As we began to consider registering for gifts, we realized we didn’t need the slow-cookers, the towels and the wine glasses typical of a wedding registry. We truly believe that money is best spent on making memories and good stories, so we were elated to find Traveler’s Joy!
Dense forests, deep fjords, stunning glaciers and plenty of other unparalleled landscapes await across Norway, the most westerly Scandinavian nation, as does a national network of rails, trails, and road journeys which make touring the best of these natural attractions both accessible and exhilarating.
Famously known for its fjords (long, narrow stretches of sea surrounded by steep cliffs), Norway straddles the Arctic Circle high in Northwestern Europe and borders Sweden, Finland and Russia, all to its east. Home to the Midnight Sun – which illuminates the sky of summer months for up to 20 hours of daylight – Norway is also one of the world’s greatest places to witness the magical Aurora Borealis light show as it dances across the cold horizon during long, winter nights.
Steeped in stunningly beautiful nature and with a proud culture, stable political climate and growing economy, Norway consistently ranks among the world’s happiest places. Passionate about sharing their land and lifestyle with travelers, Norwegians are pioneers of the Slow Travel movement which prioritizes authentic environmental experiences over traditional tourist sights.
Pack warm for your once-in-a-lifetime honeymoon adventure to Norway – filled with friendly locals, rewarding hikes, and otherworldly scenery – where the journey is just as important as the destination.
One of Europe’s fastest growing cities, Oslo is Norway’s capital and most populous city. With a majority of its land covered in public parks and vast forest, the city refreshingly marries urban modernity with nature. Navigate on foot or by bicycle for an easy introduction to Norwegian ways, with standout museums like the Norwegian Museum of Cultural History (the world’s oldest open-air museum) and Viking Ship Museum (perfect for a crash course on Nordic Viking culture). Holmenkollen, the world’s oldest ski museum, turned a former famous ski jump into a climbable tower which offers the best views in the city, and even a zipline down for a jolt of adrenaline. Back on the streets, Scandinavian design greets around every bend, giving way to trendy cocktail bars, boutique shops, and Neo-Nordic restaurants. When even denser nature calls, the surrounding, namesake Oslofjord is easily reached with boat or ferry, and a short drive can bring you to Lillehammer, famed for its winter sports scene after hosting the 1994 Olympics.
Several scenic train rides and a jaw-droppingly gorgeous ferry excursion can take you to Bergen – a trip famously referred to as “Norway in a nutshell," for its mountains, glaciers, fjords and typical Nordic countryside encompassed across the route. Located on the country’s west coast and surrounded by seven mountains, Norway’s second city is known as the “gateway to the fjords,” with immediate access to some of the most famous Western Fjords, such as Geirangerfjord and Sognefjord, Norway’s longest at over 120 miles.
Often a stop-off point for travelers, Bergen’s historic seaside buildings, lively nightlife scene and cultural attractions give more than a few reasons to stay a while before continuing onward. The UNESCO World Heritage waterfront Bryggen district is not to miss, where colorful 15th-century homes line the streets, many of which now house fresh seafood restaurants. The Fløibanen funicular grants easy access to Fløyen mountain, which will give perspective of the charming waterside city below, while leading to superb hiking routes beyond.
Scattered amidst the seas off of Norway’s West coast are the Lofoten Islands, built on craggy cliffs between steep mountains and deep fjords. In a country renowned for breathtaking scenery, the rugged beauty of Lofoten – its lush sheep pastures, colorful fishing villages and endless mountain vistas – still manages to stand out. Navigate the best of Lofoten by driving the E10 road (one of Norway’s National Tourist Routes), which spans across the rugged coast and connects the islands from tip to tip via a series of efficient bridges and tunnels. Stay in a rorbuer for the full experience – these colorful, renovated old fisherman’s cabins are the stuff of peaceful dreams.
Tromsø sits high in Northern Norway, well inside the Arctic circle, and bills itself the “gateway to the Arctic.” The fjords are colder, the mountain peaks stay snowcapped, and this is one of the absolute best places for Northern Lights viewing. Along with a growing art scene and notoriously lively pub culture in the heart of the town, Tromsø is the perfect destination for winter excursions like reindeer sledding and snowshoeing. Amidst all the activity and social buzz about its main town, romance still prevails in Tromsø, lovingly referred to as the “Paris of the North.” Spend your nights stargazing in an all-glass, luxury accommodation in a far-flung remote landscape – the perfect way to cap your polar-infused day.
Norwegians will tell you that there is never bad weather, only bad clothing. A cool, damp climate is to be expected all across the country, but weather can fluctuate quite significantly throughout Norway’s regions. Northern Norway (inside the Arctic Circle) will be colder, the Western coast more moderate and mild year-round, and though Southern Norway will still receive plenty of snow in winter, it flaunts beach-weather during agreeable summers. July and August are peak season while surrounding June and September present great times to see and do some of the best that Norway has to offer, with fewer crowds and better prices.
From the Midnight Sun of summer, polar nights of winter, transitioning colors of fall and natural waterfalls of spring, Norway truly is a beauty to behold all year round. Pack layers, hiking boots and a ready attitude, and this land will treat you right.
Fjord Cruises – Simultaneously awe-inspiring, relaxing and exhilarating, a cruise along one of Norway’s fjords is a must-do when visiting. Sprawling between mountains and connecting crucial parts of the country together, traveling on a fjord is one of the best ways to appreciate the varied and dramatic nature of Norway. Hop from port town to port town aboard a classic Hurtigruten ferry (which has been transporting Norwegians and their supplies since 1893), or turn part of your Norway trip into an all-inclusive luxury cruise along the coast, with one of the operator’s pre-packaged journeys, with food, beverage, spacious quarters and inland excursions included.
Hike the Triple Crown – Norway’s terrain – from fertile valleys and high plateaus to stunning Arctic glaciers and mountain passes – practically begs to be hiked. Any lengthy walk in the country can quickly turn into a challenging hike, but several classic routes cap with spectacular summits, perfect for amazing photo opportunities that are sure to make friends, family and followers drool with jealousy. The natural rock formations are Kjerag, Pulpit Rock and Trolltunga, each requiring a solid day’s worth of hiking. Base yourself from Stavanger before spreading out to the necessary port towns that you’ll reach to begin each hike, or trek with VisitNorway, who have put together a guided 6-day journey to tackle the triple crown of hikes.
Witness the Northern Lights – Experiencing the celestial ballet show of green, pink and violet lights as they dance across Norway’s night sky is an inspiring honeymoon moment and one that will forever be appreciated. September to March are the best times for viewing (especially in the heart of winter months, January and February), and although capturing this natural wonder is possible in Southern Norway, its best to head north to cities like Tromsø, where the winter wonder is all but guaranteed.
Norway in a Nutshell – Norway’s famous route between Oslo and Bergen laces the nation and showcases the best of its natural wonders, from deep fjords to towering mountains and everything in between. Travel by bus, train, and ferry boat from Bergen to Oslo (or reversed), while enjoying scenic hikes and fjord cruises in Voss and Flam along the way. Do it in a day or two with the official Fjord Tours itinerary, or tackle the route in bits as you please, spreading it across a week.
Drive the Nordic Scenic Routes – Norway’s natural land really is the star of the show, and even though we vote its best seen by water, a land excursion is a great way to explore quiet corners throughout the countryside. 18 officially designated Scenic Routes make a Norwegian road trip incredibly approachable, linking major cities and towns to smaller villages in remote destinations across mountains and along the coast. World-class Norwegian architecture and design, showcased in rest stops and parking lots along the routes, ensure that there’s always something pretty to look at (in conjunction with the natural viewpoints), and elevate these scenic drives to a class above other road trips.
Adventure Sports – A playground of adventure and particularly a winter sports paradise, there is no shortage of sporting activities to make the most of Norway’s land. Kayak through a serene fjord, cycle across the countryside, ski cross-country or downhill, or try snowmobiling, glacier climbing or dog sledding in Norway’s Arctic. Whether day or night, winter or summer, Nordiva Tours can keep you busy all across the Scandinavian nation.
The Theif – Oslo’s premier boutique hotel aims to steal its guests away from their accustomed norm. Lined with modern artwork throughout the property and touting the hippest rooftop bar in the city, The Thief also ensures that its guests will snag more than a few good looks of the Oslofjord outside, with floor-to-ceiling windows and private balconies from all 118 guest rooms.
Snowhotel Kirkenes – Bring an Arctic sense of adventures and let the Snowhotel Kirkenes do the rest. Located in the secluded wilds of Northern Norway, this hotel features traditional cabins with panoramic viewing windows, perfect for watching the Aurora Borealis. True to its name, it also boasts full ice accommodations, for an overnight stay sure to be frozen in your memories. Reservations include breakfast and a 3-course gourmet dinner. Outside, snowshoe excursions, cross-country skiing, King Crab safari and plenty more await.
Anker Brygge – Transport yourself back in time to when fishermen occupied these original rorbu cabins – exactly the base you’ll want when exploring Lofoten. Located on a quaint island in the region’s capital, Svolvær, the cabins have been lovingly restored and upgraded for the modern traveler, while maintaining their original charm. A quayside bar and restaurant round out the resort’s offerings.
Flamsbrygga Hotell – A stone’s throw from the Flåm railway, this rustic hotel provides the perfect pit stop accommodation while moving along the Norway in a Nutshell trail. Panoramic fjord views can be seen from your balcony, the village is within strolling distance, and its in-house brewery and restaurant, Aegir, with Viking cuisine influence is the talk of the town.
Juvet Landscape Hotel – A one-of-a-kind retreat for escapists and naturalists, the Juvet injects modern architecture and cutting-edge Norwegian design right into raw nature. The goal was to build discreet accommodations into the surrounding landscape with disruption; we’d say they’ve surpassed that original expectation. The 9 detached rooms all face in different directions, which is all too inviting to remove anything not natural from your skin without feeling too invaded. It’s just your lover, you, and that pristine view.
Maaemo – The undisputed heavyweight in Nordic fine dining, dining at Maaemo is to experience a culinary journey throughout Norway’s rugged landscape. The finest ingredients, most experimental tasting menus, and professional service have earned this Oslo establishment a third Michelin star.
The Unicorn Fish Restaurant – Bergen is a chef’s paradise, with vast fjords, abundant nature and the North Sea within close proximity. This seafood restaurant – located along the city’s historic wharf, Bryggen, in a wooden building dating back as far as the 1400s – serves only the freshest fruit of the sea, from lobster tail dishes to hearty scallops and smoked whale.
Aegir Brewpub – This giant craft brewery and restaurant resembles a Viking hall and has become a communal gathering ground in the village of Flåm. Whether relaxing beside its large fireplace, gorging on classic meals that have been around since the Vikings sailed the seas, or sampling some of the pub’s award-winning brews, it’s sure to warm your evening.
Mathallen Tromsø – Inspired by Northern Norwegian traditions, this restaurant and deli serves classics such as herring and potatoes alongside seafood specialties like king crab and even a minke whale burger. Delicious, relaxed, and with a daily rotating menu, this is absolutely the place to treat your palate to as many tastes that this region has to offer. Its attached deli is even more casual if you prefer for lunch, but either way it's worth a visit for an arctic gelato to go.
Omakase – Located in one of Norway’s most southern cities, Stavanger, this sushi restaurant has been making waves all across the nation. Master chef Roger Asakil Joya is an artist at work every meal and earned this restaurant a Michelin star. After showcasing his ingredients of the day (only local seafood), he’ll begin preparing and serving dishes with precision, passion, and storytelling. With just one menu and nine seats (all at the chef’s table), this is an authentic sushi experience that compliments the best in Japan.
Oslo Airport (OSL) is Norway’s busiest international airport, and your likely point of entry/exit when visiting, whereas Bergen Airport (BGO) may put you more strategically where you want to be along Norway’s West coast. Stavanger Airport (SVG) and Tromsø Airport (TOS) will service the south and north, respectively, while a reliable network of buses, trains, ferries and clearly labeled, scenic driving routes can comfortably transport you across all parts of Norway.