Offbeat Norway - Summer festivals with a difference

Marie Peyre
Marie Peyre - [email protected]
Offbeat Norway - Summer festivals with a difference

Been to Øya, Slottsparken and Bergenfest? Good. Now why not try one of these more unusual festivals? From inflatable boats and rollerskiing to insects and real life mermaids, our travel editor Marie Peyre has something for every taste.


Ørje Rubber Boat Festival

Celebrating 5 years in 2017, this festival attracts hundreds of boats and over a thousand spectators to the little town of Ørje in Østfold, southern Norway. Popular with young people from far and wide, the festival includes a sprint race and a competition to crown the most original inflatable vessel on the water, as well as musical entertainment on land late into the night.

Where: Ørje, Østfold
When: July

Photo: Marie Peyre
Skifestivalen BLINK (Rollerskiing Festival)
Rollerskiing might not be as popular as cross-country skiing (yet), but in Norway, a nation of skiing addicts, this is the closest to the real thing you can get in summer. And this festival gathers big names - over 100 top level cross-country skiers and biathletes take part every year. Norwegian champion Peter Northug is a big favourite to win this year.

Where: Sandnes, Rogaland 
When: July

Skifestivalen Blink. Photo: Stavanger Fotoklubb/Axelar
Inspired by the Holi festival in India, Grimstad Color Festival is all about messy, colourful fun - with a bit of sporting action thrown in for good measure! The festival is a 5km-long race where the whole point is not to run fastest or longest, but to have a good time. Each participant is issued with a bag full of colour powders at the start of the race, and additional colour stations are dotted along the course, with volunteers targeting participants with blue, yellow, green and red powder as they make their way towards the finish line. The race culminates in a big street party on the main square.

Where: Grimstad
When: August

Grimstad Color Festival. Photo: Johnny Aasen/Grimstad Color Festival
Feeling lucky? Try this, a fishing competition with a cash pot of 1 million Norwegian crowns (NOK). Here participants can win a whopping 500,000NOK for a sea trout of a pre-determined weight, and 100,000NOK for the heaviest fish caught during the festival. There is even a prize for young fishing enthusiasts, as well as a full programme of music, entertainment and of course after-fish! Millionfisken celebrates 10 years in 2017.

Where: Salangen, Troms
When: Late June-early July

Photo: Millionfisken
An original festival that combines theatre and natural sciences to celebrate the smallest living things - insects and other creepy crawlies. Activities, which themselves are targeted at a little audience, namely children (although all are welcome to attend) include insect safaris, building a bee hotel, encounters with entomologists, storytelling and theatre (Norwegian only), and a drawing competition.

Where: Jomfruland
When: July

Verdens Minste Festival. Photo: Mikkel Moe

The Hammock Festival

Taking place in spectacular Norwegian nature in Jotunheimen National Park, this music and wilderness festival features a broad range of concerts, but also activities such as mountain yoga, wild swimming, slackline walking and more. Participants are encouraged to sleep in their hammocks (and most do), although camping is also an option. A great place to hang out!

Where: Valdres
When: August

Photo: Hammock Festival
A quayside festival that celebrates the sea and its wonders. Here you can meet professional divers, surfers, kiters, fishermen, biologists and innovators, all sharing their passion for the ocean. Try out diving gear, help dissect a seal (!), watch a fashion show where all the clothes are made from marine litter or recycled material, get a sailor's tattoo, join a cookery class... Activities are many and varied. Seafood and beach bar (seaweed beer anyone?), music, films and quizzes complete the picture as festivities continue long into the night.  

Where: Vippetangen, Oslo
When: August

Photo: Passion for Ocean


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