Tuesday, 1 January 2013

Oslo Bygdoy Island Running Route

Click here for route map
Length 16.9 km (10.5 miles), terrain flat, just 25m height gain
(Or Length 11 km if you take the ferry)

Oslo running routes:
Oslo Downtown route
Oslo Bygdøy route

Oslo Tryvann wilderness route
For more running routes, see Route List.

Pictures courtesy of the creative folks at Flickr Creative Commons. Thanks!

NOTE: You can shorten the run by 6-km by taking the Bygdøy ferry directly from downtown. I've run the long way, and I've also taken the ferry. Because I love boat rides, I prefer the ferry: it leaves every 20 minutes from the main ferry landing at Radhusplassen, Pier 3, from April till early October. It costs about US$7 per trip, or US$12 for a day pass, valid for all transportation in the city. You'll save 6 km along a loud street, and you'll have a wonderful 15-minute ride on the fjord. Exit the ferry at the Dronningen landing. You can also take bus line 30 to the island, but that lacks the charm of the ferry ride.

For more info about Bygdøy, see The Visit Oslo Site.
Sailboat off Bygdøy, photo by Marcus Ramberg
Oslo is such a wonderful place to run: a fjord with endless bays and islands, mountains rising up to the north, and suburban neighborhoods full of cozy wooden houses. Here's a run that will take you along the fjord shore, and then loop around Oslo's biggest island, Bygdøy.

Bygdøy is easy to get to: a 3-km run along the shore west of the downtown, past Oslo's biggest marina.

The island itself (well, technically, it's really a peninsula, but it feels like a real island) is a rectangle, 2-km long and 1.5-km wide. The northern half is covered by farmland, the southern half is residential, and mixed with a collection of Norwegian historical museums. And the strip of rocky shoreline along the north and west is lined by woods and is dotted by secluded beaches, with great views of the fjord.

Sound like something you're interested in? Well, then, off we go!

Let's begin at Radhusplassen, the square between the town hall and the ferry landing. Facing the water, turn to your right and run to the last ferry pier, then turn left to continue running along the water, with the Aker Brygge shopping center to your right, set up in old harbor warehouses.
Aker Brygge, looking back towards the start at Radhusplassen, photo by hiytel
The waterfront is lined with restaurants and marinas. After the last marina, you'll cross a wooden bridge. Immediately turn right to run along this canal full of small boats.

At the next small bridge, keep to the left side of the pointy building in front of you, and keep running straight along the street, Filipstadveien.

In 150 meters, you'll come to a busy street, Riksveg, with a roundabout. Turn left here and follow the pedestrian path to the left side of the street, heading northwest. In just a block, the cross-town freeway, the E18, comes out of its tunnel and merges into Riksveg.

This is the worst part of the run. But after just a half-kilometer, the path comes back to the water, just past the new ocean-ferry terminal.

Oslo's biggest marina begins here, and for the next 1.5 km you still have the loud freeway (Frognerstranda) to your right, but a beautiful view to the left of Bygdøy. After a while, you'll pass a white neogothic villa across the bay, Oscarshall, built as a royal pleasure palace.
View across the bay to Oscarshall, photo by Mrs.Snowman
You are running along an ever-narrowing bay. When you reach the western tip of the bay, turn left to continue along the water, along a smaller marina.

Right at the middle of the marina, turn right to take the pedestrian path under the freeway exit and continue running northwest along Frognerstranda.

You'll pass a soccer field on the left. At the end of the field, turn left and take the narrow street that turns left, going behind the little garages, Hengenveien (don't take the main street going into Bygdøy, along the soccer field, Bygdøyveien).

So now you can take a deep breath: no more traffic noise, just wonderful Norwegian island sights from now on.

Follow Hengsenveien, going southwest, with a woods to the right and fields to the left. The north shore is just past the woods on the right side.
Bygdøy field, photo by micro-d
The fields belong to the Royal Manor Farm, which occupies the north half of the island. The manor has belonged to the Norwegian kings for 700 years. Nowadays, this official royal summer residence is an organic farm open to the public.

You'll pass a couple of houses on the left side, then run along another field on the left. When the path curves to the left to follow the west shore, take the first turn to the right, with the parking sign.

You'll run through a parking lot and then come to your first view of Norwegian island paradise. You are on a small bay facing another little island, with views out over the fjord, and rocky shores and mountain ridges, and boats gliding over the water.

There is a marina in front of you that stretches over to Killingen island across the little bay. You can actually run across their docks to Killingen and run around that car-free island with its little boatyard and fishing boats moored offshore. I heartily recommend a loop around that little island (Killingen is a half-kilometer long and just a few meters wide), but I didn't include it in this route.

Now turn south to continue running southwards along Bygdøy's west shore. You will immediately run across your first beach, Bygdøy sjøbad. If it's a warm day, you might want to kick off your shoes and jump into the water for a few minutes!
Bygdøy sjøbad, photo by Alex Coppo
At the middle of the beach, at the showers, the road connects up to the beach. Run to the road, called Holsts Vei, turn right and now follow it heading south.

The road will curve to the left, then to the right. At the little gravel parking lot on the right side, turn right and run through the parking lot and continue on the shore path through the woods.

This two-kilometer-long stretch of shoreline is full of little coves where people hang out on nice days. You can take any of the little paths going to the right to get to the water for a great view out over the fjord.

One great spot is Paradisbukta (Paradise Bay), with its sand beach, cliffs, rocks and great view.
Paradisbukta in evening light, photo by Odd Stiansen
After 2 km, the path curves to the left, then to the right and you exit the woods onto a spot with some large, paved parking lots and a bus stop for Huk, Bygdøy's most popular beach.

At the little white wooden kiosk, take the path on its right side, running down to the water. Straight ahead is the nudist beach. Norwegians have a relaxed view of nudity, and don't consider it immoral if kept fairly discreet: they have a very healthy relationship with their own bodies.

When you hit the water, turn left and follow it around the little inlet to the main gravel beach with lots of rocks out in the water and a great view over the fjord. It can get pretty crowded on a nice weekend.
Ocean-going ferry passes the Huk, photo by Alex Coppo
At the little grass sunbathing lawn, turn left and run uphill, with a couple of houses on your right side. You're now entering the next phase of your island experience, typical Norwegian small-town neighborhoods and their wooden houses. OK, maybe this isn't really so typical: the houses are a bit nicer here, with their fjord view.

When you run past the first house directly next to the path on your right, turn right onto Schiøtts Vei.

In 200 meters the street ends, where you turn left onto Dammanns Vei. This also ends after a few houses, where you turn right onto P. T. Mallings Vei.
A house on Bygdøy, photo by skandynawistykapl
After about 300 meters, turn right on Harald Rømckes Vei. This street ends by making a left turn and becomming Admiral Børresens Vei.

This street also ends, by running into Bygdøynesveien. Here, you turn right and follow it around the curve to the next highlight of the island: the three ship museums, Kon Tiki, Norwegian Maritime and Fram.

The Kon Tiki Museum includes Thor Heyerdahl's water-borne contraptions, the Kon Tiki raft and the Ra reed-boat from his great high-seas adventure trips. If you haven't read his books yet, put it very high on your to-do list!
Nice shot of Bygdøynes landing and the Fram Museum, photo by Fornax
The Fram was a polar exploration ship used by several great Norwegian explorers, including Fridtjof Nansen and Roald Amundsen, and it was built by legendary shipwright Colin Archer (you sailors will recognize that name).

Run around the right (east) side of the Fram museum to the water and circle the museum. I like looking into the windows of the museums here: you can view the ships without stopping for long. There is a ferry landing (Bygdøynes) at the end of the lawn, past the other green-and-red schooner sitting up on land. You can view the whole way that you came to Bygdøy.

Circle back through the parking lot to Bygdøynesveien again and head back out the other direction (westwards).

At the first chance, turn right, onto Løchenveien. This will curve to the left above an inlet with some boat docks down below and a lot of picturesque waterside houses.

The street runs into Bygdøynesveien again, where you turn right and keep running west, around the inlet. The street curves to the right at the head of the inlet and becomes Langviksveien.

In just 150 meters, when you've gone back up the next little hill, turn right onto Fredrickborgsveien, following the ferry sign. This is another nice residential neighborhood, but more typical, with older houses.

Run down Fredrickborgsveien and then Christian Benneches Vei until it comes out onto Huk Aveny, where you turn right and run out to the other ferry landing, Dronningen.

NOTE: If you took the ferry from downtown, this is where your run will begin.

Now turn your back to the ferry landing and run westwards down Huk Aveny until the first turnoff on the right, Melbyedalen. Turn there, and it will curve to the left and end at Museumsveien.

Turn right onto Museumsveien, and run by the next museum: the Norwegian Folk Museum, on the left side of the street. This is an open-air museum village of old buildings gathered from all over Norway, including one of those amazing Viking-styled wooden churches.
The stave church, photo by K Jensen
There even other museums on the island, behind you: the Viking Ship Museum and a Holocaust Museum. Quite an interesting place.

When you reach the far end of the Norwegian Folk Museum parking lot on the right side, you'll see a paved foot-path curving off to the right. Take that path, as it goes by one of the manor-farm fields.

You will cross Oscarshallveien, which leads to a neo-gothic royal pleasure palace on the right, but I didn't include that short detour on this route.

Keep running north until the path ends at Dronning Blancas Vei, where you turn right. In just 200 meters, you'll get back to the little marina at Frognerstranda, where you turn right and follow the shore eastwards, the same way back to downtown as you came.

NOTE: If you took the ferry, turn left at the little marina and follow the description above from that point, returning to Dronningen ferry landing for the trip home.