See The Northern Lights In Tromsø
Winter isn’t the only time of year to spot the Northern Lights. During the autumn months, the spectacular show can be seen in Vesterålen, Senja and Alta, as well as one of Norway’s most beautiful cities. Spread over two islands (Tromsøy and Kvaløy), Tromsø is to the north of the country and has the highest probability of seeing the Northern Lights from September through to early April. Book a tour with a local guide or head on a ‘light safari’ to experience the display in full – you could combine your trip with whale watching or hiking. Discover the World offers a tour with a city break in Tromsø that ensures you enjoy the best parts of the region, including reindeer and husky sledding, and camping under the lights at a wilderness reserve. If you’d rather go it alone, install the Norway Lights app which helps you find the best time and place to spot the lights.
Where To Stay: Malangen Resort
Seasoned campers can pitch up in the rural areas of Tromsø, but if you’d rather have a roof over your head, Malangen Resort is a great choice. Guests can choose to stay in a hotel room, Sea View apartment or cabin. Premium Cabins are located on coastal rocks, where you can wake up to the sounds of water just a few metres from your bedroom. Self-catering cabins sleep up to six across three bedrooms, all of which have great views of Tromsø’s fjords. Rent bikes from the resort to explore the area, then relax in one of the saunas or hot tubs in the evening. Camp Nikka, a mountainside wilderness centre is just a short walk from Malangen. They keep a close watch on the aurora borealis, so you’ll be notified when to head out to see the lights.
From £130 per night.
Enjoy A City Break In Oslo
Norway’s capital is where you’ll find some of the country’s best museums, galleries and restaurants, not to mention several interesting neighbourhoods. Head to the harbour promenade for ultra-modern architecture, then onto the city’s sculpture parks – Viegeland Parka and Ekeberparken – for cool street art. If you’re after outdoor activities, you can swim along Oslo Fjord, kayak in forest lakes, or go island hopping to discover beaches in Langøyene and Lindøya. In terms of food, visitors are spoiled for choice with Michelin-starred establishments and trendy food halls. If you go to one restaurant, make it Kontrast which serves different traditional Norwegian dishes every day using local, seasonal ingredients.
Where To Stay: Amerikalinjen
This boutique hotel is one of Oslo’s most stylish. Once the headquarters of a Norwegian cruise ship company, guests can now stay in its 122 modern rooms and suites, most of which have original features like deep-ledged art-deco windows. Standard rooms are small but cosy for a weekend trip, while Deluxe rooms have spacious living areas filled with an eclectic mix of modern and vintage furniture. Amerikalinjen has six restaurants and bars to choose from – Haven is a great place for evening drinks while restaurant Gustav is inspired by New York's jazz scene and hosts regular music nights.
Rooms from £204 per night.
Visit The Fjords In Stavanger
Norway has some of the largest fjord ranges in the world. Stavanger is one of the country’s oldest cities and also home to the beautiful Lysefjord. Many visitors hike the Norwegian Scenic Route which starts at the mouth of Lysefjord in Ryfylke, or organise a group tour – Fjord Tours is a reputable company to book with. Another great way to appreciate the area in all its beauty is to take a boat trip along the fjord. You’ll see the surrounding mountains, waterfalls, colonies of seals, herds of goats and secluded farms – ferries depart daily from Stavanger. After sightseeing the natural wonders, wander the historic wharf houses along Stavanger’s harbour, then explore the unique moonstone landscape in the Magma Unesco Global Geopark to the south of the region. On a sunny afternoon, the beaches in Jæren become another must-see.
Where To Stay: Utstein Kloster Hotell
Utstein Kloster Hotell is on the island of Mosterøy, around ten miles from the mainland. Easily reached via ferry or boat, the hotel was extensively renovated last year and now has 19 rooms housed in a wooden-clad building. All have modern en-suites and cosy seating areas. The hotel can help arrange activities like guided tours and hiking, while the on-site restaurant is the place to relax with hearty Norwegian fare after a day of exploring.
Rooms from £175 per night.
Hike The Besseggen Ridge
If you’re after a real challenge, the Besseggen Ridge is a beautiful spot which attracts over 30,000 hikers every year. It’s easy to see why it’s so popular when you see the mountain range with the striking turquoise river Muru running through it. Hiking season ends in November when snowfall starts, so get out there before then to appreciate the views from the top. If you’re up for the hike (which isn’t recommended if you have little to no hiking experience), it takes around six to eight hours to complete including several breaks along the way. Less confident visitors should book a tour and hire proper hiking equipment from Gjende Guides.
Where To Stay: Hindsæter
Hindsæter is a small cabin hotel you’ll find at the start of the Besseggen Ridge hiking trail. Known for its good food, it serves traditional Norwegian meals (the hotel cures, pickles and smokes its meat and fish) before guests settle down in one of the 26 rooms or cosy log cabins. There are also hot outdoor showers, a sauna and a hydrotherapy whirlpool for relaxing post-hike. Bookmark one of the Summerfarm Suites for a special stay.
Rooms from £225 per night.
Ride the Bergen Line
The Bergen Line has been voted one of the most beautiful train journeys in the world. Take a trip onto a city break in the capital – the route runs between Oslo and Bergen across Hardangervidda, Europe’s highest mountain plateau. It’s one of the steepest railway lines in the world, passing through several popular ski resorts and villages, as well as the beautiful Hallingdal valley and Hardangervidda National Park, which has spectacular views of the mountains and Hardangerjokulen glacier – one of the largest in the country. If you make one stop, alight at Flå Bear Park to get up close with native wild animals. After six hours, you’ll reach the city of Bergen, the capital of western Norway where there’s plenty to see and do. Just be aware that train tickets on VY.no sell out weeks in advance.
Where To Stay: Opus XVI Bergen
After a long train journey, check into Opus XVI Bergen. In an impressive 19th-century building, this boutique hotel has 65 individually designed rooms with luxe decorative accents and plush furniture, as well as a great restaurant where you can enjoy long breakfasts, live jazz and afternoon tea, and candlelit dinners. For a special occasion, book a couple of nights in Room 406 which has skylights facing Mount Fløyen.
Rooms from £170 per night.
Explore The Culture In Ålesund
You could easily spend a week in Ålesund on Norway’s west coast. Mountains and fjords meet the ocean, resulting in some of the country’s most dramatic scenery. Tourists flock for the Unesco World Heritage Site of Geirangerfjord (a jewel among Norwegian fjords), the bird sanctuary island of Runde, and the snow-capped mountains of Hjørundfjord and Sunnmørsalpene. The town of Ålesund is famous for its Art Nouveau stylings, typical of early 20th-century Scandinavian architecture, and its buzzing food and music scene. Head to the centre of Ålesund to eat your way around the stylish restaurants and bars, then venture a little further out for hiking, kayaking and sea safaris – 62° Nord specialises in adventures including fjord cruises and deep-sea rafting.
Where To Stay: Hotel Brosundet
Once a couple of warehouses for local fisheries, Hotel Brosundet now offers some of the most stylish accommodation in Ålesund. Inside, expect chic Nordic interiors with thoughtful touches that reflect the area’s history and architecture. There are 131 rooms spread over two buildings – look out too for Room 47, housed inside the iconic red lighthouse at the port of Ålesund. Enjoy local seafood and seasonal veg at the hotel’s Apotekergata No5 restaurant, before relaxing in one of the communal living spaces.
Rooms from £120 per night.
Island Hop Along The Helgeland Coast
If you’ve got a fortnight to play with, spend it island hopping along the Helgeland coast. Getting around is easy – not to mention fun – thanks to the local speedboats known as ‘the metro’. Get the Travel Pass Nordland for unlimited access to speedboats, ferries and buses in Nordland for a week. Island hotspots include Fleinvær which has seriously cool architecture and holiday cabins; Støtt which could easily be mistaken for a tropical island; and Bolga where you can see the midnight sun at the right time of year. For some of the best cafés and quirky shops, head to Træna. If you want to climb mountains for panoramic island views, Dønna is a must.
Where To Stay: Helgeland Havhus
Helgeland Havhus is a water house floating in Nesna, a small island that feels particularly secluded. Built on a 90sq m raft only two years ago it has already established itself as one of the coolest properties in Helgeland. The stylish little house sleeps up to 12, offering both a jacuzzi and steps leading into the ocean. Hire bikes from the mainland to explore the island before watching the sunset from the raft.
Price available on request.
Escape To A Cabin
For a traditional Norwegian experience, you need to stay in a cabin. With thousands of options to choose from, travellers are spoilt for choice: feel at one with nature in the mountains or fjords, or stay in a forest cabin in the city. There are also many cabin spas across the country for a bit of R&R – think saunas in the woods and hot tubs with a view. Cabins make a great way to see the autumn colours. Wake up to the sounds of birds, before lighting a fire pit or barbecue to enjoy in the evening.
Where To Stay: The WonderINN Mirrored Glass Cabin
This cabin oozes luxury. One of the most stylish properties on this list, its unique design includes a mirrored glass wall that blends into the landscape – ideal for wildlife spotting and feeling totally off grid. Just outside Oslo, WonderINN is a great choice for a romantic trip for two, with its woodland views and wood-fired hot tub. There’s also a small kitchenette with basic facilities, as well as a compact bathroom.
From £280 per night.
Head To The Mountains
Norway is a country of over 3,000 mountains, so you don’t have to head out on a challenging hike to appreciate their beauty. Many are dotted in between cities and crop up in unexpected places. The craggy summits and rock formations are also home to a great range of accommodation options, from luxury hotels to cabins and tree houses. Expect beautiful autumn colours as the mountains get ready for winter and the air feels particularly fresh. Make like the locals and hunt for cloudberries and blueberries, or try grouse and reindeer in the restaurants. Galdhøpiggen and Glittertind, the highest peaks in Jotunheimen National Park in the south, are two of the most beautiful mountains to visit.
Where To Stay: Storfjord Hotel
Storfjord hotel is in a lush forest next to one of Norway’s most famous fjords. A 30-minute drive from Ålesund, the hotel was hand-built from forest wood and in classic Nordic style every room has views of a fjord, mountain or forest. Bedrooms are chic, with plush furniture, cosy fireplaces and spacious living areas; some have balconies where you can relax with a coffee in the morning or cocktail in the evening. Book into the dining room for traditional Nordic fine dining, and ask the hotel to help plan activities and excursions like hikes, fjord tours and sea safaris.
For more information, visit VisitNorway.com
*DISCLAIMER: Travel restrictions are changing daily, so please check the latest government advice and entry requirements to Norway before you book anything. Visit Gov.uk for more information
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