Travel Tip: Jomfruland

There are few places as idyllic as the long beaches on Jomfruland, and many Norwegians consider this island to be one of the very best summer island in all of Norway. This is the perfect place to enjoy the best summer days in Norway, and few places are as idyllic as Jomfruland in July.

Not only is the island filled with beautiful beaches, but there is also a very interesting nature reserve, a nice camping park, and a unique geology on the island. It’s a good place to stay for a few days if you want to spend some time at the beach, enjoy unique scenery in the forest, view many of the rare bird species on the island, or just want to get away from the mainland Norway for a bit.

The coastline on Jomfruland
The coastline on Jomfruland. Photo: Nicklas Iversen /

Jomfruland itself is a medium-sized island off the coast of Kragerø city in the southern part of Norway. Certain parts of the island is inhabited by people who live there, and there are some cabins that people use for recreational use. About half of the island is a nature reserve with a unique geology, flora and species of birds that use is as a breeding ground.

You can visit the island as a day trip by taking the ferry in the morning and returning to Kragerø in the evening, or stay overnight at either the camping site or the DNT cabin Øytangen.

The forest on Jomfruland island
The forest on Jomfruland island. Photo: Nicklas Iversen /

What makes Jomfruland special and worth a visit

Jomfruland offers idyllic walks, an entire island where cars are mostly forbidden (with some exceptions), pebble beaches (like on the photo below), and a great camp site where families can enjoy the summer vacation.

There’s a beautiful coastline, and the length of the island is only 7.5 kilometres from one end to the other, making it great for walks or bike rides. It is possible to rent a bike for the day at the island, or you can bring your own on the ferry.

The one side of the island that faces towards the ocean is filled with pebbles and typically has high waves coming in, while the other side is calm and has many different spots with beautiful sand beaches.

About half of the island is a nature reserve. This does not prevent you from going on walks there, but it limits how many building you find there, so there’s a lot of untouched nature on the island.

The coast of Jomfruland
The coast of Jomfruland. Photo: Nicklas Iversen /

Jomfruland is also a hotspot for breeding colonies of sea birds, and there are between 60 and 70 different species of birds that lays their eggs on the island. It is essential for the survival of some of the bird populations, and this has even lead to certain parts of the island being forbidden to enter during the breeding season. This is actually very rare in Norway where we have freedom to roam mostly anywhere.

A sign that forbids travel
A sign that forbids travel on Jomfruland. This is because of breeding sea birds. Photo: Nicklas Iversen /

The forbidden area is actually very small, so you will not be bothered by it. There are even some great lookout points where you can sit down and watch the breeding birds with a binocular close to the breeding grounds, so it’s a bird viewer’s paradise.

There are some cabins and even a few regular houses on Jomfruland, as well as a café, a small store and a restaurant. You will find a few shops that sell art and homemade goods close to the two lighthouses in the middle of the island.

Camping on Jomfruland

Jomfruland is home to Jomfruland Camping, a big camping site where most of the visitors stay when they are visiting the island. You can either rent a small cabin there, bring a camping wagon, or bring you own tent.

Many people rent camping places on a yearly basis, but others only stay there for a few night. You will probably want to book in advance if you travel during the Norwegian joint holiday, because the campsite is pretty popular.

Tårntjenna on Jomfruland island
Tårntjenna on Jomfruland island. Photo: Nicklas Iversen /

How to get to Jomfruland

The most common method to get to Jomfruland is to take the ferry. There are usually a few departures from Kragerø harbor every day, but the exact time changes a bit depending on the date and day, so check out the ferry departure times on the ferry company’s website.

The ferry will travel to both Aasvik harbor (the camping site) as well as Tårnbrygga harbor (close to the lighthouses and café). The trip takes around 30 – 40 minutes in total, and it’s a great scenery during the summer time. You often get to see some seals from the deck, as well as all the beautiful small islands between Kragerø and Jomfruland.

There used to be ferries that departed from Langesund a few years ago, but this has apparently stopped running during the pandemic. I’m not sure if it will open up again at a later point, but I will update the article if it does.

You can also travel from Kragerø to Jomfruland by private boat, or by what we call a taxi boat. These are independent boats that also depart from the Kragerø harbor, and takes you wherever you want to go. Expect to pay around 700 – 1000 NOK for a taxi boat to Jomfruland, so it’s a bit more expensive than taking the ferry.

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