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The Helgeland coast is a kayaker’s paradise and easily accessible as well, according to Olympic champion Eirik Verås Larsen. - Photo: Terje Rakke Nordic Life Helgeland Reiseliv - www.visithelgeland.com - Rødøy
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The Helgeland coast is a kayaker’s paradise and easily accessible as well, according to Olympic champion Eirik Verås Larsen. Photo: Terje Rakke Nordic Life Helgeland Reiseliv - www.visithelgeland.com - Rødøy

Top 10 Kayaking Experiences in Norway

Olympic gold medalist Eirik Verås Larsen has been kayaking for nearly 30 years. This is his list of top places to experience kayaking in Norway.

With several Olympic gold, silver and bronze medals to his name, few people in the world are better qualified than Eirik Verås Larsen to recommend places in Norway for extraordinary kayaking experiences.

Whether you kayak for exercise or just to enjoy a new experience, these are the places in Norway he recommends for unique kayaking adventures:

Vestfjorden

Vestfjorden is just to the west of Oslo. It is not far, and it is amazing what wildlife and nature experiences await you just around the corner from the city. Take a trip in the early morning and you'll have the entire fjord more or less for yourself. The many islands shelter the fjord and inlets and make the area pleasant and varied to paddle, making it possible to take a different route on the way back.

Sandefjord and Tønsberg

To the east of the towns of Sandefjord and Tønsberg are the two big islands Tjøme and Nøtterøy as well as countless other islands and islets, many of which have excellent places to pitch a tent and camp for the night. With a kayak you can weave your way through the shallow waters between most of them and explore on your own. If you're lucky, you may experience a close encounter with a seal or two.

Arendal to Tønsberg

If you are already thinking of camping along the way, why not extend your trip to encompass some of the most idyllic of Southern Norway's coastline? Load up the kayak with tent and provisions, and take two to three days paddling from Arendal to Tønsberg. Exact duration will depend on wind, weather and level of skill, but there is no reason to hurry. You can camp almost anywhere along the route, catch your own fish to eat, and just take your time and enjoy life and nature.

Hidra

A Southern Norwegian island near Flekkefjord, Hidra shows why this region of Norway has become known as Norway's Riviera. Paddle around the entire island and take in its idyllic settlements along the edge, or paddle through the narrow Eide channel which cuts through it at its narrowest point. Just to the south of Hidra, between Kirkehavn and Rasvåg, there are many smaller islands where access is difficult and hazardous by boat, but which you can easily explore and enjoy in a kayak.

Flekkefjord

Nearby Flekkefjord is Eirik Verås Larsen's home town, and an area very well suited for exploring in a kayak. The fjord is sheltered from the wind by the tall mountains on all sides, and you can kayak the fjord right through town. If you continue inland, paddle through Grisefjorden to reach a series of small connected lakes ending in the larger lake Loja. Kayaking through the reeds, be careful to not disturb the swans in the area. While beautiful from a distance, they can be quite aggressive in the breeding season.

Skipnes in Vesterålen

Lodge in an old fisherman's cabin and take your time in this unique coastal landscape. Let wind and weather decide where you go as you explore Vesterålen on your own and take daytrips or longer overnight trips as you like.

The Helgeland coast

A kayaker's paradise with new things to discover and experience around every island and islet, the Helgeland coast is relatively easy to get to and enjoy. Part of the national tourist routes, even the drive there is worth the journey in itself.

Sotra and Øygarden

To the west of Bergen, Norway's second largest city, lies the island of Sotra, forming the last land barrier between mainland Norway and the North sea. West of Sotra there are hundreds of small inlets and islands, ready for you to explore by kayak. Continue northwards and you'll find Øygarden, a municipality consisting of idyllic and picturesque islands of all sizes.

Finnøy

Finnøy and the southern parts of Boknafjorden are very well suited for shorter and longer kayaking trips. Situated between the cities of Stavanger and Haugesund, the area is relatively easily accessible, and gives ample choice according to varying weather, skill and ambition. Just west of Finnøy lies the bird sanctuary of the Vingnesholmane islets. Stepping ashore here is strictly forbidden, but as long as you are careful not to disturb the birds, you can enjoy the wildlife all you want from a kayak.

The Vega Islands

In Northern Norway, just south of the Arctic Circle, you'll find the Vega Islands, a cluster of dozens of islands that together form a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The islands are most accessible for tourists between May and August, and are near enough to the Helgeland Coast that they can be combined into a longer trip, should you feel the need for something more ambitious.

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Last updated:  2014-07-07
You will find many opportunities for kayaking along the Norwegian coastline - Photo: visitnorway.com
You will find many opportunities for kayaking along the Norwegian coastline

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