Solo Travel in Norway
Norway isn’t everyone’s first choice for solo travel, not because it’s not safe but because some of the destinations are quite remote. In the cities you can meet plenty of people but venture into the rural areas if you really want to enjoy the nature as a true solo. That’s not to say that you may not be pitching your tent next to another woman travelling alone, but that Norway gives you as much solitude as you need.
There are groups to join for outdoor activities such as hiking and kayaking if you want company for your trip. And you don’t have to feel awkward dining alone here either as you’ll often find people eating solo in restaurants. The country is very safe and has a low crime rate. You can even hitchhike here (although as always use your instinct).
Norwegians can be known for being a bit distant but they are very helpful and polite and will openly speak to you and help if you get lost. It’s often listed as one of the top places for the equal treatment of women in Europe making it a refreshing country to visit.
Situated in Scandinavia, Norway is at the northern point of Europe, tucked away at the very top. Known for majestic landscape, Norway is a country that promises UNESCO status fjords, tranquil national parks and plenty of Viking history.
If you’ve ever wanted to see the Northern Lights, stunning fjords, and glaciers, Norway is the ideal destination. As well as beautiful terrain are opportunities to see whales, reindeer and even polar bears. Of course, you can find people here too. The Sami tribe are the indigenous tribe of Norway and reindeer herders. You can visit the tribe and learn more about their culture.
Another of Norway’s attractions is its seasons. They may experience hours of darkness in the winter but this provides perfect viewing for the Northern Lights. Try your hand at husky sledging or take a fjord cruise to explore the west coast’s islands and wild coastline. Visit in the summer to experience the midnight sun (just don’t forget to pack your eye mask).
Oslo is the capital and is one of the most popular cities bursting with plenty of free things to see and do including many museums, and the Vigeland Sculpture Park. Take a walk through Frogner, the poshest district, or just do as the locals do and wander around this green city admiring the fountains and artwork. You can’t miss the Oslo Opera House with its sloping roof. The nightlife is fantastic too.
Then there’s Bergen, the country’s second largest city and one of the country’s most beautiful destinations. Home to one of Europe’s prettiest waterfronts. Bryggen, the Hanseatic Wharf is a colourful reminder of its past. Nowadays you can explore this World Heritage City that has been transformed into art galleries, museums and cosy cafes. But the main reason to visit is to explore some of Norway’s wildest and most picturesque fjords. You may even spot the Northern Lights if you visit at the right time of the year.
You can’t miss Tromsø off your Norway itinerary. This place should be at the beginning of your Nordic adventures. Known as the ‘Gateway to the Arctic,’ Tromsø is one of the best places in the world to see the Northern Lights due to its winter darkness.
It is also a known spot for whale watching with humpback whales and killer whales within its waters. These can be seen from October to mid-February. If you come at the right time of year you may be able to see the whales and the Northern Lights in one visit.
It may not have the Northern Lights or be a gateway to the fjords but Trondheim does have a long Viking history. Situated in Trøndelag, the historic centre of Norway, this area is deeply rooted in the country’s traditions and is the perfect base for exploring nature reserves and a wild coastline. This colourful, laid-back city may be slightly off the beaten track but it’s worth a visit just for the Nidaros Cathedral.
The Flåm Railway is one of the prettiest train rides you will ever take. It is also Europe’s steepest as it passes by waterfalls, mountains and little villages on its 20km train ride, culminating at Aurlandsfjord. See UNESCO World Heritage landscape and the world’s narrowest fjord at Nærøyfjord and enjoy the serenity of Aurlandsfjord which is home to Sognefjord, the world’s longest fjord.
The Lofoten Islands are located 50 miles off the mainland and above the Arctic Circle. These islands have one of the largest concentrations of the white tailed sea eagle so it’s the perfect place for bird lovers. The ‘Lofoten Wall’ is a spectacular series of dramatic peaks that rise out of the sea. You won’t need to spend much money here as it’s all about the nature and rugged beauty.
Situated in Southwest Norway is the Stavanger region, a beautiful area with deep fjords, mountains and valleys. Popular with tourists and cruise ships, this region is an ideal base to explore the Lysefjord, Sandnes, and Pulpit Rock, one of Norway’s must-sees. This region attracts those seeking adventure; surfers come to ride the waves of the Jæren beaches, kayakers come to explore its waters and adrenalin seekers come to paraglide over its stunning views. Whatever adventure sport you’re into you can find it here.
Travel to the west coast and you’ll find some of the most spectacular scenery in the country. Ålesund is the gateway to Geirangerfjord, one of Norway’s most beautiful spots. Geirangerfjord has been listed a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is Norway’s most dramatic stretch of water. You could also visit Geiranger, in the west – another gateway to the fjords and a good place to ski.
At the top of Norway, close to the Russian border is the small city of Kirkenes, north of the Arctic Circle. This little city has things to do in both summer and winter and is also a good spot to hop on a cruise with Kirkenes being the turning point for the Hurtigruten steamer.
Norway is a beautiful country with so much to offer a solo, especially if you love nature.
How long do I need?
Norway is quite spread out but you can see the majority of the country within 2 weeks. Travel from the bottom to the top of Norway beginning in the country’s capital, Oslo and ending in Tromsø. You may prefer to just visit the south or the west, or focus on coast instead.
Accommodation in Norway
Norway has all types of accommodation and although the country is known for being expensive you can stay cheaply if you bring a tent with you. Norway has wild camping which means that you can camp anywhere for free as long as you get the property owner’s permission (or camp at least 150 metres from the nearest building). This includes camping around Pulpit Rock (Preikestolen), the dramatic ledge overlooking Lysefjord.
You’ll find cabins here if you don’t have a tent although they obviously cost more. There’s Airbnb in the cities which can be cheaper than staying in a hotel and you get the luxury of staying with a local who can give you tips on where to go and how to get around etc. (Save $20 off your first Airbnb stay). If you’re venturing into rural Norway look into the Norwegian Trekking Association who offer cabins along the way.
Solo Favourite – Marken Gjestehus, Bergen
Ranked the best hostel in Norway over several years, we love this stylish affordable accommodation with a choice of single rooms as well as dorm rooms. It’s in one of the nice pedestrian areas in Bergen near the railway station and Bergen Storsente. Prices start from £29 for a 10 bed dorm. Find out more.
Solo Favourite – Saga Poshtel Oslo Central, Oslo
This hostel is in a fab location near Karl Johans Gate and there's 24 hour reception so you’ll always feel safe. Meet other travellers in the lounge area or over the buffet breakfast (which is included). Choose from a 4,6, 8 or 12 bed dorm or your own private room. Prices from £41 for a 6-bed dorm bed. Find out more.
Solo Favourite – Smarthotel Tromsø
If you need to work during your stay you have your own work desk along with a TV. The lobby offers snacks too so you don’t even need to find a restaurant after a long day of sightseeing. Plus it’s only a short walk from the Polar Museum, Aquarium and the cruise terminal. Prices start from £55 for a single room with a private bathroom. Find out more.
Tours are a great way to meet like-minded people and take the stress out of planning your own trip especially if your time is limited.
G Adventures – Immerse yourself in Norwegian culture while benefiting from the perks of a small-group tour. Experiences vary from seeing the Northern Lights and exploring the Arctic Circle by rail to venturing into the realm of the Polar Bear. You can even start your trip from Edinburgh and travel on the G Expedition ship all the way to Tromsø on a 2-week tour. I have personally used G Adventures and recommend them as a solo female friendly company.
Local Tour Companies
- Norway in a Nutshell offers exactly what it says. If you are short on time you can experience Norway’s fjords, the Flåm Railway, and the best of the country’s scenery. Tours are independent rather than guided and last from one to three days. They also offer a Northern Lights experience.
- Join the Bergen Walking Tour for a 3 hour stroll around the historic areas of Bryggen.
- Cycle along the fjord coastline, past waterfalls and though gardens with Viking Biking on an Oslo city tour.
- Greenlander are a local tour company who offer small and eco friendly trips. See the Northern Lights or go on a winter kayaking trip.
- Go whale watching on an inflatable boat from Tromsø and ride to Kvaløya Island to spot humpback, pilot and killer whales as well as seals and other sea life. Whale watching takes place from October to mid-February.
Travelling Around Norway
Getting around Norway is easier with a car but being solo can make this an expensive option. With the country having some beautiful train journeys it makes sense to jump onboard one of the NSB trains, some of which are sleeper trains (there is one from Trondheim). If you can book in advance do, to take advantage of the discounted Minipris tickets. You can buy tickets up to 90 days in advance. There is also the option of a Eurail Norway Pass with Rail Europe. This offers 3 to 8 days of rail travel within a one-month period.
Norway also has good internal flights with Norwegian Airlines and also Scandinavian Airlines which are ideal if you’re short on time. Buses also travel long distances so you can travel between Bergen and Trondheim for example.
Norway is known for its fjord cruises. Hurtigruten is a Norwegian cruise and ferry operator who offer fjord cruises and also ferries from port to port
All the larger cities have good public transportation such as trains, buses, metros and trams. If you are feeling really active you can cycle your way around Norway which is perfect for the midnight sun but don’t forget the tunnels that can be dark. Ferries are part of life in Norway, especially if you visit the islands. Hitchhiking is quite common here in the rural areas where there may be no taxis (but obviously use your own discretion).
From the Airport
Check other destinations in the guide for how to get to and from the airports. Use Rome2Rio to find out costs and journey times.
From Oslo Airport
There are 3 different airports here. The main airport is Gardermoen where you can take the express train called Flytoget or an NSB train (Norges Statsbaner) both to Nationaltheatret Station. The regional NSB train is cheaper than the Flytoget and seems to do exactly the same journey.
From Bergen Airport
From the international airport, there is an airport bus that runs every 15 minutes. If you like being prepared you can buy your ticket online before you travel.
From Trondheim Airport
There are taxis outside the arrival hall but if you don’t mind taking public transport, there is a train from Trondheim Airport that takes 35 minutes to the city centre. Find the prices and schedule here. There is also an airport bus service. Check Nettbuss for times and prices.
Border Crossings (check visas before you travel)
To Sweden – You can travel to Stockholm and Gothenburg from Oslo or Trondheim by train. Buses also operate from Oslo. Use Rome2Rio for planning your journey.
To Finland – From Tromsø, and other places in Norway there is a bus company called Eskelisen Lapinlinjat which runs to Finland.
To Russia – Norway's only official border with Russia is Storskog, which is near to Kirkenes. You can organise a tour from Kirkenes into Russia. From anywhere else the best option is to fly.
To Denmark – Color Line operates ferry services from Larvik to Hirtshals in Denmark.
- Can I drink the water? Yes.
- Is tipping expected? No but people tip 10% if they are happy with the service.
- Fixed price or barter? Fixed price.
- Any ATMS? Yes.
- Which side of the road do they drive? The right-hand side.
- Good for vegetarians? Yes.
- Any Seven Wonders of the World? Yes, Aurora Borealis (the Northern Lights).
This is accurate at time of writing but we appreciate things can change. Please let us know if you experience anything otherwise. Thanks.