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Hovedøya, Oslo

Norway's insider take:

When the weather gets hot in July and August, rent a car and escape to this Oslofjords island for sunning and swimming with the locals. Once inhabited by monks, Hovedøya is home to the ruins of a 12th-century Cistercian monastery, which burned down in 1532. In summertime, you might catch a medieval music performance beside the ruins. Be sure to take a leisurely walk inland to see the abundance of rare plants and flowers in this protected area; the flora includes mountain clover, wind flower, and blackthorn and barberry bushes.

Information may have changed since the date of publication. Please confirm details with individual establishments before planning your trip.