Norway is a country of rich natural landscape that provides a fantastic setting for outdoor activities.
Hiking and walking
Whether you enjoy hiking in steep mountains, in deep forests, or along quiet forest trails and byways, it is possible in diverse Norway. Well-marked roads and trails in the mountains, forests and other natural areas make it easy for even the least experienced to find their way. The landscape is varied and so are the hiking possibilities, and thanks to Norway's right of public access, most places are open to you as a hiker.
The Pulpit rock formation
Photo: Frithjof Fure/NTR
If you would like to see something besides woods and mountain scenery and are looking for a completely different hiking experience, glacier walking is an exciting alternative. Or, if your preference is for hiking with a cultural context, then walking a nature trail or a pilgrim way might be the choice for you.
Skiing and snow activities
Norway is a winter country and the home of winter sports. Morgedal in the county of Telemark is the cradle of skiing, and Norwegians still maintain that they are born wearing skis. Interest in skiing is great, both as a competitive sport and as a popular leisure activity. There are networks of ski trails all over the country, prepared by local ski associations. And even when darkness falls, people are found out skiing on the many lighted trails for both downhill and cross-country skiing. Ski jumps are also widespread, but these are normally only accessible to the experienced. Don't think, however, that you must be able to ski in order to enjoy winter Norway. Dog sledding, sleigh rides, tobogganing and snow scooters are only some of the many alternative ways of having fun in the snow. And in the far north - in the land of the Sami - reindeer sledding is a common activity in the winter snow.
Photo: Pål Bugge/NTR
Hunting and fishing
Norway is a country rich in hunting and fishing opportunities. Hunting in the forests and mountains is season for moose, wild reindeer, deer, hare, grouse and other large woodland fowl. For the fish lover there is cod, coalfish and mackerel to be caught all along the coast, and salmon, sea trout and red char swim in many rivers. Freshwater lakes and ponds are abundant with pike, perch, eel, trout and char.
Photo: Asgeir Helgestad/NTR
Hunting requires leasing a parcel of hunting ground or a place on in authorised hunting co-op. Fishing requirements are easier - you just pay the set fees, which may be both state and local. There are fewer restrictions on fishing in the sea and for children under 16. Fishing with live bait is forbidden in Norway. While hunting is mainly for adults, fishing knows no age limit. The Directorate for Nature Management offers more information on rules and regulations on hunting and fishing.
Norway is basically one big waterland. Countless lakes, rivers and ponds make this country a perfect arena for different water activities. Norway has distinguished traditions in sailing and windsurfing. Water activities such as rafting, canoeing and kayaking are becoming more and more popular.
Many water activities can be done alone without much previous training, while safety reason demand that others be done in-groups or with professional guidance.
Photo: Kurt Hamann/NTR
If you are looking to take it easy and enjoy your surroundings, you can rent a rowboat or take a slow trip down a river on a raft. If it is excitement you are seeking, you might want to choose scuba diving or water skiing. Anyone who can swim and loves the water will be able to find a beach to suit him. And there are a number of indoor Waterlands where you can enjoy the water too.
Photo: Terje Rakke/NTR
With all its mountains, Norway is a natural choice for climbing enthusiasts. Norwegian mountains offer challenges for the experienced as well as the beginner. Frozen waterfalls provide opportunities for ice climbing, and indoor wall climbing is an alternative for those who don't want to be dependent on weather conditions. There are climbing courses and climbing schools, arrangements for those with little experience as well as demanding mountain faces for those looking for a real challenge.
Golf is a sport that few people probably associate with Norway. But considering its small population the number of golf courses in Norway is impressive. If your golfing skills are less demanding you can find a number of small minigolf courses. And if you are looking for a unique golf experience, there are occasional golf competitions on ice or snow. There are also places for indoor training.
Norway is ideal for taking trips by horseback. Because of its varied natural landscape you can ride along paths and roads as well as into untouched wilderness. Sitting on the back of a horse you can reach further into the wilds and come into closer contact with nature than you can any other way.
Photo: Kurt Hamann/NTR
On organised trips you will be accompanied by expert guides who help inexperienced riders learn everything from the names of the equipment to how to show the horse affection. You will find indoor riding, riding trips for the experienced and for beginners, plus opportunities to rent by the hour. Horseback riding is a wonderful way for families to enjoy their holiday together - with or without experience.
High season is during school break from June 20-August 15.
Information is provided by the:
Norwegian Tourist Board
Festivals & Events
Kristiansund Opera Festival, February
The Kristiansund Opera Festival is hosted and produced by the district opera in the city of Kristiansund. It runs for 14 days and has been staged in February every year since 1972. The festival presents a comprehensive menu within musical theatre and offers two to three opera productions, large church music productions, ballet and concerts.
Førde Folk Music Festival, July
Over 250 artists perform music and dances from all corners of the world, around the clock! Concerts, courses, exhibitions, club nights, festival parades, dance fun. There are festival activities going on at local museums, hotels, churches and in the downtown streets, leading to more than 80 events.
The Peer Gynt Festival, August
The Peer Gynt Festival is a ten day long cultural festival with an open air performance of Henrik Ibsens Peer Gynt, with music by Edvard Grieg, open air consert "Ved Rondane", art exhibition, and much more.
The Hamsun Festival, August
The Hamsun Festival has been arranged every other year since 1982 with a focus on Knut Hamsun's literar work, his life and ties with this part of Norway. The festival is held on the island of Hamarøy, where visitors can enjoy the scenery and the local indigenous colour that characterises much of Hamsun's literary work.
Lillehammer Jazz Festival, October
The Lillehammer Jazz Festival is considered one of autumn's most beautiful adventures. The festival profiles Norwegian and Nordic jazz, but has always included renown foreign performers as well.
The Festival of North Norway, June
The Festival of North Norway is the most important art event in Northern Norway. During a hectic week the town of Harstad, located 300 km north of the Arctic circle, is turned into a cultural melting pot for artists with completely different outlooks.
The Northern Lights Festival, January
Each year, in the middle of January, Tromsø comes to life after the long polar night. The programme offers music in concert halls, churches and pubs, as well as dance, theatre and music ensembles of different sizes and types.
Tromsø Film Festival, January
Tromsø International Film Festival is Norway's largest film festival. It is the world's northern-most film festival and presents a cutting-egde international program, consisting of more than 40 feature films plus the latest in short films produced in northern Norway.
Telemark Folk Festival, August
The Telemark Festival presents traditional folk music from all over the world. With more than 50 concerts and work-shops for all ages one can learn traditional Norwegian dances, play a traditional instrument or study with our guests from abroad.
Oslo Jazz Festival, August
The Oslo Jazz Festival has been an annual event since 1986 and has grown to more than 60 concerts taking place in six days. The Festival presents the elite of Norwegian musicians in traditional, swing, modern and bebop styles, as well as many world famous performers.
Ibsen Culture Festival
The Festival offers pieces and impressions produced by great artists both from Norway and abroad. There are performances in the great Teater Ibsen and events in the town's art galleries and cultural venues. Young people from all over Norway participate in Ibsenstafetten.
The Ibsen Stage Festival, September
The Ibsen Stage Festival in Norway is one of the most significant international festivals in the country, receiving attention far beyond the national boundaries. Actors from all over the world arrive to meet Ibsen at center stage.