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8 days - Experience jaw-dropping views with off the beaten track experiences

Take the less trodden path and experience the Norwegian fjords and mountains the active way. Three magnificent day hikes are included in this short tour. Professional guides, extra safety equipment, 'off the beaten track' routes, added inclusions such as canoeing and transfers between villages gives you the assurance of hiking at ease in Norway. 
**Highlights of this Norway tour include:**
  • Trolltunga  - the spectacular scenic cliff that looks like a tongue sticking out
  • Pulpit Rock (Preikestolen) - the massive slab of rock
  • Kjerag - the boulder hanging between cliffs above Lysefjord
  • One-hour fjord cruise through the Lysefjord
  • Hardanger express boat back to Bergen
Day 1
Arrive Stavanger
Day 2
Return day summer hike to the famous Kjerag boulder and experience Norway’s wilderness at its peak
Day 3
Stavanger - cruise to Flower Island
Day 4
Sunrise Pulpit Rock Hike
Day 5
Travel locally to gateway town for the Trolltunga
Day 6
Hike the Trolltunga, one of the most spectacular scenic cliffs in Norway
Day 7
Travel to Bergen by bus/boat
Day 8
Transfer to the airport
Start Place
Stavanger, Norway
End Place
Bergen, Norway
Country Visited
Norway
Duration
8 Days
Suitability
Active independent tour suitable for singles, couples & groups
Code
TKP001

Details

Transportation

Canoe, local bus and fjord ferry

Included
  • All accommodation in superior shared double/twin room, single supplement available
  • Meals as specified in the itinerary
  • Three day hikes
  • Express bus and boat transfers (less 3 local bus trips paid locally)
  • 24-hour emergency service
  • Taxes and service fees
Not Included

Three local bus trips of approx. NOK800, international flights, lunches and dinners not detailed in the program and items of personal nature.

Itinerary

Day 1

Stavanger is a town and a region in South Western Norway - well known for it's oil industry. However, it is also lovely to visit as a tourist due to it's high degree of 18th and 19th century wooden houses at it's centre, creating an intimate and welcoming village feel. Of course, with this comes lovely old cathedrals, museums, markets and cobblestone streets.

Settle into your hotel and then head out to enjoy the atmosphere of this lovely town. Please request a lunch pack for your early start next morning.


Day 2

Before breakfast, head out early for this summer hike to the famous Kjerag boulder and experience Norway’s wilderness at its peak. Wake up your senses in the summer’s bright sunlight while enjoying a cruise through the spectacular Lysefjord. Hike in near-solitude on trails that have recently been upgraded by Nepalese Sherpas, who used local stones to make overcoming the final (and steepest) slope easier. Hikers that make their way up to Kjerag are awarded with an abundance of breath-taking views of the Lysefjord…but for many, the trip’s highlight is simply standing atop Kjerag’s famous boulder.

Your journey begins early-morning when your professional nature guide picks you up at your hotel. While being transported to the edge of the fjord, which takes about 1 hour, you’ll be able to catch glimpses of some of Norway’s stunning landscapes. Upon arrival at the shore of the Høgsfjord, you’ll board a speed-ferry.

The ferry will set-off navigating under a suspension bridge that spans the mouth of the Lysefjord. Steep mountain walls towering hundreds of meters above the fjord will then emerge. The cruise will transport you further into the Lysefjord where you will pass waterfalls, abandoned farms, and the famous Preikestolen cliff, which towers 604 meters above sea-level.

Once ashore, you’ll be driven through 26 hairpin turns along the (one and only!) road from the village of Lysebotn up to the Sirdal mountains and then onward to the Eagle’s Nest trail-head (one can speculate it got its name because it sits a lofty 640 meters above sea level). Before the crowds of tourists have begun to arrive, you’ll be well on your way up to the Kjerag boulder.

The hike to Kjerag is relatively demanding: you’ll trek 11 kilometers (round-trip) with an ascent of 800 meters in 5.5 hours. During the approximately 2.5-hour hike to the boulder, you’ll encounter 3 periods of steep climbing interspersed with 2 shallow valleys. Along the way, you’ll enjoy views of Lysebotn, which is situated at the head of the Lysefjord. The final 2 kilometers leading up to the Kjerag boulder are relatively flat and will allow you to focus more on the spectacular nature around you. Once you reach the edge of the mountain’s plateau, while standing on a 1000-meter-high cliff, you will be rewarded with panoramic views of the 42-kilometer-long Lysefjord.

Cliff-side, you’ll have plenty of time to rest and enjoy your packed lunch. If you’re among the brave, you’ll have the opportunity to stand atop the Kjerag boulder. Base-jumping is legal in Norway, so if you’re lucky, you’ll get to watch as daredevils hurdle themselves off the side of the cliff.

After the lunch break, your guide will lead you back down to the Eagle’s Nest, which takes approximately 2 hours. On the drive back to Stavanger, the guide will navigate over a mountain pass through the municipality of Sirdal. You’ll pass through a barren, glacier-scoured landscape that many experience as being moon-like.

The tour ends in Stavanger at approximately 17:00 (5:00pm).

Included in this tour:

  • Pick-up and transportation to/from the trailhead
  • One-hour fjord cruise through the Lysefjord
  • Professional guide with navigation, safety, and emergency equipment
  • Personal-use of hiking poles
  • Hot beverages and a snack during the hike

Suitable for adults (16 yrs. +) who are in very good condition, and have previous hiking experience.

Meals
1 Breakfast

Day 3

A day to recover, explore and relax in Stavanger. A recommended day excursion is just a 20 min boat ride from Stavanger, the Flor & Fjære, a sanctuary for garden lovers. Available only in summer, you can departure from Skagenkaien with M/S Rygerfjord at 12:00. Enjoy a private tour of the gardens, warm lunch buffet at their restaurant, dessert and coffee or tea and then return to Stavanger at 16:30. A perfect summer's day out.

Meals
1 Breakfast

Day 4

Avoid the crowds by joining a sunrise hike and enjoy a unique Preikestolen experience. You’ll start your adventure in the midst of darkness and walk with headlamps through the twilight of the night. After approximately 2.5 hours of trekking, you’ll reach Preikestolen where, after finding yourself a beautiful spot to relax, you’ll watch as the first deep orange beams of sunlight illuminate the steep mountain walls that tower over the Lysefjord.

Long before the first tourist-packed busses arrive from Stavanger, you’ll be on your way back down the trail to conclude your unique hiking experience with a well-deserved breakfast at Preikestolen Mountain Lodge.

Included in this tour:

  • Transportation to/from the start of the trail (including ferry crossings)
  • Professional guide with navigation, safety, and emergency equipment
  • Personal-use of hiking poles
  • Hot beverages and a snack during the hike
Meals
1 Breakfast
1 Dinner
Accommodation
Preikestolen Mountain Lodge

Day 5

Travel to Odda to prepare for your next hike. Recharge your batteries in this small picturesque town. If you want to explore the region, you can hire bikes, join a rib boating trip, walk along the glacier river or find a pleasant window sill to perch on so you can enjoy the scenery.

Meals
1 Breakfast
Accommodation
Trolltunga Hotel

Day 6

Today you will hike to Trolltunga - one of Norway's most spectacular sight. After breakfast, transfer to the start of the hike in Skjeggedal, and with your guide, follow the path by foot to Topp with the stunning views of the Folgefonna National Park. The trip continues on foot towards Tyssebotn. Here you'll find giant marmites, deep holes in the mountain, made by sand and stone rotating in the now dry Tyssestrengene waterfall. This was the world's fifth tallest waterfall, before the power station was built.

The hike ends at Trolltunga. A memorable nature attraction, with a stunning view of the Ringedal lake and the Folgefonna glacier. Plus, it should add some butterflies to your tummy.

Hike is recommended if you are in normal good shape and over 15 years of age. Please bring hiking clothes/shoes according to the forecasted weather, food for 10 hours, a 30-40 l backpack, and some extra warm/change of cloths in your backpack. Duration: 8-12 hours

Meals
1 Breakfast
Accommodation
Trolltunga Hotel

Day 7

Local bus from Odda to Rosendal, a lovely village, famous for its little castle, Norway's only Barony, surrounded by a beautiful renaissance garden and famous for its many cultural events. Catch an express boat to Bergen and check into your centrally located hotel.

Meals
1 Breakfast
Accommodation
Clarion Hotel Admiral

Day 8

After breakfast, transfer to the airport.

Meals
1 Breakfast

Dates & Prices

Price per person

Dates
Valid From
Valid To
Price
Status
Accommodation
10 Jun 2018
28 Aug 2018
10 Jun 2018
28 Aug 2018
USD 1,714
Available
Standard
10 Jun 2018
28 Aug 2018
10 Jun 2018
28 Aug 2018
USD 595
Available
Extra for Single

Important Information

Please note that this trip can easily be shortened or lengthened. Call us for more options, as it is just such a lovely place in the world to explore.

Due to the possibility of rapidly-changing weather conditions, it may be necessary to make changes to scheduled trips. In the event that your trip needs to be rescheduled for another day or cancelled on short notice, you may choose between joining the rescheduled trip or getting a refund. In the event that weather conditions deteriorate during your trip, it may be necessary to turn around on the trail or head back earlier than planned. If this happens, no refunds will be given.

**Packing List for day tours: **

  • Proper hiking boots/shoes
  • Outdoor-clothing: water/wind resistant pants, rain-proof jacket
  • Small backpack with additional clothing layers (fleece/woolen sweater, etc.)
  • Packed lunch / bottled water / additional snacks
  • (NOTE: NO JEANS/SNEAKERS!)

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Packing List - Summer Trekking in Norway

Packing List - Summer Trekking in Norway

Proper equipment is essential for hiking in the mountains. The weather can be unstable and may change quickly, so it is important to bring warm clothes, raingear as well as shorts. Mountain boots are recommended, and they should be well broken in. Bedding, dishes and cutlery are available at all lodges. A sleeping sack and towel are necessary for all tours. Correct packing requires good planning. Your backpack should not weigh more than 8-10 kilos. We suggest you bring the following clothes and hiking gear during your summer hiking in Norway.

Clothing
wool, part wool or synthetic underwear
wool socks/stockings
wind jacket/anorak or all-weather jacket
mountain trousers
shirt or light sweater of wool or fleece
boots
rucksack

In pack or pockets
rain jacket (if your jacket isn't all-weather)
rain trousers (if your trousers isn't all-weather)
cap/hat
scarf/neckband
gloves/mittens
sweater/jacket, wool or fleece
wool, part wool or synthetic long underwear
shorts
T-shirt
sleeping bag/sleeping liner
first aid kit
indoor footwear
extra underwear (trousers, shirt, socks)
extra indoor trousers (optional)
toiletries
towel
toilet paper
suntan cream
sunglasses
insect repellent
map and compass
map case (with pencil and paper)
knife
headlamp/flashlight
boot waterproofing
lunch packet
thermos or water bottle
emergency rations
money

Total weight: 7 - 12 kg.

For tent camping you also need
sleeping bag
sleeping pad
cook set and fuel
food
cup
plate and cutlery
tent
you can leave out a thermos

Total weight can easily be 15 - 20 kg for tenting

Other useful gear
binoculars
camera
"Til fots i Norge" guidebook
transport schedules
glasses
medicines
tickets
GPS
book(s)
candle
firestarter paper
multi-purpose tool
sitting pad

In forests you can get along with less gear and need not have the quality needed for mountain tours. The same applies to sheltered areas along the coast.

Spring and autumn can have winter weather in the mountains, so extra warm clothing is essential.

Pack light and don't take too much!

Travel Insurance

Travel Insurance

Travel insurance is compulsory for all tours with 50 Degrees North. Please ensure that you have this organised as we will need to see proof of this upon issuing your tour documentation. Please contact us for a quote or visit http://www.suresave.net.au/

Practical information about Scandinavian Hotels

Practical information about Scandinavian Hotels

  • Hotel rooms in Scandinavia are normally furnished with twin beds, which can be moved together to form a double bed or placed separately. Please note that single rooms are generally smaller than doubles, and are often equipped with a shower instead of a bath. Purpose-built triple or family rooms are likewise unusual in Scandinavian hotels. Whilst it is possible for 3 persons to share a room, this will normally be a double room with an extra bed, with correspondingly less space to move about in.
  • It is also unusual to have a porter at hotels to carry your luggage.
  • There is free wi-fi in many hotels in Scandinavia.
  • Unexpectedly, all forms of Scandinavian accommodation rarely provide tea and coffee facilities in their rooms. If you are lucky, a kettle will be supplied but nothing else. Please ask at reception for some provisions when you arrive or just carry a small selection from home.
  • Please also note that in Scandinavia - in particular, during winter - the included lunch will often be a hearty warm soup with bread.
  • More remote hotels in Lapland will offer dinner at an additional cost. In some spots, there will be limited choices else where. Generally, you get a very nice home-cooked Scandinavian dinner. However, you may sometimes find only one or two choices only for your main course.
  • In Scandinavia, it is normal for washing and laundry facilities to be in the basement. If you are staying in apartment type accommodation, check downstairs or ask for assistance.

Twin beds in Scandinavia

Practical budgeting information before your departure to Norway

Practical budgeting information before your departure to Norway:

Budget surprises:

Norway has a few items that typically surprise travellers when visiting Norway for the first time. Alcohol and luxury items are heavily taxed and therefore prices are higher than you would expect. On the other hand, necessities such as bread and milk, are taxed low and therefore are great value.

Alcohol import allowance into Norway:

We recommend that you bring all the alcohol you’re allowed to bring into the country when you arrive. There are many lovely parks and balconies where you can enjoy your duty free. However, be sure not to bring more than you’re allowed!

As of May 2014, the allowances according to Visit Norway are:

Alcoholic beverages:
Minimum age: 18/ 20*

1 litre of beverages with more than 22% up to and including 60% alcohol per volume as well as 1½ litre with more than 2.5% up to and including 22% alcohol per volume or three litres with more than 2.5% up to and including 22% alcohol per volume
and
2 litres of beer with more than 2.5 % or other beverages with more than 2.5% up to and including 4.7% alcohol per volume.
This means that you may for example bring with you five litres of beer provided you do not have any other alcoholic beverages with you.

*For importing alcoholic beverages with more than 22% alcohol per volume the minimum age is 20.

It’s illegal to bring extra alcohol into Norway and can end up costing you. Another thing you should bring and not buy in Norway is razor blades. Good razor blades in Norway are expensive.

Self-catering in Norway

Self-catering in Norway

Written by Jayde Kincaid, who married a Norwegian, and was happily (albeit with some hesitation) introduced to a world of Norwegian every day food habits.

At 50 Degrees North, we want to encourage our travellers to try local Norwegian food & drink. This may seem difficult in Scandinavia in general without a large budget, and in particular Norway. Some of the more remote villages you might visit have limited restaurants or cafes, some of which can be pretty expensive. There is certainly no street food! One way to get about sampling local food is by self-catering. You will find plenty of friendly locals in the small town grocery stores and supermarkets who will be happy to help you picking out local ingredients. Just don’t be shy – ask! And, don’t rush – make your local small town shopping part of your holiday experience. Read the local notice boards, and enjoy an ice cream out the front when you have finished. It is what the locals do!

Note: Statoil cups - a good idea to save money as you drive around Norway: purcahse a Statoil (petrol station) metal cup and you get free refills of coffee, tea and hot chocolate at the Statoil stations.

Grocery shopping in remote or far flung Norway:

Norway has an extensive range of grocery stores, and in most small villages you will find at least one, if not two or three grocery stores. However, they do have limited opening hours, and except for ‘Bunnpris’, they are all closed on Sundays. You will see the weekend hours shown in brackets on the store sign out front. If you are arriving in a larger town, we do suggest you stock up with some staples before you head out into the mountains or on a coastal drive.

A few tips:

• Plastic bags are NOK1-2 and you will always need to pack your own shopping.
• You can recycle your bottles and cans for a receipt that you can cash in. Recycling points are found in all stores.
• Alcohol sold in food stores (mainly beer and cider) is restricted by government regulation to certain hours. This varies slightly, but on weekdays alcohol sales stop at 8pm regardless and on Saturdays at 6pm. Outside these hours and on Sundays you can only buy alcohol in licensed restaurants or bars.
• Any alcohol over 4.7% can only be bought at special government controlled liquor store (Vinmonopolet). These are very rare in smaller remote towns and villages, so stock up before you leave the city.

Things to try from a general grocery store:

Meatballs or “meatcakes’: these come in all shapes, sizes and quality. They are generally really tasty and a bit better than what you find at IKEA. Also pick up a packet of dried ready-made brown sauce that goes with them. Be on the look out for Lingonberry sauce/jam, or even fresh lingonberries that you can use to make a fresh sauce (little red circular berries). Don’t add too much sugar, they are served quite tart.

If you want to try to make this brown sauce yourself, buy some ‘brunost’ (brown cheese), the required creams and follow the recipe below.

Hotdogs: known as ‘pølse’ in Norwegian, hot dogs are abundant in Norway. Cheap and cheerful – pølse is THE fast food of Norway. They are sold at service stations, newsagents, corner stores and fast food outlets. Pølse come with a dazzling variety of toppings and bread. Some of the pølse highlights would be the bacon wrapped ones, sprinkled with dried onion, mustards and mayonnaise. You will also find them wrapped in waffles (mostly in and around Fredrikstad) or the Norwegian pancake, ‘lompe’.

Note: there are strict requirements by the Food Safety commission for traditional pølse to be of the highest quality and they have even set requirements for what types of ingredients are allowed.

Like Norwegian beer, you will find seasonal pølse – Christmas pølse (Julepølse) is obviously found only in the lead up to the celebrations.

If you are planning to eat Norwegian style, use boil pølse on the stove and add to meals with potatoes and stew.

Note; steer away from tinned cheap pølse and meatballs.

Fish cakes: these also come in lots of variation and are generally served with a white sauce and lots of parsley. The Norwegians also use a basic white sauce on broccoli with cheese on top. These fish cakes are often found in fish shops, fried or steamed, ready to eat. A great fast snack.

Reindeer: we strongly suggest you try reindeer meat when you are travelling in the far north. It generally comes frozen, so look for finely cut reindeer meat in the freezer section. It is a more expensive option, but absolutely delicious albeit quite gamey. Be sure to get mushrooms, a small amount of brown cheese and rømme (crème fraiche). Fry it all up in a pan - a bit like a beef stroganoff. Serve with boiled potatoes or rice.

Mushrooms: if you are travelling in the chanterelle harvest season (mid/late August), be sure to try them. They are the yellow mushroom found in autumn. Or better still, have a look around the pine forests and pick some. Be sure to image search them before you head out so you know what to pick. They are really delicious with the brown cheese sauce and reindeer.

Salmon, prawns & fish: always be on the look out for a chance to buy fresh fish. Yes, it is possible to smooth talk a fisherman at the harbour. Or look for the local fish-kiosk or fish-shop. Be on the look out for small signs pointing you in the direction of fresh fish sales – ‘reker’ (shrimps, not prawns) or ‘fersk fisk’ (fresh fish) are the words you need.
Norwegians are very proud of their shrimps – and of course completely justified. Their shrimps are small and tasty and harvested from the cool North Sea. Norwegians traditionally serve them with mayonnaise and lemon. Peel them and pop them on a fresh white slice of bread. Mayonnaise is layered on top with dill, pepper & salt.

Smoked Salmon: Norwegian smoked salmon is the best in the world hands down. Be sure to try all the different varieties you see – often, in larger supermarkets or delis, you can try before you buy.

Tubed ‘kaviar’ (caviar): this is a must try. It is cheap and perfect for the travellers pantry. This is what my husband craves like an Australian abroad would crave vegemite.

Norwegian pre-made dips and salads: the Norwegian supermarkets have a large range of premade salads and dips. They last quite a while and are good fillers for sandwiches. Our favourite are the cubed beetroot salad and the potato salads. They come in easy-to-carry and pack-up containers – perfect for picnics. Tubed mayonnaise is also handy for picnics.

‘Leverpostei’ (liver pate) in many variations can also be found in the supermarket. This pate is normally served on brown bread then topped with sliced red onions or sweet pickles. Protein rich and very tasty if you like pate – it is found on most Norwegian breakfast tables.

Yoghurt: now – this is an interesting one. Norwegian yoghurt comes in a variety of styles - some can be very runny, sour and low fat. There are varying names/codes for each sort. You might like to check with a local when you are buying yoghurt to be sure you are getting what you want. Some of the yoghurt comes as though it is milk, in normal milk cartons - sour runny yoghurt is NOT nice in your coffee.

Bread: the Norwegian supermarket bread generally comes un-cut. You can either cut it in the shop – ask for help the first time you do it. They have industrial bread cutting machines near the bakery section. The bread can be quite plain in the main supermarkets so be on the look out for boutique bakeries in the larger towns if you enjoy fancy bread. Also keep an eye out for the Norwegian flatbread, Lefse, which is similar to Mexican tortillas. Usually served with butter and sugar, sometimes cinnamon too. Occasionally made with potato.

Waffles: Norwegian waffle stalls are similar to the sausage sizzle or hot dog stand. It is the most common fundraising or community building food product. Don’t expect sickly sweet jams or whipped cream – you will find these fresh chewy waffles served with sour cream and home made tart berry jams. Never go past one!

Chocolate: we recommend that you try the ‘FREIA’ milk chocolate during your stay. It melts in your mouth.

Berries: if you travel in early autumn (mid/late August) this is berry season. Forest berries that is. Ask a local and head up into the hills or forest in search for berries. You may find; blueberries, lingonberries, rasberries and if you are up north or in the central mountains; the rare yellow cloudberries.

Norwegian Farm Produce:

On a self-drive journey, always be on the look out for small farm shops or stands along the road. Things you cannot drive past:

Strawberries: if you are travelling in the strawberry season – you MUST try Norwegian strawberries. They are seriously amazing. Grown in the nutritious earth that has the chance to rejuvenate through a long winter.

_And if you go past a self-pick strawberry farm, put everything else on hold and enter!  Norwegians wait all year for this event. _

New potatoes: be on the look out for new season potatoes – they are often sold in little stands beside the road. Often on an honesty basis; i.e. grab a bag and put the money in an allocated tin.

CLASSIC RECIPE:

Basic Brown Cheese Recipe – can be used with meatballs, reindeer, with added mushrooms.
• 2 tablespoons butter
• 2 tablespoons flour
• 3⁄4 cup light cream
• 1⁄2 cup chicken broth (optional - just use water if you cannot find this)
• 1 cup shredded gjetost or brown goats cheese
• 3⁄4 cup rømme (crème fraiche)
• 2 tablespoons chopped parsley or 2 tablespoons fresh dill

Method:
Using the meat dish that has been browned off, remove as much oil from the pan as possible and blend in butter and flour. Remove from heat and blend in light cream. Add chicken broth, bring to boil, stirring and cooking until thickened. Mix in Gjetost cheese. Turn heat low.
Blend some of the sauce into the rømme (crème fraiche), then return all to sauce. Add chopped parsley or fresh dill.

Happy shopping and cooking!

The Scandinavian Art of 'Hygge’


The Scandinavian Art of 'Hygge’ by Ivy Thompson

The Scandinavian term ‘Hygge’ is a word that’s hard to translate - in short ‘hygge’ means coziness. But it’s so much more. Some define ‘hygge’ as enjoying life’s simple pleasures, or the joy of creating a cozy environment.

As a born and bred Norwegian, my personal definition of hygge is the art of enjoying quality time by yourself or with family and friends. Hygge is as simple as the act of curling up under a blanket with a good book on a rainy Sunday. It’s peeling (and eating!) fresh prawns on a pier during bright summer-evenings by the coast with your relatives. Hygge is just as much the shared laughs, coffee and home baked cinnamon scrolls at your friend’s house.

‘Hygge’ brings back a concept we are losing touch with: to live in, and enjoy, the present. This is a balancing-act that Scandinavians are particularly good at: they value their ‘hygge’. Hygge allows us to take time out and create a setting that encourages either quiet reflection or shared conversation. Both are good for the soul. Could ‘hygge’ be part of the reason why Scandinavian countries keep topping the UN’s world-wide ‘Happiness Report’?

Hygge happens in all our very defined Nordic seasons, but is even more special in the cold, dark winter-months of November through to February. Hygge creates the perfect balance with the sometimes harsh environment outside, and the comfortable feeling of being snug and cosy inside after a day spent in the snow.

In my mind (and experience!), hygge often goes hand in hand with a nice bite to eat. Nordic cuisine is simple, tasty and honours local produce and seasonal availability. Make sure you try waffles with sour cream and fresh strawberries, a variety open top sandwiches or smoked and pickled fish as part of your Scandinavian experience- I have no doubt you’ll find it both enjoyable and ‘hyggelig’!

We can’t talk about hygge without mentioning Christmas- the possibly most ‘hyggelig’ (cosiest) time of year in Scandinavia! This is where the epitome of hygge really shines: Christmas is about family, catching up with friends, celebrating the end of another year, food, festivities, candles, open fires and spending time in the countryside (it's common to own a family cabin in the forest or the mountains).


A guide to berries of Scandinavia


Take a Hike: The Berries of Scandinavia by Ivy Thompson

Scandinavian summers are magic. With their long, bright days and midnight sun you have the amazing opportunity to experience Nordic nature at it’s best. What would it taste like if you could bottle some of that magic?

To me, the taste of Scandinavian summer is found in the abundant wild, seasonal berries. They ripen throughout early summer till late autumn and are an important part of Nordic cuisine. Best eaten fresh straight off the bush- but also lovely as jams, jellies, cordial, juice, pies and cakes- or my favourite: sprinkled on top of freshly made waffles.

One of the greatest joys of hiking in Nordic forest and bush-land during the summer-months is without doubt the berry-picking. Like most Scandinavians I’ve enjoyed it since I could barely walk. It's a wonderful way of fuelling long hikes whether you’re going at it hard and fast, or slow and leisurely. Here’s everything you need to know about the delicious berries of Scandinavia:

Wild Strawberries
Season: early June till July

Wild strawberries are tiny but incredibly sweet and flavourful. You’ll be lucky if they last till the end of your hike - these are like nature’s own lollies! In Norway we serve them crushed/ stirred as a sugar-free alternative to traditional jam. It’s amazing topped on anything from buttered toast to pancakes and waffles. Another summer dessert-favourite is simply wild strawberries topped with a dash of cream.

Blueberries
Season: Mid-July till August

Unlike the oversized store-bought, pale-fleshed blueberries we get at the supermarket; Scandinavian blueberries are small and deep purple all the way through. Their low-growing bushes cover entire forest floors during summer. Eager locals get in early to fill their buckets with fresh berries, ready to freeze them for later in the year. Wild Nordic blueberries are tart but more flavourful; they taste absolutely amazing topped with cream and a sprinkle of sugar. They’re also beautiful in a pie or a berry-crumble. Wild blueberries pack a serious antioxidant-punch too; eat till your heart's content.

Raspberries
Season: Mid-July till August

It’s not unusual for us to find wild raspberry-bushes next to a bus-stop or on the side of a quiet residential street. It’s always a pleasant surprise; wild raspberries are tasty although slightly less sweet and smaller than their farmed, store-bought relatives. My kids all love them and eat them up on the spot. These are commonly found growing on the edges of forests and fields.

Lingonberries
Season: Late July till September

If you’ve been to IKEA you’re probably familiar with their meatballs and side of lingonberry-jam. Lingonberries are quite sour and the jam is made with large amounts of sugar to make it more palatable. In Scandinavia you’ll find the homemade jam-varieties are less sweet. Lingonberry-jam offers an amazing balance to rich red-meat dishes such as meatballs, venison-roasts and meatloaf. Don’t knock it till you try!

Gooseberries
Season: Late July till September

Gooseberries tastes similar to kiwi-fruit and look like a small, somewhat hairy grape. They commonly grow in Scandinavian gardens as the bush does well in cooler climates. They might not grow abundantly in the wild but if you see them at a local grocer or on a cafe-menu, give them a go. Gooseberries have a grape-y, floral-like flavour, and taste best when ripe.

Black/ Red currants
Season: Late July till September

Black- and red currants can be quite sour but really makes a dessert, pie, cake or jelly “pop” with their refreshing fruitiness and flavour. Commonly used as a base in both home-made and store-bought cordial-mixes In Scandinavia, currants remind me of the picnics, warm toddies and long summer-nights of childhood. They commonly grow in gardens but you can also find them in the wild in and around residential areas.

Cloudberries
Season: August till September

Cloudberries look like small orange raspberries, and are often called “Mountain Gold” due to their golden skin and expensive price-tag. They grow in mountainous areas spanning from from mid-Norway/ Sweden/ Finland all the way up north towards the Arctic. They are notoriously fussy and a good cloudberry season depends on many, many factors. A typical Norwegian Christmas-dessert is cloudberry whipped cream piped into “krumkaker”; a light, crisp waffle shaped into a cone. Cloudberries are considered a Norwegian delicacy, and if you are lucky enough to come across them during a hike or trek, make sure you try them for yourself.