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What's next for Norway? Well, an underwater restaurant, for starters.

Published: 27 December 2018

As a great 2018 is winding down, it's time to look ahead. Here are our Norwegian travel highlights for 2019 - along with a couple of revitalized classics.

1. Femund4all

Femunden

Femunden.
Photo: Arne Tønset / trøndelag.com

Want a fresh start for 2019? You can't go wrong with the Femundsløpet race in Røros, combining dogsledding with frisky sub-zero temperatures.

For 2019, you can get closer to the race than ever, thanks to Femund4all. This four day package offers access to everything from the opening ceremony in the church of Røros to guided walks around the old town, dogsled hikes across the mountains, meet & greets with the dogs, as well as the opportunity to be a spectator both at the midway point and the finish line.

Oh, and there's local food and rustic lodging thrown in for good measure.

2. Hotels that are worth the trip

Mjøsa

Mjøsa.
Photo: Voll Arkitekter

In 2019, you can stay at a range of new and exciting hotels. In Oslo, there's the conference hotel The Hub opening in March, while boutique hotel Amerikalinjen is kicking off right in front of the central station that same month.

In Trondheim, this year's big opening is set to be Britannia. The hotel has been around since 1870, but when it reopens on the 1st of April, visitors will be able to inspect the results of nearly 139 million dollars worth of renovations first hand. For Norwegian business profile Odd Reitan, this project means realizing a childhood dream, and it shows.

One of the most exclusive hotel news in 2019 will be the Eilert Smith Hotel, offering just 11 sizable rooms, the kind where Sven Erik Renaa's Renaa xpress cafe deliver breakfast to your door.

Renaa, of course, is the proprietor of Re-Naa, the first Norwegian restaurant outside of Oslo to achieve a Michelin star. In 2019, he's moving it to the first floor of Eilert Smith Hotel. So there's that as well.

As for something a bit more exotic and off the beaten path, the world's tallest house built from wood will be welcoming visitors next year.

Mjøstårnet (the Mjøs tower) is a wood construct standing 85.4 meters tall, and will open its doors on the 1st of March. It's located down by the Mjøsa river in Brumunddal, and contains 18 floors of offices, hotel rooms, apartments, a restaurant and swimming facilites.

3. «Fortnite» in real life

A couple of weeks ago, an unusual sight flared across the skies of «Fortnite» – one of the world's most popular video games.

Along the horizon of the island where the game is set, blue hued ice flakes float in the ocean while the skies are filled with waves of northern lights.

Seeing as «Fortnite» is a competetive shooter dedicated to teams building entrenchments and exchanging fire (and occasional dancing), you can't really be admiring the sky for too long. Still, it gave us fresh perspective on an old classic.

Where in the world can you go to experience both cover-based artillery action and northern lights at the same time? Yukigassen, of course. This year, Vardø's annual snowball tournament is happening between the 13th and 17th of March.

4. The culinary underworld

Under, Europe's first – and the world's largest – underwater restaurant is almost ready to welcome its first guests. A massive concrete shell, weighing in at 1600 tons was submerged into the sea in Lindesnes this July, and come April, visitors can descend its stairs for a completely unique dining experience.

Just don't expect to be dining 16 feet below anytime soon. The restaurant opened up for reservations 14 months ahead of its opening, and in just 24 hours it had 1200 of them.

While the building is designed by the renowned architects of Norway's Snøhetta, the kitchen is run by Nicolai Ellitsgaard. He will be offering up a seasonal gastronomic menu that captures the essence of the Norwegian coast – watch this video to get some insight into his culinary philosophy:

5. Snøhetta versus Peer Gynt

An underwater restaurant isn't the only premiere in store for Snøhetta in 2019. In Gålå, Oppland, the annual Peer Gynt festival will be elevating Ibsen's classic play to new heights by teaming up with the architects to develop a brand new stage that blends seamlessly with Gålå's waterfront.

Gålå, Oppland

Gålå, Oppland.
Photo: Illustrasjon Snøhetta og Mir, foto av Bård Gundersen

The result is a uniquely visual performance, and a new take on outdoor theatre. Running between the 2nd and 10th of August, the play is in Ibsen's original Norwegian but offers summary booklets and introductions in German and English to ensure that international audiences can also follow along.

And if anyone goes hungry, just visit the repurposed barn Høyloftet, now a restaurant serving local treats like brown trout and deer.

6. Sigrid in the sun

If there's one must-see Norwegian artist in 2019, it's Sigrid. Having recently announced her debut album «Sucker Punch» for a March release, BBC Music's #1 pick for Sound of 2018 will be everywhere in 2019.

If you're hoping to catch her on her home turf, however, only three dates have been announced so far:

On the 5th of July, she's playing the Kongsberg Jazz Festival, she'll drop by Oslo and the Øya Festival on the 8th of August and finish up in Bergen with a solo show at Bergenhus Fortress on the 16th of August.

7. The sustainable city

Losæter, Oslo

Losæter, Oslo.
Photo: VISITOSLO / Didrick Stenersen

Oslo has been chosen as the European Green Capital of 2019. It is one of the most sustainable cities in the world, and is now a role model for other cities working for a greener future. Earlier this year, Oslo even made the National Geographic Cool List for places to visit in 2019, recommending places like the rebooted Fjord City waterfront and the standout architecture of the Barcode Project.

Throughout 2019, there will be several green conferences. Between the 22nd and 24th of May, the CityChangers conference on sustainable cities will be a great excuse to check out The Hub, while the Oslo Innovation Week in September focuses on sustainable business, usually drawing more than 10.000 participants.

8. The new fjord season

Did you think Norwegian fjords and West Norwegian panoramas were only open during spring and summer. Well, think again. In 2019, Fjord Norway invites everyone to go viking and experience the west coast winter and autumn in all its glory.

Whether you're renting an electric bike to explore the areas surrounding Molde or following in the trails of vikings along the fjords, the months between October and April will now have more contrasts and experiences to explore than ever before.

Keep an eye on Go Viking to discover what might well become some of 2019's most memorable experiences.

9. Anniversary at the zoo

Kristiansand Dyrepark

Kristiansand Dyrepark.
Photo: Kristiansand Dyrepark

Kristiansand Zoo is yet another classic with a lot of upcoming news. While January will probably see the birth of a litter of baby cheetahs, and the park finally opens up for camping in tents, but the center stage of 2019 might just belong to the parks dual anniversaries.

First off, every kid's favorite pirate, Captain Sabertooth, is celebrating his 30th year this summer. There's a summer show, of course, but there will also be two new attractions be added to Captain Sabertooth's World, as well as scary upgrades to the park's haunted house attraction.

2019's other big anniversary is for Julius, Norway's first (and so far only) celebrity chimpanzee. He's been making headlines since the 80s, and this December he'll be turning 40, an event being celebrated in the park throughout the year.

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