Boost your trip to Oslo and Bergen with these countryside escapes
Now is a great time to plan an escape to some of the best places to visit in Norway. Whether it’s kayaking deep within the Bergen fjords, scaling mountains or visiting Oslo to indulge in a floating sauna, these are the Norwegian countryside escapes you need to book now.
Island hopping around the Oslo fjords
Norway’s fjords are the most iconic natural wonders in the country. What is a fjord? A narrow, deep inlet of water, formed by glacial erosion and often lined by soaring cliffs, they’re synonymous with Norway. They’re also a major pull for outdoor adventurers and those looking for a dose of nature after a few days in the city. Handily for those on a trip to Oslo, getting to them from the city is a breeze. Spending a day island hopping around them is the best way to maximize your time, with the 100km long inlet on which the capital sits buzzing during the summer months.
An Oslo Pass covers the cost of travel on regular boats to Bleikøya, with its summer cottages and nature reserve, idyllic Lindøya and pretty Nakholmen. Bring your swimming gear for a refreshing dip off of tiny beaches and keep an eye out for spectacular birdlife across the waterway.
Norway in a nutshell
This classic tour is the ideal way to see the very best places to visit in Norway, even if you’ve only got a day to spare between business meetings. Run by tour operator Norway In A Nutshell, it can be started in Oslo or Bergen and takes in the fjords, rides on the scenic Flåm and Bergen Railways and the chance to see Nærøyfjord, a UNESCO–protected stretch of water with snow–capped peaks and vertiginous cliffs.
There’s also a bus trip through the wilds of western Norway, with the opportunity to catch a glimpse of Norway’s fjord horses - one of the oldest breeds in the world and famous for their miniature stature, but mighty strength. If you have time, it pays to add in some overnight stops so you can hike and kayak at your leisure.
Take a floating sauna with KOK Oslo
The Norwegian fjords are the ideal place for adventurous swimmers to take the plunge. And that’s especially true for the floating saunas of KOK Oslo. These floating cabins set sail from Langkaia, right in the heart of Oslo. There’s space for 24 guests in the two wood–fired saunas, with dedicated changing areas. Best of all, those visiting Oslo will be able to make use of the ultimate natural plunge pool, cooling off after spending time in the heat of the sauna.
Book ahead of your visit to ensure a space and to avoid disappointment. Sailings along Oslo’s fjords last between three and four hours when the water is ice free, giving you a chance to get away from the city and witness nature up close in between sessions. Hardier souls can even swim in winter, when the boats remain moored.
Kayaking around Bergen Fjord
Kayaking in Norway is as perfect an experience as it’s possible to have with a paddle in your hand. And Bergen, known as the gateway to the fjords and one of the best places to visit in Norway, offers amazing opportunities for those looking to get out on the water, even if it’s their first time wielding a paddle.
Situated between Sognefjord in the north and Hardangerfjord to the south, visitors to Bergen are spoiled for options when it comes to kayaking. Fjord Tours has a number of trips available, including more far flung adventures deep into the fjords near Flam or an excellent, more local three hour long jaunt, which runs from May through to September. The latter takes in nature reserves, reefs and small islands, with the chance to see otters and seals for those who keep their paddling stealthy.
Easy day hikes
Surrounded by seven mountains, Bergen is a paradise for hikers. There are walks to suit all abilities, with guides available for more serious treks and easy–to–follow self–guided routes too. The five hour panoramic route from Mount Ulriken to Mount Fløyen is perhaps the most popular of the latter, and the perfect choice for an ambitious day of energetic sightseeing.
For those who don’t want too strenuous a walk, it’s possible to ride the funicular railway to the top of Mount Fløyen and follow the path back down to the city. This makes for a perfect escape from business trips and can be completed in an afternoon without breaking too much of a sweat. Whichever option you choose, the views of Bergen and the fjords are stunning.