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First-class seafood

Couple eating seafood in Kristiansand .
Photo: Magnus Furset / Visitnorway.com
Couple eating seafood in Kristiansand .
Photo: Magnus Furset / Visitnorway.com

Nothing beats the taste and texture of freshly caught seafood.

Couple eating seafood in Kristiansand .
Photo: Magnus Furset / Visitnorway.com
Couple eating seafood in Kristiansand .
Photo: Magnus Furset / Visitnorway.com

Isn't it even more appealing when you know it comes from a place like this?

Skrei fishing in Lofoten .
Photo: Christine Baglo / Visit Norway
Skrei fishing in Lofoten .
Photo: Christine Baglo / Visit Norway

January to April is an incredibly exciting time to visit Northern Norway. That's when you can catch and sample fresh skrei (spawning cod), with its distinctive firm and lean white flesh.

Experience "Skreifestivalen" festival in Rørvik .
Photo: Lene Løkkhaug / Rørvik Fisk
Experience "Skreifestivalen" festival in Rørvik .
Photo: Lene Løkkhaug / Rørvik Fisk

Throughout the year, millions of people worldwide regularly enjoy salmon from the Norwegian coast.

Award-winning salmon from Ryfylke .
Photo: Mikals Laks
Award-winning salmon from Ryfylke .
Photo: Mikals Laks

There is a wide range of incredibly delicious seafood available in Norway. Enjoy tasty shellfish like crab and mussels, along with many even more exotic and unique culinary experiences.

Crab, shells and mussels from Fosen .
Photo: Wil Lee Wright - Oi! Trøndersk Mat og Drikke
Crab, shells and mussels from Fosen .
Photo: Wil Lee Wright - Oi! Trøndersk Mat og Drikke

Visit a Norwegian fish market or restaurant in one of Norway's coastal towns to experience our seafood at its finest and freshest. Just ask for the catch of the day, and you're in for a treat! Or even better – catch your own meal!

In Norway, you're never far from the ocean, so it probably comes as no surprise that seafood makes up much of the Norwegian cuisine. The seafood industry is the backbone of coastal Norway, and is absolutely vital to many local communities. Skrei (spawning cod) is actually the reason people were able to survive so far north for thousands of years – not just as a staple food, but also as a good that could be traded.

A leading seafood nation

It's not just us Norwegians who are dependent on the wonders of its waters. Today, Norway is the second-largest seafood exporter in the world, and the equivalent of 37 million meals from Norwegian waters are consumed worldwide every day. You might very well have tasted Norwegian seafood already, without being aware of it.

Norway's cold, clear waters allow fish and mussels and other shellfish to grow more slowly, and the northern climate also helps preserve the freshness of the catch.

Stockfish in Lofoten, Northern Norway
Stockfish, Reine, Lofoten.
Photo: Mattias Fredriksson Photography AB - Visitnorway.com

Skrei: the king of Norwegian cod

Some of the best fish the ocean has to offer is the Norwegian skrei. Every winter, this Atlantic cod migrates from the Barents Sea to its spawning grounds off Norway's northern coast.

Skrei can be caught between January and April, when the seas are rough and the temperatures are freezing. This is an incredibly exciting time for fishermen and fish lovers alike. The skrei’s meaty flesh is bright white and lean and tender, making it an excellent ingredient in many exciting dishes.

Travel to Lofoten in March, and you can experience the World Championships in cod fishing, a massively popular event that is open to everyone.

We can't talk about cod without mentioning tørrfisk (stockfish) – a unique, high-quality product and one of Norway's oldest exports.

Tørrfisk is usually made from skrei, and is dried by the wind and the sun on giant wooden racks in Lofoten and other areas in Northern Norway. You can enjoy it grilled, baked, or cooked. Small, dry slices of tørrfisk are also a healthy and popular snack – like crisps!

Tørrfisk is part of the Arctic kitchen. Click the link to learn and discover some delicious tørrfisk recipes from one of Norway's top chefs.

If you head a little further south, it's all about klippfisk (clipfish), a dried and salted Norwegian speciality, also made from cod. Although Fjord Norway, the Northwest and Trøndelag are all rich fishing areas, Ålesund and Kristiansund are famous for their clipfish. Try a traditional bacalao recipe made from clipfish from the west coast of Norway.

Norway's renowned salmon

Did you know that every single day, more than 14 million meals featuring Norwegian salmon are eaten around the world? The world has fallen in love with our salmon, and there are many good reasons why.

First and foremost, nature has given Norway the very best conditions for producing the world's best salmon. In addition, key knowledge, which has been passed down from generation to generation, and skilled innovators give us a great advantage.

The health benefits of salmon are well known, but fewer people know that Norwegian salmon is also antibiotic-free and non-genetically modified.

Traditional Norwegian salmon dishes include the famous smoked salmon, gravlaks (fresh salmon marinated in salt, sugar and dill), and lakserull (smoked salmon roll-ups).

A plate with Norwegian gravlax, which is cured salmon
Photo: Matprat.no / Sara Johannessen

King crab – tasty monsters

Snow, northern lights, and king crab are all quintessential experiences when visiting Northern Norway. You can sample the king of Norwegian seafood fresh, right after it's been hauled up from the sea. Delicious!

King crab can be found in the frigid waters of the Barents Sea, and many operators offer charters out to the open sea, where you can catch your own king crab for dinner.

Every king needs its queen – the snow crab, so called since its meat is white as snow. Snow crabs are a little smaller and less expensive than king crab.

Although you can sample taskekrabbe, brown crab, in many places, the most famous brown crab comes from Hitra in Trøndelag. Here, the Gulf Stream from the south meets the cold current from the north, providing optimal temperatures and perfect conditions for crab. It's also one of the places where you find the highest quality shellfish, such as langoustine and lobster.

Discover why foodies from all over the world are flocking to the Trøndelag coast!

Prawns in the sun

A true Norwegian delicacy fresh off the boat! Eating 'prawns in the sun' is a popular way to enjoy prawns in Norway. We like to buy prawns (preferably fresh) and serve them on white bread with mayonnaise, a fresh squeeze of lemon, and a little dill. Best enjoyed in the open air on a beach or outside a cabin, or even on a park bench. 

Friends buying fresh shrimps from local fisherman in Southern Norway
Buying shrimps in Southern Norway.
Photo: Magnus Furset

Lyngenfjord in Northern Norway is famous for its Lyngen Reker prawns. The northerly wind and Arctic climate provide the cold water that makes the prawns grow slowly and develop a flavour that is sweet with a hint of salt, a distinctive taste found in prawns from Northern Norway. If you get the chance, buying fresh Lyngen prawns from a local supermarket in the Lyngenfjord region is highly recommended.

Mackerel from Southern Norway

Mackerel is a sign of summer! Around April, large quantities of mackerel migrate from the south and arrive off the Southern Coast of Norway. Although the fish is found along the entire Norwegian coast, mackerel is most strongly associated with Southern Norway.

Visit a southern Norwegian coastal town in summer, and you can enjoy freshly grilled mackerel with potatoes, cucumber salad and sour cream. Taking the kids out mackerel fishing is also a fun summer activity!

Unique delicacies from the ocean

You will also find seafood in Norway that is somewhat less popular and common to eat, like sea urchins, clams, seaweed, and haddock brain. Some of these delicacies find their way onto the menu at Michelin-starred restaurants. Would you dare to try them? Read more about Norway’s weird and wonderful food.

What could be better than diving for sea urchins and eating them straight away? See what happened when three food bloggers did just that during their foodie roadtrip through Norway.

There is also a growing trend in harvesting sustainable superfoods from the ocean. Sample tasty wild-harvested truffle and nori seaweed, sugar kelp, and winged kelp.

Sea urchins, shells and crab
Sea urchins, shells and crab.
Photo: Lysverket / Neo Fjordic Bounty / Bonjwing Lee

Hungry for more?

There are many ways to buy fresh fish in Norway. There are specialized fishmongers, offering good service and a wide selection of seafood, throughout the country. In addition, many supermarkets and shops have an excellent seafood selection. But the best and freshest seafood can be found in fish markets. The fish market at Bryggen in Bergen is one of the oldest and most renowned markets, where fish has been traded since 1276.

Gourmet food under the sea

Gaze at the ocean as you dine in the world's largest underwater restaurant. It's a once in a lifetime view!

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There is no need to wait until you’re here to find out what you’d like to eat. Filter your search and check out the offers below.

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Seafood recipes

Make bacalao, salmon in lefse, and other tasty seafood dishes from Norway.

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