The countryside in Færder National Park is almost unique in the world, with its smoothly-polished rock slopes, islands and skerries, but also sheltered glens and small canyons where warmth-loving plants and trees have established themselves. The area is home to great biodiversity, including plants and insects that are hardly found anywhere else in Norway.

It is nature itself that has created this paradise, but the landscape has also been shaped by human activity over the millennia. Everywhere you can find traces of the people who have lived here, fishers, basic agriculture, shipping and shipwrecks, war and depopulation.

Landscape and geology

The coastal landscape is the result of at least 40 ice ages over the past 2.5 million years. As it travelled south, the ice polished the rock and created scour lines and the characteristic “sheep backs” with gentler slopes on the north side. The area is also rich in other geological formations such as smooth rock slopes, chatter marks, moraines and pot holes. At the north end of Sandø there is a big area of wind-blown sand, and there is an enormous pot hole on the south-west side of Kløvningen.

Photo: Erik Bleken

The sea

The vast majority of Færder National Park consists of sea and sea bed. This varied underwater landscape includes a great diversity of marine habitats: kelp forests, soft-bottom habitats, shell sand areas and eelgrass meadows. The national park’s abundant and diverse flora and fauna is dependent on all of these important habitats.

Photo: Marcus Wernicke

Read more about the sea

The sea floor

The sea floor in the national park varies greatly, ranging from shallow waters along the coast to deep waters further out. In the shallows, large kelp forests and lush eelgrass meadows provide important nursing grounds for fish and other small animals. In deeper waters the dramatic landscape alternates between large ravines and flat soft-bottom areas. This variation provides habitats for very many different kinds of fauna and flora.

Photo: Havforskningsinstituttet

Read more about the sea floor

Dyr i vann

Blant de mer sporadiske besøkende til nasjonalparken er både knølhval og finnhval, bottlenose og spekkhugger. Med økende vanntemperaturer i senere år er også spermhval blitt en hyppigere gjest. Av mindre hvalarter på besøk kan nevnes både vågehval, nise og ulike typer springere.

I motsetning til hvalen er selen blitt ”fastboende”. Når været er stille og pent kan man observere inntil 200 steinkobber i nasjonalparken, på steder som Hoftøya, ved Tjømebåen og på Selskjærene utenfor Hvasser.

Photo: Jørgen Kirsebom


On many of the islands – particularly the bigger ones – there are lots of different mammals, including roe deer, hares, foxes, badgers, squirrels and many small rodents. Elk are occasional visitors, either swimming over or crossing the ice in the winter. Wild mink are a big problem. They feed greedily on eggs and chicks during the nesting season. A targeted pest control programme run by the Norwegian Nature Inspectorate helps to keep the population under control.


There are several important nesting grounds for seabirds in the national park. That’s why visitors are not allowed to set foot on many of the smaller islands and skerries during the nesting season, from 15 April to 15 July. This ban applies to the islets between Store Færder and Færder, a number of islands around Bolærne, as well as Lindholmen, Skrøslingen and Leistein.

Photo: Roy Fjelldal


Færder National Park is a biodiversity hotspot where 324 species on the red list have been recorded. These include crested cow-wheat, yellow horned poppy, greater pond sedge and strawberry clover. Vestbukta bay on Vestre Bustein is the only place in Norway where sand timothy has been observed. Many kinds of mushroom and algae also thrive in the national park.

Photo: Bjørn Strandli


The national park is also home to a huge variety of insects. On Østre Bolæren alone, 907 species of butterflies and moths have been recorded. Many of them are on the red list, including the critically endangered species Eupithecia ochridata and Glanville fritillary. There are also rare spiders in the national park, for instance on Sandø. There you can find the ground spider Haplodrassus minor, a species that Tjøme has been given special responsibility for.

Photo: Erik Bleken


There are two main types of bedrock along our coast. In the far north, Fjærskjær, Ormøy and Tørfest are unusual in having rhomb-porphyry in almost horizontal layers. In the rest of the national park the bedrock is predominantly various kinds of larvikite, formed around 298 million years ago. Tønsbergitt is a reddish brown variety that is found at Langskjærene, most of Bolærne and Ramsholmen.

Photo: Strobe Foto


As a visitor to the national park, you are nature’s guest. You are very welcome, but we all have a duty to protect the park.
Below you will find some simple rules on what you can and can’t do in the park.

Photo: OF

Learn about our code of conduct