5 good reasons to visit Norway in 2024

Stunning landscapes, rich cultural history and a growing commitment to sustainable tourism make Norway a top destination for travelers around the world.

While classic experiences like city holidays in Oslo and Bergen, road trips through the Norwegian fjords region, or chasing the northern lights in an Arctic winter will certainly remain popular, the new year presents some new travel opportunities.

From the largest cultural festival ever in Norway’s Arctic to some brand-new options on the historic transport route, here are five reasons why Norway should be at the top of your travel plans in 2024.

Discover Norway’s Arctic culture

In 2024, Norwegian coastal culture and Sámi traditions will be highlighted like never before as Bodø becomes the European Capital of Culture.

Plans have now been drawn up for what will be the largest cultural project ever in northern Norway. Queen Sonja intends to attend the opening ceremony, highlighting the importance of this festival at the national level.

Never before has a city so far north been given this title. As such, expect a packed program of cultural events reflecting life not only in Bodø but throughout the province of Nordland as a whole.

This means that Norwegian coastal culture and Sámi traditions will be at the forefront of the programme, including a Sámi play trilogy that addresses themes such as nature, climate change and justice.

Events begin in February, when, despite the supposedly lower temperature, an audience of up to 15,000 people are expected to arrive at the city’s port to watch the opening ceremony.

At the end of the year, Nordland’s first-ever Light Festival will begin turning off lights all over Nordland, inspired by the growing trend of dark sky tourism.

More options on the coastal cruise

After disruption caused by the pandemic and delays in the construction of the new Havela ships, the Norwegian coastal route is now back at full capacity. With daily departures from Bergen, the historic coastal ferry service doubles as a round-trip cruise for international travelers.

Before booking a pass, it is essential to understand the unique nature of this experience. A coastal cruise in Norway is not a typical cruise. Key differences include 34 ports of call during the 12-night cruise, and the lack of amenities typical of cruise ships. These are operational ships that passengers and cargo join and depart at each port.

For round-trip guests, it’s the Norwegian coast that plays the starring role. Although not as feature-packed as cruise ships, these coastal cruise ships are more comfortable than ferries while being specifically designed to navigate the narrow channels that define much of the Norwegian coast.

The on-board cuisine reflects the regions the ships pass through, focusing on fresh, locally sourced ingredients with plenty of seafood and a growing number of vegetarian options.

The new Havila ships are among the most environmentally friendly ships of their size in the world, powered by liquefied natural gas and capable of sailing on battery power for up to four hours.

Whether you choose Hurtigruten or Havila, there haven’t been many options on the Norwegian coastal route for several years.

Cruise the Norwegian fjords while you can

Norwegian fjords are famous around the world for their natural beauty and incredible size. Seeing the towering cliffs and waterfalls cascading along these majestic waterways from a cruise ship has long been a popular travel choice. However, change is coming to Norwegian fjords cruises.

New government regulations are due to be introduced no later than 2026, meaning only zero-emission ships can enter the UNESCO World Heritage site, which includes Geirangerfjord and Nærøyfjord.

Although many cruise ferries are now fully electric and Havela’s coastal ferries can sail on battery power, the vast majority of larger cruise ships will be banned. The exact timeline for these changes remains unclear, but one thing is certain; The clock is ticking.

Other fjords like the Nordfjord and Hardangerfjord are sure to replace the sheltered fjords on future cruise itineraries, but if you’ve always wanted to cruise Geiranger on a traditional cruise ship, 2024 offers an opportunity before the expected rush.

Peak time for the northern lights

While the northern lights are difficult to predict, there is a more predictable pattern in the long term. The cycle of solar activity rises and falls over a period of approximately 11 years.

The averages should go as expected, and the next solar maximum should occur in 2024, Pall Brekke, head of space research at the Norwegian Space Centre, previously told Norwegian NRK.

This means a period of high northern lights activity, so if you’ve always wanted to see the northern lights in Norway, now is a good time to start planning your trip.

New foodie accommodations in Norway’s fjord

For many travelers, a stay in the Norwegian Fjords region involves a rustic cabin with few of the amenities of modern life. This immersive back-to-nature experience has its appeal, but it doesn’t suit every traveler’s preferences.

If you’re planning a road trip to the Norwegian Fjords in 2024, there are several new accommodation options that combine design accommodations with delicious cuisine.

One of countless islands between Bergen and Stavanger, Östevoll is off the radar of most international tourists. The rustic and elegant accommodations of Bekkjarvik Gjestgiveri and Beckerwyc House are sure to receive a boost from the opening of Mirabelle by Ørjan, a new local dining concept from Bocuse d’Or winner Ørjan Johannessen.

Located in Voss, Elva Hotel consists of five individually designed bungalows with fantastic views, with a seven-course menu full of local produce available in the evening.

In the heart of Bergen, Frescohallen puts an urban twist on the trend, serving seafood sharing platters and signature grill dishes to a live DJ soundtrack in a picturesque, historic setting inside the Bergen Børs Hotel.

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