Solo Travel in Norway

Types of Girl about the Globes – Active GatGs, Nature GatGs (Northern Lights), History GatGs (Viking history)

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.

Below is our guide to how to travel solo in Norway as well as lots of practical information such as where to stay, things to do in Norway, and places to visit in Norway. Find out how to get from the airports and what to do in each place. All companies included have been recommended by solo female travellers and come with our Solo Female Friendly endorsement. Just choose the relevant section or read the full article.

Contents

Best Places in Norway

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).

Aurora Borealis from Lofoten

Oslo Sightseeing

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. The Viking Ship Museum and Historical Museum are two of the best museums here. You can gain access to both museums with a combined entry ticket. 

You don’t have to wait until Bergen to take a tour of Norway fjords as Oslo has its own. As well as exploring Oslo from the sea, you can discover the dramatic landscapes of the Fjords on a two hour tour.

There is honestly so much to see here that you'll need at least two nights. Oslo has more than 30 museums and attractions. It's the perfect start to a Norway trip. Get free public transport and access to museums and attractions with the Oslo Pass (from 24 to 72 hours).

Visit Bergen

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, or learn more about the city's best secrets on a private tour. 

Walk to the top of Mount Fløyen to enjoy the view (try the waffles too) then take the Fløibanen cable car back down. 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.

Solo Travel in Norway

Tromsø Norway

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,’ this is one of the best places in the world to see the Tromsø Northern Lights due to its winter darkness. Take a Tromso Northern Lights tour to see this amazing natural phenomenon and experience Norwegian culture.

Tromso is a great place to base yourself and take advantage of its spectacular fjords that border the Norwegian Sea. This area of the Arctic Sea is abundant with sea eagles, seals and puffins so keep your eyes peeled if you take a fjord cruise. If  you've ever wanted to take a husky sledge then Tromso is the place to do it. You can learn how to ‘mush' in the Arctic circle as the huskies pull you along in the snow (just wrap up warm before you go).

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. There are so many beautiful Norway attractions here that you won't want to leave. 

Trondheim

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.

Solo Travel in Norway

Sommaroy (photo @ Marie Bran)

Flåm Norway

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.

Lofoten Islands

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.

Solo Travel in Norway

Stavanger Region

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 which is a must-see and a top Norway destination. Hiking here at sunset is just stunning. 

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. 

Alesund Norway

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. The best way to see Norway's fjords is to hop aboard a boat trip. 

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. 

Kirkenes

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 has so many beautiful places to see. From Norway's scenery to the best of Norway's cities to visit, there is so much to offer a solo, especially if you love nature.

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. If you’re venturing into rural Norway look into the Norwegian Trekking Association who offer cabins along the way.

 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).

You’ll also find chain hotels, boutique hotels, resorts and lodges to stay. If traditional hotel rooms are too expensive, Homestay offers properties at a cheaper price across Norway.

Bergen – First Hotel Marin

If you prefer somewhere with a bit more comfort, First Hotel Marin is just steps away from Bryggen, and in a perfect location for exploring Bergen's points of interest. It’s also walkable from Bergen Central Station. Once a former print shop, this hotel has wooden floors and oak furniture as part of its decor.

The rooms are spacious, clean and comfortable and quiet so you’re guaranteed a good night’s sleep. Choose from a choice of different views and if you’re feeling flush opt for the harbour and city views from the penthouse room. All rooms come with a free delicious breakfast. 

  • Prices start from £125 for a twin room with a private bathroom.
  • To book, check prices or availability for First Hotel Marin

Bergen – Marken Gjestehus

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. When you're not exploring the city (but it is practically on your doorstep), you can relax on a sofa and watch TV in the living room. Use the kitchen to make your own coffee or treat yourself to a cappuccino from the coffee machine. Plus there is a washer and dryer to get your clothes clean and fresh before moving on.

If you choose a private room, you'll even get your own wardrobe to hang your clothes (a very rare treat when backpacking), and a mirror, reading light and a desk. Marken Guesthouse is a safe place to stay and is located in a very quiet and safe area. It’s in one of the nice pedestrian areas in Bergen, near the railway station and Bergen Storsente. 

  • Prices start from £29 for a bed in a 10 bed dormitory room
  • To book, check prices or availability for Marken Guesthouse

Oslo – Ellingsens Pensjonat

If you are unsure where to stay in Oslo, Ellingsens Pensjonat is one of the hotels in Oslo city centre. It is near to a tram and walking distance to grocery shops and restaurants. There is free access to a gym so you can keep up with your fitness regime during your stay, and there is a garden to enjoy some sunshine in the summer. Although it is in a good location you may want to bring earplugs if you’re a light sleeper due to the noise of the tram. 

  • Prices start from £70 for a single room with shared bathroom
  • To book, check prices or availability for Ellingsens Pensjonat

Oslo – Saga Poshtel Oslo Central

This hostel is in an excellent location near Karl Johans Gate and just a short walk from the Royal Castle. The staff are really helpful and man the reception desk 24 hours which is ideal if you are arriving late into the night. Although it’s a hostel it feels more like a sociable hotel.

If you are travelling overland after Oslo then Central Station is easy to reach on foot. 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.

Tromso – Scandic Grand Tromso

If you prefer your Tromso accommodation to come with a huge buffet breakfast and free tea and coffee, the Scandic Grand Tromsø is a great choice. Located on a shopping street, the main attractions are just a short walk away. You’ll also find an onsite cafe and bar serving local and international cuisine. 

  • Prices from £70 for a twin room with private bathroom
  • To book, check prices or availability for Scandic Grand Tromso

Tromso – Smarthotel Tromso

If you need to work during your stay Smarthotel Tromso offers your very own work desk in your room in addition to 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
  • To book, check prices or availability for Smarthotel Tromso

Trondheim – Trondheim Vandrerhjem

Trondheim Hostel is one of the few hostels in Trondheim. It’s modern, clean and stylish with everything that you would expect from a hostel and more. It’s located on top of a hill in a quiet neighbourhood with fantastic views from the top.

The kitchen is well equipped for any meals that you want to prepare if you don’t want to walk down the hill to the centre of the city (a supermarket is nearby). The TV area makes it easy to mingle with the travellers and there is a choice of mixed dormitory rooms or female-only rooms.

  • Prices start from £31 for a bed in a 4 bed dormitory room
  • To book, check prices or availability for Trondheim Vandrerhjem

Oslo Opera House (Photo @ Emily Banwell)

Tours in Norway

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. They show you what to see in Norway as well as the places to visit in Norway. If you're longing to see Norway's attractions, here are our recommending tour companies. 

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. 

Click here for the full itineraries, prices, and start dates

Local Tour Companies

  • Free Tour Oslo – These Oslo tours are such great value. Local guides lead free walking tours around the city of Oslo offering entertaining facts in exchange for donations at the end.
  • Norway in a Nutshell offers exactly what it says. If you are short on time and unsure where to go in Norway 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.
  • Cycle along the fjord coastline, past waterfalls and though gardens with Viking Biking on an Oslo city tour. It's a unique way to do a tour of Norway's capital city. 
  • 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.
  • Arctic Adventure Tours If your dream is to go on an overnight husky sled and stay in a Sami tent then this company is recommended. They also offer whale safaris too.

Getting 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.

All the larger cities have good public transportation such as trains, buses, metros and trams. Take a hop-on hop-off bus in Oslo to get your bearings and see the main sights. 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.

The cheapest way to travel around Norway is by express coach. Norway has an extensive network of coaches which link to the major towns, ferry terminals and rural areas. Pre-book online to guarantee your seat (and for discounts).

The local buses are good too and you can even reach waterfalls on the local buses. In the cities you can buy your ticket onboard the bus. If you are planning to stay a while, it may be worth purchasing a one-day or weekly travel card. Click here for more details. 

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).

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

Norway Itinerary

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 a specific region such as the south, the west or the coast instead. Either way, below are some suggested itineraries to help you to plan your solo trip:

A week itinerary

Oslo (3 nights, Bergen (2 nights), Flam (2 nights).

10 day itinerary

Oslo (4 nights), Trondhiem (3 nights), Tromso (3 nights) flying in-between.

Two weeks’ itinerary

Oslo (3 nights) – 7 hour train to Bergen (2 nights), 2.5 hour train and bus to Flam (2 nights), 10 hour bus and ferry to Geiranger (2 nights), 6.5 hour bus and train to Trondheim (2 nights), 3.5 hour flight to Tromso (3 nights).

Three week itinerary

Oslo, Lillehammer, Geirangerfjord, Jostedal Glacier, Fjaerland, Sognefjord, Naeroyfjord, Bergen, Hardangerfjord, Latefoss Waterfall, and Telemark.

Best Time to Visit Norway

The best time to go to Norway really depends on what you want to see and do. Whether you want to hike in the summer months or experience the snow activities in the Norway winter. If you prefer to be here during the warmer months, March to August have the best temperatures. If you’ve never seen midnight sun before then go during June and July to experience the nights with day light (just don’t forget your sleep mask).

The best opportunities to see the Northern Lights are between October and March to see this amazing phenomena. If you visit in the Norway summer don’t be deceived with warm temperatures during the day as they can still drop at night. Take a coat and wrap up warm no matter what the season.

The chart below shows the average maximum day temperatures for Oslo (from January to December). The best month to visit Norway is July.

Travel insurance for Switzerland

Travel Insurance For Norway

Norway is a really safe country to explore but travel insurance is always recommended to cover you for any travel delays, medical assistance and activities.

I recommend True Traveller for UK and European residents, and World Nomads for U.S. and worldwide citizens. Both companies allow you to buy insurance when you are already on the road, and offer different plans depending on your needs including additional adventure cover.

Airports in Norway

Norway has a number of international airports with Oslo the main international airport in the country. Below are listed the most popular international airports in Norway and how to get to and from each one. For all other airports check Rome2Rio for travelling information.

Bergen (BGO)

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.

Oslo (OSL)

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 Moss Airport it’s an hour into the city. A shuttle bus takes you 15 minutes to Rygge Train Station where you can take an express train to Oslo Bus Terminal.

From Torp Airport it’s 1 hour 45 minutes to Oslo and there is a bus that stops at Oslo Bus Terminal.

Stavanger (SVG)

You can take a taxi from Stavanger Airport for approximately £40 for the 15 minute journey or there are frequent Flybusses operated by Kolumbus which take 30 minutes and cost less at £3.

Tromsø (TOS)

As well as taxis from the airport, an airport express coach runs between the airport and the city centre and only takes 15 minutes. Check the Airport Express timetable. There is also a normal city bus that goes to the airport (routes 40 and 42). Buy your ticket onboard or at Point Kiosk (costs approx NOK 50).

Trondheim (TRD)

There are taxis outside the arrival hall but if you don’t mind taking public transport, there’s 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 DenmarkColor Line operates ferry services from Larvik to Hirtshals in Denmark.

Where can I go from here?

planelistSweden – 1 hour

planelistFinland – 1.5 hrs

planelistDenmark – 1.15 hrs

FAQs About Norway

  • 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).

Map of Norway

Planning a Trip to Norway

If you are ready to plan a trip to Norway here are some useful links to help you plan your trip including airlines which fly there, vaccinations required, and eco accommodation.

Budget – £90+ a day

Facts

Capital – Oslo

Population – 5.08 million

Language Spoken – Norweigan and English

Local Currency – Norwegian Krone (NOK)

Do I Need a Visa?

Vaccinations Required

Useful Info

Airlines to Norway

Best Time to Go – July & August

Which Plug Do I Need?

UNESCO Sites in Norway

Events & Festivals in Norway

Local Cost Guide

Local Customs & Etiquette

Emergency = Dial 110 for Fire, 112 for Police, 113 for Medical.

 

Did you know? You can see the Northern Lights from Norway.

 

Useful Norwegian phrases

 

eco

Stay Eco

Juvet Landscape Hotel is the first landscape hotel in Europe, situated in the farmstead at Alstad in Valldal.

Lynne Lodge is a luxury boutique lodge which provides a complete Arctic experience under one roof.

Volunteering

If you want to experience Grassroots volunteering in Norway, there are various opportunities. Choose from helping with husky tours, working with animals or agriculture on a working farm, or interacting with guests at a hostel.

If you are aged 18-30 years old you can volunteer in Norway with the British Red Cross. Placements last 12 months. As a volunteer you will work with a variety of different people and make a real difference to people’s lives.

Cultural Experiences

Visit Sommarøy, a small fishing village in the Arctic Circle where the residents depend on herring for their livelihoods. Less than 500 people live in this village they call “summer island.”

Watch a cultural performance of folk dancing, taste freshly baked traditional Norwegian lefse, and experience daily life in rural Norway in the 1950s at the Norsk Folkemuseum, an interactive museum where you can spend hours.

If you’ve never seen glass blowing before, visit Stine Hoff Kunstglass to watch Stine Hoff herself creating a beautiful piece of glassware. As a recognised glossarist she has had exhibitions all over Norway.

Local Projects

The MiRA Centre is an NGO which works with Black, Immigrant and Refugee women. It was founded in 1989 and works to improve the living conditions of minority women and girls in Norway. You can volunteer with MIRA Resource Centre on short-term projects.

Mind Body & Soul

hotelicon

If you are planning to visit Bergen, Ask Retreat Centre on the island of Askøy holds yoga and meditation retreats. Attend in the summer months for 5 or 10 days.

Dharma Mountain offers women’s retreats as well as meditation and yoga retreats in Hedalen.

A unique way to treat yourself is at Vulkana, a spa on a boat. Enjoy the zen room, a sauna or a hot tub in stunning scenery before indulging in a spa treatment in this unique arctic spa. 

You don't have to go all the way to Turkey to experience a Turkish bath, Trondheim Hamman offers the experience in Norway. Start in the steam before the massage on warm marble slabs. It's the perfect way to spend a cold afternoon. 

Issues in the Country

Norway doesn’t really have many local issues but it does face a serious environmental problem which is caused by industrial activity. Acid rain, a form of air pollution has damaged many of Norway’s forests and waterways, meaning that many of the lakes are no longer able to support fish. For a country with fish being one of their main food resources, this is posing a serious concern for Norway. Read more.

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