63,000 miles of coast line stretching between fjords and inlets, borders with Denmark, Russia, Sweden and Finland, Norway is one of the largest countries in north west Europe. This means there are lots of potential free activities in Norway!
Norway is known for its majestic coastline, polar nights, midnight sun and northern lights. In addition to these spectacular traits, Norway is also renowned as being one of Europe’s most expensive countries. This can be off-putting for budget adventurers who are seeking free activities in Norway.
Would you like to know about free activities in Northern Norway? Here is my guide to free activities in Norway.
– Free Activities Norway Winter –
As the nights get longer and the ground begins to freeze over, Noway is transformed into a dark and magical land where you can make your dreams come true.
– Polar Nights –
From November to January, the sun doesn’t rise above the horizon in for example, Tromsø (200 miles north of the Arctic Circle). Although the sun never rises above the horizon, the days are actually not completely dark. The mixture of dark blue sky and white snow makes it seem a contrast of blue.
Winter is “low season” in Norway; therefore, if you’re on a budget, then this is also a good time to visit.
– Northern Lights –
The northern lights can usually be seen dancing across the skies of northern Norway between September to April (no guarantee).
If you have a rental car or are staying in a rural area with no light pollution, then you can view the northern lights independently. If you are a beginner at hunting the northern lights, then you can read more about chasing and photographing the northern lights here.
– Wildlife Spotting –
While driving around the inland areas, it is common so see elk and reindeer. It is also common to see seals and sea eagles while driving around coastal regions.
If you are very lucky, then you might see arctic foxes. Killer whales and humpback whales can be seen from the shores of Mefjord in Januray and February.
At the start of Winter, you might notice that the reindeer have droopy red antlers. Don’t fear, the males that are shedding their antlers at the end of the mating season!
– Fjords from the Shores –
A lot of people opt for a Fjord cruise or a day trip. This is a plesant, but costly way to see the fjords.
An alternative is driving with a hire car along the coast. This way you’ll be able to cruise through the small fishing villages located within the fjords, see people drying the fish which will be then used for bar snacks and be steeped with mountain views.
– Snow Shoeing & Ski Touring –
**Important** This should only be attempted if you are experienced in the outdoors with snow shoeing or ski touring, including the weather and avalanche risks in northern Norway (which differ from those conditions experienced in the central european alps).
Snow snoeing and ski touring is a free alternative to see the local Norwegian landscapes. Many peaks on the coast will present you with 360 views of mountain peaks, sea and fjords. This is a view that you will not get from a cruise!
– Free Activities Norway Summer –
As winter ends and the sunlight washes over the landscape and forces the snow to retreat. June, July and August the days will be extremely long and the nights very short.
– Midnight Sun –
Imagine the sky on fire; a mix of yellows oranges and pink. Imagine a place where it never gets dark.
You will be able to sit on your front porch with loved ones chatting until the early hours, but in the light! Having a BBQ on the beach is a popular activity in Norway and you’ll never have to take a headtorch! This is embracing the midnight sun in Norway.
– Beaches –
Some of the beaches in Norway will leave you wondering if you are on a tropical island (apart from the lack of searing heat).
The beaches in Norway are the perfect place to enjoy a BBQ with loved ones while looking out over the ocean. You can eat and chat while enjoying the 24 hour daylight and perhaps the occasional seal will pop its head above the water to watch you cooking your sausages.
– Wildlife Spotting –
During summer you will be able to see elk and reindeer while driving around the inland areas. On the coastal areas you should be able to see sea eagles, otters and seals. Andøy has a large population of harbor seals and otters. Like the males in winter, you might notice that the female reindeer are shedding their antlers in summer.
– Kayaking –
During the summer months, the air temperature will be warmer and the sea will be calmer (but still cold!) and this is the perfect time to enjoy kayaking around the fjords.
Instead of taking a costly boat tour, you could take a kayak and explore the shores of the fjords at your own pace. If you book a cabin near the shore, it could be that the owners of the cabin have kayaks that can be used by guests.
If this is your first time kayaking or if you are unsure where the waters are dangerous (especially in coastal waters) then it is advisable to take a guide.
– Hiking –
Summer in Norway is perfect for taking a hike on an evening or multi-day hiking trips.
Norway has a mix of both marked and unmarked hiking trails. The Norway Trekking Association can offer information on trails and cabins that are available. If you are on a tight budget, remember that camping can be done for free.
– Biking –
The biking opportunities in Norway are endless. You can choose from road biking to mountain biking.
Mountain biking can be done anywhere in Norway thanks to the right of access. If is best if you do ask locals if there are any routes that should be avoided on a mountain bike and remember; respect other bikers, pedestrians and do not create new trails. Only use what is there.
There are several dedicated single track parks throughout Norway, some are located on ski resorts where you can use the lift to take your bike up. If you are on a budget and are fit, then cycle up!
This is definitely one of the most expensive countries that I have visited, but thankfully there are lots of free activities in Norway.
Are there any things that would stop you visiting Norway?
I’d love to hear them and help 🙂