In the Middle of Lake Mjøsa: Picture Perfect Helgøya

Last updated June 2023

We’re not usually ones for clichés, but sometimes, there’s just no getting around them: Helgøya Island, in the middle of Lake Mjøsa, is a true postcard idyll. We visited the heart-shaped island on a sunny day in July and were charmed right from the very first moment.

Helgøya Hovelsrud farm historic garden review

Hovelsrud Farm was our first stop of the day. The farm garden is brimming with flowers, herbs, lettuce and fruit trees. Yet nothing is left to chance. Everything is planted exactly as it was in 1840. Strict symmetry, sharp lines, and chess patterns were probably all the rage at that time. And it still looks great today. It is peaceful, harmonious, and beautiful—simply put, idyllic. No wonder that the historic garden at Hovelsrud has won prizes both nationally and internationally!

Helgøya Hovelsrud farm historic garden map review
Helgøya Hovelsrud farm historic from above review

Scattered around the extensive garden are benches and seating areas inviting you to enjoy a  few moments of peace. However, it is not entirely quiet. An army of winged insects is working hard to move pollen around the garden. Luckily, the chubby, humming bumblebees don’t need to fly too far—there is an abundance of flowers all calling out to them with their vibrant colors. We sit down and take in the sights and sounds of summer.

Helgøya Hovelsrud farm historic garden blooming flowers review
Helgøya Hovelsrud farm historic garden blooming purple flowers review
Helgøya Hovelsrud farm historic garden blooming white flowers review
Helgøya Hovelsrud farm historic garden pots flowers review

A visit to Hovelsrud is a feast for the senses. After a while, however, our stomachs start demanding to be fed as well. We somewhat reluctantly return to our car, but fortunately, our next stop is close by. A little further along the road is Skafferiet at Hovinsholm. This café with its beautiful garden is another reason why Helgøya draws tourists in numbers.

Helgøya Skafferiet cafe review

We order food from a smiling and very friendly girl behind the counter inside the café and take a seat in the shade of a cherry tree in the spacious garden. The food arrives shortly afterwards, served by another kind employee.

Skafferiet Helgøya cafe review
Skafferiet Helgøya cafe outside review
Skafferiet Helgøya cafe outside flowers review

We thoroughly enjoy some bread with brie and blackberry jam, a crunchy crispy summer salad, and a moist carrot cake. The accompanying homemade raspberry lemonade is the perfect thirst-quencher on this warm summer day.

Skafferiet Helgøya cafe lunch review

We overhear yet another very hospitable staff member explaining that most of what is served at Skafferiet is produced at the farm. The bread is freshly baked every day, and they grow the herbs themselves. She further explains that every sandwich and salad is made to order. In other words, the food is fresher than fresh. With such a philosophy, it is no wonder that guests come again and again to the lush garden at Skafferiet.

Skafferiet Helgøya cafe entrance review

The blooming garden is probably what attracts many visitors, but a visit here would be enjoyable during all seasons. Inside, the café is beautifully decorated in country style with wildflowers on the tables. We will be more than happy to sit there next time!

Skafferiet Helgøya cafe inside review
Skafferiet Helgøya cafe inside decorations review

Practical information:

Opening hours in 2023 for the historic garden at Hovelsrud Farm:

  • June: The garden opens Sunday June 4th. It is open during summer each Saturday and Sunday from 12 p.m. –3 p.m.
  • The last day the garden is open is August 20th.
  • On Sundays there are guided tours at 2 p.m.

Link to Hovelsrud Farm

Helgøya Hovelsrud gård review

Unless you sleep the morning away, it is possible to visit Helgøya on a day trip from Oslo. The drive takes approximately 2 hours each way.

If you have more time at your disposal, there are multiple places offering accommodation in the area.

*We visited Hovelsrud Farm and Skafferiet at Hovinsholm in July 2018. None of the places we visited knew that they could be featured on our blog, and we did not receive any special discounts.