Spring is around the corner and as the snow melts and nature wakes, Norwegians head outdoors. In Norway, nature is free and open, and it provides many fun opportunities for all ages to exchange screen time for play time.
In Norway, the term for this, friluftsliv, can be literally translated as “outdoor life”, to describe the phenomenon of spending time outdoors for better health, to reduce stress, and to make your day brighter. The great thing about playing in nature is that it doesn’t take much planning or organizing. Bring a snack and have a nice picnic outside, let the imagination flow and watch as the kids run, jump and play. And the bonus is that they’ll sleep better too, and so will you!
Norway has many fun things to do, see, climb and explore. Check out some of these tips for you and your family:
1. Mountain biking
Go on a mountain biking holiday in Norway and let the kids experience the tremendous sense of freedom and adrenaline you get from racing down mountain trails! Most of the bike parks have options for beginners and children, as well as for experienced thrill seekers, so the whole family can join in.
2. Horseback riding
Saddle up and experience Norway’s natural beauty on horseback. Numerous operators throughout the country offer everything from short trips to guided tours that last several days. If you go to Northern Norway you can even ride under the northern lights or the midnight sun. Imagine that! In Fjord Norway, you can experience the unique Norwegian horse breed, the beautiful Fjord Horse.
3. Dog sledding on wheels
No snow? No problem! Huskies in Norway love running in the summer too and can give you a ride on wheels. This is a really fun activity for the whole family, and a great way to experience nature. Hold on tight!
4. Kayaking and canoeing
Whether you’re gliding in a canoe or kayak on our fantastic fjords or a quiet lake, or among small islands in an archipelago, taking to the water gets you up close to nature and will definitely make for a memorable family adventure.
You can rent canoes and kayaks all over the country, and there are numerous courses and guided tours available for families.
5. Go fishing
With its extremely long coastline, Norway is a paradise for anyone interested in fishing. Even in wintertime you can enjoy ice fishing, fjord fishing, and deep sea fishing. If you’re more into fly fishing, you’re spoiled for options with many lakes, rivers and streams to choose from.
6. Climbing parks and via ferratas
Norway is home to many outdoor and indoor climbing parks and via ferratas with routes and challenges for everyone. Some take you over glittering fjords and up dramatic mountains, while others offer beautiful city views. Enjoy spectacular surroundings as you balance over the longest via ferrata bridge in Europe, at Via Ferrata Loen in Nordfjord. Or do you dare to attempt the “Ragnarok Extreme”, one of the toughest routes in Norway?
Age limits vary for via ferratas and range from 10-12 for the easiest route to 14-15 for the most challenging ones.
7. Fun on the river
Norway is blessed with some of the world’s best rivers for rafting – full of rapids, twists and turns! You can also bring your extended family and go rafting in calmer waters. The most famous rafting destination in the country is Sjoa in Gudbrandsdalen in Eastern Norway, which also offers family rafting. Enjoying a canyoning trip is also highly recommended.
From Lofoten in the north to Rogaland in the southwest, you can enjoy excellent conditions for surfing and water kiting in Norway – all year round. Two of the most famous spots are the Jæren beaches in Rogaland and the Lofoten islands for cold-water surfing. Have you never surfed before? You can get excellent beginner tips from local experts. And remember to always wear a wetsuit – you’re in Norway, after all!
9. Pothole exploration
During the Ice Age, smooth potholes of all sizes were created in solid rock through a natural process. Some are filled with water, and are big enough that you can swim in them, while some form a natural water slide!
10. Glacier hiking
Norway is home to some mesmerising glaciers, especially in Fjord Norway and Northern Norway. Many of the guided tours on offer are suitable for families and children from about 7 or 8 years old. Make a lasting memory among the powerful, majestic blue ice!
Or put your skis on – in the middle of summer! The snow never melts on the highest mountains and glaciers in Norway. One of the most popular places for summer skiing is FONNA ski resort, located on the Folgefonna glacier in the heart of beautiful Hardanger.
This original travel article first appeared in the Spring 2023 issue of City Style and Living Magazine.
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