There’s a winter wonderland out there. It’s full of beautiful landscapes, genuinely nice people, steep and deep skiing, the granddaddy of Apres Ski, and gorgeous girls......
So here’s the thing,
It’s called Norway.
And if you want to go there...
You’ve come to the right place! ;)
In this post, I am going to show you 6 activities to ensure that your travels in Norway will be legendary.
After one too many amazing stories from my friend Vilde about her home country of Norway…
I decided it was time for me to go there.
With the sun only being up from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. in January, I realized the importance of making the most out of the daylight.
And if this is your first time to Europe (like me), you might be a little clueless on what the most fun activities are when visiting. At first, I thought I was going to spend all of my time in one small town and ski at just one resort and do nothing else...
Needless to say, I quickly expanded my horizon of activities to be able to see more of the country.
And that’s not the only thing I did...
In this article, I’m going to share six unforgettable things to do in Norway.
Let’s dive in!
More skiable terrain than you know what to do with!
With the SkiStar Hemsedal ski resort right there, it’s hard not to go skiing!
The resort offers night skiing and shuttles that will pick you up from everywhere inside of the town.
This resort has some amazing terrain! With side-country access directly from the lifts, you can barely manage to ski all of the terrain in a few days.
One of my favorite parts about this ski resort is the ability to be able to ski from the resort, to where we were sleeping, at the Hemsedal Cafe. Regardless that this amazing Cafe was more than a mile away from the resort, and across a river.
With the side country readily available for anyone, it is an excellent place to get a taste of what touring in Norway is like.
And after we got a taste of the side country...
We went out to a nearby mountain and toured that!
There are mountains everywhere in this part of the country that can be accessed for some great backcountry skiing.
Ever heard of Apres Ski?
So here’s the thing, this is the original night club that created what this phrase means to us today.
How did StavkRoa give meaning to the phrase Apres Ski?
Simple. You can ski directly down from the ski resort, climb up onto any table, and dance your heart out!
Let me explain, you can ski down from SkiStar Hemsedal, and head into any of the three floors. Whether you prefer to enter the dance party, the Kitchen bar (classy pub), or the saloon (tavern) is up to you.
“Ski-in, Dance out!” is the motto there.
Never have I ever been in a place that enforces “Only allowed to dance on the tables”. While spraying champagne on ANYONE in the building.
With a live DJ on the top floor keeping the crowd cracking with energy, you might just dance yourself to death. But don’t worry, if you need a break just head down to the 2nd or 3rd floor.
Or if you become sweaty and unbelievably hot, just walk outside! It will hit a low of 13° F at night. So your sweat will become ice in no time.
Best of all? You need to be wearing your ski clothes the entire time! Otherwise, you will be the odd person in the room.
Not to mention, the service from the staff was phenomenal. Right before you walk into the dance club on the third floor (where the main entrance is), you can check your jacket in. As you walk through the main entrance, the aliveness of the club hits you square in the face.
Right after you get ahold of yourself, you will realize that two sides of this floor are entirely dedicated to a bar. With a staff that is ready to serve your every need at a moment’s notice.
Then when you head downstairs into the kitchen bar, the menu has a variety of pizzas and juicy burgers.
It is no wonder why StavkRoa was voted one of the best apres-ski bars in Europe.
For Vilde’s Birthday, we rented some snowmobiles and had the time of our life!
The establishment that rented out the snowmobiles had a wonderful course for us to go destroy have fun on.
And of course, we had to race each other as fast as humanly possible!
Man, I had no idea that snowmobiles could provide such a wild ride.
It literally felt like the snowmobile was driving me! This was from the snowmobiles tracks following the grooves that were there before. What this did, was make the ride VERY bouncy.
All the more fun!
Basically going 50 mph felt like 85.
I was not expecting this experience from snowmobiling but would do it again in a heartbeat.
Without a doubt, the most beautiful geographic feature in the world.
So get this…
A fjord is when a glacier carves out a U shape in the mountainside. And when this happens, the ocean can go very far inland and creates a bay.
Vilde was hellbent on showing us this natural landscape. So we drove from Hemsedal in a big 12-hour car ride loop to experience the entirety of the Fjords.
And boy was she right!
I have never been so happy to sit in a car for 12hrs.
So here’s the thing, since the fjords are vertical walls you cannot build a road that goes up them. So the original Norwegian Engineers built a road…
We literally were going into tunnels and out onto bridges
And to finish things off, we followed a plow through a gnarly snowstorm to get back to Hemsedal.
That day definitely showed me what Noway truly is. Both the landscape and the weather!
This is a city that is on a bay near the south end of Norway.
The city has a great nightlife! We rented an Air BnB for a night and were able to take a monorail to where all of the bars were.
What surprised me the most about bars and clubs in Norway, is that they are completely OK with anyone standing on the tables and dancing.
But before I knew that...
Vilde told me to get up on a table and start dancing. I literally started dancing on a large table that even had a few people sitting at it, and they got up and started dancing with me!
Before I knew it, half of the tables at this place had people dancing on them.
Pro Tip: Drink before you go out, drinks are crazy expensive at bars and restaurants.
Every bit of food I had was amazing. From cow tongue and lamb cooked on a stone to a Mcdonald’s hamburger.
The average quality of food is very high, which definitely showed in the health of the citizens.
I could count the number of obese and unhealthy people I saw throughout the entire 12-day trip on my hand.
The best meal I had was at the Hemsedal Cafe. We were served plates of uncooked meat and vegetables, along with 2 burning hot stones for us to cook our food at the table. (kinda like a Korean BBQ)
These meats were cow tongue, lamb chop, and pork. To my astonishment, the cow tongue was actually pretty good.
These stones were perfectly flat and were great cooking appliances. They reminded me of a flat iron cooktop.
*Gulp*, that’s right, 40%...
Anyway, what I did was exchange USD to Krone at the airport in Gatwick London.
This was a problem because they charged me a 20% fee to go from USD to Pound Sterling, and then another 20% fee to go from Pound Sterling to Krone...
Moral of the story? Do your research beforehand to find out what is the most cost-effective way to exchange money to the national currency.
I should have easily realized that I could have gotten cash back at grocery stores, or just exchanged my money at the Oslo Airport.
Fortunately, I only lost about $120 USD and it didn’t affect me too much.
In hindsight, most of my purchases were on a credit card, so cash was not necessary.
Zoom in of Hemsedal
I sure hope you learned something from reading this post!
And if you liked reading this post, you need to go to Norway.
Start by planning when you can go.
After that, will you try skiing at SkiStar Hemsedal?
Or enjoy yourself at StavkRoa?
Either way, let me know which you will try first by leaving a comment below right now!