Bucket list for the Norway holiday: 10 adventurous experiences

From adventurous nature experiences in the north to sunny summer days in the south – and lots of exciting things in between. Here are 10 things you should experience if you take a trip to the Norway treasure chest this summer.

1. Explore "the fjords"

Norway is widely known for its magnificent nature with high mountains and deep valleys – and not least – over a thousand beautiful fjords! The country’s best known, and perhaps the most beautiful of all, is the Geirangerfjord. In fact, so beautiful it’s listed on UNESCO’s World Heritage List! The iconic fjord is located on Sunnmøre and is surrounded by majestic mountain peaks, cascading waterfalls and green valley sides. Remember the camera!

TIP! If you can't get enough of fjords and waterfalls, you can also put the beautiful Nærøyfjord, Hardangerfjord and Norway’s longest fjord Sognefjord on the list – to name a few.

2. Experience the midnight sun

Did you know there’s a place on earth where the sun doesn't set? If you take a trip to Northern Norway in the summer, you can experience the midnight sun – which means sunshine around the clock! Whether you’re kayaking in the middle of the night, working on the tan, hiking or simply enjoying the beautiful light, it’s a magical experience you have to experience. It depends a little on where in the north you are, but you can normally experience the midnight sun between May and July. And the further north you are, the longer the season.

TIP! If you want to experience the magical phenomenon, check out one of these places where we have hotels: Bodø,Lofoten,Vesterålen,Harstad,Tromsø,Alta,Kautokeino,Kirkenes and Hammerfest.

3. Go to the top of Norway

Although Norway is known for its high mountains and great hiking, it’s actually not that difficult to go to Norway’s highest mountain peak. Galdhøpiggen, which is located in Jotunheimen, stretches 2469 metres above sea level and is a pretty accessible hike if you are in normally good shape. You can walk over a glacier on your way up (with a guide) and at the top you will be rewarded with spectacular views of majestic, snow-covered peaks.

If you don't want to go to the top, there are plenty of other lovely, more relaxed hikes all over the country. Both in the mountains, along the coast and in the forest. The Norwegian Trekking Association has marked paths (red T’s) across the country, making it easy to find your way around. Check out ut.no for hiking tips close to where you are, or ask at the hotel reception.

4. Surfs up!

If you want to ride the waves on a surfboard, there are actually several opportunities in Norway. The best-known surf spots are Jæren outside Stavanger, Lofoten, Molde, Ålesund and Hoddevik in Stadlandet. The water may not be as warm as Hawaii or Australia, so a wet suit may be wise, but the waves are said to be at least as good. And imagine being able to surf with Norwegian mountains as a backdrop!

TIP! If you want another wild and wet adventure, try rafting in Sjoa, which is considered one of the world’s best rivers for rafting. The experience is only 15 minutes’ drive from Thon Hotel Otta. For kayaking, Ålesund and Lofoten are good starting points.

5. Barbecue in the park

As soon as the first rays of sunshine warm up in spring, and the last patch of snow is gone, you can be sure that we Norwegians will bring out the barbecue. And whether it’s at home on the terrace, on the beach or in the park, it tastes just as good every time. Buy some local goodies and a disposable barbecue and head to the nearest park. And if you’re lucky, someone might offer you a kind of “kubb” or badminton.

6. Go on a safari
You don't have to go to Africa to see exotic animals! In Norway, you can get up close to elk, whales, musk ox and sea eagles – to name a few – on various animal safaris all over the country.

If you drive via E6 and Rv3 between Oslo and Trondheim, you can also see the world’s second largest elk statue. The big elk – which towers 10.3 metres above the ground – stands at Bjøråa rest area in Stor-Elvdal approximately midway between Trondheim and the capital, and is a beautiful, silver-polished sight.

TIP! If you want to be absolutely sure of meeting animals, you can visit Bjørneparken in Flå or the zoo in Kristiansand, for example, and check in at Thon Hotel Bjørneparken or one of our hotels in Kristiansand.

7. Eat a waffle (and several other Norwegian goodies)

Okay, so maybe Norway isn't best known for its tasty cuisine – but there are actually plenty of good things you should try if you go. First of all, you should eat a waffle, preferably freshly made with lots of butter and brown cheese, or with jam and a dollop of sour cream. You will find waffles everywhere from our hotels to cafes, petrol stations, ferries and centres around the country.

Several things you can put on the menu for a real taste of Norway include dried fish (especially in northern Norway), lefse flat bread with butter and sugar, sour cream porridge, game such as elk and reindeer, mutton and cabbage stew, smoked salmon and Norwegian strawberries (which are said to be the best in Trøndelag).

TIP! At Thon Hotel Kirkenes, you can enjoy pickled Finnmark char and homemade elk sausage for breakfast.

Read more: Did you know that you can always find local specialities at our hotels’ breakfast buffet?

8. Olympic athlete for a day

Did you know that Norway is the world’s most successful nation in the Winter Olympics? We have also hosted the winter games twice, most recently in Lillehammer in 1994. Today you can test yourself in the Olympic bobsleigh track, where you can feel the adrenaline pumping in a wheelbob that runs at around 100 km/h. Also check out the Norwegian Olympic Museum if you want to learn more about the history of the Olympics.

There’s a lot more to do in and around the Olympic city too. At Maihaugen you can experience what it was like to live in Norway in the old days, and at Hunderfossen Familiepark, which is about half an hour’s drive from Thon Hotel Skeikampen, you can say hello to princes and princesses, and a 70-tonne, 14-metre-tall troll. The area around Lillehammer and Skeikampen also offers excellent hiking terrain and cycling opportunities.

9. Zip down ski slopes

Hey, skiing in the summer you're thinking? Yes, it is possible! At Stryn Sommerskisenter, the lift is ready to take you up snow-covered mountain sides that you can zip down on skis – dressed in shorts and sunglasses. The skiing season usually starts in May/June and lasts until August, but depends on when the summer road opens. The ski centre has a slope suitable for beginners, an off-road park and opportunities for off-road skiing.

10. City summer in Oslo

Many people avoid city life in the summer, but with a pleasant average temperature and a tranquil atmosphere, Oslo is actually at its best at this time of year. Find a cosy pavement cafe, explore exciting art museums, wander along the Akerselva river, check out the statues in Frognerparken, jump into the sea in the Oslofjord, smell flowers in the Botanical Garden and eat lots of ice cream. Or just enjoy the sun in the big city.

From Aker Brygge you can also hop on one of the ferries that takes you out to Oslofjord’s beautiful archipelago, where you can island hop between idyllic islands with cosy cafes, beautiful beaches and genuine summer idyll.

TIP! If you have plenty of time, maybe you can visit all the big five? After Oslo, Bergen, Trondheim, Stavanger and Kristiansand top the list of Norway’s largest cities. The latter is also a good starting point for exploring the beautiful Southern Norway, with its beautiful coastline, good swimming opportunities and idyllic coastal towns.

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