Norway is a year-round playground with endless adventures for travelers. This modern Scandanavian country is one of the safest in the world, and most of the locals speak English. The Norwegians love the outdoors and believe in keeping their nation’s natural spaces open for public use. This is the concept of “allemannsretten,” which translates in English to “every man’s right” and the freedom to roam on just about any undeveloped property as long as you are respectful and don’t leave any traces of your stay behind. Norway is a backpacker’s paradise, filled with budget hack possibilities. Pack a tent and hitchhike across the beautiful countryside if your travel funds are tight. You’ll find cheap campground accommodations with warm showers, clothes washing facilities, and charging stations. In Norway, hiking is still the best way to experience the breathtaking vistas. For those who enjoy unique experiences during their getaway, consider a sailboat tour in the fjords. No matter what you type of travel experience you envision, you’re sure to create one-of-a-kind, life-changing memories in Norway.
In the heart of the Norwegian city of Bergen is a steep, 722-step staircase and paved trail called Stoltzekleiven that leads to Sandviksfjellet. Once you reach the top of the stairs, you’ll see spectacular views of Sandviken, a local neighborhood, and Byfjorden, a 10-mile long fjord. If you keep walking, you’ll come to a beautiful lake and mountainside with jaw-dropping views. The trail is steep, but accessible for older children and adults and well-worth the strenuous climb.
Fjords are the result of glaciers creating narrow inlets of ocean and steep cliffs that add a magical feel to the landscape. Norway is full of fjords, with more than 1000 of these natural marvels located around the country. The nine-mile long Geirangerfjord is famous as the fjord in the movie Frozen. But there are other notable wonders, including the largest fjord, Sognefjord, and the Hardangerfjord, the nation’s second-largest, both of which offer explorers amazing photo opportunities and heart-stopping views.
It may sound crazy, but some of the most exotic surfing destinations in the world are in Norway. Hoddevik, a fishing village on the Stadlandet peninsula on Norway’s western coast, tops the list despite its icy waters. Tall mountains surround the area and provide protection during high winds. Surfers from around the world travel here to experience the great waves, the long white beach along the coastline, and the absence of crowds.
For the independent-minded traveler, renting an electric car is a great option for creating an epic road trip adventure, and they’re available through major car rental companies. Norway provides more than 10,000 charging stations across the nation. The trip takes a bit of planning, but you’ll find a list of toll roads, maps of fast-charger stations, and car ferry locations online to organize your journey. If bikes are more your style, you can rent an electric bike, which helps with those uphill climbs up the Troll’s Road.
Thousands of people flock to Norway to experience the phenomenon known as the Midnight Sun. Here in the Arctic Circle, there are no clear distinctions between night and day during the summer months. At midnight, the sun spreads a golden-yellow radiance across the countryside. Travel to the North Cape or Mount Rønvikfjellet in the city of Bodø for the most spectacular views, but remember to bring your camera to capture the magnificence of this natural wonder.
With a huge lake and the Breiavatnet Fountain in its center, picture-perfect Stavanger is a unique and charming city to explore. Its majestic 12th-century gothic cathedral is the oldest in Norway and attracts a large number of visitors each year. Gamle Stavanger or Old Stavanger is a historic area dating back to the 18th century and is a popular tourist attraction. The homes and buildings have undergone extensive and historically accurate restorations, the gardens are colorful, and the cobblestone streets add to the city’s charm.
The Troll’s Ladder, or Trollstigen, is famous worldwide as one of the most beautiful and thrilling roads you can experience. This spiraling corkscrew of a road is as picturesque as it is exciting. Follow the twists and turns up the mountain as waterfalls crash down around bare rock, soaking your car as you speed across the tarmac. If you’re the kind of person who loves legendary roads and memorable drives, the Troll’s Ladder is the climb for you.
Norway is simultaneously a land of greenery and a plane of ice and snow. Beneath the Nigardsbreen region of Jostedal Glacier National Park, researchers discovered a massive ice cave. One scientist was so in awe of the pristine grotto around him that he deemed it an “icy cathedral,” which is a perfect description. Visitors can have a guide lead them through this ever-changing cave system and take in the blue and white wonderland around them.
When your land is as abundant in ice as Norway is, you learn to harness it in some exceptional ways. One of the most famous celebrations of ice in Norway is the Geilo Ice Music Festival. Every February, dozens of ice carvers, architects, artists, and designers team up to create sculptures, buildings, and even instruments out of ice. Throughout the festival, musicians play ice-didgeridoos, ice-harps, ice-hardanger fiddles, and even ice-trumpets that fill the air with their unique brand of music.
Oslo’s Vigeland Park is a legendary site with over 200 sculptures from local artist Gustav Vigeland. Many people consider these statues to be some of the strangest in the world, simply due to their odd subject matter. You may see everything from a woman hugging a giant lizard to a man fighting off agile babies. Even though the park has its fair share of odd sculptures, it also has many pieces that celebrate families and their relationships, making the park a uniquely strange and wholesome experience.
Every kid who grew up believing in Santa has had the dream of seeing a real-life reindeer. Thankfully, just a few miles north of Tromsø, a sprawling camp is home to around 300 majestic reindeer. Visitors can head out on the ice to get up close and personal with the reindeer while feeding them out of blue buckets. As if this wasn’t memorable enough, the Northern Lights arc across the sky and snow when the conditions are just right.
When it comes to unique places to sleep, Norway has one of the most magnificent and eccentric options. An Arctic Dome is essentially a massive dome-shaped tent with window panels along the ceiling and wall. It truly feels like a hotel room in the middle of nature itself. The domes stay warm through a combination of wood, paraffin, and electric fans, so you can enjoy the cold north without being out in it.