Skip to main content

If you want to truly get up close to Norway's fjords, lakes and coastal landscapes, kayaks and canoes will take you there. Here are some of the hotspots for exploration and adventure.

Glide along the ocean, fjords, lakes, and rivers through the beautiful wilderness surrounding you. Paddle on a forest lake, glacial lake, or in the city. During summer you can paddle under the midnight sun and you can take a tour with a professional guide during winter.

Kayak and canoe rental

Paddling is a popular outdoor activity in Norway, and you can rent canoes and kayaks all over the country. There are many courses and guided tours available for both experienced paddlers and those who want to learn how to manoeuvre a kayak for the first time.

For safety reasons, most Norwegian businesses require that you have a kayaking licence (called våttkort in Norwegian) to be allowed to hire a kayak. If you don't have one, it's both fun and social to attend a course, with a great reward: paddling adventures await!

Find kayak and canoe rentals and guided tours.

Popular places to paddle

Norway is a long and varied country. So, where should you go? With such a long coastline and so much water, paddling gems are never too far awayin Norway. Still, your skills and level of thrill-seeking should be taken into consideration when you start planning your trip.

Local knowledge about the waters, currents, and weather conditions is important for safety, so we recommend that you always join a guided tour or team up with a professional guide. No matter where you choose to go, you are bound to find plenty of excellent Instagram shots!

Southern Norway

Small cosy towns dotted along the coast, charming harbours, friendly fishing villages, and a beautiful archipelago with thousands of islands and skerries. Southern Norway is a true gem for paddlers, whether you want a relaxing day in the skerries or a more challenging day at sea. Kristiansand is the region's main city, while the inner archipelago Blindleia is a classic paddling paradise that leads you from Lillesand almost to Kristiansand (just be aware of the boat traffic). Other popular kayaking destinations include Arendal, Grimstad, and Lindesnes and Mandal in the south – you can even go on a guided kayak tour from town to town along the coast.

Exploring paddling in Southern Norway.

Fjord Norway

A guided kayak tour is perhaps the best way to explore and learn about the incredible Norwegian fjords. In Fjord Norway, the mountains are taller and more dramatic than in Southern Norway. Just imagine paddling on a deep glittering fjord, like the Sognefjord, Hardangerfjord, or the UNESCO-listed Geirangerfjord and Nærøyfjord, framed by majestic mountains and waterfalls. You can follow a fjord to the open sea and there are also several glacial lakes where you can paddle on green and turquoise water. For safety reasons, you should always go with a guide. Jostedalen, home to the famous Nigardsbreen glacier, is an ideal starting point for paddling close to the impressive glacier.

Exploring paddling in the Sognefjord, the Hardangerfjord, and the Geirangerfjord.

The Helgeland coast

Considered one of the country's best and most scenic areas for sea kayaking, the Helgeland coast is situated halfway up Norway's coast. Find your very own beach, stay in a traditional rorbu (fishermen's cabin), and stop by an eatery for some locally sourced food on your paddling tour. The coast has plenty of charming islands to explore, including Dønna, Træna, and the UNESCO-listed islands of Vega

Explore paddling in Helgeland.

Northern Norway

Exploring Northern Norway's traditional fishing villages, remote islands, rugged coastline, staggering peaks, and picture-perfect beaches from the water is a unique adventure. The coast of Northern Norway is packed with great paddling destinations, including renowned places like Lofoten, Vesterålen, and Senja. Due to cold waters and occasionally rough conditions, you should always go with a professional guide.

Discover kayaking and canoeing in Troms, Lofoten and Vesterålen.

Canoeing and kayaking in canals

Exploring canals is a fun activity for the whole family. Experience the beautiful landscape and stunning locks of the Halden Canal or the Telemark Canal in Eastern Norway. In Telemark, you can easily combine paddling on the canal with a boat trip since the canal boats allow you to bring your canoe or kayak on board. Some of the journeys can almost be described as a jungle expedition due to the lush nature that lines the canal. Be aware of the canal boats, since some passages are very narrow. Canal boats have the right of way, so as a paddler, you must yield for them.

Explore kayaking and canoeing in Telemark.

Urban kayaking

Skip the sightseeing bus and explore the city from a kayak instead! Several of Norway's biggest cities, including Oslo, Bergen, Stavanger, Trondheim, and the Art Nouveau town of Ålesund, are home to local tour companies that rent out kayaks and offer guided tours for beginners as well as experienced paddlers. In Ålesund, you can even paddle through the city centre! The urban Oslofjord and the nearby maritime national park of Færder in Vestfold are other kayaking gems, packed with beautiful islands, both large and small.

Explore kayaking and canoeing in ÅlesundOslo, Bergen, and Stavanger.

Paddling in lakes and rivers

You can also rent canoes and kayaks for paddle adventures on Norway's many inland lakes and rivers, amid the soothing calm of the forest. The Østerdalen Valley, Finnskogen, and Femund Engerdal, in Hedmark, as well as Telemark and Trøndelag, are ideal places. Spend the night at a local hotel, or bring a tent and a camping stove to cook, and perhaps a fishing rod to catch your dinner. Or how about waking up with the birds in a treetop cabin?

Discover kayaking and canoeing in the Østerdalen Valley, Hedmark, and Telemark.

Whitewater kayaking

Up for a challenge? For the adrenalin seekers, few places have more to offer than Voss, known as Norway's adventure capital. The rivers here are like natural amusement park rides, with several canyons, and plenty of rapids, twists, and turns. Local tour operators provide safe access to the many thrills. Other sought-after destinations for whitewater kayaking include the Sjoa River that flows between two national parks, Jotunheimen and Rondane, and the Driva River in Trøndelag. Bigger groups might also want to try rafting.

Take advantage of top offers

See our selection of trusted companies that work hard to make you happy all through your trip.

Your recently viewed pages