Known for its stunning natural beauty, Norway is a country full of outdoor adventures, with coastal fjords, awe-inspiring glaciers, colorful northern lights, and breathtaking hikes. Travelers can round out their outdoor adventures by experiencing Norway’s vibrant culture, world-class art, and delicious cuisine, exploring its historical treasures, or marveling at some of its Middle Age or modern architecture. Whether you are looking for an adventurous holiday or a relaxing retreat, Norway is sure to excite both outdoor enthusiasts and culture lovers.
Planning a trip to Norway? Read on to find out when to visit, what to do, and more to make your vacation unforgettable.
What is the best time to visit Norway?
Because Norway is popular for its outdoor activities, it’s important to plan your trip with the seasons. For those looking for spectacular hiking, river kayaking, or cycling the coastline, May–August is when it feels like the whole country opens wide for adventure. The summer months are the best time to visit although crowds tend to be larger as both travelers and locals are enjoying the longer days.
For travelers heading to the northern part of Norway, fall is ideal, when temperatures cool down, the crowds thin out, and mountain hiking is still accessible. Fall brings in autumnal leaf peeping, and it also begins the season of colorful northern lights, whale watching, and even storm chasing!
Winter activity lovers should plan on coming in November–March when the country is blanketed in snow. Wintertime offers excellent skiing and snowboarding, tobogganing, and dog sledding. It’s also the perfect time to explore the country by train and enjoy the country’s many Christmas markets selling artisan goods. Celebrate spring by attending festivals, admiring fields of wildflowers, and marveling at the mighty waterfalls that drain off the mountains’ melting snow. Spring is also when the midnight sun rises—never completely setting from May to July—washing the northern landscape with red and yellow light at night. Those travelers who are looking for rafting, kayaking, and exploring the fjords will want to come in the spring when the water runoff from the mountains is at its peak.
What is the best way to get to Norway?
From the mainland United States, most flights fly directly into airports in Oslo, Bergen, & Trondheim and take between 7 and 13 hours. Flights from New York to Oslo take 7 hours, 9 hours from Washington, D.C., and 13 hours from the west coast.
Our Norway Natural Wonders Hiking trip has travelers arriving into and departing out of Oslo. After claiming your luggage and proceeding through Arrival customs, travelers will meet their MT Sobek representative outside the customs area at 12:00 pm for the 30–40-minute group transfer to our hotel in Oslo.
How to get around Norway?
Norway has a reliable public transportation system, making it easy to get around the country. The main form of public transportation is the train, which connects major cities and towns. The routes are often scenic, with the Bergen Railway offering one of the most scenic and popular routes in the country. For those short on time, travelers can also fly between one of Norway’s more than 50 regional airports for in-country travel. Norway’s ferry system is ideal for travelers coming into the country from Denmark, Sweden, Germany, and the Netherlands, but also offers an accessible way to see Norway’s extensive coastline. Norway’s comfortable bus services can take travelers into more rural areas of the country and are often less expensive than traveling by plane or train.
For those looking for a more adventurous way to explore Norway, car rental is also an option and a great way to stop and take in the country’s dramatic scenery at your own leisure. Winter driving is not recommended for those uncomfortable with driving in snow and ice as conditions can be perilous for inexperienced drivers, especially in mountainous areas.
Our Norway Natural Wonders Hiking itinerary travels 1,400 miles in just 10 days. To achieve this, we are dependent on the assistance of planes, trains, ships, and automobiles—giving MTS travelers the opportunity to experience Norway’s natural grandeur from different points of view.
Do I need a visa to visit Norway?
American citizens do not need a visa for stays up to 90 days, although passports must be valid for at least three months after leaving Norway. Citizens of other countries should check with their local embassy for entry requirements.
How many days should I spend in Norway?
To experience Norway’s natural wonders and explore some of its cities, travelers should plan on at least 7 to 10 days for their trip.
What are the top 5 places to visit in Norway?
Norway’s second largest city, Bergen, is a popular tourist destination, known for its village-like atmosphere and Bryggen, a UNESCO-listed Hanseatic wharf. Bryggen’s series of Hanseatic commercial buildings are a well-preserved example of a unique type of architecture, which originated from the Hanseatic League, a group of merchant towns and guilds in the 12th–16th centuries. The narrow, colorful buildings are bundled along the harbor, and are built of wood with a characteristic gabled roof, some of which date back to the early 18th century when the harbor was rebuilt after the great fire of 1702. Today, 62 buildings contain enough of their original structure to show off how they were built, and travelers can expect to find small shops and galleries selling traditional crafts from jewelers, artists, and textile manufacturers while taking in views from the harbor. A history museum on the wharf offers the opportunity to explore the city’s rich history, and the area is sprinkled with cafes and restaurants to fuel up between spots.
2. UNESCO-protected Geirangerfjord
The Geirangerfjord, located in the western part of Norway, is one of the most spectacular fjords in the world and one of the country’s most popular outdoor attractions. Surrounded by towering snow-covered mountains, lush green vegetation, and majestic waterfalls cascading down the cliff faces, the fjord is 850 feet wide and 5200 feet tall. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and offers breathtaking views and plenty of fun and adventurous activities for visitors. Nearby are the deserted small farms of Skageflå and Knivsflå, which cling to the surrounding mountainside and are accessible by hike; next to Knivsflå sit the “Seven Sisters” waterfalls, which roar during the months of May–July. Visitors can also kayak the deep turquoise water, zip line over ravines and waterfalls, and take the four-mile out-and-back trail to the Storsæter waterfall. For more leisurely exploration, take a fjord cruise or drive up to the Geiranger Skywalk on Mt. Dalsnibba for stunning views of the fjord and Blåbreen glacier.
3. Lofoten Islands
The Lofoten Islands are a group of islands located within the Arctic Circle. They are known for their dramatic mountain peaks, pristine beaches, and incredible natural beauty. Visitors to the islands can explore the wide variety of wildlife—including whales, seals, and seabirds. There are also plenty of outdoor activities including kayaking, hiking, and fishing—and you can even learn to surf here! For those who prefer more land-based adventures, the area offers horseback riding on the beach and golfing in the middle of the night while the midnight sun keeps the days unending. From September through March, the northern lights are on full display, and coastal hikes from expert to novice are available year-round. In the fishing village of Henningsvær, local fishermen and artists celebrate the time right before Christmas at the village’s Førjulseventyret festival, with concerts and events, lots of pretty, twinkly lights throughout town, and cozy shops selling local wares for Christmas gifts and souvenirs. Art lovers will enjoy checking out the KaviarFactory for contemporary art, as well as the area’s many local artisan galleries and shops.
The Svalbard Archipelago is a remote Arctic paradise sandwiched between the northern coast of Norway and the North Pole. At its heart lies Spitsbergen, the largest island and the only one in the archipelago that is permanently inhabited. Covered in almost 50% ice, the island is known for its diverse Arctic wildlife, including polar bears, artic foxes, and reindeer, and it’s not unusual to find marine mammals like whales, seals, and walruses swimming nearby. Its six Norwegian national parks showcase the area’s glaciers, fjords, ancient volcanoes, and hot springs, but the polar bears are the main attraction, outnumbering the 2,500 humans who make the area home. As you explore the land of the midnight sun, prepare to be captivated by the stark beauty of ice-choked fjords, rustic Arctic settlements, and the sheer wonder of sharing nature with the hearty and resilient polar bears of the Arctic.
A small settlement in the Middle Ages, Oslo is now one of Europe’s fastest growing cities, where sleek modernity intertwines with centuries-old buildings. Travelers to the city will enjoy its vibrant restaurant scene, world-class museums—including the Munch Museum, home to the artist’s well-known painting The Scream—a thriving coffee culture, and cutting-edge architecture nestled along cobblestone streets. The tranquility of the surrounding fjords and lush forests offer outdoor escapes for wilderness hiking, or exploring parks in town like Vigeland Park, one of the city’s sculpture parks with more than 200 pieces on display. Travelers in winter will appreciate an easy-to-use subway system commuting to ski resorts on the outskirts of town, while the more adventurous might want to try Oslo’s 6,500-foot-long tobogganing hill called Korketrekkeren (the “corkscrew”).
Spending time in Oslo means exploring markets like Vestkanttorvet with its vintage finds, or the high-quality indoor food market Mathallen, which occupies a brick building in a former industrial zone where local producers sell their wares surrounded by trendy cafés and restaurants. History buffs will want to explore the open-air Norwegian Museum of Cultural History with its Gol stave church built in the 1200s or check out the 19th century Royal Palace or the Old Aker Church, a medieval stone church that dates from 1080 and is Oslo’s oldest building. Architecture lovers will also revel in cutting-edge architecture on the harbor like the world-famous Oslo Opera House, which encourages visitors to walk on its roof, offering panoramic city views.
What are the best adventure tours in Norway?
1. Norway Natural Wonders Hiking Tour
Explore the best of Norway on this intimate journey as you cruise through the country’s deep fjords, hike up majestic mountains and through breathtaking national parks, take in the cosmopolitan culture of Oslo, see the bustling wharf of Bergen, the dazzling beauty of UNESCO-protected Geirangerfjord, and the picturesque landscapes of Lofoten Islands. This trip showcases the highlights and reveals Norway’s magic at every turn, from waterfalls and Viking lore to the midnight sun and Norse mythology. There’s nothing like seeing Norway up close and personal, on foot and immersed in its landscapes.
2. Norway Mountains & Fjords Multi-Adventure Tour
Discover the wonders of Norway on foot, by kayak, and by train, on this awe-inspiring adventure. Hike at sea level and atop lush plateaus that afford staggering views over the fjords. If you choose, sea kayak in the shadow of these same fjords or trek on a glacier. Follow part of the storied Old King’s Road, also known as St. Olav’s Way, as did the pilgrims of yore. Bask in the breathtaking beauty of UNESCO-protected, deep-blue waters and emerald hillsides of Geirangerfjord. Plus, experience past and present Nordic culture with a private tour of Oslo’s famous opera house and Lom’s stunning stave church. This immersive, active adventure takes you up close to Norway’s most renowned geological features, with delightful overnight stays in cozy inns, some of which have been warmly welcoming travelers for centuries. Join us to explore a region so unabashedly beautiful, and yet so humble and hospitable, that it seems to have leaped from the pages of a fairytale.
3. Norway Spitsbergen Polar Bears & Pack Ice Adventure Cruising Tour
Discover the realm of the polar bear, a savagely beautiful land of ice and snow, glassy fjords, and expansive tundra on this exciting Arctic adventure. Cruising the Svalbard Archipelago aboard a comfortable, ice-strengthened vessel, you’ll discover Spitsbergen, the largest island in Svalbard – known to Vikings, traders and early explorers. Enjoy prime viewing as you explore cliffs by ship and Zodiac and watch for polar bears, walruses, or beluga whales breaching in the icy water. No two trips are alike, but each one offers rare opportunities to experience the wild and wonderful Arctic.
Where are the best places to stay in Norway?
Norway is an incredibly diverse and beautiful country, offering a variety of accommodation options for travelers. From cozy cabins in the mountains to modern city hotels, Norway has something to suit all tastes and budgets.
For those looking for an authentic Norwegian experience, one of the most popular types of accommodation are cabins. Often located in remote and picturesque locations, these cabins offer a private and peaceful retreat from the hustle and bustle of city life. Whether you’re looking for a traditional log cabin or a modern apartment-style cabin, Norway has plenty to choose from.
If you’re looking for a more luxurious experience, Norway also offers a variety of high-end hotels, such as those found in the capital city of Oslo. These hotels offer all the amenities you’d expect from a five-star hotel, such as comfortable rooms, spa services, and fine dining.
For those on a budget, Norway also offers plenty of budget-friendly accommodation options.
1. Hotel Guldsmeden – Oslo
Perfectly located close to attractions, luxurious Hotel Oslo Guldsmeden is stylishly designed and thoughtfully appointed with Persian rugs, Chesterfield couches, rustic wooden furniture, and lambskin throws. The restaurant serves delicious, 100% organic food, and there is a Turkish-style hammam with a steam bath, cold water tub, and organic spa products that are available for guests to use.
2. Zander K – Bergen
The brand-new Zander K embodies seamless Scandinavian design—simple and functional. The clean-lined, comfortable rooms are contemporary and showcase a full range of amenities, like Wi-Fi. The relaxing wine bar and restaurant serves fresh, organic fare, making it an excellent place to refuel after a day of exploration. Free bicycles are available for guests to use around town.
3. Hotel Geiranger – Geiranger
Offering panoramic views of the Geiranger Fjord, Hotel Geiranger is a pleasant spa retreat in an epic location. The hotel has 150 comfortable rooms, some featuring fjord vistas and balconies. The hotel offers an indoor and outdoor pool, sauna, and hot tub. There are several dining options at the hotel, as well as bars and a lounge, but the real highlight is the natural wonder that awaits outside.
Things to know about Norway
Norway is filled with incredible natural beauty, a rich culture, and a diverse population. It is known for its captivating fjords, stunning mountains, and breathtaking northern lights. Norway is also a leader in renewable energy and is working towards being 100% sustainable throughout the country. Additionally, Norway is home to a variety of incredible wildlife, including polar bears, reindeer, whales, puffins, and more.
What is the language in Norway?
The official language spoken in Norway is Norwegian. Norwegian is a North Germanic language and is the native language of nearly five million Norwegians. It is closely related to Danish and Swedish, and it is mutually intelligible with both. There are two main types of Norwegian: Bokmål (Book Language) and Nynorsk (New Norwegian). Both dialects have their own written forms, but they are still considered to be the same language. Norwegian is also spoken in parts of Canada, the US, and Sweden.
What to eat in Norway?
In Norway, there are a variety of delicious and unique cuisine options. The country’s traditional dishes are often made with fresh, locally sourced ingredients and are typically hearty and comforting. Popular dishes include raspeballer (potato dumplings served with a meat or fish sauce), lutefisk (cod cured in lye and served with cream sauce), and fårikål (lamb and cabbage stew). Seafood is also a major part of Norwegian cuisine and can be found in dishes like grilled salmon, shrimp soup, and fish cakes. For those looking for something sweet, Norway is also known for its sugary treats like krumkake, a rolled and decorated waffle cookie, and vaffel, a thin, crispy waffle.
What is the currency in Norway?
The local currency in Norway is the Norwegian Krone (NOK). In Oslo, you can exchange currency at the airport, in the Oslo Visitor Centre, at an exchange bureau, or a bank. The exchange bureaus are often open outside banking hours but charge higher commission rates. Most banks in Oslo are open from 9am to around 3:30 pm on weekdays and are closed on Saturdays and Sundays. Some banks are open until 4:00 pm on Thursdays.
There are banks in Oslo and in Bergen, but we recommend that you exchange your cash in Oslo, so as not to miss any activities once your tour officially begins. Visa, Eurocard, MasterCard, and American Express are widely accepted cards in Norway, but note that some supermarkets do not accept credit cards. Cash can be obtained from a multitude of ATMs available in Oslo, Bergen, Geiranger, and Oppdal.
What is the electricity in Norway?
Norway is on the 220V – 240V system. Check the voltage on your personal electronics chargers to determine if you need a voltage converter. Norway uses Type F outlets. A good resource to see images of plug types is www.power-plugs-sockets.com.
What is the time zone in Norway?
Norway is in the Central European Time Zone (CET), which is one hour ahead of Coordinated Universal Time (UTC+1). Daylight Savings Time is observed in Norway from the last Sunday in March to the last Sunday in October. During this time, the country is in Central European Summer Time (CEST), which is two hours ahead of UTC (UTC+2). Norway is split between two time zones, with the western part of the country in UTC+1 and the eastern part of the country in UTC+2.
What to wear in Norway?
Norway shares the same latitude as Alaska, Greenland, and Siberia, but compared to these areas, Norway has a more moderate and pleasant climate. Late June through August is when the weather is warmest, and the days are long and bright. Temperatures in July and August can reach 77°F–86°F. However, the summer weather can be wet and changeable, especially in the fjords and northern Norway. Whatever the season, Norwegian weather is liable to change from day to day, so it is a good idea to bring clothing that suits different weather and types of activities. Your luggage should include some lightweight clothes, as well as items you can layer (that way you can add or remove layers depending on temperature), at least one warm fleece or parka, a waterproof jacket, and comfortable hiking boots.