Before you scroll by way of to the subsequent article on sunny Mexico, bear with me a second:
I do know Europe is not everybody’s concept of enjoyable in winter, particularly in the event that they’ve been saving up the complete 12 months to splurge on that customary, all-inclusive seaside getaway.
Between the incessant London rain, the grey Parisian skies, and Italy’s plummeting temperatures, I can see how the thought of embarking on a Transatlantic journey proper now might sound unappealing, however what if you don’t must escape winter to have a cracking time in your subsequent trip?
Allow me to elucidate why winter is my favourite season to go to Norway, one of many world’s most Northerly nations – and one of many most secure ones at that – and why it’s best to give it an opportunity your self:
Why Is Norway Becoming So Popular As A Winter Destination?
Norway is surging in recognition in 2024, and I can’t say I’m shocked: one of many the explanation why I fell in love with it within the first place was how unspoiled and plentiful the character is.
Though it boasts a excessive Human Development Index and Quality of Life, a lot of the nation is comprised of forested areas and rural hinterlands, and regardless of the place you’re headed, be it the Arctic North or the fjord lands, there isn’t any scarcity of pure wonders to be discovered right here.
From the minute you step out of the airplane and breathe within the crisp, recent mountain air, with out having forged a single look on the nearest mahoosive peak but, you understand you’re not in terminally-industrialized Germany, nor overpolluted France anymore.
Caribbean seashores are nice, however I’m certain most would agree ice-skating on mirror-like frozen lakes, enjoyable in saunas, snowboarding down winding slopes, and comfortable late nights sitting by a hearth, scorching chockie in hand, watching the snowfall from the window might be simply as alluring a prospect.
Why Fly To Norway For A Winter Wonderland When You Can Go To Aspen Instead?
You could also be questioning why precisely I’m attempting to persuade you to fly midway throughout the globe for a winter vacation when you would simply go to Colorado as a substitute: as stunning as it could be, the Centennial State lacks Norway’s mystique, historic tradition, scenic railways and hearty ‘Scandi’ meals.
Still, this can be a huge nation we’re speaking about, with a fjord-traversed shoreline extending for 1,100 miles alongside the North Sea, and when you’re warming as much as the thought of occurring a bit low season Viking journey, you could be questioning the place to go for essentially the most epic surroundings.
Away from the large cities and off the overwhelmed path, listed below are 4 unbelievable winter locations in Norway (and why they need to be added to your bucket listing):
4 Incredible Destinations To Visit In Norway In The Colder Months
Flåm, a small village on the innermost a part of the historic Aurlandsfjord, is certainly one of Europe’s best-hidden secrets and techniques this winter, residence to the four-star Fretheim Hotel, in-built basic chalet fashion, an award-winning microbrewery, and the world-famous Flåmsbana practice.
Rattling up a steep 2,841 ft ascent, with extensive panoramic home windows providing views of deep valleys, slender fjords, majestic waterfalls and remoted, colourful villages with chimneys and lampposts poking out within the virgin snow, it’s a $50 round-trip value embarking on.
Sauna tradition is just not as prevalent in Norway because it in fellow incredible winter wonderland Finland, the place it originated, however in Flåm it simply occurs to be one of many prime points of interest, with FjordSauna welcoming company onboard floating steam rooms on the fringe of the ice-covered fjord.
If you’re a fan of the Vikings, you would take a day journey out to Gudvangen to see a Norsemen village functioning as a people park, or go for some beer tasting and fish supper at Ægir, a pub and restaurant modeled after pagan messhalls of the Tenth-century.
The unofficial ski capital of Western Norway, simply over an hour away from Bergen, Voss is a small settlement resting on the backside of an elongated valley dotted with lakes, the place colourful homes and a medieval stone church make for a picturesque townscape.
Popular for its gondola rides, diversified collection of Haute delicacies eating places, and surprisingly big selection of leisure choices – it has its very personal skydiving heart – this laid-back alpine village is just not a spot you’ll wish to skip when paying Norway a go to within the colder months.
Additionally, it’s the place the highly-reputed Myrkdalen Ski Resort is positioned, boasting 22 ski trails, 9 ski lifts, 2 of that are categorical chairlifts, distinctive stays – suppose repurposed barns and homely, self-catering wood cabins – and three distinguished eating places for both high-quality or informal eating.
Prices for double rooms begin at $239 this season, and if snowboarding isn’t your factor, Myrkdalen remains to be the proper base for exploring the encircling nature, as it’s a stone’s throw away from UNESCO-listed Nærøyfjord, and mystical Gudvangen (Norwegian for ‘Valley of the Gods’).
By the way in which, ski season on this a part of Norway can final as late as April.
An enthralling fishing port in Northern Norway, Bodø was recognized by the European Commission as one of many continent’s Cultural Capitals in 2024, and with over a thousand events deliberate to have fun the city’s wealthy heritage, beginning this winter, it’s positively someplace you don’t wish to miss in 2024.
Bodø is finest identified for its walkable, museum-packed historic heart, vibrant artwork scene, with modern installations and awe-inspiring avenue artwork lurking in each nook, and lately, it’s developed a repute for being a foodie hotspot.
Reindeer is usually served in eating places, in keeping with Northern Europe’s staple eating regimen, and it’s Kjelen kafé in Bodø the place you’ll discover essentially the most scrumptious møsbrømlefse, a Norwegian flatbread filled with camarelized goat cheese, and different native delicacies.
Winters in Nordland might be harsh, with freezing temperatures and restricted daylight by way of March, however it’s usually within the darkest of nights the sky bursts into 1,000,000 completely different shades of inexperienced and purple (sure, we’re speaking about Aurora sightings).
My closing entry on this listing is Lofoten, a grouping of islands linked by a sequence of bridges and undersea tunnels additional North from Bodø that really feel nearly otherwordly, with jagged peaks capturing as much as the celebrities, and fishing villages sitting on rugged coasts.
Three of essentially the most sought-after winter actions amongst guests to the archipelago embrace horse driving, taking sea eagle safaris to Trollfjord, an space of excellent pure magnificence, and searching down the elusive Northern Lights.
Village-hopping across the islands can be a must-do: Reine and Nusfjord are notably stunning, with their centuries-old fishing custom and Instagram-ready, brightly-painted cottage homes lining quaint, snow-dusted harbors.
To prime it off, Lofoten enjoys a way more delicate winters in comparison with different locations on the mainland: as it’s surrounded by the North Sea, the local weather is usually maritime, that means you might be unlikely to be caught knee-deep in snow when snowshoeing within the wild.
That’s to not say it’s heat. By all means, do put on a number of layers.
Why Is Norway Surging In Popularity Despite The Harsh Winters?
According to the latest data, reservations for Norway – extra particularly, freezing chilly Northern Norway – have skyrocketed this winter, a lot in order that European airways are launching new direct routes to secondary airports like Harstad/Narvik, Evenes, and Alta.
Alta is Norway’s distant capital for aurora sightings, and its Northern Lights Cathedral, eclectic structure and Arctic life-style have been on our radar since last winter; now, new flights arriving from Frankfurt with Lufthansa have significantly improved connectivity within the space.
Similarly, a rise in arrival figures for Tromsø Airport, serving essentially the most Northerly main settlement in mainland Norway, has led to the development of an further terminal.
Wintertime visitor bookings between 105 journey firms throughout Norway now whole 350,000 so far, with Best Arctic CEO Trond Arne Kongsli claiming his firm alone had ‘triple’ the quantity of reservations this season in comparison with the 2022-2023 interval.
Norwegian authorities have cited Norway’s various vacationer provide, superb meals, and rising recognition as a cultural vacation spot as three of the principle drives behind the rise in demand, despite its harsh winters.
What I Think As Someone Who’s Been To Norway In Winter
Personally, I’d add tourist-friendliness as a significant component contributing to Norway’s surging recognition as a year-round vacation spot.
Having traveled solo in Norway within the useless of winter, when service availability is usually decrease and plenty of points of interest are shut down, I nonetheless had a outstanding time.
Naturally, it’s best to handle your expectations: going mountain climbing in most trails is just not attainable because of the heavy snowfall and poor visibility, so you’ll be able to scrap the enduring Trolltunga or go away it for the hotter months, however there’s nonetheless a lot to maintain you entertained on the character entrance.
Norway’s ‘Right to Roam’ is a freedom enshrined within the structure that’s fairly telling of this historic nation’s appreciation for the good outdoor. In Norway, everybody has the precise to get pleasure from and make cheap use of nature with out paying to entry it.
In essence, you’ll be able to go roam freely throughout nature preserves, camp out within the open, try mountain climbing, and even dwell off of any uncultivated land as long as you’re not finishing up business actions, beginning harmful fires, or polluting.
Exercising the precise to roam in winter is trickier, as I wouldn’t be sleeping outdoors in unfavourable temperatures myself, however as you’ll be able to attest from the locations listed above, nature in Norway is all the time breathtaking, and it may be notably stunning when it’s frozen and glistening white.
Finally, Norway is an extremely secure nation to discover – one of many most secure on the planet, at that.
According to the U.S. Department of State, it’s certainly one of a handful of locations globally to get pleasure from a Level 1 standing, that means vacationers would not have to be overly involved about their security when visiting.
Violent crime charges are negligible, pickpocketing is just not frequent, not like in different European states, and poverty ranges are very, very low. Whether you’re in a serious city heart like Oslo or Bergen or the huge countryside and fjordlands, you’ll be able to put your worries about private security apart.
The largest risk dealing with Norway these days is recurring terrorist assaults, like most Western nations, however even these don’t occur on a major scale.
Caught the journey bug? Read on about Norway, and begin planning your frozen journey here.
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This article initially appeared on TravelOffPath.com
Opinions expressed listed below are the writer’s alone, not these of any financial institution, bank card issuer, resort, airline, or different entity. This content material has not been reviewed, accepted or in any other case endorsed by any of the entities included inside the put up.