When it comes to things to do in Norway it's all about beautiful nature and getting outdoors. A popular ski destination, you can also experience a powder day by being tugged along by a pack of huskies on a dog sled. Hiking, biking and kayaking are also popular in Norway, particularly in the spring and summer, while the summer also provides an opportunity to view the midnight sun in the Arctic Circle where you can pass the time whale watching or taking a safari tour of the Svalbard islands. The mysterious and majestic fjords can be enjoyed from the vantage point of a multi-day boat cruise up and down the west coast of Norway.
Known locally as Nordic skiing, cross-country skiing is very popular in Norway since the country provides the perfect environment for it. Cross country skiing is free in many parks and recreation areas, and you can rent equipment from Tryvannskiskole, which also provides individual or group lessons if you wish to brush up your skills. For traditional downhill skiing and snowboarding, there are several resorts in the area such as Geilo, which is considered one of the best winter resorts in Europe and Kvitfjell, located very close to Oslo.
To further take advantage of the plentiful snow, an exhilarating dog sledding ride is high on adventurer's bucket lists. This traditional form of transportation is now a competitive sport in Norway, although the pursuit is offered to tourists to experience the country in a truly unique way as you are pulled over the white powder by a pack of huskies. Generally you can go dog sledding in the northern areas of Norway, such as Finnmark through companies like Engholm Husky or BIRK Husky.
With 186 mountains in the country and the tallest peak reaching 8,100 feet, Norway is an excellent place for mountaineering. Many are too tough for novices to climb, although even as a beginner you can go on a Telemark-Opplevelser tour of Gaustoppen, an extremely scenic and popular mountain.
With so much fresh air and abundant nature, Norway provides not only good trekking, but also mountain biking and kayaking on the rugged terrain and on the tranquil inland waterways. Hovinheia KulTurStasjon offers combined tours, or you can rent bikes and kayaks, and the company will provide maps for independent exploration.
Considering Norway''s extensive coastline, it's hard to forget that the Atlantic Ocean can provide leisurely pursuits such as a king crab safari run by Arctic Adventures. Visitors are taken out on boats, provided special cold water wetsuits, and then shown how to pick the shellfish. At the end of the day, the chef will cook up the fresh catch for the group to consume. This can be combined with a snowmobile tour in the northern part of the country near Kirknees.
The far north is also an excellent destination to go whale watching in the winter. Whale Safari runs regular trips departing from the town of Andenes in the Arctic Circle. The company has a specially equipped vessel and commentary provided by experienced marine biologist guides.
Only possible in the Arctic Circle, or its polar opposite in the Antarctic, Norway is one of the few places in the world where you can view the midnight sun. During the summer in the far north, the sun never sets. If you head as far as the North Cape you can view this phenomenon between mid-May and August, although further south on the imaginary line of the Arctic Circle the period falls between mid-June and July. Midnight Safari provides a combined midnight sun and birding tour, taking passengers on a boat cruise to view outlying island colonies, as well as emphasizing the sky at midnight. Another way many people experience the midnight sun is aboard the Hurtigruten coastal cruise ship.
It is possible, although not guaranteed, to spot polar bears on a boat cruise to the Svalbard islands. Certainly you will see bird species such as Arctic terns and puffins, and swimming around you will be beluga whales, humpback whales and orcas. Spitsbergen Travel arranges regular tours of Svalbard throughout the seasons.
Without a doubt the greatest and most well-known attraction in Norway are the magnificent bodies of water known as the fjords. Going on a fjord cruise should be high on any visitor’s list of things to do, and there are several operators that offer peaceful cruises to soak in the serene beauty of it all. P&O cruises and Fredelson are just two of the companies that provide tours of the fjords around the west coast of Norway, some going as far as the Arctic Circle in the north.
Extremely popular is riding the Hurtigruten which travels up and down the west coast on a six-day voyage in either direction. As you dip in and out of ports visiting key fjords along the way, you can sit back and relax in style. Sleep in a comfortable cabin and unwind, taking in the scenery and enjoying the Nordic hospitality and cuisine aboard. The journey runs from Bergen to Kirkenes, covering a distance of 2,500 miles, and many people use the vessel as a hop-on, hop-off service between destinations along the coast.