The islands in Homestrandfjord are well adapted for boaters with excellent swimming and recreation areas on the islands. Swim life is combined with plants and fossil studies in the nature reserves. The coastal trail through Holmestrand Municipality is part of the coastal path from Hurum in Buskerud to Borre in Vestfold.
Highway 319 winds and meanders along the coastal stretch of Sande and Svelvik. Sometimes down by the water, other times up on high hills and through valleys. The valley you see in the image extends from the highway down to the fjord at Sandvika in Sande.
Open your senses for our beautiful adventure in Vestfold’s two northernmost municipalities. Next time you are going to or from Vestfold, we recommend that you travel via Sande and Svelvik. Read why.
Lovely from nature’s side
The two municipalities Sande and Svelvik are the farthest north in Vestfold. Sande and Svelvik have excellent conditions for agriculture and the nature in both municipalities is made up of beautiful landscapes, one of Vestfold's longest coastlines, the sea, and beautiful forests that offer many experiences – in both summer and winter. The municipalities have a rich cultural life and high population growth. There is an active forestry operation in Sande and Svelvik which also places great emphasis on facilitating the public so that citizens and tourists find their way more easily into the forest and islands to experience nature. Svelvik and Sande are a special experience by bike when the fruit trees are blooming from about mid-May. Open your senses to a wonderful adventure in Vestfold’s two northernmost municipalities.
The Coastal Road on Vestfold’s Northern Riviera
Rarely does someone recommend someone to take a route that takes a while longer. Next time you are going to or from Vestfold, we recommend just taking a detour via Sande and Svelvik. You won’t regret it! From Sande (from the south) and Svelvik (from Drammen and north), you can drive the coastal road by car along the northern Vestfold Riviera. Nowhere else in Vestfold can you drive so long on a main road which follows close to the sea like Highway 319 does. The route meanders along the entire coastline of the Sande and Svelvik municipalities is a great attraction and destination just in itself. At several places along the route, there are welcoming picnic areas in both Sande and Svelvik.
The village, Svelvik, was granted city status in 1998 and is idyllically situated almost utterly in Drammenfjord. Svelvik is a small village with narrow streets, sometimes called "Norway's northernmost Sørland idyll." Here is Drammenfjord at the narrowest, and the stream at the roughest. The ferry from Svelvik crosses here to the plant in Hurum over the fjord and is actually part of the coastal path. The large ships carrying cars to Drammen harbor, heading into the narrow Svelvikstrømmen, look like they are driving through center of the main street. A beautiful summer day on a bench in the center, while the boats pass by, is quite a special experience. Svelvik is the port for the loading of sand and gravel and the sand hunter used to be a pictorial element in a picture of the fjord. The old port still retains much of the character of the times of sailing ships. It is said that there could be up to 100 ships here.
Historical Berger and Fossekleiva
If you are interested in the arts, you should take a trip to Fossekleiva in Svelvik. At Fossekleiva center, you can follow the beginning of beautiful glass and decanters. If you’ve take the tour through Berger Museum in Svelvik, you’ll get to experience how people lived in this little industry community when 200 workers were employed on the site’s two wooden mills. The famous Berg blankets are still produced in one of the buildings. The beautiful Berger farm is located on a hill just off the main road and has stunning views over the fjord. Below the farm, there is a sloping landscape of lush meadows and green pastures with grazing cows that extends right down to the fjord. Today the farm is run by the couple Anne Ma Jebsen Holm and Egil Holm.
It was Anne Ma’s grandfather Jurgen Jebsen who bought the farm in 1880. Together with his son, they built up the woolen mill that was located just below the Berger farm. An industrial community was created at Berger, which until then only consisted of farms and some smallholdings. The new industrial society was then composed of two plants (Berger and Fossekleiva) and eventually 30 houses with housing for nearly 130 working families as well as banking, an electric power station, hospital, school, post office, and church were established. One worked the laundry, dye, spinning, and weaving; and the two factories and related industries employed usually 300 workers. There continued to be textile production in Berger until 2003. The production has now moved to Latvia. Today, the former industrial area is called Fossekleiva Center and buildings house many new features, such as galleries, shops, offices, homes, café and museum.
The coastal path
The coastal path from Svelvik town at the head of the Sande bay in Sande is about 25 km long and mostly continuous. The coastal path in the two municipalities includes other older roads and trails, but some stretches are somewhat rough and difficult for those who have leg problems. The beach area is varied with a beautiful coastal landscape which also includes a cultural landscape that has evolved over time.
It is highly recommended to take a tour of the aforementioned village, Berger. On your tour of Berger, you’ll take the coastal path, gravel roads, and nice trails. It is on the route from Bjerkøya Pier to Leina and the route at Bjerkøya where the coastal path is the prettiest and most pleasant, as it winds through beautiful natural areas. When you arrive at Bjerkøya by car, you can start at the pier just before Bjerkøya. The walking tour around the island starts on paved road, and eventually goes over the trail. Part of the trail goes through the woods and over the beaches, with some steep and narrow sections. On top of the island to the south, there are stunning views of Langøya, Holmestrand, and the Oslofjord. This round trip on Bjerkøya ends on paved road.
During the summer, it’s smart to have swimsuits in your backpack so you can easily take a refreshing dip at one of the many beaches along the coastal path. Making a stop at the pretty arches of Vammen is recommended. The arches were used for storing fishing nets for salmon fishing and on the mountains, there are still traces of yarn drying.
Common to both municipalities, the coastal path passes wetlands of Grunnane (Svelvik) and the Sandebukta wetlands (Sande). In both of the wetlands, there are numerous types of birds, vegetation, and other wildlife that are native to the areas.
Old fruit varieties are living heritage and also taste great. Svelvik has a long tradition of growing fruits and has a true diversity of various fruit trees and sorts.
Apple blossoms and strawberry fruit are the symbols of Svelvik municipality, which despite its small size is Vestfold’s largest fruit supplier and the country’s 5th largest supplier of apples. Local fruit farmers believe Svelvik is the best place in Norway. Svelvik in Vestfold has a microclimate that is optimal for apple growing. Apples have been grown here since the 1840s and fruit farmers in Svelvik have built up a long history. But over the past few years, apple cultivation has become quite modernized. The trees are nearly 3 meters tall, and they are much closer than before. The same lighting conditions throughout the tree provide favorable growth conditions for each fruit. Nonetheless, the apples from Svelvik are just as juicy and delicious as they always have been.
Swimming paradise. The coast of Sande and Svelvik has many lovely swimming areas. Here from Sandebukta in Sande.
Krok in Svelvik is an idyllic region by Drammensfjord. Holmsbu at Hurumlandet can be seen at the other side of the fjord.
From the fruit blossoming in May. Svelvik is the largest fruit municipality in Vestfold county and the country’s 5th largest.
Typical fjord landscape in Svelvik. Here you see Kroksbukta and Kjelleråsen.
Berger farm. Watercolor painting by Johs. Torbjørn Rudrud