Why This Nordic Country Should Be at the Top of Your Travel Bucket List

Greener travel ideas invite visitors to explore Norway’s Arctic culture, world-class restaurants, and famous fjords in new ways.

Aerial view of fjords around Bodo, Norway, with mountains in background

Surrounded by fjords and home to a thriving Arctic creative scene, Bodø is a 2024 European Capital of Culture.

Photo by Tim E. White/Getty Images

Any given year, Norway is a great place to feel the awe of nature, and that experience is getting even better. Starting in 2024, there will be more opportunities to take in the beauty and bounty of the country—and, in true Norwegian style, these travel adventures are also kinder to the Earth.

“We believe that a good place to live is a good place to visit,” says Hege Vibeke Barnes, a managing director of the destination marketing organization Innovation Norway, a 2022 AFAR Travel Vanguard honoree. “New itineraries give travelers access to more localized, in-depth experiences and to a larger and less explored part of the country,” she says. “They can get closer to the real, authentic Norway in a low-impact and high-quality way.”

The country’s trains offer travelers views of cloud-grazing mountains, sharp-edged fjords, and cascading waterfalls. Visitors will be able to spend more time enjoying those landscapes with a few rail projects coming soon: the electric Norient Express, a multiday train from Bergen to Trondheim that will include stops in Voss and the Olympic city of Lillehammer; and a set of long-distance hybrid-electric trains, called Flirt Nex, that will replace older vehicles on the Bergen-Oslo line, which is considered one of the most beautiful routes in the world.

Norway’s fjords are also renowned, and there’s nothing like the beauty of seeing them from the water. Tour operator SailNorway lets travelers take in the Helgeland coast while also participating in beach cleanups to keep those shorelines pristine. Brim Explorer runs silent fjord tours on hybrid-electric boats in Lofoten, Tromsø, and Oslo, all the better to spot orcas and white-tailed eagles. By 2026, Norway’s government will require that all cruise ships and tourist boats in the UNESCO-designated West Norwegian Fjords be zero-emission. What’s more, Norwegian cruise line Hurtigruten has prototyped an all-electric passenger ship for an itinerary along the entire coast.

A chef at Credo using a paintbrush to put the finishing touches on a dish.

Credo is known for its tasting menu that changes daily based on local ingredients.

Photo by Sigurd Fandango

The country makes it easy to drive in an ecological way as well. One out of every five cars here is electric, and internal-combustion engine vehicles will no longer be sold after 2025. So hop in an EV to Kristiansand to see the world’s largest collection of Nordic modernist art at the Kunstsilo, a grain silo-turned-museum, opening in 2024. Or venture north to Bodø, one of Europe’s three 2024 Capitals of Culture and the first Arctic destination to hold the title. Throughout the year, the seaside town will celebrate its special location, showcasing art, community, and culture from an Arctic perspective. Events will include a Sami stage show about land rights and global warming and an unlikely opera about stockfish.

In 2024, the New Nordic Food Manifesto marks the 20th anniversary of its commitment to regional, seasonal, ethical cuisine. Sample it at Michelin-starred Lysverket in Bergen, where chef Christopher Haatuft uses crops from urban gardens for his hyperlocal menu. Or try Credo in Trondheim, where chef Heidi Bjerkan hangs portraits of the cows that provide the dairy products. (Her eatery also has a Michelin star, plus a Green Star for its sustainable practices.)

Norway’s culinary approach reflects the country’s regard for nature. As Anne Gunn Rosvold, founder of outdoor-activity tour company Bergen Base Camp, notes, “We often hear guests saying how beautiful [Norway] is, how much drama and contrast the nature offers, and how fresh and clean it is.” The projects now in the works will help locals and travelers alike continue to explore—and preserve—that beauty.

Tips for planning your trip

  • Where to stay: Norway is known for wooden architecture. The 177-room Wood Hotel Bodø, coming in 2024, sits on a mountainside 10 minutes from the heart of the city, with a café, wellness area, heated pool, and rooftop dining. (Another place to check out: Wood Hotel by Frich in the town of Brumunddal. It’s one of the tallest timber buildings in the world and overlooks the country’s largest lake.
  • Make it happen: Tour company Up Norway can custom-tailor journeys of the country and is a certified B Corp.

For the full list of our favorite destinations this year, read Where to Go in 2024.

Laura Hall is an award-winning author, travel writer, and journalist based in Copenhagen.
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