As it is customary, there are two types of solutions that can connect the isles and allow the Norwegians to access mainland or the opposite shore of the fjord:
- build many bridges
- use ferries
The while not environment friendly, the second solution is the one that has been adopted by Ruter, the local transportation company. Several classes of vessels link the mainland and the islands:
- a small ferry from City Hall Pier to the Bygdoy peninsula
- a midsize ferry used for island hoping
- a bigger version of the previous one that carry tourists
Each class serves well its purpose.
From City Hall to Bigdoy
Oslo has many museums. The most famous ones are on the Bigdoy peninsula. While there is a bus line linking the downtown and the museums, the bets way to access them is by ferry.
This ferry is little more than a fishing boat and has space for 100 people. The journey lasts 10 mins or 15 mins, depending on which museums one has to visit. Half of the people using this type or ferry are locals. After all, Norway is a country with a great history of sailing.
Hopping to the islands
Some of the islands in the Oslo fjord harbor beautiful houses. For their owners, Ruter has a different type of ferry, bigger and faster.
As part of the public transportation system, the access on board is allowed to any passenger carrying a regular Ruter ticket. For the casual traveler, it is beneficial, as one can access places outside the regular touristic circuit.
Bigger is better
There is a more luxurious ferry that offers a great viewing experience through its big windows. Again, it is part of the Ruter network, so it si accessible with a regular ticket.
One last word about zones
Oslo transportation system has been designed to serve the population. Due to the size of the city, the area to be served is big. Ruter has divided the transportation network in zones (Sonne in Norwegian). Central Oslo is zone 1, then comes 2, 3 and 4. For example, the Oslo Airport is in zone 4, well beyond the area covered by the regular ticket. As it is the case, some ferries link zone 1 (City Hall) to zone 4. One should be careful when traveling by boat.
The Norwegian Marine Museum in Bigdoy displays scale models of the ferries used by Ruter.
The future of the ferries in Norway
The submarines have crossed the oceans, powered by electric batteries. They have been the pioneers. In 2015, the first ferry powered by batteries entered the service. Its performance is not impressive, and it is still a proof of concept. However, the electric ferry has zero carbon emissions. With an autonomy of 200 km, this ferry has a bright future. Full ahead!