10 Most Unexpected Things in Norway
I recently returned from a nearly month-long trip to Norway scouring the country’s best off-the-beaten-path destinations. While the Scandinavian nation can be crowded, I’m happy to report that there are still plenty of places to get deep into nature and far away from the crowds. Here’s my list of the 10 most surprising things in Norway I found on my journey.
1) Delighting in Detours
While it seemed like Norway might have been easy to do on our own, it proved not to be. In a country with ever-changing weather, we knew that our guides always had a plan A, B, C, D, E, and F. Having someone else handle the details allowed us to enjoy the experience and even the stormy days. Some days we braved the storms to watch the surf crashing onto the rocks. On other stormy days, we’d slip into a locals-only café or visit one of several private museums.
2)The Kindness of Norwegians
While the landscape is out of this world, the kindness of the people we met along the way is what we will remember the most. Norwegians are direct and have the strongest handshakes—and big hearts to match. The Norwegians we met along the way were incredibly curious, smart, and kind. Among our trip highlights were being invited into a new friend’s modern home for dinner with their family, and being invited to dinner with other locals in a ninth-generation farmhouse for a memorable multicourse meal. Of course, the GeoEx network of connections opened these doors.
3) Romsdahl’s Remote Riches
While Bergen and Oslo were great, they were also crawling with people, including huge bus tours, in the summer. Instead, we opted for the Romsdahl area, where our guides shared their insider experiences and got us far from the crowds and into very remote places. Luckily, Norway’s long coastline means there are still secret places where you won’t see other tourists.
4) The White-Sand Beaches & Crystal-Clear Waters of Lofoten
In this chain of islands north of the Arctic Circle, the Norwegian sea takes on a special color, a lovely light turquoise, on a sunny day. It almost looks like the Caribbean, with jaw-dropping peaks rising high into the sky! Though the weather can be unpredictable, the Gulf Stream hits Norway, so the climate is milder than you might think. We even went horseback riding on a white-sand beach on Icelandic horses.
5) Marriage of Old & New Norway
Norway has become one of Europe’s economic powers, leading the pack when it comes to tech and design, but it also has an ancient Viking legacy that is still celebrated today. On the modern side, we met with Scandinavian designers, award-winning chefs, modern polar explorers, custom ski-makers, and tech entrepreneurs. On the ancient side, we met Viking re-enactors and entered many private makeshift museums that showcased a wealth of antiques.
6) Fantastic Food
We ate in locals’ homes, tasted Norwegian fish tacos, dined in Michelin-starred restaurants, at chefs’ tables, and in cozy seaside restaurants. Norway is known as having some of the best and freshest fish in the world, and it did not disappoint!
7) KaviarFactory Art Studios in Lofoten
This is an old caviar factory that has been converted into a gallery showing works from internationally acclaimed modern artists. (There was even a recent exhibit by Yoko Ono in a private lighthouse!) We can arrange a private guided visit with the curator and a sneak peek into her private collection.
8) Mountain Marvels
Norway’s mountains are steep, dramatic, and drop directly into the sea. I was especially taken by the ones in Lofoten, which are unlike anything I’ve ever seen. These may be the most beautiful peaks you’ve never heard of, but they’re getting popular fast. With unmarked trails and quickly changing weather, having a top local guide is best, and GeoEx knows where to find them!
9) Midnight Sun
On a clear day, the dramatic sunset can go on for hours! We loved hiking up to the mountain peaks to watch it. In fact, you can hike any time of day since it’s light all of the time–even at 3:00 a.m.!
10) Arctic Surfing
You can surf and paddleboard in the Norwegian Sea’s Arctic waters! People come from all over the world to surf there. Our expert Arctic surfing guides can take beginners to several beautiful beaches with mellow waves to learn how to “hang ten” in the far north.
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To find out more about options for exploring Norway (a great destination for family and non-family travelers alike), call us at 888-570-7108.
Jennine Cohen, Managing Director, Global Sales at GeoEx, is a luxury travel expert, as seen in Afar, Vogue, Travel + Leisure, Condé Nast Traveler, Yahoo Travel, Fortune, Forbes, and other publications.
To see where her next adventure will be, make sure to follow Jennine on Instagram! Learn more about all the inspiring destinations that GeoEx offers by visiting GeoEx.com, or contact Jennine at 888-570-7108.