Norway has something to offer everyone; whether you’re a nature enthusiast, a history buff, a foodie or an adrenalin junkie, there’ll always be something to keep you busy. Norway may be sparsely populated, but its terrain is expansive and diverse. The country offers expats experiences and sights that are unique to the region, so take the road less beaten and don’t spend all of your time in the country living in the cities, near your workplace or hotel. There’s a lot more to Norway beyond Oslo.
Viking Fantasies: It’s hard to have a truly Scandinavian experience without exploring the Viking connection from the past. It doesn’t get much more Viking than a trip to the village of Borg, Lofoten Islands.The village is home to the Lofotr Viking Museum, which is actually a reconstruction of a Viking Age longhouse, modeled on the remains an actual Viking Era longhouse that was excavated some distance away. A trip here during the summer months would be complete with a thorough Viking experience – rowing a Viking ship, throwing axes, and shooting bows and arrows!
Bergen: Norway is widely spoken of as the land of fjords, and rightly so. If you want an experience that’s truly Nordic, make it a point to experience the natural splendor of Norway’s fjords by first visiting Bergen. Bergen is more than a beautiful city with spectacular views; it’s also a fantastic place for the more consumerist tourist, with delightful food and some great shopping hubs. Once you’re done pandering to your taste buds and have indulged in some frivolous shopping, head down to the city center and make your way to the Floyen Mountain. The views are stunning and it’s also a great place for hiking.
Trondheim Cathedral: Trondheim is a quaint and colorful little town that’s bustling with students and is still strangely laidback. It’s not the typical tourist destination, but it’s a great place to celebrate and socialize, as there are plenty of eateries, bars and pubs. Simply stroll down to the Nidaros Cathedral, popularly also known as St. Olav Cathedral, if you want some peace and tranquility. This medieval cathedral was built in the 11th century, and it is northernmost cathedral of its kind in the world. The cathedral was an important pilgrimage site during the medieval period because it’s also the final resting place of Norwegian King Olaf II Haraldsson or Saint Olaf, Norway’s patron saint. The surroundings of the cathedral are breathtakingly beautiful and a leisurely stroll through the cemetery can be strangely spiritual and serene. The grounds are dotted with both ancient and more recent graves, many adorned with beautifully sculpted grave markers.
Skiing: Whether you’re a skiing enthusiast or simply get your thrills watching other adrenalin junkies, Holmenkollen ski jump is a place worth visiting. It’s probably the most famous ski jump in the world, and is challenging too – even some seasoned skiers may take the leap with a bit of trepidation. The ski jump is frequented by some of the best skiers in the world, so there will be plenty to keep you entertained and mesmerized. Make sure you carry your camera along, because it’s a great spot for photography. The iconic tower is 60 meters high and presents visitors with a panoramic view of the surrounding countryside.
Camping: As an expat or tourist, life in Norway can be pretty hard on your pocket, and accommodation, even at the most rundown hotel, will cost you dearly. However, if you’re truly an outdoorsman or simply love the idea of rekindling that bond with nature, Norway could be paradise for you. The Outdoor Recreation Act, which is the modern version of Norway’s ancient right called Allemannsretten, guarantees anyone access to natural habitats that include uncultivated lands like forests, mountains, lakes and beaches, no matter who owns that land. You can bike or trek through the countryside and set up camp on any bit of uncultivated land to spend the night. You will only need permission from the land owner if you plan to set up camp for more than two nights. In more remote areas, even this 2-day restriction doesn’t apply. You can even forage for berries, nuts and any edible uncultivated flora!
Norway has a lot more experiences to offer, from the stunning national parks like Jostedalsbreen National Park and the waterfalls of Rjukan and Videstoyl, to the Oscarsborg Fortress and Gamle Stavanger.