Have you ever visited somewhere at the “wrong” time of year but had an absolute blast anyway? When I asked locals about the best time to visit Southern Finland off-season, March was described as grey and dull to me. Of course, I had secretly hoped to still find snow around, and even though the odds for that were slim at best, late March was the only time slot I had available for my trip, so I went anyway. What can I say? Did I encounter snow on my visit? Yes. Was it as much as I’d hoped? No. Did I have a lovely time exploring Finland anyway? Abso-freakin-lutely!
The small town of Vennesla in Southern Norway is not exactly very well known, yet it has one super unique hike to offer that justifies a detour to the Kristiansand area or your spending a day longer in Kristiansand than you had planned: the old log flume Tømmerrenna! I’ve honestly never encountered a more exciting and stunning hike during all (so far it’s 5) years in Norway and I’ll definitely be back in Vennesla in summertime to do the hike all over again one day. Read on why the Tømmerrenna trail is a must when visiting Southern Norway!
If you’re planning a trip to Norway or the Nordics in general, you’ve probably already wondered about what you should pack and what kind of footwear you need to bring. You may already have a pair of hiking boots but they’re big and bulky - an absolute hassle to bring in your luggage. Or, you’ve never used hiking boots in your life before and don’t really want to spend a ton of money on a pair of boots that you might end up wearing just once. Either way, I think I have found a really good solution to your problem in the Lundhags Bjerg Low boots of their OMNI collection. Read on for the detailed review!*
Every summer, thousands of tourists come to Stavanger for one reason only: to hike Pulpit Rock (and maybe Kjerag too). Did you know that the city has a ton of other things to offer, though? And that the trail leading up to Pulpit Rock is notoriously crowded? Why not take the boat to an island in the fjord, just a short cruise from the city centre, where you can enjoy Norway’s nature in peace? I’ve recently explored Lindøy - one of Stavanger’s city islands in its mini-archipelago in the Byfjord (city fjord) and had an absolute blast! Here’s all you need to know in order to explore Stavanger’s city islands yourself.
Northern Norway stretches over almost 113,000 square kilometres, so it’s no surprise that you might feel a little lost trying to decide where to visit and trying to create an itinerary for your trip! Fortunately for you, I’ve had the chance to travel quite extensively between Norway’s northernmost village and Saltfjellet - the mountain range that sits right on the Arctic Circle - during the 3 years I’ve lived in Northern Norway myself. In this article, I’ll thus present you with 3 different itineraries for a trip to Northern Norway (in summer or winter!) lasting from 4 to 7 to 10 days.
Plenty of snow and temperatures below 0 - yes, Norway in winter is quite chilly, but that doesn’t mean that you have to look like the Michelin Man when visiting! Regardless of whether you’re headed to Tromsø to see the Northern Lights or are just planning a weekend in Oslo for New Year’s Eve, I’ll show you how I dress in winter myself and provide you with some cute outfit ideas that’ll let you visit Norway in style - even in winter!
Excuse the Buzzfeed-style title but there just are some places in the Nordics that can’t be described as anything other than epic! Personally, I’m a sucker for snowy landscapes and cabin holidays, and really don’t mind the cold of the Arctic at all. I happily spend hours frolicking in the snow and capturing the beauty, totally forgetting about the cold - until I notice that my hair is frozen and my camera is about to freeze up as well… This article, thus, aims to present 9 unique choices of accommodation throughout the Nordics, that’ll provide an unforgettable winter wonderland experience!
It’s prime Northern Lights season at the moment and it seems like every provider of Northern Lights safaris throughout Northern Norway, Swedish and Finnish Lapland, as well as Iceland, says that their destination is the best one to watch the Northern Lights – for so many different, not always actually entirely true, reasons. Thus, I thought I’d talk about some common Northern Lights myths I’ve encountered recently with you in this video!
One of the biggest (and least crowded) gems in itself is the region of Finnmark, stretching all the way to 71 degrees north. I was lucky to experience life in the outskirts of Europe when I did my Workaway stay in the small village of Gamvik, and still regret that I didn’t went further east to explore the Norwegian-Russian border area around Kirkenes. Therefore I was all the more excited when I was contacted by Prityazhenie, asking if I’d be interested in writing a post about the region and specifically about Pasvik Nature Reserve - a national park that actually stretches over areas of Norway, Russia and Finland, and apparently is a heaven for bird watchers! If you’d like to really explore the wilderness of Northern Norway, Pasvik Nature Reserve seems to be perfect place. Here’s why:*
Winter is approaching and you are planning a trip to Tromsø? You've maybe heard of the ice hotel in Kiruna or Kirkenes? As of last winter (2017/2018), there is also such an ice hotel near Tromsø. Initially not designed as a hotel, demand soon required the option to stay there and this should be possible from this winter onwards. Last winter I took part in an organized bus trip from Tromsø and experienced the following:
Is autumn in full swing where you live? I have to admit, I’m not a fan of the lack of daylight and bad weather that come with autumn in Norway but I’m absolutely in love with the colours of this season! Unfortunately, it doesn’t last very long here in Stavanger. Either the leaves are blown away in a storm quite quickly or they start to rot almost immediately after falling to the ground as it rains so much here. There seems to be one place in the Nordics that does a proper Indian Summer, though: Finland! Or rather, Finnish Lapland!
Norwegians quite simply have a different understanding of a simple hike than someone who grew up in the plains of Germany (in other words: me). Understandably so, Norwegian kids grow up hiking in the mountains while I, even after 4 years in the country, still can’t get myself to even attempt to hike Pulpit Rock - that edge just looks too scary! So, when I say “easy hikes”, I really mean it! The following 7 hikes all feature relatively flat terrain and well-maintained trails, and could probably easily be done by any Norwegian 2-year old ;) ... Well maybe not quite a 2-year old but at least, these hikes are manageable even if you’re not in best shape and/or suffer from a fear of heights! Happy hiking!
Why you would want to stand in line (and this is no joke!) at Pulpit Rock, Trolltunga and co. when there's an entire country of over 1600 km in length to explore, is beyond me! Therefore, I've decided to put together a small selection of alternatives to the "must-sees" of Norway - for anyone who'd like to escape the summer crowds in the country and those of you, who are seeking to discover Norway like a local!
With only a dozen hotels to choose from, accommodation options on Svalbard are pretty limited - and certainly not for those travelling on a tiny budget. I was surprised to find hostel prices in Longyearbyen at the same rate as you'd get a stay in a decent Scandic Hotel on the mainland of Norway. Nevertheless, the accommodation costs are totally worth to experience Svalbard up close and while it might not be entirely possible to visit Svalbard on a backpacker's or student budget, it certainly isn't impossible to save a few bucks - or splurge, if that's what you prefer!
Living in Tromsø for 3 years, I thought that packing for a trip to Svalbard in the summer would be a walk in the park. After all, I had all the proper winter gear and outdoor equipment and thought I'd be done packing in no time! Turns out, however, that things are a little more difficult… I thus decided to make a list of all the things I really ended up needing in the High Arctic and will also tell you why you can leave your down jacket at home, in this article!
After all, I would have been stupid not to head to Svalbard when the archipelago only is a 1 1/2-hour flight away - am I right?! I definitely fell in love with the region and would have loved to stay just a night or two longer to explore even more. Personally, I'd say that Svalbard can best be explored in summer as opposed to the 24-hour darkness of the polar night that lasts from October to February - but I guess it depends on what you come there to do and see.
I totally get the wish, of course, but I'd also like to make sure that if you go, you choose a tour operator that cares well for the animals. What you need to consider before booking that trip and what to look out for before choosing a dog-sledding/reindeer-sledding or whale-watching tour, will thus be the topic of this article!
Imagine my excitement over getting the chance to visit a reindeer farm in Lapland this winter! Feeding and cuddling baby reindeer in a winter wonderland? That does sound like a day too good to be true, doesn't it? Well, you're lucky because I'm going to recap the entire day for you in this post - and don't worry, there's plenty of cute reindeer footage coming along!*