Norway- Not Just The Northern Lights!

Norway- Not Just The Northern Lights!


Norway is a country with so many exciting, adventurous and beautiful things to do all year round. When someone talks about traveling to Norway, NORTHERN LIGHTS comes to mind. However, in this blog you will get to know what you can do in Norway, places to visit in Norway, and what activities you should not miss over and above the Northern Lights chasing. It is always a good idea to go with a mindset to know the place or the city; a Northern Light sighting could be a bonus during the trip to Norway. Norway has a lot to offer to travelers– from the architectural marvels in Oslo, to the famous fjords, and the stunning northern lights that make the entire country seem like an otherworldly wonderland. Hence Norway is not just northern lights, there's more to it.

We found the perfect location for the Aurora Sighting. (Near Tromso, February 2018)


9-Day Itinerary For Norway

So it is important to plan the itinerary before you decide on the accommodation, flights, and other essential things. We have put together a few things you must know and keeping mind before packing your bags.

I am sure this blog will help answer what is the most beautiful part of Norway.

Day 1| Oslo: Arrive in Oslo and indulge in a light orientation tour where you can see the Opera House, Vigeland Sculpture Park, Royal Palace, and some Museums if time permits.

Day 2| Oslo to Flåm: Enjoy the Train ride from Oslo to reach Flam.
You will have to change the Train at Myrdal to board the scenic train to Flam.

Day 3| Flåm to Bergen: Do not miss to do the Fjord Cruise at Nærøyfjord, it's breathtaking. Also visit the Stegastein Viewpoint to get a view of Aurland Town.
Arrive at Bergen through Train.

Day 4| Bergen to Tromso: Make sure to walk around the city center of Bergen (specially Bryggen) before you leave. Fly from Bergen to Tromso. You may go for a Northern Lights Chase this evening.

Day 5| Tromso: A trip to Norway is incomplete without some adventure. Choose to do Husky Dog Sledge, Reindeer Ride, or Snowmobiling depending on your interest (Duration- 4 to 7 hrs). Later in the evening proceed for the Northern Lights Tour.

Day 6| Tromso to Lofoten: Visit the Polaria Aquarium where you can see some Arctic marine life. Fly from Tromso to Svolvær (Lofoten Islands). You may choose to take up a Northern Lights Tour again this day if you were not lucky in the past 2 attempts.

Day 7| Lofoten Islands: These beautiful Islands will take around 7 hours for an orientation tour- Henningsvær, Hamnoy, Reine, Ramberg, Gimsøy, and more. You may end the day with a Northern Lights chasing tour if you want else just relax and enjoy the lovely food here.

Day 8| Oslo: Fly from Svolvær to Oslo. Visit the Viking Ship Museum and Noble Peace Centre. For shopping, you may spend time near Oslo Central Station. You can also have dinner and enjoy the nightlife here before you say Goodbye to Norway.

Day 9| Depart from Oslo: Choose to spend a few more days or say Goodbye to Norway. As Oslo is the capital of Norway, almost all international flights take off from here, generally in the morning. Therefore, make sure to arrive a day earlier in Oslo.

Still confused? Here's WOW Clubs detailed itinerary that would give you a better understanding of your trip.

Northern Lights in Norway
Norway is a country of almost incredible natural beauty - from its fairy-tale like fjords to its glacier plateaus, to its incredible mountain backdrops which lead to it being one of the most beautiful countries in the world. The northern city of Tromsø offers internationally renowned restaurants and…

WOW Pro Tip: For in-country flights make sure to be at the Airport atleast 2 hrs before. At Svolvær Airport, you can arrive 1.00 hrs before departure time as it is a very small Airport with only a 40 seater Airplane.

Frequently asked questions about Norway:

Arctic Cathedra, Tromso
Arctic Cathedral, Tromso captured by a wanderer at Dawn (February 2019)

1)Which is the most visited city in Norway?

  • Oslo- Oslo is Norway’s capital. Things to do include seeing the Holmenkollen Ski Jump, the Viking Ship Museum, the Norwegian National Opera, and Akershus Castle.
  • Bergen- Bergen is the second largest city in Norway. Eat fish caught fresh from the ocean, visit Bryggen, the Hanseatic houses that dominate the harbor, and get a bird’s eye view of the city from the funicular.

2) Which part of Norway is the best?

  • Tromso is considered to be the northernmost city in the world and one of the best places to witness the Northern Lights.
  • Trondheim is a city on the Trondheim Fjord, in central Norway. Great cafes, restaurants, and museums compete for attention.  Fishing boats putter around the harbor gulls wheel and screech overhead, and beyond the city's outskirts, there's a wealth of wilderness to explore.

3) Cities to explore in Norway

  • Lofoten Islands- Located in the Arctic Circle, these islands are one of Norway’s most beautiful and off the beaten track destinations. Known for its quaint fishing villages, the Lofoten Islands are also spot to go surfing.
  • Svalbard, Spitsbergen- The Svalbard Islands are located between Norway and the North Pole. Visit polar bears, historic mining towns, and the town Longyearbyen.
  • Stavanger- Stavanger's old center has some of the most beautiful and best-preserved wooden buildings anywhere in Norway, many dating back to the 18th century. It's all very pretty, and in summer the waterfront comes alive in the best port-town style.
  • Flam- Flam is a village in southwestern Norway, in an area known for its fjords. It sits at the end of Aurlandsfjord, a branch of the vast Sognefjord. The dramatic Stegastein viewing platform juts out high above the Aurlandsfjord.
Wanderers ready to board the Cruise at Nærøyfjord from Flam (February 2020)

16 Things to do in Norway

Norway is a once-in-a-lifetime destination and the essence of its appeal is remarkably simple: this is one of the most beautiful countries on Earth. From wildlife watching to dog-sledding, from Oslo to Svalbard, here are the places to visit in Norway.

  1. Northern Light Chasing- Every person deserves to witness the Northern Lights at least once in their life, and Norway is a perfect place for that. If you are considering taking a trip mainly for the Northern Lights Chasing, this blog will help you out.
  2. Dog Sledding- There’s no finer way to explore the Arctic wilderness than on a sled pulled by a team of huskies. Dog-sledding takes you out into the trackless world of Norway’s far north
  3. Reindeer Ride- The speed of the Reindeer sleigh is rather slow as compared to the Dog Sledging. However, if it is an equally fun activity to do. You may find these rides almost everywhere in the North of Norway- Tromso, Lofoten, Roros, Sorrisniva, and other places.
  4. Snowmobiling- If you are an adventure junkie then this is it. By snowmobile, you get deeper into the natural scenery and higher up the mountains than you would on foot. Snowmobile trips are mainly offered in North Tromso (Lyngen Alps), Svensby, Svalbard and some even operate in Lofoten. The duration is around 7 hours.
Drinking hot chocolate in snow
Taking a Hot chocolate break during Snowmobiling. Svensby (February 2020)

5. Scenic Train to Flam- We won’t be lying when we say that this is one of the most scenic and astonishing train rides in the world, and if you are a fan of eye-popping nature panoramas, you simply can’t miss it!

6. Cruise at Nærøyfjord- Prepare for breathtaking views as you sail, paddle, row, or just Instagram this magnificent sight. It’s not called The King of Fjords for nothing.

7. Ålesund - It is now known for the art nouveau architectural style in which most of the town was rebuilt after the fire, as documented at the Jugendstilsenteret museum. There are panoramic views of Ålesund’s architecture, the surrounding archipelago, and fjords from the Mount Aksla lookout.

8. Bryggen, Bergen-  We will let ourselves go as far as saying that this is the most beautiful part of Bergen.

lights of Bryggen
The beautiful evening lights of Bryggen were captured by a wanderer in BERGEN. (February 2019)

9. Fløibanen Funicular- The Fløibanen is a funicular railway in the Norwegian city of Bergen. It connects the city center with the mountain of Fløyen, with its mountain walks and magnificent views of the city. It is one of Bergen's major tourist attractions and one of Norway's most visited attractions.

10. Geirangerfjord- The 20km chug along Geirangerfjord, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, must rank as the world’s loveliest ferry journey. Long-abandoned farmsteads still cling to the fjord’s near-sheer cliffs while ice-cold cascades tumble, twist, and gush down to emerald-green waters.

11. Pulpit Rock- As lookouts go, Preikestolen has few peers. Perched atop an almost perfectly sheer cliff that juts out more than 600m above the waters of gorgeous Lysefjord, Pulpit Rock is one of Norway’s signature images and most eye-catching areas.

12. Wildlife-watching-   While you may stumble upon polar bears (in Svalbard only), Arctic foxes, reindeer, and other species during your explorations of the Norwegian wild, dedicated safaris in the Norwegian interior will take you within sight of the otherworldly musk ox, as well as the rather loveable elk (moose).

 Reindeers in Norway
Are you ready spend some time with the Reindeers? They are truly adorable.

13. Sami culture- Snowmobiles have ousted sleds and nowadays only a minority of Sami live from their reindeer herds or coastal fishing. But the Sami culture, transcending the frontiers of Norway, Sweden, and Finland, lives on and is strong.

14. Arctic Cathedral- This is one of the newer cathedrals in the country and is built in a dramatic style. The structure is meant to look like large blocks of ice and you will find sparkling mosaics inside as well as the iconic façade which is made of glass and marked with a large crucifix.

15. Marvels of Vigeland Sculpture Park- The Vigeland Sculpture Park is dedicated to the work of Gustav Vigeland, a famous Norwegian sculptor. Here you will find over 200 pieces made from bronze and granite and this is also the biggest sculpture park of its kind that shows off the work of an individual artist. There are several sections to the park including the Main Gate, the Children’s Playground, the Wheel Life, and the Bridge.

16. Hiking, Preikestolen & Trolltunga- Hiking is one of the best ways to discover the dramatic landscapes of western Norway. And you really don’t need to be a sportsman to go on one! Here you can find it all: family-friendly, easy-pace, more demanding, and extremely challenging hike paths. The Sognefjord area is an excellent base if you are a beginner at hiking. Preikestolen is a spectacular place with unique rocky cliffs facing the Lysefjord, it will take you around 4-5 hours to reach it. And, it's impossible not to mention Trolltunga, a scenic cliff, set about 700 m. above lake Ringedalsvatnet, this 10-12 hour hike is physically demanding but a surely worthy adventure.

hike to Trolltunga
The hike to Trolltunga (Troll's Tongue) can take 12 hours to get to this magnificent view.

Important Things to Know Before leaving for Norway

Below are a few facts about Norway like language, currency, visa information, etc if you are almost close to your departure date for traveling to Norway.

Languages spoken in Norway:

The official language is Norwegian but most people are fluent in English.

Currency of Norway:

1 Norwegian Krone equals 8.32 Indian Rupee

Visas requirement for NORWAY:

Indian Passport holders need a Single/ multiple entry Schengen Visa. Citizens of the United States, Canada, Europe, Australia, and Japan can enter Norway for up to 90 days without a Visa. For more details visit the VFS Global Website.

Svolvær Fjord
The Svolvær Fjord beautifully captured by a wanderer (February 2019)

Even if you have already made up your mind traveling to Norway, here are a few facts about Norway that will help you plan your trip efficiently.

Is Norway an expensive place to visit?

  • Norway is one of the most expensive countries to visit in the world.
  • Food, accommodations, and fuel are the most pricey items.
  • Shop at supermarkets and bakeries rather than dining at restaurants.
  • Good, clean hotels at reasonable prices can be found, as accommodation prices are not as shockingly high as the price for food.
  • Rental car prices are average and you need to take several in-country flights that are economical if booked a few months in advance.

How far in advance can you book tickets and accommodations in Norway?

  • You will be surprised to see the popularity of this country amongst the tourists.
  • During the peak season (summers mostly) the hotels and trains are sold out at least 45 days in advance.
  • You can contact us for more help if you have difficulties booking accommodation for yourself.

What is the best month to go to Norway?

  • Summer is brief in Norway. For outdoor activities such as hiking and camping, the best months are June through August.
  • Before and after these months, snow is possible, especially as you travel north.
  • The summer months also get the most tourists, so expect larger crowds at most of the popular sights.
  • Norway was the birthplace of skiing, so visiting Norway during the winter months can also make for a great trip.
  • If you want to see the Northern Lights, visit Norway between November and March.

Experience the Midnight Sun

The midnight sun is of course a nice experience and can be seen anywhere North of Bodø (not only at North Cape) around mid-summer.

Is Norway of Safe for solo trips?  

  • Health & Safety standards are very high and visitors generally don't have to worry about personal security.
  • For instance, tap water is not only drinkable but usually of very high quality (better than bottled).
  • During summer there is virtually 24-hour daylight everywhere, which adds to safety. Keep a safe distance from glaciers, waterfalls, and ocean waves (this is where accidents happen).

Is English a common language in Norway?

  • Don't know Norwegian? No problem! The majority of Norwegians speak English.
  • Even though some are a bit shy to have a whole conversation, they are able to understand most and help you with any questions you might have. So, don't be afraid of saying hi to a stranger!

What to Wear and What to Pack for Norway

  • The weather changes a lot between seasons in Norway so you always want to bring enough clothes.
  • Most importantly, if you're planning to go on some hikes during your visit, you need to bring an extra layer of clothes.
  • Even during summer, it's wise to bring a rain jacket and a fleece in your backpack in case the weather changes or the temperatures drop when you reach a higher altitude.

Tipping in Norway - To Add Gratuity or Not?

Service charges are already included in your bill. There is no need to add an extra 10 or 15% to your restaurant bill.

WOW Pro Tip: If you are determined to see the midnight sun in Summers and Northern Lights in Winters, include it as a bonus in a visit to the great landscapes of north Norway.
View of Tromso
Midnight Sun and the aerial view of Tromso, what more to ask for! :)

Traditional Norwegian Dishes You Have to Try

If you are adventurous enough to try local cuisines then this list of dishes will surely help you plan your meals between your trip. Doesn't matter if you are a vegan, vegetarian, or nonvegetarian, there is always enough variety of food in most parts of Norway.

  • Brown cheese
Brown cheese
An image of the Norwegian Brown cheese

Brunost, though dubbed a cheese, technically isn’t cheese at all (at least in terms of how most non-Norwegians would think of it).

  • Klippfisk

    Spanish fishermen came up with this way of preserving fish for the long journey back from the North Sea. Salted, dried, and pressed cod is well known as the star of the Iberian dish bacalao and you can come across fine examples of that in Norway.

  • Tube Caviar
Tube Caviar
An image of the Norwegian Dish, Tube Caviar

In Norway, you’ll find caviar in a tube, as well as various flavors of soft cheese spread (try the bacon cheese…obviously). You should totally embrace the tube, which is pretty much the perfect way to package food for long train rides, mountain hikes, fjord cruises, or whatever excitement you’re getting up to in Norway.

  • Kjøttkaker

This simple dish is common throughout the country and many families eat it weekly. Minced meat is seasoned and kneaded with a variety of ingredients, such as onions or rusk before it is formed into small cakes and pan-fried.

  • Pinnekjøtt

This hearty meal of salted, air-dried rib of sheep is traditionally served on Christmas Eve. The ribs are rehydrated, steamed over birch sticks, and served with mashed kohlrabi.  The rich, salty taste is balanced by the inherent sweetness of the kohlrabi, which makes the dish rounder in flavor.

  • Lefse
 A man making Lefse| Photo by Taylor Friehl on Unsplash

Norwegians love this sweetened variety of traditional soft flatbread with a cup of coffee. It is slathered with a blend of butter, sugar, and cinnamon, then meticulously folded or rolled and cut into portions so that it's easy to carry.  you can grab one to go on ferries around the country and in well-stocked grocery stores.

  • Svele

Unlike the American pancakes they resemble, svele is usually an afternoon treat with coffee, eaten warm from the pan. They're served buttered and covered with anything sweet from syrup to uniquely Norwegian brown cheese.

  • Raspeballer

This dense ball of mashed potato and flour is slowly simmered in stock with fatty cuts of sheep or pork. It's usually served with thick cubes of pan-fried bacon and lots of brown butter. Many restaurants serve it as a special every Thursday afternoon. However, at its core, it is a heavy-duty farmer's dish.

To conclude:

I hope this blog was helpful with the best places to visit in Norway, facts about Norway, and definitely travel tips before you start planning your trip. If you need any further help on northern lights tour packages or planning a trip to any part of the world, contact us or view the WOW Travel Itinerary to Norway.