One of the minor parts about planning a vacation is telling people you’re going on vacation. You’re going to have to let your work know you’ll be needing the time off and will be telling both friends and family of your planned, extended absence.
When you tell them where you’re going, the results are usually mixed.
“You’re going to Paris? How cool! I went there five years ago and loved it.”
“You’re going to Jamaica? No problem man! The beaches are beautiful.”
“You’re going to Norway? Uh, cool? Why are you going there?”
Despite not being the most popular tourist destination, Norway still has plenty to offer for visitors. Even though tourism to Norway has been steadily increasing over the last five years, it is still unlikely to supplant any big-name country like France, Italy or Spain.
But why should you ever bother? Most people only get the chance for one big vacation every few years, should you use your time on Norway? Yes, you definitely should.
Oslo is a Treasure
The nation’s capital, Oslo, is a beautiful city situated right on the water. Filled with plenty of museums and historical sites, there is no shortage of things to do while you’re walking around in Oslo.
Make sure you visit the Viking Ship Museum, home to three authentic 9th-century Viking ships. It’s a ferry ride across the water before you can reach the tent-like structure jutting out of the land. The museum itself only takes about an hour to go through, but is completely worth it to check out these ships.
Make sure you also head to the Akershus Fortress, a former prison in Norway. It’s right on the water as well and provides some of the best views of the marina and harbor.
If you’re going during the summer, you’ll have to check out the Royal Palace. There are plenty of walking tours around the park, meaning you can check out the city and palace all at once.
If you’re itching to get out of the city, make a point of heading out to the Holmenkollen Ski Museum. The museum tracks the history of ski-jumping in the country and around the world.
Lastly, it wouldn’t be a visit to Oslo without checking out Vigeland Park. The Park is home to some very unique structures. It is one of the largest sculpture parks in the entire world and a great place to spend an afternoon.
Fjords are the Real Draw
All up and down Norway’s coast are the beautiful and incredible fjords, perhaps Norway’s biggest attraction. These natural beauties draw people from all over the world.
Traveling to the fjords can be a bit time-consuming, as it may take up to three hours from Oslo just to arrive. You’ll definitely want to plan for being out all day if you’re going to visit one from Oslo.
The most famous fjord in Norway is Geirangerfjord as the area was inspiration for Disney’s Frozen. There are also plenty of waterfalls, glaciers and hiking areas nearby. Your day will definitely be packed.
Fishing is King
One of Norway’s most popular pastimes, along with being cold, is fishing. If you’ve checked out some of Norway’s restaurants, you’re sure to see a healthy list of fish options. There are plenty of cod, halibut, coalfish, monkfish, tusk, salmon and more to fish for along the coasts.
If you’re looking for gear to take with you, check out Tailored Tackle for all your gear needs. No matter what you’re looking to reel in, they’ve got the gear to make sure you have the catch of the day. It doesn’t matter if you’re a beginner or an expert, they can help you out.
There are plenty of day or multi-day expeditions with fishing guides and experts. You can either rent a boat or simply fish along the shores. There’s something for everyone.
Time to Head North
In case you weren’t aware, a large portion of Norway lies in the Arctic Circle. Besides being bitter cold, the Arctic Circle is famous for two natural phenomena: the Midnight Sun and the Northern Lights.
You can head up there for a day to check out the natural beauties at the Arctic Circle Center or even stay overnight in the ice hotels. Ice hotels are exactly what they sound like: hotels made out of giant blocks of ice. Even if only for a night, they are quite a unique experience.
The Lofoten Islands are definitely worth a visit during your time in Norway. Close to the Arctic Circle, the islands are home to plenty of local, family-owned restaurants with food caught in local waters.
It’s also an excellent place to check out the Northern Lights or learn more about Viking history. The islands are home to a number of Viking artifacts and ships. Head to the Lofotr Viking Museum in August when you can take part in a Viking feast during the 5-day festival, filled with competitions, markets, concerts and much more.
After the Lofoten Islands, check out the Svalbard Islands home to amazing, exotic wildlife year-round. Here, you can see reindeer, walruses and more. Close by is the Norwegian Seed Bank which houses reserves for the world’s seeds in case of a catastrophe.
Home to the countries oil reserves, the Stavanger region is much more than just black gold. There are plenty of local beaches to explore and wildlife to see. If you’re coming to Norway for surfing, this is the place you want to set up camp.
The region is also renowned for its “green traveler” options, part of ongoing efforts to travel responsibly. Around the area are plenty of hikes, kayaking options, high points and more.
The region, despite being incredibly important, has a small-town feel and many of the restaurants and shops are locally owned and operated. The majority of the food is either grown or hunted locally. Make sure and check out the lamb, a speciality of the region!