Norway isn’t the first country you think of when you plan your summer vacation. Most people flock to places like Spain, Croatia or the Greek Islands but over the last several years Scandinavia has received a huge surge in tourism.
It’s no wonder why Norway continues its meteoric rise. Combine epic mountains, a rugged coastline, the northern lights in winter, and the midnight sun in summer and you have yourself a spectacular travel destination.
I have been to Norway four times now. The main drawcard for me is always the midnight sun which makes great conditions for landscape photography. In fact, it was on my first summer trip to Northern Norway that I discovered my personal love of photography and the outdoors.
Midnight Sun Magic in the Lofoten Islands
My first trip to Norway was four years ago. I will never forget the moment we built a tent on Kvalvika Beach and camped there for a few nights. Kvalvika Beach is a cove surrounded by green mountains in the Lofoten Islands. The views from the slopes of Ryten (a 500m high mountain) were amazing.
We went swimming in the fresh icy waters with the midnight sun glowing beside us and enjoyed a campfire until the early hours. That moment was one of the best travel experiences I’ve ever had. Having the entire beach to ourselves was like something out of a film!
The one thing I love most about Norway is the midnight sun, which is often top of the list in any Scandinavia travel guide. There is nothing more magical than hiking up mountains and seeing the mild golden light that surrounds you. You also totally lose track of time. It can still be light at 2 in the morning.
Norway gets around 76 days of midnight sun per year between the months of May and July. The further north you go the more days of midnight sun you get. Everything changes with this incredible natural phenomenon when you literally see nature and wildlife in a different light.
Some of the most popular midnight sun activities include whale safaris, midnight swimming in the sea, camping and hiking, midnight golfing, river paddling, sea kayaking, and midnight fishing. With all those extra hours of daylight your days become infinite.
What you Need to Know Before you Go
Norway is not the cheapest place to visit in the world. Things like food and accommodation can be quite expensive. On the other hand, camping in Norway is basically free. You can pretty much camp out wherever you want, which is great news for adventurers and backpacker’s on a budget.
I normally try and save money by packing as much food as possible and only eating out when necessary. When you do get the chance to eat out make sure you try the fish. Some of the best seafood I’ve ever tried was by the traditional fishing villages of the Lofoten Islands.
Also, if you decide to go hiking, make sure you have quality equipment and you are in good physical condition. Some of the hikes can take a toll on your body. Don’t forget to take a map because tourist signs are few and far between in Norway. If you do get lost you can always ask locals where to go.
The great thing about Norwegians is that they are super friendly and have perfect English. On all four of my trips I have met locals when out hiking or camping. They are a hardy people who are always up for an adventure in their own backyard. I think their rugged surroundings have strengthened their temperament in a way.
I can’t wait to get back to Norway for another trip. This time around I hope to see the northern lights during my first winter visit. I went to Iceland last winter and missed out on the elusive northern lights due to bad weather. Fingers crossed I have better luck in Norway!