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10 things you'll experience on a yacht charter in Norway

By Rebecca Bradbury   13 February 2020

A year-round yacht charter destination, Norway is known for its dramatic fjords, colourful coastal towns and Scandi flair. But it also has some interesting quirks that make visiting on a superyacht vacation even more interesting. 

The demand for superyacht charters in Norway is increasing, as more adventure-hungry charterers set course for Scandinavia to experience a totally different type of vacation. From Heli-skiing in the mountains to whale watching on the fjords, Norway promises a charter vacation that you'll remember forever. 

What's more, Norway is actually a great charter destination year-round. Expect blossoming wildflowers in the springtime, and snow-covered terrains in the winter. 

map of norway with popular charter destinations
serenity yacht next to waterfall in norwaysnowy houses by the water in norway

The country covers a huge area, from cultural Oslo and the famously pretty Bergen in the south, to the Arctic region in the north. Here, the Lofoten archipelago offers a true taste of Norway, while Tromso is famed for its great views over the Northern Lights.  

Even further North, you'll find the island chain of Svalbard. Located between mainland Norway and the North Pole, this landmass is known for its frozen tundra, glacial waters and polar bear population. 

If you're considering chartering a yacht in the region this summer, here are some unusual (but amazing) things you'll discover when you undertake a Norway yacht charter.   

1. Weird and wonderful Norwegian cuisine

Nordic cuisine is inventive, flavourful and doesn't shy away from unexpected combinations. From finnbiff (reindeer stew) to pinnekjott (smoked rack of lamb cooked over birch leaves), there are a number of creative dishes you should try on your next yachting vacation. 

The food scene in Norway is thriving at the moment, with a focus on locally sourced produce, new twists on classic dishes and fresh Scandinavian ingredients. 

Whether you fancy fresh seafood, Nordic classics or contemporary fusion of flavours, there’s a restaurant in Norway for everyone.

If you're passing through Stavanger, ask your yacht crew to call ahead and book a table at Re-Naa, a Michelin-starred restaurant that regularly gets the food critics raving. In Alesund, be sure to check out Bro, where you can expect a varied menu and an innovative approach to gastronomy. 

2. Whale-watching in the wild

orca breaches the water in norway
humpback whales in norway
whales in norway at sunset

The waters of Norway are home to lots of different whale species, including humpbacks, orcas, porpoises, sperm whales, minke whales and the largest animals on the planet; blue whales. They are more common further north, around Tromso and the Lofoten archipelago.

While it's possible to see certain types of whale year-round, there are particular seasons when they tend to be more prevalent. Between late October to mid-January, your chances of seeing whales are very high, particularly humpback whales and orcas. 

This activity is particularly well-suited to a yacht charter, since you'll have much more freedom and flexibility to move around and try and catch a glimpse of the whales breaching the water's surface. They tend to congregate in coastal areas, near the fjords where there are more fish to feed on.  

3. Norway is one of the best places to see the Northern Lights

northern lights above town next to the water in norway
people stand below northern lights in norway
northern lights above tromso in norway
norway northern lights with snowy mountains

Norway is known for being one of the best places to see the Northern Lights, since the northern part of the country lies just below the auroral oval.

While there's no guaranteed season to see the spectacular aurora borealis, visiting between September and late March will increase your likelihood. (This coincides with the best times for whale watching, so you can easily incorporate both into your vacation.)

Around the Lofoten archipelago and Tromso, you should get the clearest visibility between 6pam and 1am and your best chance of seeing the Northern Lights is during cold, dry weather. Be sure to ask your yacht crew to whip up a hot drink for you, and enjoy this mesmerizing sight from the deck of your superyacht. 

4. An insight into Viking heritage

runestone on hill in norway
norway viking longboat

Although thousands of years have passed, remnants of the Vikings can still be found across Norway today. From runes carved into stones to ancient settlements peppered through the fjords, reminders of Norway's ancestry live on.

Many of us are familiar with the concept of bearded men in horned helmets, but there is actually much more to learn. In fact, Vikings revolutionized seafaring with their advanced understanding of shipbuilding. Longboats became a popular mode of transport, aiding in trade and expedition and allowing the Vikings to travel across Europe and even as far as America. 

Their distinctive design, with their slender hulls, sea monster figureheads and hundreds of oars, are iconic in Norway, and there are plenty of museums where you can see replicas and authentic versions of these vessels.

5. Cosiness and contentment is an important concept, and it's called Kos

Most of us have heard of hygge ­– the Danish art of cultivating cosiness and contentment which became an international craze a few years ago. What is not as well-known is a similar but more encompassing Norwegian concept known as Kos.

Kos is the kind of instant happiness you get when you feel safe, warm and a sense of togetherness. It’s a typical Norwegian luxury of simplicity where small joys make you feel great. Compared to hygge, it’s considered to apply to more things in life, like a house, a dinner, a conversation or a person. 

Experience kos on a Norway yacht charter when enjoying a traditional cinnamon bun or gathering round a roaring fire with family and friends. According to Norwegian natives, it even includes the wonder of witnessing the awe-inspiring Northern Lights. 

6. Arctic exploration in Svalbard

snowy terrains in norway, with hikers walking acrosspolar bears in norway
polar bears on ice in svalbard islands norway

Situated in the Arctic Ocean over 1000 nautical miles of of Norway, Svalbard is quite a way away. However, the high latitude cruising region is worth the trip for a totally unique vacation. 

You will most likely need to charter an explorer yacht if you're looking to cruise as far north as Svalbard, so be sure to view the entire fleet of expedition yachts for charter to get an idea of what's available. 

The archipelago is home to many national parks that protect over 3500 polar bears, and is one of the few places in the world where you can see the threatened species up close and personal. They tend to frequent the coasts, so the chances of spotting them from the comfort of your superyacht is pretty high during peak season. 

Svalbard is also a prime destination for those looking for the adrenaline-fuelled fun of Heli-skiing. Speak to your charter broker about how you incorporate heli-skiing into your yacht charter vacation. 

7. Most Norwegians have, or regularly rent, Hyttes (cabins in the woods)

hytte norway by the sea

A big part of the Norwegian lifestyle is the hytte, which is the word for a secluded cabin. These small getaway homes are located in remote regions, usually in the mountains, the woods or by the coast. 

On Friday evenings, particularly during the summer, Norwegians often retreat to their hytte and spend a relaxing weekend there. Usually everything is made of wood, from the walls to the furniture, bringing the natural world inside for complete immersion into nature.   

Many Norwegians own their own hytte and some are available to rent. Extend your superyacht vacation with a hytte break to truly experience the Scandinavian way of life.

8. The locals value the great outdoors, aka Friluftsliv

Staying in a hytte is widely associated with kos, but also friluftsliv – loosely translated in English as ‘free air life’. Being active and enjoying nature is a key characteristic of Norwegian culture. 

Norwegians recognise the benefits of spending time in the great wilderness that surrounds them; it’s a chance to rejuvenate, find balance, reduce stress, boost creativity and increase happiness. 

With Norway’s exceptional landscapes, there is plenty of opportunities for friluftsliv on a yacht charter. Try hiking to waterfalls and spectacular natural landmarks like Trolltunga and Kjerag, as well as foraging, mountain biking and kayaking in the summer months, while winter is perfect for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing. 

9. Norse mythology and folklore are integral parts of Norwegian culture

statue of Thor God in museum in Oslolarge statue of troll in norway by the water
katia damborsky, editor of yachtcharterfleet, in norway

Stemming from its connection to the natural world, Norway is a land full of myth, magic, and folklore that is well-established and plays a big role in Nordic heritage and culture. 

One of the most common themes in Norse mythology are trolls. No-one knows exactly where trolls originated from, but they have become a huge cultural phenomenon across Norway, with statues, figurines and stories about them everywhere.

From trolls and elves to tremendous thunder bending gods, an astounding number of Scandinavian myths are well-known throughout the world and still used regularly in pop-culture and fantasy.

10. Norway has a keen coffee culture known as Kaffetime

Norway is a nation of coffee lovers. The figures speak for themselves, with 12 million cups made a day, the country ranks among the globe’s top three coffee consuming nations.

Scandinavia is known for its light roasts and you will find them in all their glory in Oslo’s coffee shops. The most common way to drink it is black and filtered, and many Norwegian natives will make their own at home in a stove-top kettle on a daily basis. 

It’s not exactly clear where Norway’s coffee culture came from. Some believe it originates back in the country’s prohibition years (1916 to 1927) when coffee was substituted for alcohol, and has endured alongside the strict alcohol laws and high taxes. Others think it’s down to its ability to warm the soul on those long, dark winter days.

Waterways in Norway, with mountains in background

With so many unique quirks and astounding natural wonders, Norway should be top of your list for your next yacht charter. Speak to your preferred yacht charter broker for more information on how to book.

You can also take a look at our Norway yacht charter itineraries for more inspiration. 

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