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11 cool ways to explore Norway for eco-conscious travellers

Go electric – by train, onboard super-silent sightseeing boats, or in an Instagram-friendly, fun EV. Go healthy – sample organic food grown by local farmers. Here are some travel tips for a more sustainable vacation in Norway.

1. A better way to get to Norway

You don't need to fly. Travelling to Norway by train is a fantastic way to start your trip. Oslo has train connections to many European cities via Copenhagen in Denmark, and it is also easy to take the train from Gothenburg and Stockholm in Sweden. In addition, these and many other cities have good bus connections to Norway.

If you want to go by boat, several ferry providers from Denmark, Sweden, and Germany have upgraded to more environmentally friendly fuel. When docked in Oslo and Kristiansand, the majority of these ferries are now connected to land-power to lower emissions.

But as Norway is a very long and rugged country, there are some destinations where flying there will be the most convenient, and sometimes only, option. Staying longer lowers your total environmental impact.

Read more about getting to Norway.

2. Travel like a local

The best way to explore the nooks and crannies of Norway is by public transport, and trains are often the most environmentally-friendly option. Not only that – train journeys like the Bergen Railway, the Rauma Railway, the Nordland Railway, and the Ofoten Line are among the most beautiful in the world!

You can also easily visit amazing destinations by the fjords or in the mountains and valleys by bus or boat. If you wish to explore the Norwegian coastline, local ferries and express boats make it convenient to go island hopping from major ports in Bergen, Ålesund, Kristiansund, Trondheim, and Bodø.

The travel planner Entur gives you an overview of timetables and routes, and several destinations offer pre-planned round trip passes and travel passes.

3. Electric road trips

If you wish to embark on an epic road trip by yourself, you can easily do so in an electric car (or even an electric bike), whether it is a rental or your own. When it comes to electric vehicles, Norway is top of the class. There are more than 25,000 charging stations and more than 6000 fast chargers across Norway, and the number is still rising. Several hotels have designated charging spots in their car parks.

In Oslo, you can explore the city with an electric city car from Greenmobile, and in Geiranger and Flåm you can go exploring in a mini electric car provided by eMobility.

Find charging stations at ladestasjoner.no (in Norwegian only) and find more EV information on elbil.no to plan your journey.

4. Cruises with a lower impact

Enjoy the majestic landscape of the Norwegian coastline between Bergen and Kirkenes onboard ships operated by cruise linesthat work closely with local communities. Savour the flavours of Norway while gliding through its stunning landscapes.

Hurtigruten is making its entire fleet more sustainable, working towards building the first all-electric, zero-emission ship for the Norwegian coast by 2030. Several of their ships have already been upgraded with hybrid power, for a quieter and more environmentally friendly journey.

Havila Kystruten is now offering cruises on the route between Bergen and Kirkenes. Its fleet consists of ships that run purely on electric batteries and LNG (liquified natural gas).

Photo: Cappella

5. Destinations with a focus on sustainability

In Norway, many destinations work systematically to reduce the negative impacts of tourism and strengthen the benefits, and ensure that you get the most amazing and unique experiences. These places are part of the sustainability labelling scheme Sustainable Destination, which focuses on developing more sustainable and responsible tourism across Norway. The organisation also aims to enhance value for the local culture and community, making them a great place to visit as well as a good place in which to live.

Visit a destination with a focus on sustainability

6. Experience Oslo

Oslo has some of the most innovative environmental solutions in Europe and was named European Green Capital 2019.

Experience the new face of the city by the fjord and find out why several international travel experts, such as Lonely Planet, have crowned Oslo one of the top cities in the world to visit.

Stroll the harbour promenade and experience celebrated restaurants, a city farm, floating saunas in the fjord, and exciting museums. Rent a kayak, bike, or electric bike and explore the city. You can easily escape the big city and enter the tranquillity of green spaces, as two-thirds of the capital is made up of woods and water.

7. Sweeter dreams

To make sure you get a good night’s sleep, choose eco-labelled accommodation. These are places that work continuously to lower energy consumption and prevent food waste, by finding innovative ways to use surplus food, for example. Look for the “green tuft of grass” label on this website, which indicates eco-certified activities, restaurants, and accommodation.

8. Pure activity

Norway is a natural amusement park, and there are so many fun ways to explore the country. Use your own muscle power and go hiking, cycling, skiing, climbing or kayaking, or enjoy other outdoor activities. To ensure your safety and gain fascinating insight, you can also take a variety of guided tours. Local guides are experienced experts. By choosing a company located in the area, you are also supporting the local economy. You can usually hire any necessary equipment.

If you want some motorised help, you can rent electric bikes, Segways or other transport that will take you around with little effort. Or perhaps you prefer real horsepower? Gallop across white sandy beaches or vast mountain plateaus on horseback!

9. Quiet and serene fjords and whale safaris

Experience the magnificent fjords or go whale watching aboard innovative quiet-running electric and hybrid ships. Brim explorer and The Fjords offer sightseeing trips in the Oslofjord, last one also to the World Heritage sites in Fjord Norway. Book a tour with Fjord Tours.

You can also explore more and more fjords, including the UNESCO listed Geirangerfjord area with electrical RIB boats, or explore the beautiful Telemark Canal on a kayak or electric boat.

Further north, you can embark on the hybrid vessel Brim Explorer and go on a day cruise from the cosy fishing villages of Lofoten in the summer, or on a winter whale safari in Tromsø. The latter was featured on The Telegraph’s list of The 50 greatest adventures on Earth!

10. Tasty local treats

Travelling responsibly also means trying outfresh local delicacies. Sample wild berries and the rich taste of slow-growing vegetables. Taste milk, cheese, and meat from sheep, goats, and cattle that freely graze the mountainsides every summer. Catch your own fish or enjoy seafood that has been prepared by renowned chefs.

More and more Norwegian restaurants are striving to be more sustainable, and many offer exquisite vegetarian and plant based dishes and locally sourced ingredients. Try Himkok, a bar in Oslo that was named “The world's most sustainable bar” in 2018, or the restaurant Credo, that is moving to the National library of Norway in Oslo in 2024. Credo received the first Michelin Nordic Guide Sustainability Award in 2019. Not to mention Rest, a unique restaurant in Oslo that turns leftovers into world-class gourmet meals.

Don't forget that delicious Norwegian water is totally free! Get it straight from a mountain stream.

11. Look out for an eco certification

Norsk Økoturisme (Norwegian Ecotourism) is one of the strictest Norwegian eco labels in tourism. Only businesses and operators that hold a high international level can become certified. There are over 100 strict criteria on environmental performance, the role of the host, local community integration, and procurement that must be met.

In other words, if you visit a place that holds this certification, you can rest assured that the providers work very hard to eliminate the negative consequences of tourism and to boost its positive impact.

Find environmentally certified activities and accommodation

Visit a destination with a focus on sustainability

Check out Norway’s labelled destinations.

Find eco-certified alternatives

Find environmentally certified activities and accommodation all over Norway.

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