Solo Backpacking Norway: Top 10 Tips For Women
Travel Gear, Safety, and More
Solo backpacking Norway as a woman is the best way to explore the country for several reasons. Probably the most important reason is that Norway is one of the safest countries for solo travel in the world. The second is its unique, one-of-a-kind nature that offers magnificent vistas and clean environment. For me, the peaceful and slow lifestyle of the Norwegian people is an even more important reason to solo travel here. It allows you to feel safe but also gives you an opportunity to hear your inner voice, to discover new possibilities and to find peace within yourself. It is like a pilgrimage during which you are re-joining your true self.
1 – Solo backpacking Norway travel gear
Your backpack will be the most important thing during your trip. Invest in a good quality backpack and if you don’t know what the best one for you is, ask the shop’s staff. They have experience and will guide you toward more “ladies” appropriate models backpacks.
Also, bring a good pair of mountain shoes because in Norway you will certainly need them. Norway is all about nature and the best way to enjoy it is to go hiking.
In Norway, you will need a waterproof and windproof jacket. Buy one of acceptable quality and bring some layers along – long sleeve tees and polar suit shirt.
See the detailed packing list for solo female travel in Norway.
2 – Itinerary
According to Marco Polo Guides, there are four popular tours in Norway. My solo trip was based on the tour 3 option. For your solo backpacking Norway trip you can choose the area you want to visit and then narrow it down to fit your availability of time and money.
Tour 1 is relatively short and is focused on the area around Oslo. It is one of the cheapest options for Norway travel. Its itinerary is:
Its duration is 6 days.
Tour 2 is a round trip in the wild heartland and takes from 9 to 10 days:
Oslo-Fagernes-Gjendesheim-Vagamo-Dombas-Andalsnes-Geiranger-Stryn-Briksdalsbreen glacier- Fjaerland-Balestrand-Voss-Bergen-Geilo-Granvin-Gol
Tour 3 is focusing on the coastal Norway and includes:
For this tour you need at least 10 days.
I used this itinerary to make my solo backpacking Norway trip in June but included Fjaerland and Voss and skipped some other places. Check the 6 Cities to Visit in Norway.
Tour 4 is with a focus on the northern part of Norway. It includes:
3 – Best way to travel
The best way (and most affordable too) to travel around Norway is the railway transport. The rail network in Norway is very well developed and although the asphalt roads are also good, they are a much slower way of travel. That’s why bus travel is better for shorter distances. For tips on how to save money on railway travel in Norway, read my Solo Female Travel Guide to Norway. You can get access to the premium content on the blog by using the form at the bottom of this post.
Ferries are also common means of transport but not very cheap as an option.
4 – Safety & Health
Norway is one of the safest countries in the world. Same goes for the health and sanitation. If you use your common sense, i.e. staying vigilant and observant, you will not have any problems during your trip. Not even one. The good thing is that in summer the nights are long (not to say endless) and these White nights really give you an opportunity to explore the country as long as you want even at night.
5 – How to save on food
Food in Norway is expensive just as everything else in the country. However, you can save money by shopping your groceries from these two store chains. Kiwi and Rema 1000 offer lower product prices especially if you buy their own brands. And even if it may seem that these stores sell low-quality foods, it is not the case. I was a surprised by the quality of the food in Norway. Even the imported fruits and vegetables were tasty and obviously good nutrition option.
7 – Accommodation options
You have a large choice of accommodations in Norway but no one of them is real “budget” option. Just Norway and Scandinavia, in general, is the most expensive destination in Europe. So, no matter what accommodation type you chose, you will never feel as you made a ‘good’ deal.
If you are a hotel gal, you can use popular Scandinavian hotel chains like Nordic Choice Hotels and First Hotels. I didn’t stay (as I don’t use usually) at hostels but I haven’t heard good things about the hostel options in Norway. They offer basic amenities; most of them do not offer free breakfast but have kitchens that you can use to reduce your food expenses. However, there are always exceptions. To search for hostels in Norway, go to Hostelz.com, a search engine for hostels worldwide that shows a price comparison of all major booking websites.
For a real Norwegian hospitality experience, read Fjord Hotel Norway: Fjaerland Fjordstue.
8 – Locals
What you need to know about the local culture is that Norwegians are distant people, but very helpful and polite. You will never be left without support or guidance if you need one, but don’t expect to make life-lasting friendships. They don’t open up and they don’t like small talk. Respect their mentality and mirror their behavior.
As a woman, you should know that feminist concept is not a concept in Norway. It is a reality. Women and man are totally equal and thus you will not see a man helping a woman to carry her heavy luggage. Apparently, women are not perceived as the weaker sex here. For me, it was a bit strange as I have grown up in a culture where it was a sign of gentleman behavior to offer help to women.
9 – Tours & Sightseeing
Tours are expensive in Norway. For example, a one-day trip from Bergen to Flam costs 1540 NOK. The good aspect of this country is that its gold is its nature. And nature is open and accessible for everyone. If you don’t want or can’t spend money on tours, just hang out and hike in nature, walk on the streets (most cities have old town centers with beautiful wooden architecture), enjoy the numerous parks and do some people watching.
10 – How to spend less
Everything in Norway is cheaper if paid online. From bus tickets to sightseeing tours, the system in Norway is organized to prompt the client to pay online.
In addition to the budget tips for food, you can also minimize your expenditures if you camp. It is allowed to camp wherever you want but better stay far from the farm houses. It is not that people will push you away. Just they like to keep their privacy.
However, if you travel solo you probably wouldn’t camp in nature. Check for campsites at the places you want to visit.
Solo backpacking in Norway is easy and safe. Although the destination is expensive, there are ways to minimize as much as possible your travel expenditures, however, be prepared to spend more than you do at other European destinations. The ultimate tip for saving money on a trip will always be: Visit a friend! But if you don’t have one in Norway, and don’t know from where to start planning your solo trip to Norway, become a member and gain access to the membership-only content on this blog. There you can read and/or download the Solo Female Travel Guide to Norway with itinerary and more detailed tips and information on travel to Norway.
About the guide
This guide is a result of my solo trip to Norway. Here you will find all the information – the places included in the itinerary, where to shop for less expensive food and addresses of the hotels I have experienced personally and my recommendations. The guide starts with the 2 weeks itinerary, day by day, to give you an impression of what can be done for such period of time. The trip was focused on the coastal part of Norway and sightseeing of the fjords. This is the most touristic part of the country and for a reason. The amazing vistas and the picture-perfect countryside are the two reasons people to come from all over the world. The last part of this guide is about all the details you need to know about each place in order to plan your own trip. Sightseeing, hotel addresses, transportation and general observations I have had about every city on the itinerary are included in this part.
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