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Wildlife safaris in Norway

Get ready for a once-in-a-lifetime experience!

Bring your best camera and capture a photo of some of the most majestic creatures in the world …

… like the venerable musk ox that survived the last glacial epoch.

Guided wildlife safaris bring you safely into a unique animal kingdom.

In Norway, this includes whales, musk oxen, moose …

… birdlife like puffins …

… and majestic birds of prey.

You can also take advantage of nature's bounty on a different kind of safari: to catch giant king crab!

As Lonely Planet puts it, "Norway is the last refuge for some of Europe’s most intriguing wildlife". In the pre-internet days, some tourists even hoped they would see polar bears walking the city streets around the country, but they can only be spotted in Svalbard.

Into the wild

On the Norwegian mainland, however, you can see moose, reindeer and unique birds as you venture into the wilderness on your own, if you are in luck. Please keep in mind that they are wild animals. Don’t scare them and don’t approach them, as some animals might run after you if they feel threatened. Leave them alone and withdraw slowly.

If you want to see these animals in their natural habitat, the best thing to do is to join a wildlife safari. The guides know where you’re most likely to spot the animals and, most importantly, they know how to behave in Norwegian nature to stay safe.

The latter is very important, as some safaris will bring you near animals that you shouldn’t seek out on your own, like the musk oxen.

The guides make it easier for you to enjoy the animal encounters, as you can focus on getting an awesome photo for Insta.

Let's explore the top wildlife safaris in Norway!

Whale watching up close

Whales visit the Norwegian coast every year. They can be spotted along the Vesterålen coast all year round. You can join guided tours from both Stø and Andenes, where there is also a spectacular new museum called The Whale.

The most common whale to spot during the summer season is the sperm whale, but if you are lucky, you can see pilot whales, minke whales, humpbacks, dolphins, and killer whales. In winter, fin whales might also make an appearance!

There are more guided whale safaris in Northern Norway in winter, for instance with tour providers in Tromsø, as the locations are only a boat ride away from the whales’ favourite waters.

In the Svalbard islands, you can even be lucky enough to catch a glimpse of the biggest whale on earth, the blue whale. During summer, Isfjorden is known as the feeding area for the blue whale, fin whale, humpback whale, and beluga.

By joining a whale safari, you will also be able to enjoy the magnificent scenery, lots of fresh sea air, and natural surroundings guaranteed to make a lasting impression.

Musk oxen: a furry blast from the past

The Dovrefjell mountains are one of the few places on earth where you can experience the mighty musk oxen. On a guided summer walking safari, guests are virtually guaranteed an encounter with these unkempt, half-ton beasts. Some providers also offer guided tours in winter.

The musk oxen are not aggressive as long as you don’t get too close. You should always maintain a distance of at least 200 metres.

The musk ox may seem big and clumsy, weighing between 225 and 400 kilos, but it moves fast with a top speed of 60 kilometres per hour.

A seriously tasty tour

Come face to face with red king crabs in the Barents Sea off the coast of Kirkenes and Varanger in Finnmark. Afterwards, you can taste their succulent meat.

The red king crab can measure up to two metres from claw to claw and weigh up to 15 kilograms.

The meal that follows the safari is an absolute feast: tasty pieces of crab meat on freshly baked bread, home-made dressing, and, for those who desire, white wine. 

A birdwatcher’s dream

From the Lista Bird Observatory in Southern Norway and Runde in Fjord Norway to Varangerfjord in Northern Norway – there are many great places to go birdwatching in beautiful Norwegian nature.

Snap a photo of divers, grebes and wildfowl in the west, or head to the mountain habitats and look for dotterel, red-necked phalarope, horned lark, and snow bunting. If you’re lucky, you might even spot a snowy owl.

The UNESCO listed Vega islands off the Helgeland coast are also a hot spot for birdwatchers, with more than 230 species of birds! One of the most popular is eider ducks.

If you’re more interested in Arctic species such as Steller’s eider, king eider and brünnich’s guillemot, the area around Varangerfjord in Finnmark is the place to visit. It is one of the best and most easily accessible Arctic birding destinations.

White-tailed eagles can also be found along the coast of Norway, with the biggest population in the northernmost part of the country. Eagles from Norway have even been brought over to help repopulate Scotland with the majestic birds.

And let’s not forget the Atlantic puffin! There are several places to spot them. The most popular are Runde in the Sunnmøre region, Andøya in Vesterålen, the island Lovund outside the Helgeland coast, and Røst in the Lofoten Islands.

Read more about birdwatching below or find the perfect birdwatching activities to sign up for.

Get the 'moosed' out of your trip

If you’re hoping for a close encounter with the king of the forestgo on a guided moose safari. You can also spot moose under the northern lights in Vesterålen, in the twilight from an electric bike, spend a night in the moose observation tower in the Espedalen valley, or kiss a moose at Svartisen Moose in Salten.

There are lots of places to see moose in Norway, both in their natural habitat and in nature parks. We even have a place called Elgland, which means “moose country”!

See the top places to experience moose in Norway below.

More incredible safaris

Here are some lesser-known, but not to be missed, experiences.

In Namdalen and along the Hurdalselva river in Eastern Norway, you can paddle a river in search of beavers, while several destinations along the coast offer seal safaris, including the Sunnmøre region and the Northwest.

On the Svalbard Islands, you can be lucky enough the see walrus. The islands are located halfway between Norway and the North Pole, and the destination is known for its exotic nature-based activities.

Explore the Norwegian animal kingdom!

Find the perfect wildlife safari below.

Take advantage of top offers

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

Amazing adventures await

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