Magic has never been more accessible. Swap drab and grey views for an authentic winter wonderland experience with a twin-centre city stay that lets you escape the English winter and embrace a whimsical Norwegian one. New realms of wonder and splendour await. Untouched landscapes that look like they’re straight from a Munch painting. Cuisine that’s so fresh you can still feel the salty water that it was pulled from. The surreal and beautiful Northern lights (they’re on your bucket list for a reason). Enjoy the landscape and culture of the Fjord Norway region and then travel up north to experience the beauty and thrills of the arctic, from dog sledding to hunting down the famous Northern lights.
Bergen. In the heart of the Fjords
A European city of culture, a World Heritage city and a UNESCO City of Gastronomy, Bergen is your gateway to the Fjords and the very start of your Norwegian adventure. There’s a whole host of attractions to keep you busy, too many for one day. The Hanseatic wharf Bryggen, Bergen Aquarium, the Fløibanen funicular and the Fish Market, are just a few of the activities on offer in this vibrant city. The KODE has one of the largest Edvard Munch collections in the world, as well as an impressive Nikolai Astrup collection.
City and urban life
Bergen sustains a lifestyle that supports students year-round, from quaint little coffee shops to a concert hall. See the Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra playing every Thursday, or if that’s not to your liking we have regular pop/rock and black metal gigs. If it’s something else on the rocks that you are looking for then why not have a glass of Bareksten, the world-famous gin in one of the local bars, or visit their distillery just next to the airport? Try a cider brewed with apples from Hardangerfjord and Sognefjord, or our local beer that’s fit for a feast. Just one refreshing sip makes the traveling worthwhile.
Famous for fish
Local food relies on fresh produce and the freshest of catches and seafood is a delicacy you can enjoy all year round, especially in the winter. The weather not only keeps seafood fresher for longer but also makes it tastier, pulling out the higher omega 3 fats. Enjoy the most delicious catches at BARE, the Michelin stared restaurant.
Explore the Fjord landscape
If city life is something you are wanting to escape then Bergen is the perfect place to start your exploration into the fjords. Experience the Sognefjord and the Nærøyfjord easily with Norway in a Nutshell – combine train, boat and bus for a simple and environmentally friendly experience. Flåmsbanen is a 20km train journey that works its way down the mountain to the fjord. You can spend the day in Flåm, go to Stegastein for the great Fjord view, taste Ægir beer at the local brewery and join a Fjord safari. Why not end your adventure with a luxurious stay overnight at the Fretheim hotel? There’s another scenic route you can take from Bergen to Sognefjord by catching the local express boat and experiencing how the vikings would have seen things. It’s no wonder National Geographic Traveller voted Norwegian fjords the best destination in the world.
Trolltunga is the most spectacular rock formation in Norway. Located on the western edge of Hardangerfjord, it can be reached as the final destination of a hike that starts in Skjeggdeal, finishing at 700 metres above the lake Ringedalsvatnet. The hike is a challenge, especially during the winter season, so it’s advised that you experience Trolltunga with a local guide – either on a one or two-day expedition. Our guides know to respect nature and will always put your safety first, but winter is a great time to avoid the summer crowds, so put on your snowshoes and join the adventure.
You can stay the night at Trolltunga “arctic dome”, an accommodation formed like an igloo with a see-through ceiling and walls and witness the beautiful sunset in the snow-covered landscape. This is an adventure that encounters peace and solitude unlike anywhere else.
Time to head north
The list of things to do in and around Bergen it’s endless. You can spend a lifetime here and never be bored, but for the second half of your adventure, and the best way to see the Northern lights, fly directly to Bodø, the European City of Culture in 2024, with the local airline Widerøe.
Bodø and Salten area
Sitting between an archipelago and the open ocean, vibrant and lively Bodø is the heart of the Salten region and Northern Norway’s second biggest city. A glacier, mountains, islands and a strong maelstrom surround it. It’s also located in the northern lights belt just north of the arctic circle. This is the place to walk the streets, have coffee in chic coffee bars, dine in a good restaurant and go shopping. Photographers go out on the breakwater or to the little Nyholm fortress to capture the view of the city with the peaks in the background or climb the hill at Rønvikfjellet to see the city from above. As you explore the city, enjoy the unusual street art. During the day winter light reflects from the sea, and at night the northern lights dance above the waters of Vestfjord. You can witness them in the city or more intimately in the northern wilderness alongside the mighty peaks of Saltfjellet.
However, the northern lights aren’t the only attraction, as Bodø’s selection as European city of culture in 2024 attests. The Stormen concert hall and the new library are the newest cultural landmarks. Whether you want booming acoustics or some peace and tranquillity, believe it or not you can find these two in the same building! Just next door is the Nordland Museum, which is made up of 14 old buildings right next to the fjord.
Despite its northerly position Bodø is not really affected by heavy snowfall, and snow rarely lies in the city streets. So, whilst you won’t need to pack your snow boots, you will need a windproof jacket as Bodø is the first place for an incoming storm from the Gulf stream. If you’re brave enough, you can head to the breakwater to see the incoming storms, but most prefer the higher vantage point and comfort of sitting in a sky bar. When the wind howls down from the inland mountains and nips at your ears, the puddles freeze and the stars glitter, that’s when the northern lights appear!
Saltstraumen, the strongest maelstrom in the world
The Salten-fjord is a huge fjord system, reaching 80 km inland. However, near the mouth there is a passage that is both shallow and narrow. You could compare it with all 90,000 football fans at Wembley Stadium trying to get out through a single door after the match. When the tide comes in, there is simply way too much water pressing its way through the narrows. A fantastic spectacle of whirlpools can be observed from the cliffs on the shore as the water rushes through in 10 to 15 knots. Go there with a fishing rod, take a bus or a RiB tour.
Sample Bodø’s culinary delights
The food scene in Bodø is an eclectic mix of world cuisine and local traditions. At Løvold, sample the meatballs and creamed peas that Bodø locals have been eating for generations. Don’t miss trying Møsbrøm flatbread, the king of flatbreads, which is served almost everywhere or a visit to Restaurant Lyst På,Bodø´s fine wine and food institution. A modern nordic brasserie placed in the heart of the city where honest cooking meets fresh and seasonal Norwegian produce served in a fun and relaxed atmosphere, the menu is laid-back and informal in the daytime or a fine-casual a la carte and tasting menu in the evening.
Winter activities in Bodø and Salten
There’s a whole world of adventure waiting for you in northern Norway. Cross country skiing in Sulitjelma is recognised as some of the best in the whole of Norway. In Sulisfjellet, Fjellfarer runs cross-country trails, which Martin Johnsrud Sundby describes as World Cup standard.
Dog sledding is another authentic winter experience that you can enjoy either as a passenger or driving your own team. No previous experience is needed to drive the sled into the white landscapes and enjoy the arctic nature. You get to meet your dogs first and prepare the sled together. They are a bunch of barking huskies more excited than you to start the trip! They are well used to visitors, great with children and love getting your attention and petting.
Northern lights hunting with electric bikes!
In Bodø you can also use electric bikes to head to a place where the city lights don’t interfere, journeying from the city centre to simple gravel roads, paths and nature in Maskinisten. On clear nights with good chances to see the northern lights, this will be an experience you will not forget!
What are you waiting fjor?
From the fjords on the west coast to the Northern lights, this journey will enthral you and with its majestic views and unique experiences: from art, culture, and adventure to delicious seafood pulled from the arctic ocean. The impeccably trained but playful dogs that steer you through the snowscape, the unmatched and dreamlike northern lights. See and do things you’ve only ever read about, and that some people will never be lucky enough to experience.
Flights to Norway start from as little as £65, with direct flights from London Heathrow to Bergen. Fly with Widerøe and start your Norwegian journey the right way.