another day!
It was a relatively short paddle down the coast, even with a headwind and, soon we were paddling eastwards through the canal that intersects Nøtterøy and Tjøme (another island). Once through the canal, we were now on the eastern side of Nøtterøy and we quickly found a lovely and quiet island to camp on – I would totally camp here again. 
The next day, we paddled north along the coast and around into the canal intersecting Nøtterøy with the mainland, in essence, paddling through Tønsberg. It was then a short paddle back to where we started at Danholmen, just outside Tønsberg. 
paddling under bridge at nøtterøy

Our route (curtesy of Norgeskart): 

kayak route around nøtterøy

What I learned for next time

  • Next time I will start by paddling eastwards and out into the archipelago off the eastern coast of Nøtterøy. Here there are far less houses and boat traffic, as the islands in this area are mostly nature reserves. 
  • Even though it was not the biggest deal, I would prefer not to paddle that stretch again with a head wind, so in hindsight I would paddle on whatever side that allows me not to have to do that – if possible! 

Other cool things to do in the Tønsberg

  • Check out other kajakkpadling.no – here 
  • Check out the viking ship in the centre of town – here 
  • Visit the old fort on top of the hill – here 
  • Visit Verdens Ende at the tip of Tjøme – here 
kayaking around nøtterøy

Tips and tricks for kayaking trips in general

  • Check out the Beaufort wind scale for learning how to recognise wind speed 
  • Norgeskart is excellent for measuring distance and seeing contours / gradient 
  • Windy for checking wind speed and direction 
  • Check out the Padleled Vestfolds project, creating a paddle route starting from Oslo, and going all the way down the coast, with little kayak huts you can stay at along the way
  • Learn how to roll a kayak
  • Check out our how to pack a kayak properly for an overnight kayaking trip
  • Remember to check the weather before you go, pack and plan accordingly, and tell someone where you are going and when you expect to be back – always bring a communication device that works wherever you may be going kayaking. 
  • If you want to rent kayaks in Norway you will need a våttkort. If you are planning to do multi-day trips we recommend taking at least the NPF Foundation Course in Sea Kayaking (Grunnkurs hav) or if you have never kayaked before you may want to start with the Introducti0n Course (Introkurs hav). See all of our kayak courses here.
camping with hammock

Video from our trip

You can also find more kayaking-related content on our Youtube channel here: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCVBbz8gdwrnujF3wOsFHgFw/videos

On a philosophical note 

We desperately need a change in boating culture in Norway. While kayaking around Nøtterøy, we saw a lot of boat industry-related marine pollution: oil on the surface of the water, plastic boat ropes and stray buoys, loose nets and plastic rubbish floating in the water and on the shore. This cannot continue if we want a more sustainable future. I really hope that electric boat share providers like Kruser, really take off so boat users and kayakers can all exist in harmony. If you want to help us clean up our waters then please consider supporting clean-up initiatives like the Fjord CleanUP in Oslo. 

Book now Our most popular activities

Private Oslo Fjord Tour from Lysaker

A kayaking activity well suited for team building or an utdrikningslag, conveniently located in Lysaker, Sollerudstranda. We start the tours on the Sollerudstranda beach, learn the basic kayak skills and then paddle out towards the Bygdøy peninsula and Huk Stranda or we head towards Fornebu - up to you! The kayak trip is usually 3 hours but can be shortened or extended to meet your needs and time schedule. We have a kayak base in Lysaker, where there is room to store your belongings and park your cars.

14hr Private Beginner Course (Grunnkurs) in Sea Kayaking – Lysaker, Oslo

2-day NPF Grunnkurs Våttkort Kayak Course in Oslo/Bærum (kajakkurs i Oslo). A great activity for team building and kickoff events in Oslo. If you are looking for an activity that will push your team out of their comfort while having lots of fun a working together! A team building activity that includes kayaking always a good investment!

Public Sauna Session – Jeløy, Moss

Self-service floating sauna on the central Moss waterfront. Our sauna sessions are 2hrs during weekdays and 2.5hrs in the weekends. Public sauna sessions are great places to relax, hang with friends or meet new ones. Regular sauna use and ice bathing has been scientifically proven to be very good for your health, increase your energy levels and improve your sense of wellbeing. We hope to see you in the sauna soon!

Private Guided Kayak Tours of Oslo Fjord from the Munch Museum

All equipment included and no experience or våttkort needed to join this Oslo kayak tour. We start from the Munch Museum, learn some basic paddling skills and then either head out to the Oslo islands or along the Oslo waterfront. This tour is an amazing activity to celebrate a birthday or for a team building event.

2-day Whitewater Kayaking or Packrafting Våttkort Beginner Course (Grunnkurs) – Sjoa, Norway

Join us up in Sjoa for two days of fun and learning on world famous whitewater rivers and get your våttkort. On this course you can choose to be in a kayak or a packraft. Packrafts are more stable and lighter to carry, making them the ultimate adventure watercraft, whereas kayaks are more agile on the river, making them better for playing on waves and for paddling harder whitewater. However, the techniques used to paddle both are very similar, which is why we can combine the two courses! Whatever you decide, you will get the opportunity to try both a packraft and kayak if you wish - “catch you on the water!”

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