There are so many great reasons to visit Norway. In fact, I’d even go as far as saying it’s probably hard to find a reason not to! (Yup, even the cold isn’t an excuse as it gets incredibly warm in summer).
Like other Nordic countries (here’s looking at you Finland, Iceland, Sweden and Denmark), Norway is one of my favourite places in Europe to visit especially in the deep cold of winter and the afore mentioned glorious sunshine of summer. There’s so much to see, do and eat here and we definitely opened our eyes a lot more to this last year after multiple trips to this amazing country!
Let’s Rewind For A Second: Our 48 Hour Nordics Challenge
You might remember that Yaya and I undertook our incredibly exciting 48 hour Nordic Challenge which was fun-filled, action packed few days… not to mention the amount of Freia Melkesjokolade we ate along our way!
Norway is an amazing to explore, with a breadth of delicious food, very friendly people and awe inspiring, Instagram worthy landscapes that will leave your ‘gram feed looking less ‘Kim Kardashian’ and more ‘National Geographic’ (obviously, I’m more the former… haha! 😉 ).
This trip most definitely cemented our love for Norway (and Finland, too of course) and left us on the lookout for more reasons to visit Norway!
Before You Go: Save Money Planning Your Trip
Every adventure needs a little planning. It doesn’t have to be a big ol’ itinerary mapped out to the last second but it does help to get certain regions nailed down… particularly so you can keep travel and accommodation costs lower. Getting to Norway is a lot easier than it’s ever been (Norwegian Airlines is doing a cracking job with the flight prices at the moment) but do plan ahead and lock those cheaper flights down!
Norway is definitely one of the most expensive in Europe (totally worth it though) so another way to save money on your own adventure is to take advantage of local offers – for instance, Scandic Hotels are currently offering a 3 nights for the price of 2 deal on many of their locations, that’s perfect if your looking to save on what is arguably one of the biggest travel costs – accommodation. The rooms are pretty sweet here and there are quite a few dotted across the land so you’ll have a decent range to choose from leaving you to save your money for some famous Norwegian cod… or for chocolate (we won’t judge)!
THE 9 EXPERIENCES YOU NEED TO HAVE IN NORWAY
There are so many things to see and do when you visit the Nordics that it can be hard to pin down a select few that really stand out but we have, after much debating, nailed down 9 essential Nordic experiences you definitely need to try::
1.) Ride The Flåm Railway
Arguably one of the prettiest train journeys in the world, the Flåmsbana is a 12 mile train journey in the magical and pristine landscape of Aurland in Norway. You can arrive in Bergen or Oslo and take the train from Myrdal directly to the stunning fjord lined town of Flåm that will leave you breathless. There are multiple trains going back and forth so this can make for the perfect day trip!
As the train climbs over 800 metres, you will be transported into a whole new world (seriously – the landscape transforms from snow capped mountains as far as the eye can see to dramatic lush greenery in minutes)! It really is even more stunning than you can imagine and we can’t recommend it enough.
2.) Explore Stavanger
Stavanger is one of Norway’s largest cities and it’s a great place to start your Nordic adventure, with an airport that’s connected to many European destinations. This city is a perfect way to experience Nordic life albeit in a more intimate setting that say the capital, Oslo. It’s also got lots of fantastic little cafes and bars where you can easily spend far too many hours sipping of alcoholic (or otherwise) libations… 😉
3.) Get The Best View Of Norway’s Largest & Most Famous Fjord From Stegastein Lookout
Sognefjord is also the 2nd largest fjord in the world and home to the UNESCO World Heritage site of Naeroyfjord. A 20 minute drive from Flåm, Stegastein Lookout is the perfect place to visit on a Norwegian sunny day. When the weather is clear you can see for miles, right through the dramatic and winding fjords that cover this beautiful region (I say ‘fjords’ because you can also see Aurlandsfjord from up here).
4.) Discover Bergen’s Secret Forest
Okay, it’s not so secret but a little elusive if you’re as lazy as I am. 🙂 See, the forest is tucked in Fløyen which is the hill where you can get the best view of the city which involves a pretty decent hike. Thankfully, there’s also a funicular (a train of sorts) that takes you right up to the top so you can skip the hike.
No trip to Bergen is complete without experiencing the warm hues of a Nordic sunset. It’s a breathtaking view that’s only made better by packing a warm drink (for winter) or a good old Nordic brew in summer.
While in the Stavanger region, why not try your hand at fishing? It’s a great way to see a new perspective of the Nordic coast… even if your fishing skills are as terrible as mine. I went to bed hungry that night! 🙁 (Or I would have if I didn’t raid the restaurant in our hotel!)
7.) Climb The Epic Pulpit Rock
A real feat for any traveller, climbing pulpit rock is one of those ‘must-do’ things in Norway. Taking around 6 hours (there and back – less if you’re a seasoned hiker) this climb is best tackled on a dry day with lots of water and sugary snacks. The hike can be a little tough at times (albeit VERY doable, even if you’re inexperienced and wearing the wrong shoes like we did) but rest assured your wobbly legs will forgive you once you see view from the top! It’s definitely an unforgettable experience and one that you will brag about for quite a long time afterwards.
8.) Discover The UNESCO World Heritage Site of Bryggen In Bergen
Right by the eastern side of the fjords in Bergen is the historic UNESCO old town area of the city, Bryggen. This beautifully preserved wooden houses and alleyways are a great place to spend a few hours exploring the heritage of the city. Take the opportunity to pop into one of the many beautiful restaurants within the buildings themselves.
One of the best ways to explore the fjords themselves are by boat, obviously! For an experience like no other take a fjord safari from Flåm where you will be whisked off through the dramatic fjords that weave through this beautiful region. There is a real benefit on going on a much smaller and faster boat too, you can get up close and personal with many aspects of the fjords… seeing the seals, whales and even getting sprayed by the glacial waterfalls that stream down into the water… brrrrrr! 🙂