The cool, contemporary city of Oslo lies at the head of its fjord, a calm, clear body of water some 68 miles (107 km) in length that leads out to the Strait of Skagerrak and in turn to the Baltic and North seas. It is a summertime paradise for the lucky inhabitants of Oslo, scattered liberally with islets, isolated coves, and little pockets of beach.
Oslo Fjord is best discovered by boat, and there are many options for day trips from many-sailed clippers to island-hopping ferries. Around a dozen islets fan out into the fjord; pretty little paradises with sandy strands, cycle and hiking routes, and historic lighthouses. There’s a ruined Cistercian monastery on Hovedøya, a smattering of holiday homes and sports facilities on wooded Lindøya, and a nature reserve for wading birds on Bleikøya; most of the islands are accessible in about 20 minutes from Vippetangen on the Oslo waterfront.