April 20, 2024
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Fun Things to Do in Norway If You Love the Great Outdoors

Norway is famous for many things: Vikings, fjords, and the Northern Lights. It is a magical place to visit, especially if you love being outdoors. You can hike, fish, cycle, sail, or just chill. Take a workcation or plan the trip of a lifetime – after a few days of soaking up the beautiful scenery, you won’t want to come home! Read on for some suggestions of fun things to do in Norway if you to feel love the sun on your face or snow underfoot.

When is the Best Time to Visit Norway?

Whether you enjoy hiking or skiing, there is never a bad time to visit Norway, but if you want to maximise your time outside, the sun doesn’t set fully in summer, hence why Norway’s nickname is ‘Land of the Midnight Sun’.

March is a favoured time for winter sports enthusiasts but by May, the snow has melted, and the days are slowly getting longer. Summer is the warmest time of the year in Norway, but also the most popular, so prices are usually much higher between June and August. Once the kids go back to school at the end of summer, the crowds disperse, and prices come down once again. If you time your trip just right, you can catch the last of the warm summer temperatures and avoid the first snow of the season.

Now for the good stuff – a list of all the fun things to do in Norway if you enjoy being outdoors!

Hiking

Once the spring weather arrives in Norway, it is time to grab a pair of hiking boots and head out to explore the amazing landscape. Hiking trails will lead you through green valleys, up rugged mountains, along the edge of cavernous fjords, through dense forests, and over rocky coastlines. It will probably rain a lot, it might even snow, but through it all, you will have a wonderful time.

Norway has many hiking routes, some famous and challenging, others not so much. You are also free to explore the landscape without following a trail, although some experience using a compass and map is recommended if you do this.

The most popular hiking trails can get busy over weekends in the summer, so consider exploring on a weekday or slightly out of season in early autumn, when Norway is at its most scenic. There are hiking cabins all over. Some are staffed whereas others have no service.

Hiking trails to try

  • Pulpit Rock – 8 km
  • Romsdalseggen Ridge – 11 km
  • Besseggen Ridge – 13.3 km
  • Trolltunga – 28 km
  • Kjeragbolten – 12 km

Always follow the mountain code when hiking in Norway. The key things to remember are to carry essential equipment, pay attention to the weather, and always tell someone your planned route.

Mountain Biking

Norway is a mountain biker’s paradise. You’ll find numerous places to rent mountain bikes, so no need to transport your own bike – unless you want to! There are dozens of mountain biking trails and in the summer, when the ski resorts are snow-free, you can use the lifts to take your bike up mountains and then have fun cycling back down again. There are also bike parks with man-made obstacles where you can test your bike handling skills.

fun things to do in Norway Mountain Biking

It is by no means easy to mountain bike in Norway, but the spectacular views are an ample reward for navigating tough terrain. Take your pick from the many dedicated mountain biking areas with single-track trails, although watch out for hikers, as they can also use the same trails. If you decide to venture off the main trails, be mindful of other people and don’t ride recklessly.

The top places to mountain bike in Norway

  • Trysil Bike Arena
  • Hafjell Bike Park
  • Kikut to Nordmarka Loop
  • Pioneren Loop from Oppsal
  • Staatsoper Oslo – Kikut Loop

Explore a full range of mountain biking routes in Norway from easy to expert on Komoot.com

Winter Sports

Norway is a great destination for winter sports, thanks to its sub-arctic climate. Even as late as May, around 60% of the country still has snow on the ground, although with average temperatures getting warmer, this is likely to change.

Winter sports are hugely popular with the locals, so if you are thinking of booking a trip to Norway over winter, you won’t be short of fun outdoor activities to try.

Nordic cross-country skiing is one of the best sports in Norway, as it is a big part of the local culture. There are lots of trails suitable for cross-country skiing, with the most popular regularly groomed and, therefore, safe. Many of the winter resorts also offer cross-country skiing.

Alpine skiing is also popular in Norway, although not quite as much as cross-country skiing. Trysil has one of the biggest ski resorts in Norway, and Hemsedal is one of the largest resorts in Scandinavia. Other notable ski resorts include Myrkdalen, Hovden, and Kvitfjell-Hafjell.

Other winter sports worth trying are snowboarding, dog sledding, ski jumping, and snowmobiling.

If you decide to venture away from the main resorts and ski slopes, be mindful of the risks associated with avalanches and always carry essential safety equipment.

Diving

While there are loads of fun things to do in Norway for people who prefer to feel solid ground beneath their feet, scuba divers will have lots of fun exploring the clear waters of the fjords and coastal dive sites. There are kelp forests, sea anemones, coral reefs, wrecks, and more. Changing tides and clear water create spectacular underwater environments that are accessible to divers of all levels.

Watch out for luminescent sea snails, colourful sea anemones, and if you are really lucky, you might even spot an orca whale.

The top dive sites in Norway

  • Salstraumen
  • MS Seattle, Kristiansand
  • DS Frankenwald, Gulen
  • Skarberget
  • Lake Lygnstøylvatnet

Climbing

There are several climbing areas in Norway, which are suitable for climbers of all skill levels.

Romsdal is the best-known climbing area – this is where you’ll find the Troll Wall, Europe’s tallest vertical rock face. If climbing 1,000 feet is a bit daunting, fear not because there are lots of other climbing opportunities in the local area.

Setesdal is to the north of Norway. There is a mix of climbing routes; choose from wall, crack, and slab climbing.

The Lofoten Islands off the west coast have granite peaks and lots of multi-pitch climbing routes.  Much of the climbing is around Henningsvarer, which is where the most popular crags are.

Stetind is a huge granite peak rising to a height of 1,392m. It is popular with rock climbers.

Narvik has plenty of multi-pitch routes and large granite walls, plus sport crags.

If you want to try bouldering, head to Hægefjell, near Setesdal.

Rafting

Sjoa in Gudbrandsdalen is the best-known rafting area in Norway. The Sjoa River is perfect for whitewater rafting. Here, the fast-flowing water runs over massive rocks and builds up energy when it passes through tight gorges.

While many sections of the Sjoa are very technical and should not be attempted without experience, there are calmer sections that are more suitable for beginners and novices. The best way to experience whitewater rafting on the Sjoa is to hire a guide to take you through the trickiest sections such as The Chocolate Gorge, Haystacks, Bye Bye Baby, and Devil’s Elbow. If you’d like to have a go at rafting on the Sjoa River, contact one of the local rafting companies.

Other rafting destinations worth checking out are Driva, Auster-Vefsna in Nordland, Trysilelva, Otra, and Dagali.

Other fun things to do in Norway worth trying during a trip to Norway include fishing, fjord kayaking, and sea kayaking.

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