Epic Fjords, crisp, fresh air and the sparkling majestic Northern Lights. This is what Backpacking Norway offers to travellers. Despite being one of the most expensive countries on earth, Norway remains a dream travel destination and each year welcomes over 33 million visitors.
Norway’s charms are abundant, unique and unforgettable. Whether you fancy taking in the design aesthetics of Oslo, dog sledging in Tromso, or sipping wine on a Fjord cruise Norway has something for everybody.
With so much on offer, it can be hard deciding where to go to Norway. Also, being notoriously expensive it can also put a lot of strain on your budget.
This is why we made this kick-ass Norway backpacking guide.
What to Expect When Backpacking in Norway
Norway is unique, beautiful and altogether special. However, it is also seriously, painfully expensive and to get the most out of it you will need a pretty generous budget. The trick is not to linger too long in the country and to try and cram your itinerary in as fast as possible to save cash.
You may also wish to go easy on nights out and meals in restaurants. Instead, make your Nordic adventure all about the great nature and breathtaking outdoors which you can enjoy for free.
Before you book your trip to Norway you really need to decide what it is you want to do and see and plan carefully. You also need to be mindful of what time of year you go. Not only does the weather change dramatically between summer and winter, but so does the daylight situation.
In the far North (Tromso/Lapland) the sun doesn’t really set during high summer and on the other hand, during winter the sun never really rises – the eerie “blue light” of winter is something to experience.
We will go into further detail about all of these points in this backpacking Norway guide.
Best Itineraries for Backpacking Norway
There are endless different ways to explore Norway. You can do weekend break to the cities, fly to Lapland for Christmas or take a Fjord Cruise. However, here are a couple of ideas for Norwegian itineraries.
Backpacking Noway 7 Day Itinerary – An Introduction
This Norwegian itinerary begins in Stavanger which is located at the Southern end of the country and is well connected to Europe and Oslo. After getting acquainted with the town take in the Pulpit Rock hike and if you have an extra day, the Kjeragbolten hike.
After that head to pretty Bergen and take in the harbour and the classic Stave Church. If you have time and energy then there are great hiking options including Trolltunga.
From Bergen, make the incredibly photogenic drive to the little town of Geiranger where you can admire the Fjord from land, from kayak or leisure boat. The next drive from Geiranger to Andalsnes takes in the stunning “Trolls Ladder” switchback road.
From here make your way to Oslo and be sure to visit Munch’s The Scream in the National Museum. If you have money, Oslo has a great bar and club scene and it also has an airport to fly you home!
10 Days: The Highlights
This whirlwind tour of Norway is the best of both worlds: you make an epic Norwegian road trip, do plenty of hiking, and experience a wide variety of different landscapes, towns, and cities.
Ever wonder where those epic photographs of people standing on cliffs in Norway with an amazing view of the mountains and fjords perfectly positioned in the backdrop were taken? The answer: most definitely somewhere along this backpacking route. Though, I can say with certainty that Pulpit Rock and Trolltunga are likely the images of Norway you have in your mind’s eye.
This is an action-packed itinerary with plenty of those “wow” moments occurring on a daily basis.
If you have slightly longer than two days, I suggest going on a few longer hikes, going on a sea-kayaking overnight trip through the fjords, camping in a national park or two, and getting to know the tiny villages scattered along the way.
Backpacking Norway 2 week Itinerary – The Arctic North
If you’re not afraid of the cold (or of 24-hour daylight if you come in summer) then head to Norway’s Northernmost never-regions for a true glimpse of the Arctic.
Start in pretty Tromsø, a university town with a young, welcoming populace. Visit the Ice Cathedral and maybe try to catch a glimpse of the Northern Lights. You can also visit lovely Senja from here.
Next head east for the rock carvings of Alta, then Nordkapp which is as far north as you can go in Norway by land. Spend some time with the native Sami people over at Karasjok and Kautokeino.
Then, catch a flight to Svalbard which remains one of the most unique places I have ever been to. Spend 3/4 nights here before departing.
Places To Visit in Norway
Norway covers a pretty long landmass and stretches the full length of Scandinavia. Therefore, the climate, geography and culture do vary as you go. Where exactly you go backpacking in Norway will depend on what you want to get out of the experience and what time of year you intend to visit.
Norway’s capital is an elegant, clean and friendly city of 680,000 people. In terms of Norwegian geography, it is pretty far to the south and is actually nearer to London than it is to Svalbard. This means that the weather and daylight situations never get too extreme either way.
The city feels like other Northern European cities except for the Scandinavian design aesthetics of Oslo’s neighbourhoods and mighty harbour looking onto the Fjords.
There is a thriving coffee shop scene as well as plenty of lively bars and clubs – however, eating out and socialising here is seriously pricey, and the locals are definitely not the most welcoming in Europe. Instead, why not hang out in one of Oslo’s cool hostels and drink the free tea?!
The Oslo Art museum also houses a few Edward Munch’s including the legendary “The Scream” which looks even more amazing in real life and cannot be missed – the best thing in Oslo to do.
Oslo is well connected to the rest of Europe and Norway and you will probably pass through the capital. However, Oslo itself is probably not quite the romantic vision Norway you are searching for so I do not advise lingering too long. Instead, head for the Fjords, the woods or the Northern territories as soon as you can.
Svalbard is a Norwegian territory located some 2000 North of the mainland and is actually inside the arctic circle. It was once a mining colony and now exists as a research facility and a hub for adventure tourism. To reach Svalbard you will need to take a flight from Tromso/Oslo or Northern Finland.
Svalbard is dramatic. It is pretty much the end of human civilization. It is the final, icy frontier before the great apocalyptic winter wasteland. Think of it as a combination between Game of Thrones’ “The Wall” and some futuristic colony on an ice planet. The international, transient population only numbers 2000 meaning there are more polar bears here than people.
Note that in mid-summer, it stays light 24 hours and in the depths of winter it is 24 hours pure darkness. Waking up at 9 am in darkness is unsettling but is one of the most unique travel experiences of my life. For obvious reasons, Svalbard is most popular during shoulder seasons (March/Apr & Oct/Nov).
There is quite a lot to do up in Svalbard including hikes, caving and Northern Lights tours. However, if you want to see the Northern Lights we suggest sitting in a bar and keeping an eye on the Northern Lights forecast (shown on TV screens) – when you get the go-ahead, take a taxi to Mine 7 and watch the horizon. You will have to fly to get to Svalbard and accommodation is pricey. However, tax breaks mean that food, drink and booze is cheaper than on the mainline.
Charming Bergen is actually the 2nd largest city in Norway and yet it wonderfully retains the feel of a small, harbourside town. It’s surrounded by mountains and fjords, including Sognefjord, the country’s longest and deepest. There are a few hostels in Bergen as well as some campsites if you are on a tight budget.
If you are visiting Norway for a short break or a weekend, staying in Bergen is ideal. The lovely spot is well connected by air and offers a true glimpse of Norway which you may not quite get in cosmopolitan Oslo.
As well as climbing the Fjords and dining on fish, you can pass time in Bergen by visiting its cool museums and visiting the unique “Stave Church” which originally dates from 1152 – although it was totally destroyed and rebuilt in 1992.
Tromso is situated on the Northernmost tip of mainland Norway. Its Northern extremity means that it gets the phenomena of the midnight sun in summer and the eerie blu arctic light in mid-winter. The city itself is like a Christmas card of wooden houses and pine forests.
The main attractions of the town are the Ice Cathedral and the panorama view from Mountain Floya.
The city is a very popular staging point for Northern Lights tours and they leave every night during the dark months. However, you can probably arrange the same experience yourself at a fraction of the cost.
There are also loads of dog sledging opportunities and other winter activities. There are no hostels in the city so finding a place to stay in Tromso is tricky if you are on a budget – booking a room via Airbnb is what I did.
Tromso airport also handles 2 flights a week to Svalbard.
Lofoten and Nordland
The Lofoten Islands are like a compact version of Norway offering midnight sun in the summertime and the Northern Lights the rest of the year. The mountains are spectacular and whilst not exactly high they offer vantage onto the beautiful fjords, crystal clear waters and white beaches. The locals are also very friendly, welcoming and used to tourists.
If you are short on time then the Lofoten Islands can be visited in a single day trip from Svolvær. Most day trips visit Kabelvåg, Henningsvær and Gimsøya beach.
The Norwegian Fjords are the stuff of traveler legend and for many, a visit is a once in a lifetime experience. However, there is no single place known as “The Fjords” and they can be found across Norway stretching the length and breadth of the nation.
There are in fact over 1000 of them although some are more spectacular than others. Oslo, Bergen and Tromso all have Fjords surrounding them for you to gaze into or try to climb.
Fjord Cruises are very popular as a way to really up close with the Fjords and also take in quite a bit of Norway. They are however very expensive.
No, it’s not lap dancing club (imagine how expensive that would be in Norway!). Lapland is perhaps best known as the fictional home of Santa Claus and every December teems with the children of wealthy parents on a once in a childhood trip to meet Santa and his Elves. Lapland actually straddles Norway, Finland, Sweden and even Russia.
Lapland is a truly beautiful, magical and pretty wild part of Norway which remains home of the indigenous people, some of whom still live a semi-nomadic way of life.
If you wish to visit Norwegian Lapland then head for Alta and Kirkenes as both connect to Oslo.
Backpacker Accommodation in Norway
Accommodation in Norway is pricey. Hostel dorms can set you back $30 and there aren’t any hostels at all in Svalbard, Tromso or a lot of popular spots. Hotels and guest-houses are also expensive so your best option is to try and find a spare room on Airbnb.
You can obviously try Couchsurfing but I never had any luck – too many savvy locals realised they could make a few bucks renting that couch real estate out to travellers and switched to Airbnb.
Some hostels charge extra for letting you use kitchen facilities. For this reason, Airbnb is often a better option. Check-in advance. Shame on your Norwegian hostels!
Accommodation Prices In Norway
Hostel Dorm – $28
Hostel Private – $70
Hotel Room – $80
Airbnb (room) – $40
Airbnb (whole apt) $100
|Oslo||Anker Hostel||Clean, centrally located hostel.|
|Bergen||YMCA Hostel||Functional & well priced.|
|Tromso||Tromso Activities Hostel||The one and only hostel in Tromso.|
|Svalbard||Gjestehuset102||Twin room with shared facilities. The cheapest accommodation in Svalbard by far.|
|Stavanger||Stavanger Centrum Room||Private room in the centre of Stavangar. Great value.|
|Trondheim||Apartment in Trondheim||Apartment in Trondheim for a little more than a private room.|
Top Things to Do in Norway
Norway offers endless opportunities for getting out into nature, cultural immersion, and generally having your mind blown. But let’s look at some of the definitive things to do in Norway.
1. Northern Lights Tour
The poster boy of Nordic tourism is surely the majestic Northern Lights or ‘Aurora Borealis’. Witnessing the almost supernatural natural phenomena for yourself can certainly be a soul-stirring experience.
If you are headed to Norway then you absolutely should try and see them yourself. The best time is between October – March and they cannot be seen at all during summer. Note that you have a better chance of seeing them the further North you go.
However, please note that you are not guaranteed to see them, if it is cloudy or if the solar activity is wrong they will not be visible. Also, if you do see them, note that they may not exactly be what you expected, and a few travelers have returned underwhelmed by the experience.
There are loads of Northern Lights toys operating across Norway. Note that all they essentially do is charge you $50+ to pack you onto a coach, drive outside of town and wait. It is therefore worth trying to do it for yourself either by renting a car or simply walking up a hill as far away from light pollution as you can get.
2. Fjord Cruise
The Norwegian Fjords are steep and beautiful sea cliffs that trace pretty much the full length of the country. Whilst you can take a trip to the nearest Fjord from anywhere in Norway, the quintessential way to take them in is via a Fjord Cruise. Some Fjord Cruises also cross the Bering Sea and go all the way to Svalbard.
Note that Fjord Cruises are NOT cheap and there is no way to cut costs. It will however be the trip of a lifetime.
3. Trekking Glaciers
Norway is all about the great outdoors and the natives just love to get into the forests, mountains or nearest cabin for some fresh, crisp Northern air.
There are plenty of National Parks across Norway where you can hike or trek til your hearts contents. Even most towns and cities have a great hiking trail on their doorstep. In Tromso, for example, you can follow the path along the Fjordal Coast and you’ll feel transported.
Norway Travel Tips
Now for the nitty-gritty of visiting Norway. In this section, we tell you when to visit, what to pack and prepare and how to save yourself a few kroner here and there.
Best Time to Travel to Norway
The time of year you visit Norway will inform your experience of it. If you visit in summer expect pleasant, long days. Summer is a great time to go camping and hiking the long trails. Note that if you do visit in summer you won’t see the “Christmas card perfect” side of Norway and the Northern Lights will probably not be visible.
Winter is the exact opposite of the above. The weather can be dangerously cold if you don’t wrap up (see the packing section, proper winter gear is necessary) and the nights can be endless. In Oslo and the South, there will be 4 to 5 hours of daylight each day. In Tromso and the North, the sun never rises but you get the spooky, beguiling blue light between 12 – 3. In Svalbard, it says pitch-black 24/7 during December and January.
To try and get the best of both, it may be worth visiting in October to March. This is also the prime Northern Lights spotting period. However, accommodation prices will spike at this time.
What to Pack for Norway
If you are visiting in summer, expect pleasant days, cool nights and occasional rain. Therefore we suggest packing a combo of long and short sleeves, pants and a good rain jacket. Norwegian’s generally dress well and smartly so do make an effort (we’re talking to you, American readers!).
Winter is cold and you will need to pack properly. If you are going North, bring thermal undergarments, wool socks, thick gloves, a thick ski hat and a thick, warm, waterproof jacket. Here is my tip: when I visited I bought an old ex-rental ski-jacket from an outdoor rental shop in my home-town. Failure to prepare will ruin your trip.
Also, try to bring everything you need for your trip with you as buying toiletries or adapters on the ground in Norway will be far more expensive than back at home. I also recommend packing your bag with as many packs of dried noodles and pasta as you can to save food costs.
Essential Items for Backpacking Norway
On every adventure, there are six things I never go traveling without:
1. Security Belt with Hidden Pocket: I never hit the road without my security belt. This is a regular looking belt with a concealed pocket on the inside – you can hide up to twenty notes inside and wear it through airport scanners without it setting them off. This is hands down the best way to hide your cash.
2.Travel Water Bottle: Always travel with a water bottle – it’ll save you money and reduce your plastic footprint on our planet. AR bottles are tough, lightweight and maintain the temperature of your beverage – so you can enjoy a cold red bull, or a hot coffee, no matter where you are. For every AR bottle sold, we donate 10% to PlasticOceans.org – an initiative to reduce plastic in our oceans!
3. Microfibre Towel: It’s always worth packing a proper towel. Hostel towels are scummy and take forever to dry. Microfibre towels dry quickly, are compact, lightweight and can be used as a blanket or yoga mat if need be.
4. Headtorch: Every backpacker should have a head torch! A decent head torch could save your life. If you want to explore caves, unlit temples, or simply find your way to the bathroom during a blackout, a headtorch is a must. Currently, I’m using the Petzl Actik Core rechargeable headlamp – an awesome piece of kit! Because it’s USB chargeable I never have to buy earth polluting batteries.
5.Hammock: Taking a tent backpacking is not always practical but hammocks are lightweight, cheap, strong, sexy (chicks dig hammocks) and allow you to pitch up for the night pretty much anywhere. Right now, I’m rocking an Active Roots parachute hammock – it’s light, colourful and tough.
6. Toiletry Bag: I always travel with a hanging toiletry bag as it’s a super-efficient way to organise your bathroom stuff. Well worth having, whether you are hanging it from a tree whilst camping, or a hook in a wall, it helps to have quick access to all your stuff.
For plenty more inspiration on what to pack, check out my full backpacking packing list.
Books to Read about Norway
These are some of my favorite travel reads and books set in Norway, which you should consider picking up before you begin your backpacking adventure…
The Backpacker Bible – Get it for free! Learn how to ditch your desk and travel the world on just $10 a day whilst building a life of long-term travel with an online income. To inspire and help the next generation of Broke Backpackers, you can now grab ‘How to Travel the World on $10 a Day’ for free! Get your copy here.
Phillip Pullman – Northern Lights – This children’s fantasy book also appeals to adults, I read it when I was 18 and loved it. It is a fantasy theological masterpiece set across parallel universes.
Fellowship of Ghosts: A Journey Through the Mountains of Norway –Join the author as he hikes through the mountainous terrain of central Norway and recounts the tales of those who have walked before him.
Jo Nesbo – The Snowman – Noric Noir probably needs no introduction to you. Scandinavian crime novels are now world-famous and have spawned countless film and TV adaptations. Jo Nesbo is one of the genres leading proponents.
Useful Travel Phrases for Norway
Many Norwegians (especially the young ones) speak English very well and will be happy to do so. However, English proficiency is less common in rural areas. Also, note that in some areas efforts to speak a little Norwegian will be very highly appreciated.
Here are some helpful Norwegian Phrases;
Yes – Ja
No – Nei
Thank you – Takk
Thank you very much – Tusen takk
You’re welcome – Vær så god
Please – Vær så snill
Excuse me – Unnskyld meg
Where is …? – Hvor er …?
How much is the fare? – Hvor mye koster billetten?
One ticket to …, please. – En billett til …, takk.
How do you say this in Norwegian? – Hvordan sier man dette på norsk?
A polar bear ate my friend – En isbjørn spiste vennen min
Apps to Download before Backpacking Norway
Northern Lights Forecast – This lovely app tells you when the Northern Lights are likely to show and when they are not. It uses data taken from meteorologists and Northern Lights experts and updates in real-time. If you hear the alert, get in a cab and head for the high ground to catch a glimpse!
Maps.Me – Prone to getting lost or taking that ‘shortcut’ that adds another few hours onto a simple walk? This app is definitely for you. My favorite offline maps app, download your map and route before you venture out to keep you on track while backpacking Italy.
XE Currency – I used this a lot when backpacking Italy. It is a great help while calculating expenses.
HIDE.ME – I always have a VPN ready to go on both my phone and laptop, I personally use Hide Me which is one of the fastest and most reliable options out there. This particular VPN allows for up to five connections which is handy for keeping all your devices connected without having to purchase multiple VPN packages.
BlaBlaCar – This is a great ride-sharing app that is popular in Europe. Use it to score cheap rides, and meet some awesome locals!
Staying Safe in Norway
Norway is a prosperous and peaceful land peopled with mild natives. Crime is relatively rare except for the odd drunken scrape and the child-eating Trolls which once plagued the villages have been hunted out of existence.
The biggest dangers facing travellers to Norway are natural ones. The cold can be deadly if you are unprepared – wrap up warm and do not get too drunk as falling asleep in the snow can kill you.
Driving can also be hazardous if you are not used to icy roads. Also, do not stop your car in the road to watch the Northern Lights as this is illegal.
If you visit Svalbard, polar bears are also a danger although they rarely venture inside the town limits. Do not stray outside of the town limits without either a guide or a gun.
The GRAYL GEOPRESS water bottle is the ONLY all-in-one filter water bottle setup you'll need. Whether you need to purify the water from a hostel sink in Kathmandu or a stream trickle in the Andes, the Geopress has got you covered.
Sex, Drugs, and Rock n’ Roll in Norway
Scandinavians have a reputation for being a little more reserved than us “Southerners” but my God, they do like a drink! There are plenty of bars and pubs across Norway serving whatever tipple takes your fancy. There is also an established club scene in Oslo and other big cities.
Drugs in Norway are now decriminalised meaning you will not be prosecuted for use. However, this does not mean that they are legal or socially acceptable. Like anywhere in Europe, you can find weed, MDMA and cocaine in cities if you know where to look. Prices can be very expensive though.
Psychedelic mushrooms also grow abundantly in the forests but unless you know exactly what you are looking for, we do advise against foraging.
World Nomads Travel Insurance For Norway
If you have an accident in Norway, your medical bill may require a remortgage to pay. Therefore we suggest getting insured before you set out.
Norway Travel Guide – Getting In and Around
Norway is well connected by air to the rest of Europe and Oslo handles daily flights from all over the world. A lot of budget airlines also stop at Stavanger, Bergen, Oslo and even Tromso meaning you can usually fly into Norway pretty cheaply. Land borders with Finland, Sweden are porous and you may not even realise you have crossed them.
Entry Requirements for Norway
Norway is NOT in the EU but is in the EEC meaning it has adopted the EU entry and immigration policies and is part of the Schengen Zone. EU citizens do not need a visa to enter. You may need a Schengen Visa to enter Norway although citizens of many nations do not even need this.
How to Travel in Norway
Norway covers a very large, long landmass and distances between towns and cities are pretty big. There is an extensive and handy train network connecting the country and some of the journeys are very scenic.
However, train travel in Norway is expensive. Perhaps counter-intuitively, it can often be cheaper to fly between destinations especially if you are going from far North to South.
In terms of inner-city travel, bus networks are efficient and reliable. Many prefer card payment over cash. Taxies are regulated making them fair and honest and take card payment too – however, they are expensive.
Petrol costs are also the highest in Europe. Driving to Norway also means you have to drive through some other, expensive Scandinavian countries.
Hitchhiking in Norway
Hitchhiking in Norway is certainly possible. It works best away from big cities in rural and semi-rural areas and in the Northern parts is often a legitimate way to commute! However, some travellers have commented that they sometimes found it hard to find a ride. Non-white visitors may also particularly struggle to find a ride.
Onwards Travel from Norway
As we said, Oslo airport connects to the whole world and there are budget flights to either European destinations from Bergen & Stavanger too. Land borders are with Finland and Sweden and can be easily crossed by bus, train or private vehicle.
There is also a border with Russia. This is not porous and you will need a Russian visa to cross.
Norway Backpacking Costs
A Daily Budget for Norway
Obviously your daily budget will vary depending on your travel style, what you do and how hard you hunt for bargains. However, these loose averages are a pretty guide to use a starting point.
Dorm Bed in a hostel - $28
Pint of beer in a bar - $8.50
Local Beer in Store - $2.40 (33cl)
Meal in a “cheap” restaurant - $20 per person
Northern Lights Tour (approx 4 hours) - $75
Oslo 24 Hour Bus Ticket - $11.50
Money in Norway
Norway uses the Norwegian Krone (NOK). Cash points are widely available. Card payments are also widely accepted if not preferred, including in taxi’s or on busses.
As of July 2020, $1 USD = 9.12 NOK
Tips for Visiting Norway on a Budget
Norway is seriously expensive. It is one of the most expensive countries in the world and unless you are rich, you feel the pain of this. However, there are a few things you can do to try and cut your costs.
Take as much food with you from home as you can. Pack dried noodles, pasta and tinned goods and cook them in your Airbnb or hostel.
Avoid eating out or drinking as much as possible. Even alcohol in a supermarket carries very high taxes.
Also, try to avoid tours unless they are necessary. You can usually seek out the Northern Lights yourself - you just need to get away from excess light pollution and find a good vantage point.
Volunteering in Norway
Backpackers can spend long periods of time volunteering in an awesome place without spending any money. Meaningful life and travel experiences are rooted in stepping out of your comfort zone and into the world of a purposeful project.
Worldpackers opens the doors for work opportunities in hostels, homestays, NGOs, and eco-projects around the world. We’ve tried and approved them ourselves - check out our Worldpackers in-depth review here.
If you’re ready to create a life-changing travel experience and give back to the community, join the Worldpacker community now. As a Broke Backpacker reader, you’ll get a special discount of $20. Just use the discount code BROKEBACKPACKER and your membership is discounted from $49 a year to only $29.
Teaching English in Norway
Are you a native English speaker looking to earn cash whilst travelling the world? Depending on your qualifications (or your motivation to obtain qualifications like a TEFL certificate) you can teach English pretty much anywhere in the world. English is a highly-sought-after skill and the ability to teach it opens up a lot of doors internationally.
In addition to giving you the qualifications to teach English online, TEFL courses open up a huge range of opportunities and you can find teaching work all over the world. To find out more about TEFL courses and how you can teach English around the world, read our in-depth report on teaching English abroad.
Broke Backpacker readers get a 35% discount on TEFL courses with MyTEFL (simply enter the code BACKPKR).
Whether you are keen to teach English online or looking to take your teaching game a step further by finding a job teaching English in a foreign country, getting your TEFL certificate is absolutely a step in the right direction.
Make Money Online whilst Backpacking Norway
Let's take teaching English one step further. Keen to live the digital nomad dream while travelling the world? Damn right you are!
Teaching English online is a great way to earn a consistent income from anywhere in the world with a good internet connection. TEFL certificate in-hand, you can teach English remotely from your laptop, save some cash for your next adventure, and make a positive impact on the world by improving another person’s language skills! It’s a win-win!
Check out this detailed article for everything you need to know to start teaching English online or learn what it's like to be a teacher with VIPKID, a top company in the field of online English learning.
Whether you are keen to teach English online or in a foreign country, a TEFL certificate is absolutely a step in the right direction.
Internet in Norway
Internet in Norway is fast and reliable. It won't work much out in the woods, mountains or Fjords of course. If you have an EU Sim Card then you can use the internet in Norway as part of your usual allowance.
Must-Try Experiences in Norway
People in Norway
Norwegians are for the most part friendly, hospitable and humble. They are not naturally outgoing like some other Europeans and can sometimes come across as frosty. However, if you persevere you will find them quite warm and very happy to celebrate and show off their county.
What to Eat in Norway
Norwegian specialities include reindeer meat which can be dried and turned into jerky, eaten as steak or made into a burger. Seafood is also ubiquitous and delicious. Norwegian rye bread and crackers are a staple but can be a bit dry and bland for visitors.
Pizza and sandwiches are also available from 7/11’s and can be useful for those eating on a budget.
Kjøttkaker - This simple dish remains a staple of Norwegian family meals. It's seasoned, kneaded mincemeat with a variety of ingredients, such as onions or rusk, pan-fried in cakes. Best served with either mashed peas or creamed cabbage.
Smalahove - Salted, smoked sheep's head, boiled and served with potatoes and the omnipresent kohlrabi mash. Not for the faint-hearted and best washed down with some good ale - as this is often served in pubs rather than a restaurant that won't be a problem.
Bergensk fiskesuppe - Norwegians eat a lot of seafood but this one is worth a special mention. It's a subtle fish soup of Bergen. Usually made from Pollock and stock, double cream is added for added creaminess. Perfect on a cold day (of which there is no shortage when backpacking Norway.
Festivals in Norway
Nordlysfestivalen (Northern Lights Festival) is a celebration of music in all its forms, from opera to jazz, and from chamber music and symphonic orchestras to modern tunes. Taking place late in January each year, this festival is special for both the music and the locations chosen for the concerts.
Northern Troms - The Sami are the indigenous people of Northern Scandinavia with a vibrant culture and their own language (that’s also recognized as one of Norway’s official languages). Riddu Riu Festivàla, (“little storm on the coast”) in Sami, is an international indigenous festival that’s been happening each July for 25 years. Expect a pretty diverse program ranging from music and films to workshops, literature, and performances.
Midnight Sun Festival - Island of Værøy - A truly underground, psychedelic festival set on a stunning beach in Northern Norway. Expect 3 days of Psytrance and dancing under the never-setting sun.
A Brief History of Norway
The earliest agricultural settlements of Norway appeared between 4000 - 5000 BC. From the late 8th century the Norwegian sea-faring and Viking ages began which also saw the first unification of Norway. Christianity arrived in the 11th century which is when the first Stave Churches were built.
In 1397, Norway entered into the Kalmar Union with Sweden and Denmark and remained a part of this until the end of the Napoleonic wars in 1814. However, it took a short war with Sweden before Norwegian independence was fully recognised & realised.
Nazi Germany occupied Norway in WWII from 1940 until 1945 although a bitter and heroic campaign of resistance was waged throughout.
Oil was discovered in Norway in 1969 which began its modern period of prosperity. Today it remains one of the wealthiest countries on earth.
Final Thoughts on Backpacking Norway
So there we have it. Whilst it will be expensive, Backpacking Norway is an experience you will never forget. You will remember the crisp air and majestic nights for years to come.
Being a Responsible Backpacker in Norway
Reduce your plastic footprint: Perhaps the best thing you can do for our planet is to make sure you do NOT add to the plastic problem all over the world. Don’t buy one-use water bottles, the plastic ends up in landfill or in the ocean. Instead, pack a tough travel water bottle.
Go and watch A Plastic Ocean on Netflix – it’ll change how you view the plastic problem in the world; you need to understand what we are up against. If you think it doesn’t matter, get off my fucking site.
Don’t pick up single-use plastic bags, you’re a backpacker – take your daypack if you need to go to the shop or run errands.
Bear in mind, that many animal products in countries you travel through will not be ethically farmed and won’t be of the highest quality. I’m a carnivore but when I’m on the road, I only eat chicken. Mass-farming of cows etc leads to the rainforest being cut down – which is obviously a huge problem.
Recently, my gear-venture, Active Roots has started to sell water bottles. For every Active Roots water bottle sold, we donate 10% to PlasticOceans.org – an awesome initiative aimed at educating people on the risk of single-use plastic and helping to clean up our oceans. Help save the planet, whether you take an Active Roots bottle or not – TAKE RESPONSIBILITY for your plastic footprint, don’t be a dick.
Need more guidance? – Check out our post on how to be a responsible backpacker.
Just remember my usual harping advice: don’t be an asshole on holiday - drink only what you can handle, be respectful, and don’t be a shit-stirrer.
Want to learn how to travel the world on $10 a day? Check out the Broke Backpacker’s Bible for FREE!
Yay for transparency! The links in this post are affiliate links. This means that if you buy anything, I’ll earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. I only link to stuff I’ve actually used and never endorse crap. Your support helps me keep the site going.