Alarm, tram, work, hurry, stress. Oslo is certainly a capital on a human scale, but still it is a capital. Fortunately, there is Drøbak, a pleasant and relaxing fishing village just a bit over 30 minutes from Oslo.
Drøbak is one of the first places we think of when in summer, Mar’yana and I want to unplug, find some relaxation, regenerate from stress and take some time away from the city. Better to say, when we want to travel a bit back in time. Because one of the things we appreciate more in Drøbak is its slow pace, a somewhat fairy-tale atmosphere, its nostalgic lifestyle of the past times.
Before entering the narrow streets and into the very details of this typical Norwegian village let me give you some advice on how to get to Drøbak. Only in summer it is possible to reach Drøbak directly by the sea, and even though the one-and-a-half-hour trip may seem too long, this cruise ship is in my opinion the best way to start your trip to Drøbak.
But here are few advice on how to enjoy a nice summer day in Drøbak
A time travel
Once you arrive at your destination, you can continue your escape from Oslo, beside the blue waters of the fjord, taking a walk between flowers of all kinds and colourful wooden houses, typical shops along the scenic path overlooking the sea, take sun and why not, bathe on one of the perfectly equipped beaches.
In the centre of Drøbak you will also find the quaint little square with the Christmas house, Tregaarden, and the post office of Santa Claus from where you can send postcards with the special postmark of Santa Claus. Both are open in summer. In my opinion, however, the main tourist attraction of Drøbak remains its nostalgic and original lifestyle, like the black cherry tree in the garden of one of the houses in the centre where every summer there is a sign saying: feel free to eat to satiety!!!
A tour within the tour
The story of Drøbak is closely interwoven with that of the former military fortress, the Oscarsborg island. In addition, at the island, the Oslo Fjord reaches its narrowest point making the landscape even more impressive. Accessible by boat from Drøbak, Oscarborg itself is home to opera performances and open-air concerts in summer time. If you are a lover of culture, good music, history, and nature, Oscarborg is the perfect place to meet your every need. One more advice is to venture out into one of the natural pathways on the island and I’m sure that with a bit of guidance and will to have a bath, you will come across a small but delightful white sandy beach.
The missing aquarium
Since Oslo is still waiting for its aquarium, the one in Drøbak is a great alternative to this lack. The Drøbak Aquarium is indeed the most visited attraction of the entire county. For lovers of fish and sea recipes, I suggest visiting the original Lutefisk Museum, the only one in its kind in the world and a good way to find out more about traditional Norwegian dishes. Drøbak is also renowned for the numerous art and craft galleries, present in both the centre and along the path verging the sea.
Fishing and fishing boats
This area is famous for being one of the best for fishing in the Oslo Fjord. So, find a fishing rod and look for one of the many piers and rocks to peak along the coast. If I managed to catch the fish in Drøbak, there is no doubt that you will succeed. And if you do not really want to fish, you can always buy ready-to-eat shrimps or other fresh caught fish directly from the fisherman’s boat.
My favourite restaurants and cafes
For seafood lovers, there are two very good options: Fiskerøkeri and Skipperstuen. Friendly and available staff and great fish make Fiskerøkeri an excellent restaurant in the centre of Drøbak. If you are looking for a scenic restaurant with views of the Fjord, Skipperstuen is the place for you. Fish soup is the specialty of the house, but not the only one.
To those who like me love French pastries and Italian pizza, I suggest visiting Håndverksbakeriet, a small pearl just one step away from the main square. Pastries, breads and pizza are really top quality and the staff is always friendly and polite. If you are looking for a typical Norwegian cafe and a homemade pie, do not miss Galleri Cafe Teskje, right on the main square. The choice of pastry is reduced, but the taste and scent of its cakes reminds those of grandmother.
In any case, any dish you decide to eat, I beg you, at least in Drøbak, avoid ordering Hamburger, Sushi or Kebab!