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Top 10 places to paddle in Norway

The Norwegian coastline is varied, spectacular, and a paradise for everyone who loves the ocean breeze. If you really want to get close to nature, grab an ore and explore some of the ten best places to go kayaking in Norway, according to Olympic medallist Eirik Verås Larsen.

From the charming seaside towns and islands of Southern Norway to the picturesque landscape in Fjord Norway and the turquoise waters of Northern Norway – the view is impeccable, especially on a kayaking trip.

But where should you go when you have one of the longest coastlines in the world to explore? Former professional sprint kayaker and Olympic medallist Eirik Verås Larsen has paddled in waters and rivers all around the world, including his home country – and these are his favourite paddling spots.

1. Vestfjorden

“Close to Oslo, and it is amazing what wildlife and nature experiences await you just around the corner from the city.”

Vestfjorden runs along the west side of the Inner Oslofjord, from Bærum to the Drøbaksundet strait. There are several islands to explore, including Håøya, Bjerkøya and Søndre Kaholmen, where you’ll find the Oscarsborg Fortress.

2. Sandefjord and Tønsberg

“With a kayak, you can weave your way through the shallow waters between islands and islets, and explore the areas in and around Sandefjord and Tønsberg on your own.”

Where the Oslo fjord meets the Skagerrak strait, the municipalities Sandefjord and Tønsberg boast a pristine coastline, which is also part of the paddling route Padleled Vestfold. Tønsberg is also home to the recreation area Verdens Ende.

3. Arendal to Tønsberg

The charming seaside town of Arendal is located in Southern Norway and it’s a popular summer holiday spot. The stretch from Arendal and northwards to Tønsberg will take you past other cosy towns as well, like Tvedestrand, Risør and Kragerø.

“It is a long trip from Arendal to Tønsberg, but you can camp almost anywhere along the route, catch your own fish to eat, and enjoy life and nature.”

4. Hidra

Off the coast of Flekkefjord, the island Hidra offers a beautiful coastal and cultural landscape. Around 600 people live here permanently, but in summer people come here to enjoy lazy days by the sea.

“A region known as Norway’s riviera, where you can paddle around the entire island and take in its idyllic settlements along the edge.”

5. Flekkefjord

“The small town is sheltered from the wind by the tall mountains on all sides, and you can kayak the fjord right through Flekkefjord.”

Southern Norway’s westernmost city is located midway between Kristiansand and Stavanger. In addition to the lovely seaside vibes, Flekkefjord is known for the Dutch Quarter, charming wooden houses and funky street art.

6. Skipnes in Vesterålen

Located on a car-free island between towering mountains, the quaint fishing village Skipnes has been a popular kayak spot for years. They even host the annual Arctic Sea Kayak Race here.

“Lodge in an old fisherman’s cabin and take your time in the unique coastal landscape of Vesterålen.”

7. The Helgeland coast

“The Helgeland coast is a kayaker’s paradise with new discoveries around every island and islet.”

Boasting crystal clear waters, sandy beaches and a stunning landscape, the Helgeland coast in Northern Norway is regarded as one of Norway’s best areas for sea kayaking, as well as cycling and puffin spotting.

8. Sotra and Øygarden

“A dramatic and picturesque landscape located west of Bergen in Fjord Norway, forming the last land barrier between mainland Norway and the North Sea.”

Sotra and Øygarden consist of several charming islands forming a 10-mile long archipelago. The ideal location close to a big city makes it a very popular paddling spot.

9. Finnøy

“An easily accessible area between Haugesund and Stavanger, known for its opportunities for birdwatching – as long as you enjoy the view from the distance, and are careful not to disturb the birds.”

The area consists of several islands, 16 of them are inhabited. People come here to enjoy the seaside vibes, check out rock carvings or attend the annual tomato festival.

10. The Vega islands

The Vega archipelago is located just south of the Arctic circle in Northern Norway, offering shallow beaches, panoramic views, tasty local food and great opportunities for birdwatching.

“A fascinating UNESCO World Heritage site, consisting of dozens of islands, that is near enough to the Helgeland Coast that they can be combined into a longer trip.”

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