Romantic Norway: Top 5 experiences to surprise your Valentine

Planning to pop the question this Valentine's Day? Or just looking for a romantic experience to share with someone special? Our travel editor Marie Peyre has some suggestions.

Romantic Norway: Top 5 experiences to surprise your Valentine
Photo: Tore Meek / NTB scanpix

1. Hiking Preikestolen off-season

There are no shortages of stunning nature locations in Norway, but the most famous of them all has to be Preikestolen near Stavanger. The Pulpit Rock, a cliff dropping some 600m down in the Lysefjord below, has graced the cover of many travel magazines, and was featured in Tom Cruise's latest Mission Impossible movie. Top of many travellers' must see lists, the rock can get crowded at the height of summer. Great if you don't mind an audience for your proposal, less so if you wish for a more private moment. This time of year though, you are pretty much guaranteed to have the place to yourself. The hike is only to be attempted by experienced hikers, and you should always check the weather forecast beforehand, as snow, ice and wind can make the path unsuitable for hiking. The view from the top is breathtaking, but breaking a leg or getting lost in thick fog on the way up are much less romantic. Go with a guide – you'll be hiking in full safety and learn plenty on the way. Outdoor Life Norway organise winter hikes to Preikestolen

2. Marvelling at the northern lights

Like being outdoors but not too keen on the effort required to reach a remote locale? Just jump on a plane heading north and go aurora chasing with that special someone. Tromsø (also called the Paris of the North – that's romantic in itself, right?) is always a good bet for the northern lights, but any other destination above the Arctic Circle will do. As with all nature phenomena, there is no guarantee here, but if there are clear skies and a lot of solar activity (read sunspots and solar flares) your chances of seeing the lights will be good. Join an organised tour or rent a car and go it alone. If you are opting for the DIY option, remember to look for as little light pollution as possible – in practice this often means going out of the city. Watching the northern lights dancing in the sky is an awesome experience, particularly the very first time – so much so they might actually steal the show. A risk you'll just have to take.

Photo: Jan-Morten Bjørnbakk / NTB scanpix

3. Staying at a historic country hotel

If you are more an indoor kind of person, what about a lazy weekend spent cuddling up by the fireplace in a romantic country hotel somewhere? A gorgeous room, a comfy bed, soft sheets, maybe a bottle of bubbly on arrival – staying in a nice hotel is always a treat, and usually not bad for the love life either. There are plenty of great hotels dotted across the Norwegian countryside, so you'll be spoilt for choice. De historiske (the Norwegian branch of Historic Hotels of Europe) offer over 50 properties nationwide, all hand-picked for atmosphere and character. Check out their website and see what tickles your fancy. 

4. Sharing a candle-lit dinner

Sharing food can be a sensual experience. They also say the way to a man's heart is through his stomach. Two good reasons to indulge in a good meal on Valentine's Day. For added coziness, why not make it a candle-lit one, ideally in an atmospheric venue? There are plenty of restaurants that fit the bill. Among them try for example Hos Thea, Klosteret or (a tad more expensive) Statholdergaarden in Oslo; Potetkjelleren and Enhjørningen, both good bets in Bergen; and Emmas Drømmekjøkken (Emma's dream kitchen) in Tromsø. Remember to book a table to avoid disappointment.

5. Reindeer sledging in Røros

OK, really want to impress her (or him) this Valentine's Day? Take a trip to winter wonderland Røros. Pretty year round, this UNESCO world heritage site really comes into its own in winter, when the town's colourful small houses and distinctive church are covered in thick snow! Just walking around town is quite magical, but for a memorable experience book yourselves on a reindeer sledging trip – a ride to remember. Do wrap up warm though, even the hottest babes will struggle to keep warm in -10C temperatures (the average this time of year).


A post shared by Rørosrein (@rorosrein) on Dec 10, 2017 at 4:47pm PST

READ ALSO: Here's what not to miss in Norway in 2018


Norway couple find love on word game app

Norwegians are a shy bunch when it comes to romance, so online dating is a godsend. But what to do when even and Tinder let you down? Maria Jernslett, 22, and Erlend Finboe Svendsen, 25, found love competing for high scores on the word game app Ruzzle.

Norway couple find love on word game app
Maria Jernslett, 22, and Erlend Finboe Svendsen, 25, who met on Ruzzle. Photo: Maria Jernslett and Erlend Finboe Svendsen
The  couple, who are both based in the UK, began their verbally jousting in 2012 after being put together after selecting the ’random player’ option on the game. 
"It wasn’t our intention to find someone on there, not at all," Maria told The Local. "But we liked playing each other because we were almost at the same level. He was really, really good at it and I was good at it as well."
Ruzzle, which combines elements of Boggle and Scrabble, is one of the few wordgame apps to support Norwegian, as it was initially launched in its home Swedish market, as well as in neighbouring Denmark and Norway. 
The two mainly played in Norwegian, occasionally testing eachother with a bout in English. With typical Norwegian reserve, it then took Erland two months of playing before he plucked up enough courage to send Maria a message over the app. 
"When I finally beat him, he messaged me saying something like 'take it easy'. Then it escalated from there." 
Once they started chatting, the two found themselves opening up in a way that neither had before, helped by the anonymity that came from each only knowing the other by their usernames in the game. 
"We started chatting about really personal things," Maria said. "We opened up in a way we didn’t with anyone else, because we thought weren't going to meet each other anyway. It ended up that he was the person that knew me best."
They swore that they would never meet in real life, so that they could continue to talk in such an uninhibited and open way.
"We had an arrangement that we weren’t going to meet, but that became impossible after while," Maria admitted.  "Suddenly we realised, and we were a little surprised, that we never got tired of one another, even after the conversation had kept going on for almost a year. We could stay up all night chatting about everything from politics to religion to personal things." 

While both are based in the UK, they live at opposite ends of the country, with Maria studying psychology at a university in London and Erlend studying an MA at Durham, and the same is true in Norway, with Maria coming from Porsgrunn in the far south, and Erlend from Trondheim. 
So it was only when Erlend decided to go to a music festival one summer close to Maria's house that they had a chance to meet. By that time Maria had seen Erlend on Facebook, so it wasn't a blind date.
"It was definitely love at first sight,” Maria explained.  I didn’t feel that the way he looked mattered that much because we matched to such an extent that he was attractive to me anyway, but I was glad when I saw him because I think he’s pretty handsome.  "We just clicked right away and it was exactly like it was in the game."
The two now plan to get married as soon as Erlend achieves his ambition of securing a job in investment banking. 
"We aren’t officially engaged yet, but we are unofficially," Maria says. "It's definitely something that we're going to do."