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DISCOVER NORWAY

What are the rules and culture of camping in Norway? 

One of the best things about living in Norway is having the great outdoors on your doorstep. But before you go on your next adventure, it's essential to know a little bit more about the unwritten (and written) rules of camping culture in the country. 

What are the rules and culture of camping in Norway? 
The nature in Norway is one of the best things about the country. Photo by Daan Weijers on Unsplash

Allemannsretten

Wherever you are in Norway, you will always be close to nature and outstanding natural scenery. The best thing about this proximity to nature is the Allemannsretten, the right to public access. The Outdoor Recreation Act has protected this right to access since 1957. 

This gives people the right to travel or camp anywhere they like, regardless of who owns the land. The exception to this rule is cultivated land.

Another thing to note is that if you are planning to set up shop on somebody else’s land, you can only do so if you are 150 meters from their property, and you can only stay a maximum of two days before you are required to ask for their permission. 

READ ALSO: Five great places to go on a hammock trip in Oslo this summer

Furthermore, while it isn’t a rule per se, those camping with tents and hammocks are encouraged to pick spots already established as camping sites.

So while it may be tempting to look for your own hidden gem, please stay close to an established spot to avoid minimal disruption to nature and wildlife in the area. 

Allmennhetens høstingsrett

Similar to the public right to access, this grants you the freedom to harvest, forage and eat any berries, nuts, herbs, mushrooms or plants you come across. 

There are some exceptions, however, namely cloudberries that are found on private property in Northern Norway. 

This public right to harvest means you can choose a spot abundant with fresh berries, for example, and have them as a dessert on your trip or make them into a jam to be served with some sveler (thick Norwegian pancakes, often served with jam, sour cream or brown cheese).

Keen anglers can also fish for saltwater species such as haddock and pollock without a licence. You will need a licence issued by the municipality you are visiting for freshwater species, however. 

Lighting fires 

Due to the risk of forest fires, campfires are prohibited from April 15th and September 15th in wooded areas and forests. 

However, fires are allowed in areas where the risk of fires spreading is unlikely, such as near water or at an approved campsite.

Campers are also required to bring their own firewood and not to fell any trees.

In extreme droughts, some standard camping equipment such as grills, gas burners and camping stoves will also be prohibited. 

You can check the risk of forest fires spreading where you are going camping by using yr.no

Det er ikke dårlig vær bare dårlige klær

Depending on when and how you hear this, it will either be one of the most infuriating or helpful things a local can say to you. 

Translated to “there is no bad weather, only bad clothes”, this phrase could be the bane of your existence should a Norwegian find you drenched and shivering while they beam from ear to ear in their warm weatherproof outdoors wear. 

It could also be a handy reminder to check the weather and pack appropriately when telling someone you are planning a camping trip or excursion to the great outdoors. 

The weather in Norway is unpredictable, which means you should prepare for all scenarios. 

More importantly, though, this saying offers a good insight into Norway’s relationship with nature. The proverb isn’t just a reminder to pack a jacket. It’s also to encourage people to make the most of the great outdoors even if the weather isn’t picture perfect. 

Ut på tur aldri sur

Out on a trip never sour! This is a phrase all Norwegians have adopted as an unofficial rule when it comes to camping and spending time in the great outdoors. 

This un-written rule encourages people to embrace being in the great outdoors and to take the time out in nature to relax, unwind, enjoy themselves and not take the scenery around them or the opportunity to be with those they love for granted. 

This is an important one to keep in mind if things don’t plan on your trip.

Respect nature

This one may be obvious wherever you are in the world but is especially important given that Norway is home to many endangered species, delicately poised eco-systems and national parks that are meant to be for everyone’s enjoyment. 

You should try to leave no or little impact on the area you are staying in. 

Or, to put it in the words of famous Norwegian philosopher Arne Næss: To use something is not the same as consuming it. 

You should do as little to disturb the surrounding area and wildlife in the site you are staying in as possible. 

If you aren’t camping at a site with toilet facilities, make sure to bring a shovel to dispose of your waste. As well as that, be sure to make sure you don’t go to the bathroom within 50 metres of any water sources, as many hikers and campers in Norway will drink from the streams, waterfalls and rivers.

As well as that, don’t move anything from its natural habitat or leave any permanent changes such as carving your name into a tree or stone. 

Useful links

Below is a list of links to all the resources you’ll need to go camping in Norway, from camping sites to top tips. 

https://www.visitnorway.com/hotels-more/caravan-camping/

The right to roam | Guidelines to roaming where you want (visitnorway.com)

The Norwegian Mountain Code — The Norwegian Trekking Association (dnt.no)

https://campingportalen.no/campingplasser-i-norge

https://viivilla.no/ovrig/campingutstyret-du-ikke-kan-leve-uten-pa-campingferie/

Useful vocab 

Telt Tent 

Sovepose– Sleeping bag

Myggnett– Mosquito net 

Hengekøyetur– Hammock trip 

Stormkjøkken– Camping stove

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Nine great things to do in Norway in Spring 2022

Spring in Norway is great, with plenty to see, do and try as the days get longer and the temperatures slowly start to creep up. Here are our picks on things to do this spring. 

Nine great things to do in Norway in Spring 2022

Ski events

For more than a hundred years, Holmenkollen in Oslo has hosted ski jumping and cross country skiing events, and March 2022 will mark 130 years since the first ski jumping event took place there.

Between March 4th and March 6th, one of Norway’s largest and most famous ski festivals with international skiing and cross-country events on the agenda will take place. You can pre-book tickets here.

Later in March, the Biathlon World Cup final will be held at Holmenkollen between March 17th and March 20th. You can look at tickets online.

The first utepils of the year

Sometimes the most enjoyable things in Norway are the small things. For many Norwegians, the first utepils, or outdoors beer, of the year is something they relish. This is a moment those who live in cities tend to appreciate more.

As temperatures start to creep up and the sun makes more regular appearances, outdoor seating outside bars and restaurants will begin to fill up with locals wrapped in sheepskin nursing their first outdoor beer of the year.

Make the most of the spring skiing

For plenty of people, spring is the perfect time of year for alpine skiing in Norway. First, there’s still plenty of snow. Furthermore, it isn’t as hard and compacted as it can be in winter.

Most resorts will be open until the back end of April, although some further north or more mountainous regions will stay open until well into May.  

The milder weather makes for a more enjoyable experience as you don’t need to wrap up so tightly, and many resorts will schedule outdoor festivals and after-ski events.

The busiest time on the slopes in Norway during spring usually is Easter.

Festivals and fairs

There’s plenty of music and culture to see in Norway between March and May. Mid-March welcomes the Narvik Winter Festival, dedicated to winter sports events, carnivals, concerts, and opera performances. At the turn of the month, there’s Stavanger Vinfest, which is a weeklong celebration for food and wine lovers along Norway’s southwest coast. April also sees Voss Jazz Festival and Inferno Metal Festival, in Oslo, for music lovers. The end of May sees Bergen International Festival, one of Scandinavia’s most prominent classical ballet and opera festivals. And finally, jazz fans can look forward to the Stavanger Jazz festival earlier in May.

Get into Easter traditions

Easter falls on April 17th this year, which means plenty of traditions to get into, whether it’s stocking up on oranges and Kvikk Lunsj, tucking into påskekrimmen, or easter crime, or arranging an Easter egg hunt for the kids.

Alternatively, you can tune into NRK’s famous Easter quiz. But, of course, Easter also means a lot of time off and public holidays, which brings us to our next point…

Plan a cabin trip 

There are a few reasons why spring is an excellent time for a cabin trip. While there’s plenty to be said about the cosines of curling up by the fire with a Nordic noir book or spending your time playing board games with loved ones, one of the main reasons why spring is an excellent time for a cabin trip is because there are so many public holidays.

Everyday between April 14th and April 18th is a either public holiday or weekend, meaning most workers will have paid time off work that doesn’t eat into their holiday.

This makes this time of year an excellent time for a cabin trip because if you get the timing right, the trip could pay for itself.

See Norway’s fjords and waterfalls 

The country’s famous for its fjords and waterfalls, which are a sight to behold at all times of the year. Spring is the best time of year to see the country’s fjords and waterfalls.

May is the best time to see Norway’s waterfalls as the snow melts away and cascades down mountains. The month of May is also the best time to plan a trip to see Norway’s fjords.

The reason for this is because, in southwest Norway, thousands of fruit trees will bloom along the fjords, given the surroundings a fresh spring look meanwhile, the mountains will still be topped with snow, making for a spectacular view.

May 17th celebrations

Norway will host typical May 17th celebrations for the first time in three years. May 17th, or constitution day, is the country’s national day of celebration.

The day marks the occasion when Norway was declared an independent state.

The day is a public holiday, and sees the population dressed in their national costumes and participating in parades and marching bands across the country.

READ ALSO: What you need to know about Norway’s national costume

People will typically gather for breakfast or brunch before friends before heading out for the day’s festivities.

Beat the crowds and enjoy some of Norway’s best trails

April and May, weather dependent, also make a great time for more active types to head to Norway’s national parks and trek across some of the country’s best trails before the summer holidays start and crowds arrive in their masses.

If you prefer life at a more relaxed pace, then spring also makes an excellent time for walks in the forest or parks.

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