Not much better than Norway
As travel opens back up for Danish residents, consider Scandinavian neighbour to the North for fresh air, epic scenery and plenty of space.
Photographs: Erin Gustafson
Text: Erin Gustafson
Ah, Norway. The big brother of the Scandinavian siblings. To me, Norway is like the tall, athletic hulky older brother who braves Arctic temperatures and winters without light while running up mountains with kids on his back to then all ski down. Norway believes that every problem can be solved simply by going outside.
For me, beautiful rugged Norway might be one of the most beautiful countries in the world. Mountains plunge into cold, clear waters where orcas swim and cod run plenty. There are fjords to find and fjells to follow. Get ready to be awed. Norway is truly amazing.
From Denmark, there are several ways to get to our northern neighbour. From Zealand, you can take an overnight DFDS ferry from Copenhagen to Oslo. Or drive up through Sweden. While current guidelines still don’t put parts of sister Sweden on a safe travel list, you are allowed to drive straight through to Norway without quarantining.
Note that if you do decide to make an overnight in Sweden, Norwegian authorities may ask you self-isolate for ten days. Coming from the Jutland side, you can pop aboard a high-speed ferry from Hirtshals to Kristiansand, along the Norwegian Riviera.
With so many places to explore outside the big cities, don’t be daunted by where to start your planning. For those who aren’t driving, looking at https://www.norwaynutshell.com/original-tour/ is a great way to get out of Oslo and explore the gorgeous fjord region. Customizable itineraries take you above Nordic treelines before you climb aboard historic trains, like the Flåmsbana as they chug past roaring waterfalls on the descent down through the hills. From here you can cruise through Aurlandsfjord and into the smaller, but no less impressive Nærøyfjord. Wind your way down one of the world’s windiest roads with epic views from every turn. End up in pretty seaside city Bergen where you can get away from any crowds you might encounter with plenty of nearby hikes or kayaking in more fjords to explore. From here you can catch a tour to the swoon-worthy Sognefjord. This summer, all the tour providers along the Norway in a Nutshell route are operating at 50% capacity to encourage safe distancing and keeping their trains, busses and boats clean. Do your part and follow the health guidelines.
Looking for a little more freedom to roam where you want? Get inspired for your Norwegian road trip by checking out Norway’s most scenic tourist routes. Nasjonal Turistveger https://www.nasjonaleturistveger.no/en offers 18 stunning drives that will take you off the main highways and into some seriously epic scenery, many in southern Norway. With the freedom to wild camp along the way, bring your tent to keep your trip costs down. Norway is notoriously spendy, but there are ways to keep your visit on budget. Allemannsretten or the right to roam is allowed on any “unfenced” land in Norway for up to two nights. Make sure you plot your site at least 500 meters from any house or cabin and be respectful of the environment.
Nasjonal Turistveger offers 18 stunning drives that will take you off the main highways and into some seriously epic scenery, many in southern Norway.
Or maybe you just want to get away from it all - then there is a Norwegian hytte for you. In the Oslofjord region, find the perfect hut, or cabin, that will fit all your people. Bring the fishing poles and pick a spot with a dock. Score access to a dinghy to row or possibly a canoe for two. You can search https://www.oslofjorden.org/hytteoversikt for just what you’d want. Willing to trek a bit or go from cabin to cabin? Check out the Norwegian Trekking Association’s website: https://english.dnt.no/routes-and-cabins/ for serviced or self-catering choices and the routes to get you there. This year, each stop must be booked beforehand to keep things safe and clean.
For internationals living in Denmark without a Danish passport, it is good to note that you will be required to prove your residency when crossing the Norwegian border. If you don’t have a blue and pink residency card for each person in your group, be prepared to show your legal residency papers.
There is something for everyone in Norway. From rugged to active and everything in between, nature is supreme up north. And there is plenty of it to explore at your own pace and in your own space. Enjoy our Scandinavian neighbour Norway. All guidelines and Danish Health Authority recommendations were up to date at the time of publishing, but as always check with current protocols before your trip.
For more inspiration on Norwegian travel, check out www.oregongirlaroundtheworld.com