Six things you need to know if you're going on a solo trip in Norway
Norway is well-known for its impressive fjords, mountains, northern lights, and midnight sun. While it is undoubtedly among the safest countries in the world for travellers, there are still a couple of things you need to know if you're planning to visit the country by yourself.
Norway is a fantastic place to visit as a traveller – regardless of whether you plan to take the trip in a group or by yourself. Its incredible nature, rich history, and safe cities make it a magnet for numerous tourists year-round.
However, it's completely understandable that some people are reluctant to take a trip north on their own, especially if they've never visited the country before. If that's you – don't worry!
Our short guide on what you need to know if you're going on a solo trip in Norway will cover the essential information aimed specifically at solo travellers in the country.
Thorough preparation is key
Norway is a vast country, and many popular tourist attractions can take time to reach. As a solo traveller, invest a lot of time in planning your trip before you cross Norway's borders.
That includes booking your accommodation early, looking into travel insurance packages, getting a solid overview of available transport options, signing up for group activities and guided tours, as well as thoroughly researching the destinations, activities, and attractions you plan to visit.
If it's your first solo trip to Norway, many people recommend a "short and sweet" stay. If you decide you haven't had enough of Norway after the trip is over, you can always come back on a more ambitious itinerary.
In any case, people new to solo travelling often opt for guided tours and stay (relatively) close to cities and towns so that they can utilize the excellent public transport in the country and save money (Norway is notoriously expensive!).
Staying close to urban areas doesn't mean you won't be able to experience Norway's beautiful nature. As you'll find out almost immediately, stunning natural attractions can be found virtually everywhere and are often just a short bus ride away.
Safety comes first
While Norway is – generally speaking - a safe and friendly country for solo travellers, make sure to take all standard precautions.
Share your itinerary with your close contacts, plan for emergencies and take out travel insurance, make sure that your valuables are always safely stored, and – this is a big one – never underestimate the Norwegian wilderness.
Always be aware of the risk associated with heading into the mountains or other rugged terrain. The weather in the country tends to be unpredictable at times and can change quickly. If you get caught up in a storm in the mountains, things could get wet, cold, and dangerous quickly.
So, follow mountain safety rules, regularly check weather forecasts, and share your travel plans with friends, family, and on-site people you can trust (such as the hotel, hostel, or B&B staff).
Furthermore, make sure to research hospitals in your immediate area, police stations, and other relevant facilities and services before your trip.
You can find more information on police contact numbers, a full list of police districts, and a list of specialist agencies here.
Transport is a major item – Norway is truly huge
Don't underestimate Norway's vast landscapes – make sure you're well-informed on all available transport options.
While a car might be the best way to travel your way through Norway in terms of miles you can cover daily, rentals can be very expensive, especially for solo travellers.
Taking the train can be an excellent option for seeing the country's beautiful landscapes. Norway's railway system has a tradition that spans back more than 150 years. A developed railway network connects the country through many dependable lines, stretching over more than 3,000 kilometres and counting around 330 train stations (you can find Norway's railway map here, in English).
Trains offer the best value for money for getting around Norway – just make sure to book your tickets in advance.
You can count on reliable and budget-friendly public transport – including trains, buses, metros, or trams – close to Norway's major cities.
However, if you're not strapped for money, you can also make good use of the domestic flight offers by carriers such as Norwegian or SAS or ferries and ships with multiple daily departures for travellers who want to reach Norway's numerous islands or explore the country's pristine fjords.
Make the most out of your alone time…
Solo trips are a great opportunity to spend quality time alone, recharge your internal batteries, and get away from the noise and buzz of city life.
Experienced solo travellers recommend bringing something to read on your trips, so if you've been too busy to enjoy a good book this year, this can be an ideal opportunity to catch up on your reading.
While some people like to spend their alone time exploring the nightlife and bar scene in Norwegian cities and towns, others prefer to focus on sightseeing. If you get up early, you'll be able to reach popular destinations before crowds kick in – making the overall experience more enjoyable.
Last but not least – take the time to smell the roses: lift your gaze while you're travelling and soak in Norway's majestic nature, enjoy your meals slowly, and take the time to fully appreciate the journey you're on.
If you're feeling adventurous, try to push the limits of your comfort zone and test out new things (Norway has an abundance of weird local dishes – trying the infamous dried whitefish, lutefisk, or steamed sheep’s head, smalahove, is guaranteed to be a memorable experience!).
…but leave some room for meeting people and group activities
The fact that you're travelling alone doesn't mean you need to stay isolated from other people. On the contrary! If you're a fan of meeting new people, try to pick accommodation options like hostels, B&Bs, or shared cabins, where travellers often share communal spaces and engage in light conversation.
Don't hessite to approach people. Norwegians are generally quite open to talking to travellers. Though common stereotypes state that they are somewhat reserved, after you surpass the initial hurdle of starting a conversation, you can expect locals to show genuine interest in your trip more often than not.
If you're set on meeting new people, participate in guided tours or group trips. Northern light chasing, whale safaris, fjord expeditions, city tours, glacier tours, snowmobile tours, and many other activities fit the bill. If you become a part of a group for a while, you'll have more opportunities of getting to know other people.
Furthermore, if you end up spending a day or more with your new acquaintances, you might even end up making a friend!
Best time to visit
It's hard to settle on the single best time to visit Norway, as it depends on your individual plans. The following questions will help you reach a decision on when to travel: What do I want to see in the country, and what do I plan on doing?
If you're a hiking enthusiast, a fan of music festivals, or prefer temperate temperatures, you should visit Norway in the summer. Generally speaking, temperatures are highest between March/April and July/August. Note that you need to plan a trip in June or July if you want to see the midnight sun.
On the other hand, if you want to experience snow activities such as skiing, winter is the time to visit. Visiting the country between October and March is recommended for travellers eager to catch a glimpse of the northern lights.
Pssst! If you want to avoid crowds, don't travel during the high season for tourism, which typically starts in June and ends in August.
You can find more information on the seasons and climate in Norway here.