Norwegian nature is a haven for mindfulness and the perfect place for a relaxing holiday or digital detox. Relieve your stress and reconnect with yourself, the people around you, and mother nature herself. Here are 11 unforgettable escapes we could all really use now.
The beauty of nature has a unique way of making us feel at ease. But when was the last time you felt that way?
Today, we’re always logged on, and thousands of things compete for our attention. You know the feeling. Notifications popping up left and right, and your inbox is always full – and then there’s the never-ending list of things to do and stuff to remember. It can be overwhelming, but luckily there’s a cure: escape the stress.
Appreciate the slow life
It’s time to clear your schedule and plan to do nothing resembling work or chores. To really clear our heads, we might even have to get a little bored. Boredom is a subject University of Bergen philosophy professor Lars Svendsen knows everything about. He began writing his book A Philosophy of Boredom when he was, well, bored. But it turned into a fun, creative project and became a popular book.
“Nowadays, we do all these little things to pass the time, like constantly checking our phones instead of using that time to think and de-stress. Being bored is often associated with being alone, but it can be nice to be in your own company in peaceful surroundings.”
Feel the soothing power of nature
If there is one person who really understands the value of being outdoors, it's Randi Skaug. After climbing the Seven Summits, she bought her own island to escape the pressures of the city.
Naustholmen, the island she bought in Northern Norway, is a base for outdoor adventures and hosts companies and groups of friends, as well as individual travellers during the summer. People come here to unwind, log off, and reconnect to nature and each other. Randi calls it “a peaceful place in a troubled world.”
“I’ve noticed that as soon as my guests set foot on the island, it’s like they take a giant step away from their daily routines, which are often really stressful. They say they think different thoughts up here.”
Sounds amazing, right? You, too, can get the chance to slow down and relax. Below you’ll find 11 ways to escape the stress.
1. Get closer to nature with unique accommodation
Nature's tranquil and relaxing vibes need not disappear when you go inside for the night. If you make unique accommodation a part of the experience, your trip will be even more memorable.
There are Arctic domes and glamping opportunities all over Norway, popular cabins way up in the mountains, and sea cabins suspended above the water. You can even spend the night in a treetop. Staying somewhere special will make you feel at one with nature, even when you’re seated comfortably in front of the fireplace or lying in bed under your duvet.
2. Be in harmony with your surroundings
Something special happens when you’re on a journey, and you actually take the time to enjoy it, instead of rushing to your destination. The sights, sounds, and maybe even the smells are sharper and richer – your senses are awakened. You have time to think, to feel.
If you are travelling with someone, you have time to enjoy each other's presence and have some good conversations. And you can really admire the beautiful surroundings. How about a wonderful paddling trip? Or exploring the country from the seat of a bicycle? With electric bicycles, a meditative bike ride has become a great alternative for most everyone.
3. Travel slowly
Sometimes, the journey itself is the destination. Enjoy your vacation and all the beautiful nature you see. Allow yourself to be fascinated by the art and architecture of the past on a trip through the locks of the Telemark Canal or the Halden Canal.
You can also experience the art of shipbuilding at its finest with a boat trip on some of Norway's largest lakes, on Skibladner on Lake Mjøsa or MS Fæmund on Femunden. Did you know you can also take beautiful boat trips high up in the mountains in Jotunheimen, on Bygdin, or Gjende?
You can now also explore Norwegian fjords aboard cutting edge — and silent — electric sightseeing boats, with departures from Flåm, among other places. Travel by rail on some of the world's most beautiful train routes, or set sail on a meditative voyage aboard Hurtigruten.
4. Find inner peace on a spiritual journey
In Norway, there are pilgrim paths all over the country, but you don’t have to be religious to gain a treasured experience from your journey. The paths are excellent for everyone who wants to go long-distance hiking and take some time to reflect. Contemplate the big questions, consider your future … or just observe the little things in life along the way.
No matter what you hope to achieve, the routes offer a safe and accessible way to clear your head and de-stress. And the best part is that you get to do so while walking through stunning scenery and quaint villages with strong cultural heritage and delicious local food.
5. Sleep in a converted lighthouse
The gentle sounds of calm waters, the thrill of waves crashing against the rocks, the salty ocean breeze. Many Norwegians travel to the seaside to de-stress, as the ocean has a way of making you feel at ease – even in a storm.
To experience this up close, you can stay in a converted lighthouse. With their long history, classic architecture, and dramatic location, lighthouses offer a novel and exciting way to spend the night by the sea.
6. Venture into the wilderness
Quiet, serene and amazing – the unspoiled wilderness of Norway is the perfect place to disconnect from the digital world and reconnect with yourself.
Norway's landscape is varied, from lowland forests to highlands and mountains that reach towards the sky. Norway is so big and sparsely populated, it's easy to find quiet places you can have almost entirely to yourself. There are countless signposted trails, many off the usual tourist route, you can take to have a new adventure.
7. Visit an eco-certified destination
We should aim to not only take care of each other, but also the wonderful places to which we travel. Destinations that have a sustainability label take greater responsibility for being green and supporting local communities and cultural heritage. Travel responsibly by staying in an eco-labelled hotel.
8. Go island hopping
Norway offers tens of thousands of islands and small, cosy coastal gems! Go island hopping along the Helgeland coast, Salten, or Fjord Norway, or discover your favourite small, sleepy coastal paradise on the southern coast. In addition, there are lots of beautiful, tranquil islands just a short boat ride away from the hustle and bustle of Oslo.
If you travel outside the peak summer season, you can often have the coast and islands almost entirely to yourself.
9. Practice yoga with a view
Breathe in deeply. Feel the positive energy from the nature around you travel through your body as you inhale. Breathe out slowly, and feel your body become more relaxed with each breath.
Practicing yoga and embracing mindfulness are increasingly popular ways of turning your attention inwards and finding balance in a stressful existence. The experience takes you to an even deeper level when you are immersed in nature.
10. Stay in a cosy nest
To really log off from your regular (and, let's face it, often stressful) routine and find a new, peaceful rhythm, you need to get away from it all. The Norwegian outdoors is perfect for that, since you can go far into the woods or out to an island and be all by yourself.
Sometimes all you need is a cosy cabin, a good book, and some solitude. Let your thoughts wander where they may, stroll among the trees, and find inspiration where you least expect it. Or sit by the ocean and just listen to the sounds of nature. Find time for yourself by staying in a cabin or a secluded vacation house.
11. Experience bliss at a spa
...it always feels good. At a spa, you are free to focus exclusively on your own wellness. In Norway, you can receive relaxing treatments while taking in panoramic views. All thanks to one of the essential elements of nature – water. Whether steaming hot or icy cold, it will work wonders for both body and soul.
Experience aromatherapy showers, admire the scenery from a floating pool. Warm up in a steaming sauna before a quick, refreshing dip in the fjord, or start your swim indoors and end up outdoors in the same pool. Above all, feel your stress drift away.
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