After seeing large parts of Vansjø, you just can fathom how massive this beautiful lake is. Vansjø is not just an oblong or round lake that you can see from the lakeside. You must check out Vansjø from a bird’s perspective or via map to really understand the size and formations in Østfold's largest lake. land through outreach, restoration, and research.



New hotel with outdoor and wilderness experienses 10 minutes from Moss / Jeløy and 40 minutes from Oslo


Recreation Eldarado

Vansjø is naturally twisting with all its narrow coves, long fjords, small and large islands, wetlands, and vast forests. Did you know that Vansjø also a large part of downtown Moss? You can actually drive a boat from Moss downtown, zipping under the motorway bridge and the noise of cars. Suddenly urban life behind you and one of the most exciting wilderness areas around Oslo is in front of you. You can come back time and time again and find yourself in new areas each time, the area is so wide and big that you probably won’t ever have time to see everything on Vansjø.

Another part to love about Vansjø is the great bike trails. Ride from the bridge from Halvorsrød and over to Oksenøya. 


Vansjø has an outstanding leisure facility for everyone, summer and winter. All in all, Vansjø is an idyllic lake with 50 large and small islands, shallow bays, islands, narrow straits, rivers and large fjords. Not to mention the 200 km long shoreline. Swimming and fishing spots are located along the trails and are suitable for wheelchair users and families with vans.

Paradise for paddlers 

Slowly you glide over the water nearly silent with a kayak and come close animals and nature in a way you cannot otherwise.  

Bring a friend and a canoe and see where the wind takes you. Good canoes and kayaks can be rented from Viken Hotell (Adress & Telephone: Dillingøy, 1591 Sperrebotn

942 55 550) and the Moss Kajak Club clubhouse in the Nes Park in Moss. Rentals must be reserved by telephone in advance – The clubhouse is not serviced - call +47 99 56 24 10. 

There are plenty of opportunities to try your luck in Vansjø. There have been 17 different species of fish recorded in the water. The most relevant species for sport fishing are perch, bream, white bream, pike, perch, roach, rudd and eels. There are large populations of perch and carp fishes. Brook trout are rarer. You can also rent a canoe or explore the well-marked nature trails along the water.

Vansjø is the largest lake wholly located in Østfold. 

 Two nature reserves were created in Vansjø in 1992; Western Vansjø and Moskjæra. This was to ensure Wetlands of flora and fauna; in fact, a very rich bird life inhabits these areas. Vansjø has distinctive shoreline vegetation. There are many species prefer this moist habitat. Vansjø is thus a valuable recreation area, and not just for locals. Vansjø is one of the largest lakes (the largest wholly located in Østfold). The lake is also the source of drinking water for 60,000 people in Moss region.


A Little History

The formation of the moraine through Østfold during the last glaciation and postglacial land uplift lead to a containment of what is Vansjø today. Archaeological finds suggest that people settled at Vansjø as early as 3000 years BC, presumably before the lake was the form you see now. Ocean at that time was about 25 meters higher than today, which is actually on par with today's normal water level in Vansjø. The bay that was there at that time must have been rich with fish and seals, and the area inside was wild. We have found tools from the Stone Age in several places in the area. When the transition to the Bronze Age, (from about 1800 BC to about 500 BC) Vansjø became a lake.

Fresh water must have lured more people to settle there, and there are a number of burial mounds here from the time. The fortress, Slottholm, was located on an island in Vansjø. This was a hill fort in the time of migration, approximately 400-500 AD. Today only a few fragments remain, but Slottholm is easily visible as it is located between steep mountain sides and completely surrounded by water. At the top you have great views of Storfjord, which is the great inland fjord on Vansjø. Borgen was primarily home to people who traveled over the lake. In the Middle Ages, (from the year 1000 to 1536) another period of settlement in the area followed. Farming became important industry, and by Mosseelva the industry evolved, which was the start of the industrial adventure in today's Moss. And as was done in the Middle Ages, even today the power of Mossefoss is use, now through Mossefoss’ power plants. From the beginning of the early 1800s, there were residents on several of the islands, but today we find residents only on Dillingøy and Oksenøy islands. Bliksøya and Langøya also have road access, but only cabins.

The Nes Park was built as a town public park in the 1950s, with large open grasslands to play. It is located on a peninsula in the lower Vansjø, not far from the entrance to the Moss city center. Here you’ll be happy to discover that we have two child-friendly beaches for those who want a dip in the fresh water, and there are diving opportunities further east in the park. Adjacent to the park is a swimming pool and sports hall as well as the combined scouts’ house and youth hostel. You can rent canoes from the scout house.