Summer Norway Lofoten Islands Most beautiful places

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Why go to Norway in summer

Imagine some of the world’s largest and deepest fjords. Dozens of them. Vertiginous passes, thousands of kilometers of coastline, unspoiled wilderness and some of the most beautiful mountains you’ll ever see.

Imagine being able to sleep in the most beautiful places, far from the world. Imagine being able to experience the 4 seasons (the weather, not Vivaldi) in just one day. If you’re here, you’re already convinced by Norway. You know it’s a magical place (yes, it really is).

Norway in summer means the midnight sun, exceptional hiking, the world concentrated in a few places, but the possibility of getting away from it all very easily.

But now the question on everyone’s mind: where to go? Not easy, because there are so many possibilities. We’ll break it down below.

région des fjords de Norvège

Which to choose: the Lofoten Islands or the Norwegian Fjords?

I prefer to start directly with this (we’ll go into much more detail in the following sections), because, for a first trip, this is the question the vast majority of you will be asking. Lofoten or Fjords, in summer?

These are the two regions that attract the most visitors to Norway, that are the most beautiful, and that are also going to be the most touristy (although that’s still very reasonable).

They’re also the first two regions I’ve discovered in Norway in summer. And since I get asked this question pretty much every day, here are a few quick facts:

  • Lofoten Islands can be visited all year round, and are great in winter too
  • the fjords are best visited in summer, from May to early October
  • many roads in central Norway and the fjord region are closed 8 months a year due to snow.
  • These are the two most popular summer tourist regions in Norway.
  • These are the two most spectacular regions in the country.
  • There’s more to see in the fjords, with towns (Bergen, Alesund for example)
  • but the most beautiful villages are in Lofoten (Reine, Nusfjord, Henningsvaer…)
  • A much bigger playground in the Fjords
  • Both regions are well-suited to motorhome travel
  • teasing weather in both regions
  • In Lofoten we have the midnight sun, in the Fjords we have no night (but we don’t see the sun at 2am, just lots of light).

I’m listing all this because it’s impossible to say “go there rather than there”, it will depend on many criteria, including the time you have (the fjords require more time than Lofoten, for example), where you’re coming from (if you’re coming by vehicle from France, the fjords are closer than 1000km).

But I’d say that to enjoy the fjords, summer is the best season, as many places are inaccessible in winter (Trollstigen, for example).

On the other hand, Lofoten is top for many months of the year, especially in winter.

Ferry Boat Flam Bergen Cruise

How to choose where to go

In practical terms, where to go will depend on certain criteria. The time you have available, where you’re from, your means of transport, what you want to do, whether you want to be alone in the world…

We’ll look at all that, but these are the questions you need to ask yourself before saying “Let’s go there!”, so as not to have any nasty surprises when defining your itinerary.

Depending on the time available

Having one week doesn’t allow the same thing as 2 or 3 weeks. It sounds obvious, I know. But in Norway, certain regions and itineraries really do require a lot of time.

If you only have a week (which already offers plenty of possibilities!), discovering the fjords will involve more driving than the Lofoten, for example. You won’t be able to do the whole north coast of the country, so you’ll have to concentrate on ONE region in particular, in my opinion.

In fact, I generally recommend 1 week = 1 region. In other words, in one week you can discover Lofoten / Tromso and Senja (or just one or the other) / The fjords around Bergen, for example.

With 2 weeks, you can go from Stavanger to Alesund, see Lofoten, Senja and Tromso, and why not go as far as North Cape.

These are examples which show that, unless you want to swallow up kilometers, you need to have a bit of time because :

  • there are things to see everywhere
  • you’ll be taking breaks absolutely all the time
  • speed is limited
  • distances are huge

So, for example, I wouldn’t recommend doing what I did, i.e. from Alesund to Bergen in 5/6 days, because it’s much too fast and it was very frustrating not to be able to stop whenever you wanted and see everything you wanted to.

Depending on what you want to see and do

Norway is also a country with a great diversity of activities. Do you want the most beautiful fjords? to see whales, puffins or musk oxen? do you want the most beautiful hikes?

The only criterion that will be difficult to choose is “I want to see it all”. Good luck choosing, because that’s the case just about everywhere in Norway!

  • You want to see the most beautiful fjords: the fjord region between Bergen and Alesund.
  • If you’re looking for the best hikes: either between Stavanger and Bergen, or in Lofoten (well, there are plenty of those to choose from).
  • To see whales in summer: it’s possible and it’s in Andenes, in the Vesteralen.
  • Puffins can be seen on the island of Runde, off the coast of Alesund.
  • Musk oxen are found in the central Dovrefjell Park.
  • The most beautiful fishing villages are on Lofoten Islands.
  • The most beautiful mountains are also to be found on the Lofoten Islands.
  • For glaciers, head for the Jostedalsbreen Park
  • The best roadtrips are in the fjords and between the Lofoten Islands, following the coast eastwards.

And that’s without mentioning all the Viking churches scattered across the central and southern parts of the country!

So you see, target what you want to see, what interests you, and then the destination will decide itself a bit.

But for a first trip, generally speaking, you want to see the most beautiful landscapes, and those are in Lofoten and the central fjords.

geiranger fjords norway
Lofoten islands summer reine hamnoy

The Lofoten Islands in summer

The Lofoten Islands are one of the most beautiful landscapes in Norway, with their unique landscapes, incredible mountains and heavenly beaches.

White sandy beaches, transparent water, a temperature of… Well, okay, 15°. Really, it’s beautiful and you can’t get enough of it!

So, yes, you can visit the Lofoten Islands all year round (although November, December and mid-January are a little less pleasant because of the very short days, but it’s still great).

But in summer, the Lofoten Islands have that extra something: an incredible playground for wandering through unique landscapes.

Some of the country’s most beautiful hikes can be found here, as you can access high vantage points that offer breathtaking views of the archipelago, its turquoise waters and mountain ranges.

Advantages of the Lofoten Islands in summer

  • exceptional hiking
  • you can really see heavenly beaches
  • the midnight sun

Disadvantages

  • the roads can be quite crowded
  • Wild camping is increasingly controlled due to disrespectful tourist behavior.
  • You’ll need to book early for the best accommodation.

Practical info

  • How long does it take to get to the Lofoten Islands in summer?
    • As the hikes are all accessible, it would be a shame not to take advantage of them. So with all the classic visits (fishing villages, beaches, viewpoints and essential walks), you’ll need a week. Even 2 weeks will be easily occupied.
    • If you want to get away for 2 weeks and see more, then I recommend the following article, which proposes a 2-week itinerary between Lofoten, Senja and Tromso. It’s in winter, but it’s adaptable (okay, without the sled dogs). Otherwise, I give other itineraries below 🙂
  • How to get to the Lofoten Islands
    • by plane, the easiest way is to land at Evenes and take the car, or Bodo and take the ferry to Moskenes. There are also flights to Svolvaer and Leknes, but these are fewer in number and a little more expensive.
    • by boat on the Hurtigruten (which also takes cars), or by ferry from Bodo.
    • by road from Tromso: allow 7/8 hours, probably more if you take a few photo breaks.
    • by bus: bus 300 crosses Lofoten. So it’s easy to catch the 100 from Tromso or Narvik.
A i Lofoten village fishermen islands summer
turquoise water beaches white sand lofoten islands
Hike Lofoten Islands

Where to stay in Lofoten Islands

In the following article, I’ll tell you where to stay on the Lofoten Islands. From fishermen’s huts to hotels and beachfront houses, there’s something for everyone! As it’s a huge archipelago, the sea is never far away, and there’s always a sublime view of the mountains. Here are a few recommendations:

  • In Svolvaer (a super-pleasant little town with a kind of micro-climate)
  • In Ballstad (a little haven of peace between the mountains)
Best hotels lofoten islands sleep svinoya rorbuer

4 recommended accommodations in Lofoten

Fast Hotel Svolvaer pas cher lofoten

FAST HOTEL SVOLVAER

  • Cheap and very correct
  • Good place to stay in Svolvaer
  • From €73
Anker Brygge Svolvaer hotel iles lofoten

ANKER BRYGGE

  • Cosy and warm
  • Perfect location
  • From €153
Rostad Rorbuer Hamnoy Reine Lofoten hotel pas cher

ROSTAD RORBUER

  • A breathtaking view
  • In Hamnoy, near Reine
  • From €173
Naustplassen Rorbuer Ballstad lofoten pas cher

NAUSTPLASSEN

  • Between fjords and mountains
  • In Ballstad, 9.7/10 on Booking!
  • From €141

Favorite activity

Discover the Trollfjord by boat!

trollfjord iles lofoten croisière
  • Discover Norway’s smallest fjord
  • A boat trip through beautiful scenery
  • Opportunity to see eagles
  • Prices from €110

The fjord region

The Norwegian fjords are exceptional. Do you know the Milford Sound fjords in New Zealand? Well, that’s even better.

The fjords are dozens of kilometers deep, and their sheer walls can reach 1,300m in height (imagine being in the water and having a 1,300m stone wall in front of you). It’s truly impressive, and what’s more, there’s a whole lot of it!

Lysefjord is super beautiful, Odda is a magnificent setting, Fjaerland ultra chute, Geiranger is the rockstar of fjords and my favorite is Naeroyfjord because it’s very long, high and very narrow. Super impressive.

The fjord region generally runs from Bergen to Alesund. But south of Bergen, there are some very beautiful fjords worth visiting, such as Lysefjord.

However, there’s more to this region than just fjords: you’ll find some of the most beautiful roads in the country, such as the Trollstigen, the Snoveggen, and zigzag roads all over the place.

History buffs? you’ll find some of the most beautiful Viking churches in Norway!

Why is summer the best time to visit the fjords?
Because some of the region’s most beautiful roads are closed for 7/8 months of the year. For example, the Sognefjell (incredible), where they have to remove several meters of snow (the pictures are impressive), the Trollstigen or around Stryn for example.

September is also great, as there are far fewer people and everything is open. But from October to May, or even longer, many of Norway’s roads are closed.

Disadvantage

  • it’s probably the most touristic place in the country during summer. With a lot of camper vans, as the region lends itself very well to this. But the advantage is that it’s huge, so it’s easy to get away from the crowds.
  • it’s a big region, so don’t try to cover too much ground in a short space of time.

How long to visit the fjord region
In 4-5 days you can see Bergen, Flam and the Naeroyfjord, for example.
A week is the minimum to really enjoy the fjords, but it’s not enough to discover the whole region.

In my guide to discovering Norway (only in french for the moment), I give you an itinerary to see the main places, but if you really want to discover the fjords from Bergen to Alesund, you’ll need 10 days.
2 weeks is great, and if you have more time, you can start lower down, from Stavanger, and work your way up to Alesund to enjoy the region’s many emblematic hikes.

geiranger fjords norway
Fjord Geiranger in Norway
Naeroyfjord fjord region Norway
Stavkirke church viking Norway Borgund
Village de Fjaerland région des fjords en Norvège

SLEEPING IN A FJORD IN FJAERLAND

  • A small paradise
  • An ideal base
  • From €60

SAILING ON NAEROYFJORD

  • A magnificent cruise
  • Transport from Bergen
  • From €180

NAEROYFJORD + STEGASTEIN + FLAM

  • The essentials in a day
  • Incredible views
  • From €230
MarcherGlacierNorvege

WALKING ON A GLACIER

  • An incredible experience
  • In a magnificent setting
  • From €98

See Oslo, Bergen, Flam and Naeroyfjord

If you’d like to discover two beautiful cities and nature, for 1 week to 10 days, here’s what I suggest:

  • 2/3 days in Oslo, a really pleasant city, full of super-interesting museums (FRAM, Norwegian folklore, Kon Tiki…) and when the weather’s fine, it’s a city where being outdoors is ultra-fun.
  • take the train from Oslo to Bergen, one of the most beautiful lines in the world, quite simply.
  • 2 days in Bergen, the country’s most beautiful city, with its wooden architecture and famous Bryggen docks
  • 2 days in the fjords: Naeroyfjord, Flam and its train, Aurlandsfjord and Borgund church. You can go through Norway in a Nutshell, make your own reservations by bus or train, or best of all by car, and then either return to Bergen from where you’ll be leaving, or drive straight back to Oslo (beware of the cost of the car if you drop it off at another location).

If you don’t have a car and don’t want to bother with reservations, use an agency that will take you on a tour from Bergen:

    • the Flam train
    • the bus trip
    • Naeroyfjord cruise
    • visits to waterfalls and villages
    • More info here

If you don’t have too much time, this trip will allow you to take in a lot of culture, see two beautiful towns, and take in some exceptional scenery.

So there’s something for everyone! So there’s something for everyone!

Please note: it’s now possible to travel from BERGEN to FLAM by boat!

opera oslo norway view
Flam train Norway Bergen
Bryggen in Bergen

Recommended accommodation for this trip

CITYBOX OSLO

  • Right in the city center
  • And not especially expensive
  • From €80
radisson blu bergen bryggen hotel

RADISSON BLU BERGEN

  • In the old docks
  • A magnificent building
  • From €115

FLAM MARINA

  • Breathtaking views
  • Flam, a magical setting
  • From €240
VisitUndredalHotel

VISIT UNDREDAL

  • A little corner of paradise
  • 9.3/10 on Booking!
  • From €200

Tromso, Senja to North Cape

So no, North Cape isn’t super far from Tromso. It’s 500km, so about 8/9 hours non-stop. However, it would be a shame not to see more! I must confess I haven’t been to the North Cape yet. I stopped not far away, in Alta, but I’ll have to rectify that anomaly soon 🙂To discover Senja + Tromso + the North Cape, you’d need about ten days, I’d say, to be able to enjoy it all. Because in summer, in Tromso and Senja, you’ve got some incredible hikes to do. In Tromso, in summer, you’ve got lots of things to see:

  • Kvaloya Island
  • Sjursnes and Nakkevatnet
  • plenty of hiking
  • the Lyngen Alps, but you’ll discover them on the Alta
  • Signaldalen too

So, all in all, you can count on at least 3 days on site Then, off to Senja, taking the ferry from Kvaloya! As your time is limited, I recommend 2 days:

  • one day in the northern fjords, from Husoy to Gryllefjord
  • a day in Anderdalen Park and Sifjord, then on to Flakstadvag
  • then on to the Signaldalen valley
  • you can sleep at the foot of the Lyngen Alps, for example in one of the North Experience bubbles!

Afterwards, you’ll have a good day to discover the Lyngen Alps, with the road to Koppangen, and then from Lyngseidet to Russelv at the very top.

If you don’t want to go to Signaldalen, then you can go via Breivikeidet and take the ferry to the Lyngen Alps, which is super fun and fast.

To head back towards Alta, take the ferry from Lyngseidet to Olderdalen, which will save you a huge amount of time.

One area I love is before Alta, towards Jokelfjord and this huge peninsula. As the roads are long, you’ll need a day to discover it all.

You can sleep closer to Alta to save time, but I recommend the Arctic Fjordcamp, a magnificent setting.

From there, you can head off to Nordkapp, which is another 4-hour drive without photo breaks (and there will be some!). Finally, you’ll arrive at the top.

At this point, I can’t tell you what to see, apart from Nordkapp, its monument and the Kirkeporten rock a little further down.

If you’ve only got ten days or so, it’s time to head back. The big advantage of doing this trip in summer is that you don’t have the constraints of Nordkapp in winter: weather conditions can be rotten, the road is closed, and you have to pass through a convoy (once a day, I think).

You also have all the superb hikes of Senja and Kvaloya.

Nordkapp Norway north cape

Lofoten Islands, Tromso and Senja in 10 days

A very classic itinerary is to discover the Lofoten Islands, Senja and Tromso in 10 or 14 days. I suggest starting from Tromso and making a loop (you can also do the same from Bodo).

  • Discovering Tromso
  • A day trip to the Lyngen Alps and Signaldalen.
  • If you’d like some recommendations on where to sleep, in the following article I’ve listed a few good places to stay in Tromso
  • Kvaloya Island, take the Tromvik road, then the Sommaroy road
  • Stay at the Sommaroy Arctic Hotel to take the ferry to Senja the next morning.
  • Take the fjord route via Husoy, Fjordgard, Tungeneset, Bergsbotn
  • Sleep in paradise: Hamn i Senja
  • Go to Gryllefjord, then Sifjord to Flakstadvag
  • Take the road to Svolvaer (approx. 6 hrs.)
  • You can sleep at Svinoya Rorbuer
  • In the upper Lofoten, discover Henningsvaer, Unstad, Stamsund, Ballstad
  • Sleep a little further south to be central, like at Lofoten Basecamp or Eliassen Rorbuer.
  • In the south, take 2/3 days to discover the villages of Reine, Hamnoy, A, Nusfjord, as well as the beaches of Uttakleiv and Vik.
  • You can also do beautiful hikes such as Reinebringen or Ryten.
  • Then take the ferry from Moskenes to Bodo to return to the mainland.
  • Sleep in Bodo, at the Panoramisk leilighet for example
  • Then head up the superb coast towards Narvik. Stop off at Stetind, the “national mountain”.
  • In Narvik, you can take the funicular, which offers a superb view of the fjord. Then sleep at the Scandic, for example, which is not bad at all.
  • Finally, on your last day in Tromso, stop off at the Polar Park to discover the animals of the region.
A i lofoten red rorbu house cabins lofoten islands norway
Senja Gryllefjord drone view sunset
Sunset sommaroy tromso kvaloya
vincent voyage instagram northern lights norway

10 suggested itineraries for 1 to 2 weeks in Norway

If you only have one week to 10 days

In a week to 10 days, here are some suggestions:

  • Lofoten Islands
  • Lofoten Islands and Senja (if 10 days), why not do a loop from Bodo, take the ferry, go up to Senja, then down the coast to Bodo?
  • Oslo + Bergen + Naeroyfjord and Flam
  • Fjords around Bergen (if 1 week)
  • Bergen to Alesund (if 10 days)
  • Tromso to North Cape

If you have 2 weeks

2 weeks offer even more possibilities (logical, I know):

  • Lofoten Islands + Senja + Tromso
  • A loop Oslo, Bergen, Geiranger, Lom, Dovrefjell, Oslo
  • A loop Oslo, Telemark, Stavanger, Bergen, Naeroyfjord, Flam, Oslo
  • from Stavanger to Alesund, via Bergen, Geiranger, Naeroyfjord… (quick but well done)
  • or from Bergen to Alesund, but taking your time in Flam, Fjaerland, Stryn, Sognefjell in particular, and visiting glaciers and Viking churches (Urnes, Borgund).

Norway, a hiking paradise

In summer, Norway is exceptional for hiking. The problem is that the most popular ones may be a bit crowded. I’d like to point out that I haven’t done the vast majority of these hikes, some of which are a bit long or cottony, so I’ll tell you about them:

  • Preikestolen: the famous cliff overhanging the Lysefjord by more than 600m, just outside Stavanger.
  • Kjeragbolten: also near Stavanger, this is not an easy hike that also overlooks the Lysefjord. Its special feature is a rock wedged between two stone walls.
  • Trolltunga: another super-famous and emblematic rock tongue, east of Bergen.
  • Romsdalseggen ridge : a marvellous view of the mountains surrounding Andalsnes, considered one of the most picturesque, but also not so easy as some passages are very steep and on a ridge (hence its name, perhaps).
  • Besseggen ridge, in the Jotunheimen park, a super-popular hike, not difficult, for access to glacial lakes and magnificent views.
  • Keipen, for superb views over Geirangerfjord
  • Skageflå: a magnificent hike on the slopes of Geiranger, facing the famous Seven Sisters waterfalls.
  • Reinebringen: the famous one. An incredible view of the village of Reine, its archipelago and the fabulous mountains of the Lofoten Islands.
  • Horseid and Bunes beaches: not easily accessible from Reine, these are two magnificent, somewhat isolated spots on the uninhabited side of the Lofoten Islands.
  • Kvalvika beach: several routes (I’d say 3) take you to yet another secluded beach. Ryten offers the best view, I’d say, but they’re all worth it!
  • Segla: the emblematic mountain of the island of Senja, there’s an easy version and a difficult one for a crazy view. And check out Husfjellet!

Well, that’s just a small example of the most beautiful hikes in Norway. In general, it’s uphill. There really are hikes everywhere, if only because nature is legally accessible to all. However, the most famous hikes with the best views (accessible without climbing) are between Stavanger and Alesund, and on the Lofoten Islands. Senja is also a real hiking paradise, especially as there aren’t many people around!

Hike Ornfloya Sommaroy Tromso
Hike Vik Haukland Lofoten islands Norway
Hike Ersfjord Nattmålsfjellet Tromso Kvaloya

Norway by camper van in summer

First of all, I’d like to point out that I’ve never travelled in a camper van or camped in Norway. I’ve done it in quite a few other countries, including Iceland and New Zealand, but I come across camper vans pretty much all the time in Norway.

I’d even go so far as to say that a great many Norwegians have camper vans that they take out every weekend.

It’s funny, because on the roads around Tromso where I am, it’s transhumance 🙂 And frankly,

Norway is the perfect country for this mode of locomotion and discovery. First of all, you can stop anywhere! The concept of nature for all means that, unless you’re told otherwise (rare, but it happens if you’ve been abused), you can put your vehicle down wherever you want to sleep. And since this is something that even the locals do, there are plenty of equipped spaces all over the place. Well-maintained public toilets in nice places, superbly located campsites, easy to empty water, buy gas, that sort of thing.

Norwegian driving is also adapted. There are speed limits on the roads, and Norwegians really don’t drive like lunatics. It’s quiet, respectful and you don’t feel pressured, which is very pleasant. So if you’re camping with a slow-moving vehicle, you won’t be bothered.

On the other hand, if you see that there’s a queue behind you, just pull over to the side of the road for a few seconds to let those going faster pass, which is much appreciated 🙂

You can also take all the ferries with your camper van. From Tromso to Senja, from Bodo to Lofoten, in the fjords, the ferries and ferry boats take trucks and motorhomes without a care, so if you have the time, really take a few weeks to discover Norway by motorhome.

In July and until mid-August, you’ll be with lots of other people, but frankly, that’s okay 🙂 The last two weeks of August are much less crowded!

Dalsnibba Norway Geiranger View
Fjord Norway summer

4 must-do summer activities in Norway

DISCOVER THE NAEROYFJORD

  • Norway’s most beautiful fjord
  • A magnificent 5-hour cruise from Bergen!
  • One way or return
Wooden house bryggen docks Bergen

VISIT THE OLD DOCKS OF BRYGGEN

  • A UNESCO-listed site
  • Bergen’s emblematic wooden quarter
  • From €100
Lofoten island lake autumn

HIKING IN THE LOFOTEN ISLANDS

  • Fantastic landscapes, ideal for hiking
  • Dozens of trails
  • For all levels!
TrainOsloBergen

THE TRAIN BETWEEN OSLO AND BERGEN

  • One of the most beautiful train lines in the world
  • Fjords, mountains, lakes
  • With VY

Things to do in Norway in summer

Norway is a paradise for outdoor activities. Okay, there’s a lot you can do in winter, but there’s also a lot of great stuff to do in summer, especially sports activities

I’ve already told you about the wonderful hikes you can do all over the country. But there are other great classics:

boat discover tromso day cruise
  • see the stavkirke: these famous Viking churches are found mainly in the center of the country. There were hundreds of them everywhere, but many of them burned down.
    The ones that remain are magnificent, and can be found mainly between Bergen and the fjords. Lom, Borgund and Urnes are well worth a visit. In Bergen, there’s an interesting reconstructed one.
Stavkirke Borgund Fjords Norway Church VIking
  • discover museums: the most interesting ones are in Oslo. I loved the FRAM museum on polar expeditions. The Kon Tiki too, as well as the Norwegian Folklore Museum. Anyway, in the following article, I’ll tell you which are the best museums in Oslo.
    In Bergen, to get your dose of culture, you have to go to Bryggen, the historic dock district. The Hanseatic Museum is an interesting place to discover the history of the Hanseatic League and how it made Norway so rich.
Museum Fram Oslo
  • see the animals:
    • in summer, whales can be seen in Andenes, in the Vesteralen. Otherwise, in Lofoten and the north coast, it’s a matter of luck – there’s no insurance, but it can happen.
    • puffins can be seen on the island of Runde, off Alesund, from March to mid-August.
    • you can see the typical musk oxen in Dovrefjell Park. To do so, you’ll have to walk a bit, and if you don’t know where to go, you can hire a guide who will know where they are.
    • In summer, reindeer are out in the wild. So you can see them just about anywhere, because they move around a lot, unlike in winter when they stay where they eat easily.
    • Elks: you need a bit of luck, but it happens (I saw a lot of them last winter). They love the forests, move around especially at night, and cross the roads like Parisians, without looking and without stopping.
    • dolphins: there are lots of them all year round. They are relatively easy to spot on the north coast, between Lofoten and Kirkenes. They’re on the move, so you need to keep a sharp eye out for them along the coast.
Dolphins Kaikoura New Zealand
  • see the glaciers: there are over 2,500 glaciers in Norway, the largest being Jostedalsbreen in the center. Many are quite easily accessible, and for some you can even walk on them:
    • Nigardsbreen
    • Briksdalsbreen
    • Bøyabreen
    • Okstindbreen
    • Svartisen
    • Tystigbreen
    • Folgefonna (you can look here to walk on it)
    • Austfonna is in Svalbard but is the largest.
Hike Glacier Perito Moreno Argentina

No, there are no (visible) northern lights in Norway in summer

To see the Northern Lights, you need night. But there’s no real night from the end of April to the end of August, and we have the midnight sun (i.e. the sun above the horizon 24 hours a day) from mid-May to the end of July.

That’s over 2 months of non-stop sunshine, which isn’t bad, is it? So the aurora in northern Norway (the Arctic Circle) won’t be visible from mid-April to the end of August.

The end of August is good for a little bit of night-time, and the beginning of September starts to be great for the aurora borealis, when you can see them really well, even if the nights are still quite short.

See the northern lights september october autumn senja norway

Practical information about Norway in summer

How long to stay

For nature, you need to stay at least a week. You can enjoy Oslo or Bergen in 3 days, but if you’re coming for a vacation rather than a weekend, you’ll need at least a week.

We’ve already seen what you can do in 7/10/14 days, so you’ll need a week for each region, roughly speaking.

The country is really big, really stretched out, the connections are long, the speed limited and you stop all the time. I’d say that if you’ve got 2 weeks or more, it’s a bit of paradise 🙂

Allemannsretten: the right of access to nature

Imagine a huge playground, with almost no limits, where you can land wherever you want. It sounds like Minecraft, but it’s really Norway!

Norway allows access to all its natural areas with almost no restrictions. Except where specifically marked, you can go. Does it belong to someone else? No problem! Well, don’t go barbecuing in front of the house, but you could go into the fields of an estate, into a nature reserve, sleep in front of a beautiful lake. All we ask is that you be respectful of the place and the people, and not leave a single trace.

This relationship with nature explains why Norwegians are always out and about. If it’s snowing? they go cross-country skiing. Is it sunny? It’s autumn? they’ll be picking pounds of berries, even in the rain.

Nature’s leisure activities are guaranteed by law, no less, so you can stay at someone’s house as long as it’s within 150m of their home. If you want to stay in the same place for more than 2 nights, you need to ask the owner for permission. Some natural areas also prohibit staying for more than 2 nights.

beaches vik haukland lofoten

How to get around

I’m going to devote a whole article to this, but here’s the main information

  • Planner: your best friend will be the entur.no app (or website) to plan all your journeys (train, bus, ferries), and get timetables and locations.
  • Trains: there’s a small but reliable network that passes through the main cities. Oslo, Stavanger, Bergen, Trondheim, Mo i Rana, as far as Bodo. There are no trains to the north. Check out vy.no, the Norwegian train company. The Oslo-Bergen line is considered one of the most beautiful in the world.
  • Bus: Norway has an excellent bus network. But… the difference between north and south is really marked, and it’s hard to get from north to south. In the south and center, it’s mainly the VYbus network, as far as Trondheim. In the north, the entire coast is covered by the Arctic Route, and you can’t get any lower than Narvik.
  • Plane: there are lots of small airports in Norway, and the planes are also “omnibus” in the sense that there are several stops and not a classic round trip. It’s very well served, and not too expensive if you get in early. Look into Wideroe, Norwegian and Flysas.
  • Boats: Norwegians have a long history of traveling by boat. The Hurtigruten is more than a cruise ship along the coast; it’s a coastal express, like a bus, but on the sea, serving dozens of ports along the country. And it’s a super-practical way to travel!
  • Car: the most practical, of course. Rentals are generally inexpensive, but gasoline prices have skyrocketed. Make sure you compare rental prices; for my part, I look at Kayak, Rental Cars and Discover Cars to avoid any unpleasant surprises.

CAR RENTAL IN NORWAY

Rent a car in Norway from Discover Cars

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Conclusion

There you go, I think I’ve told you almost everything!

Obviously, Norway being such a big country, with so many different regions, it’s hard to list everything there is to do, all the places to see. But I hope this article will help you plan your trip to Norway this summer, and above all find out where to go, and which is the best place for you

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