Read on for a detailed list of unique and quintessentially Norwegian hotels that enable you to stay somewhere off the beaten track!
Are you tired of staying at hotel chains? Have already ticked the snow hotel and glass igloo off your bucket list? Or are you simply not willing to spend your hard-earned money on an overpriced cabin just because it’s hyped up on Instagram? I hear you!
Norway has so many accommodation options to choose from and a great majority come with spectacular views and easy access to nature. You don’t have to stay in a glass igloo to see the Northern Lights, and that cabin with a view you’ve seen on Instagram is certainly not the only one of its kind. Instead, why not stay somewhere more historic? Somewhere a little more authentic but equally charming? Somewhere traditionally Norwegian and not new and boutiquey? Somewhere like this:
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Walaker Hotel is the oldest family-run hotel in all of Norway and yet, I hadn’t even heard about it until recently. It was originally founded in 1640 and the Nitter family, who still run the hotel in their 9th generation today, took over the Walaker business in 1690.
The hotel is situated in Solvorn, right by the Lustrafjord and just a short drive from the famous Sognefjord - Norway’s longest and deepest. From here, it’s also only a short drive to the stave churches of Urnes and Borgund, as well as to Jostedal Glacier National Park.
The rooms are still decorated to reminisce about the past centuries with beautiful wallpaper, freestanding bathtubs and historic bed frames with ornate wooden headboards. You might feel like you’ve transformed into a character on The Crown when staying here! The Walaker also has its own restaurant - of course - serving breakfast with home-baked bread and a 4-course dinner with fresh and exquisite local produce, meats and fish.
Designed like an old trapper’s cabin and reminiscing life on Svalbard in the olden days, staying here means being greeted by stuffed polar bears and foxes, and having your room key hang from real reindeer antlers. The attention to detail at Mary Ann’s Polarrigg is real! The owner - yes, you’ve guessed it - Mary Ann, even designed a greenhouse-themed restaurant where you can enjoy authentic Svalbardian cuisine under the Northern Lights or Midnight Sun.
Accommodation might not be particularly cheap on Svalbard, but staying here surely is an experience! Find available rooms and current rates of Mary Ann’s Polarrigg here.
Have you ever dreamed about going off-grid? Having an island all to yourself? No neighbours? No shops? No Nothing? Well, this dream of yours can become reality at Litløy Fyr - the little island lighthouse!
Situated on a tiny island in the Vesterålen Islands of Northern Norway, the lighthouse keeper’s house is the only inhabited building for miles and your only neighbour will be Elena - the only permanent inhabitant of the building and your host. There are currently 2 bedrooms available to rent via Airbnb and in order to get here, Elena will come pick you up with her little boat. You better not suffer from seasickness if you plan on staying here!
The lighthouse guesthouse is more or less self-sustainable with rain water being used for general water consumption and solar panels being used to produce electricity. In order to also make your stay as environmental-friendly as possible, you can only book a bedroom at the lighthouse keeper’s house if you stay for at least 3 nights, and you’ll get a discount if you stay for a week.
Make sure to use this link to sign up for Airbnb and receive 350 NOK in travel credit as a gift from me, if you haven’t already done so. You can find the lighthouse listing here.
Spending the weekend or the summer holidays at the family cabin in the mountains is an important part of Norwegian culture. Not everyone has access to a family cabin, though, and sometimes people also like to explore somewhere new. Thus, the Norwegian Trekking Association provides public cabins in the mountains all over Norway for people to stay at.
Non-members of the association usually pay a little bit more than members, but still, these cabins are usually very affordable with prices often ranging from 400 to 800 NOK a night. Skåpet is a collection of a few of these cabins owned by the association that can be found in the Stavanger region, close to the famous Pulpit Rock.
The cabins are still new and fresh, but unlike many of the other stylish glass cabins and treehouses that currently make the rounds on Instagram, Skåpet isn’t exactly easily accessible. You can’t just drive here - you’ll actually have to hike! Granted, though, the hike is only 7 km long (in total, meaning approx. 3,5 km and 1 1/2 hours one way) and you only have to hike up 200 metres above sea level, so it’s actually a very easy hike.
You can reserve a spot in one of the cabins beforehand, but even then you have to arrive there before 7 pm - otherwise, someone else can take over your spot for a much cheaper price! Also, keep in mind that the kitchen and bathrooms are shared.
How does a stay in a tiny pink cabin with a view sound? The artist Solveig Egeland has designed tiny colourful cabins in several locations here in Southern Norway to inspire people to go back to their roots.
She thinks that in a time where many Norwegians build mountain cabins that have more resemblence with a city mansion than an actual cabin - and, might I add, in a time where people want to stay in glass igloos and treehouses purely for their Instagram-worthiness rather than the actual nature experience - people need to start to focus again on the small things. The sound of raindrops on the roof or the wind, as she said in this interview.
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Anyone up for a night in a cabin with ocean view? 👋 At Utsira’s lighthouse, you can sleep in a tiny pink cabin overlooking the ocean for only 600 NOK a night, while the little blue cabin is open for any and all to enjoy the view with a cup of coffee ☕️ (Pro tip, not an advert)
Thus, her cabins are only 4 square meters big. The pink ones have a double bed and a big window to enjoy the view, while the blue ones have a bench and desk - and that’s it. In order to use the bathroom or kitchen, you have to go to the service building.
And the best? They only cost 600 NOK a night, incl. view.
Before the oild industry was developed in Norway, most people were farmers/fishers. What better way, thus, to experience Norwegian culture than a stay at a farm?! Valbjør Gård is an organic farm (that actually dates back to the age of the Vikings) hidden in the mountains of Vågå, close to Reinheimen, Dovre and Rondane National Parks.
The area is not exactly bustling with foreign tourists - all the more reason why you should stay here!
The rooms you can book are all situated in authentic Norwegian farmhouses from the 17th, 18th and 19th century, with an interior to match the outside of these little cabins. 3 of the 5 cabins even have a kitchen and bathroom, though, you’ll save a few bucks and get an even more authentic experience by booking the cabins that don’t.
When staying here, don’t miss the local food! The farm has a small farm shop where you can buy locally-produced goat’s cheese, for instance, and there’s also the option to enjoy an authentic Norwegian lunch or dinner of seasonal and local produce, meats and fish.
Similarly to Valbjør Gård, Byrkjedalstunet also offers historically-inspired accommodation in traditional Norwegian farmhouses. In contrast to the former, though, Byrkjedalstunet is a little more accessible as it’s only an hour’s drive from Stavanger.
This farm was opened in the 1920s as a dairy farm that, unfortunately, had to close down in the 1970s. In the 1980s then, the place was re-opened - only then as a candle factory, event venue and hotel/restaurant. You can even find a bakery on the property!
Nestled in a valley only 5 minutes from Gloppedalsura, Northern Europe’s biggest scree field, Byrkjedalstunet attracts locals on their way to the mountains who pop in for lunch, cruise guests from the city who visit the cave to eat Norwegian pancakes, as well as anyone who’s interested in candle-making, home decor, outdoor clothing or troll folklore.
All that (and more) can be found at Byrkjedalstunet and even though I sometimes visit the place several times a week in my job as a local tour guide, I’ll never get enough of the landscape that surrounds this place.
I got to know Hauane B&B shortly after moving to Stavanger. The owners of the place offered a local tour around the hidden gems of Lysebotn - the tiny village at the end of the famous Lysefjord near Stavanger - at the annual Lysefjorden Hiking Festival and I decided to join. 2 years later and I’m still in awe of this place!
As a family-run business on a local farm, Hauane B&B provides an authentic Norwegian getaway in wonderfully scenic and quiet surroundings. You’ll be served locally-sourced breakfast and dinner, and will probably get to enjoy a dish or two that’s not even served in any Stavanger restaurant - like those thin pancakes I got to enjoy during my visit.
The B&B is in close proximity of the hike to Kjerag, but there are also plenty of other great hiking trails in the area that, as opposed to the one to Kjerag, you’ll get to have entirely to yourself. Just ask your hosts - they know the area like no one else!
Birk Husky B&B
Birk Husky B&B is situated at the very edge of Norway, close to the Norwegian-Russian border in Eastern Finnmark. It’s an ideal location if you want to spend a few days (or weeks) off the grid and truly off the beaten track. You can go for a hike, try to spot birds or go for a husky-ride in winter in this very scenic Arctic landscape.
The little cabins are pretty basic - no glass roofs here, just you and nature - but super cosy. There’s also a private sauna on the property, as well as an authentic Sami tent (called lavvvo). A traditional Northern Norwegian dinner is available on request (have you ever tried reindeer meat?) and breakfast is included in the accommodation rate (which, by the way, isn’t even expensive).
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