Little compares to the natural beauty of Northern Norway. Here you’ll find everything from the Northern Lights that attracts people from all over the world, as well as a huge range of activities including dog sledding, the amazing “Sherpastrappa” stone steps built by Nepalese sherpas, biking and hiking tours, whale and sea eagle watching, plus lots more! We have put together a list of recommended activities for your next visit to Bodø, Stokmarknes, Harstad, Tromsø or Narvik so you don’t have to spend hours trawling the internet in search of something to do. These are all fabulous destinations with so much to explore!

Northern light in Norway

You may well have heard that Northern Norway is a must, but it’s easy to be overwhelmed by all the recommendations you receive… Because let’s be honest, Northern Norway is not just place to visit – it’s a place to experience!

So, once you’re here, you really need to make the most (and the best) of your trip! You’ll really be spoiled for choice with the huge range of activities on offer here. How about a sea eagle safari on a RIB boat speeding through the Saltstraumen strait in Bodø, some kayaking in the Harstad archipelago, a visit to the popular Hurtigruten Museum in Stokmarknes, a hike up the 1,300 steps of the Sherpatrappa in Tromsø, or some dog sledding in Narvik? And those are just a few of the exciting things that await you!

kayaking-in-a-mountain-landscapeKayak trips in Northern Norway are unique experiences and should definitely be high up on your bucket list.

We certainly don’t want to dictate what should feature on your bucket list, but we have compiled our top tips on what we think is worth your while! The idea is to make it easier for you to navigate your way through the myriad of experiences available, regardless of whether you’ve visited these places before and are looking for some unique recommendations, or you’re a Norway newbie keen to see the Northern Lights and other popular attractions.

Northern Lights with a wintery landscape and sea view_16_9Crossing the Northern Lights off your bucket list is a big win!

P.S. We have hotels in all these wonderful destinations, so you can look forward to a great night’s sleep during your trip! So, we thought we’d provide some hotel recommendations as well. Did you know that the Hurtigruten literally goes right past several of our hotels on its way along the Norwegian coastline. You didn’t? Well, head off to Northern Norway to see for yourself!

BODØ

1. Rampen Via Ferrata – stunning seaside climbing routes

This is not just an activity for extremely sporty and seasoned climbers – the Rampen mountain offers fabulous climbing for first-timers or those with lots of climbing experience. These adventurous trips are led by skilled guides providing people with a fabulous day out – every step of the way!

You can choose between two main routes – the Viking Wall and the Silver Treasure – both offering unique challenges and guaranteed fun! You can even try the Rampenruta combination route that includes them both! Grab onto the rock and listen to the sea roar beneath your feet!

If you're exhausted after a long day of adventure, then check in to the nearest hotel just a short walk away! The brand new Wood Hotel Bodø will be ready to welcome guests from spring 2024.

2. Sea eagle safari with RIB boats through Saltstraumen

After you’ve come down from the mountain (or perhaps you never dared to head up there in the first place?), go ahead and try an activity at sea-level! The famous Saltstraumen strait is a great place to go on a sea eagle safari on a RIB (rigid inflatable boat). Sound a bit scary? Don’t worry! You’ll be safely seated in the boat as you glide through the world’s strongest tidal currents, and you feel the adrenaline pumping through your body. You’ll also have the chance to get a great look at some sea eagles– and that is something that truly is an unforgettable experience!

When you’re back on dry land, you can call your family and friends back home and tell them you’ve been to one of “Europe’s Wild Wonders”, and then you can cross off yet another cool experience on your bucket list. And make sure to bring your camera so you can get a good pic of those impressive sea eagles, which are Northern Europe’s largest bird of prey with a wingspan of up to 2.4 metres.

Saltstraumen Nordland 16:9The Saltstraumen strait boasts the world’s strongest tidal current and is the ideal place for a RIB tour.

3. Northern Lights safari – boost your chances of seeing the aurora borealis

No tour to Northern Norway is complete without seeing the Northern Lights – or at least trying to! End a fun-packed day with a magical display of green, red, blue and purple lights dancing across the sky. To increase your chances of seeing the spectacular aurora borealis, you should travel here between September and early April. Just be aware that the weather can affect the visibility and intensity of the Northern Lights.

If you book a Northern Lights safari with this tour operator, you’ll head away from the city to places where there is little light pollution with guides who know the very best places for a fabulous experience. In this stark mountainous landscape, the starry sky will become even clearer, and the Northern Lights will hopefully embrace you, while you stand and marvel at this amazing natural phenomenon.

Northern Lights, winterThe Northern Lights probably feature on many people’s bucket lists all over the world, and you can come right here to Bodø to experience them!

What about food & lodgings?

Good food and drink, as well as a good night’s sleep, are essential components of a successful trip! Instead of spending time searching for restaurants and then having to hike back to your hotel, you can get it all in one place at Quality Hotel™ Ramsalt! You’ll be staying right by the seaside promenade near the centre of town, and you can enjoy a great meal at the hotel’s own restaurant, The Social Bar & Bistro. Or go ahead and check in to Clarion Collection® Hotel Grand Bodø where your room rate includes both an evening meal and an afternoon “fika” with tea, coffee and something sweet. And as mentioned above, our brand new Wood Hotel Bodö will be opening soon and is certainly well worth a visit!

Deluxe double room Quality Hotel Ramsalt_16_9A deluxe double room at Quality Hotel™ Ramsalt in Bodø is a wonderful place to relax after a busy day spent exploring the local surroundings.

View from Quality Hotel Ramsalt in Bodø_16_9View from Quality Hotel™ Ramsalt.

STOKMARKNES

4. Hurtigruten Museum

Did you know that Stokmarknes is the birthplace of Hurtigruten? For those unsure of what Hurtigruten is, it’s a ship that has been a firm fixture on the Norwegian coastline since 1893, with its port-to-port cruises that pass through countless stunning fjords and wonderful landscapes – indeed it is often referred to as the world’s most beautiful voyage. We certainly think that Hurtigruten should feature on your bucket list, along with a visit to the Hurtigruten Museum in Stokmarknes.

HurtigrutenHurtigruten is the ideal way to experience the Norwegian coastline, travelling from port to port, while passing through countless stunning fjords and wonderful landscapes.

Warm up with a trip to the museum, before sailing away on a fabulous Hurtigruten cruise! The museum is housed on land in a former Hurtigruten ship, and it has been named one of the 20 best maritime museums in Europe!

P.S. Did you know that we have a partnership with Hurtigruten and that members of Strawberry can earn bonus points on these cruises? Find out more about our partnership with Hurtigruten here.

Are there any hotels near the Hurtigruten Museum?

You’re in luck! This exciting museum is situated right next to Quality Hotel™ Richard With. You can look forward to great food and drink at the hotel’s Bar & Restaurant 1893, as well as a good night’s sleep in cosy beds just a few metres from yet another bucket-list-worthy attraction, namely….

Hurtigruten right in front of Quality Hotel Richard With and the Hurtigruten Museum 16:9You can see Hurtigruten pass by outside the hotel when you stay at Quality Hotel™ Richard With, and of course you’ll also be ideally placed to explore the fabulous Hurtigruten Museum.

5. RIB boat trip & sea eagle safari in the Troll Fjord

If you can’t get enough of the sea – and you we’re pretty sure you won’t here in Stokmarknes – we recommend you to head out on a 2-hour RIB-boat tour in the Troll Fjord, bringing you close to sea eagles and marvellous nature including steep mountain sides, waterfalls and valleys. This is like a candy store for lovers of Norwegian, and in particular Northern Norwegian, nature! So, now that we’ve got you in the mood for a safari, let’s go large…

RIB boat in front of a Hurtigruten ship_16_9So, what did you do in Stokmarknes? I sped past the Hurtigruten ship on a RIB boat, while getting up close and personal with a sea eagle!

6. Whale safari with guaranteed sightings

If you’re heading North, a whale safari is a bit of a must! The whale safari in Andenes, less than two hours by car from Storkmarknes, is sure to excite even the most reluctant nature lovers! With a so-called “100% whale guarantee”, this is very different from other kinds of safaris where you spend hours trying to spot the animals. Hvalsafari AS was founded in 1989 and therefore has the know-how to get you some great sightings of these spectacular creatures! You’ll spend 3-5 hours boating along the Norwegian coastline, in a place that is extremely close to the continental shelf, meaning that the travel time to be able to spot whales is relatively short. Prepare to be amazed!

HARSTAD

7. Kayaking

Harstad is a great destination for people who love the sea – and what better way to explore the archipelago than with a kayaking tour? You’ll be amazing by the stunning seascape and landscape here in Harstad, making this activity a fine addition to any bucket list! There are plenty of places to rent a kayak and you’ll receive plenty of suggested kayaking routes and weather information from the skilled instructors. There are numerous introductory courses for beginners, and if you have “wet card” or some other kind of documented experience, you’re good to go!

Harstad-coastline-stockThe beautiful coastline in Harstad.

8. Harstad Bike Park

If you’re heading off on a road trip through Northern Norway and you’re planning to stop off in Harstad, then make sure you bring your bikes! Harstad is somewhat of a haven for cycling – it’s the ideal way to explore the stunning natural surroundings. There are also numerous places where you can rent bikes in Harstad including ArctiConcepts. While there are lots of places to cycle in and around Harstad, including plenty of mountainous terrain, the Harstad Bike Park is also well worth a visit for some serious fun!

9. Sea sauna

Push the boat out and relax with a fabulous sea sauna experience with Våg Havbadstue. There’s no better to unwind after a busy day as you work up a sweat while marvelling at the beautiful landscape! You can choose between a drop-in sauna for 90 minutes that includes lockers and showers (Fellestua) or our private sauna for larger groups (Privatstua). Get your circulation going as you plunge into the cold sea water and then let your muscles relax in the wonderful heat of the sauna!

10. Bowling & minigolf

While nature is without a doubt the main attraction in Northern Norway, you may well appreciate a short break from fjords and mountains! Go ahead and challenge your family and friends to some bowling, minigolf and boardgames at Plays Bowling & Minigolf before heading off to a nearby hotel….

Any hotels nearby ?

Quality Hotel™ Harstad is just a 2-minute walk away and provides a fabulous sanctuary for rest and recuperation (and great food!) before you head off on your next adventure the day after – or perhaps even the day after that?

Quality Hotel Harstad_16_9Quality Hotel™ Harstad.

TROMSØ

11. Sherpatrappa & Fjellheisen cable car

First things first – if the weather permits, make your way up to the top of the mountain in Tromsø to enjoy absolutely incredible views! And there are two ways to get up and down – the Sherpatrappa steps and Fjellheisen cable car. Why not challenge yourself and climb the steps on the way up, and then take the cable car to take in the view?

Sherpa steps (Sherpatrappa) Tromsø 16:9The “Sherpatrappa” was built by Nepalese sherpas and features more than 1,000 steps that will lead you up to the view of views!

The “Sherpatrappa” – now what on Earth is that? Well, right beside another famous landmark, Arctic Cathedral, you’ll find a path featuring 1,300 steps that was created by Nepalese sherpas. Indeed it’s the longest path of its kind in Norway! You may well need to take several breaks while you climb up it – just take it easy and make sure you enjoy the spectacular view! Once you reach the top, you can reward yourself with a nice cup of coffee and a bun at Fjellstua before either wandering down on foot or taking the Fjellheisen cable car!

P.S. On mild autumn evenings from the end of August and all throughout the winter, you may be lucky enough to see the Northern Lights on your way up the steps – just make sure to bring a headlamp so you don’t fall!

Northern Lights & Tromsø city viewCatch this view of the stunning Northern Lights and the city from the top of the mountain in Tromsø.

12. Alpine touring

Climbing mountains may sound like a great idea – but what about during the winter months? Well, while you can still head up there, between December and May, we recommend you to take some skis – and ideally some hot chocolate as well! There are numerous alpine touring routes, but we advise you to join an organised tour with a local guide. Alpine touring enthusiasts have probably heard about the popular Lyngen and Senja, but there are plenty of other destinations including Kvaløya, Ringvassøya, Lakselvbukt and Malangen. So, grab some skis and head out into the powder snow for fresh air and epic views!

13. Dog sledding

Up in the North, you should definitely take the chance to try some sledding with dogs – or huskies to be precise – for a truly unforgettable experience. Our guided tours will provide you with everything you need, regardless of whether this is your first or fourteenth time dog sledding – find out more about dog sledding and book here.

Dog sledding in Tromsø 16:9Go on and try some dog sledding, and you may well be able to post a picture much like this one in your social media!

Where should I stay in Tromsø?

Well, we have several hotels in Tromsø to suit all kinds of needs and preferences – choose between Quality Hotel™ Saga, Clarion Hotel® The Edge and Clarion Collection® Hotel With.

NARVIK

14. The fabulous Narvikfjellet on your doorstep

Let’s start with a hotel recommendation this time! Quality Hotel™ Grand Royal is situated just five minutes from Narvikfjellet, Northern Norway’s ultimate ski resort! There’s so much to do here, regardless of whether you’re into cross-country, alpine, randonee (AT), freeride skiing or top touring! This beautiful mountain landscape has so much to offer all the year round. And if you’re into cycling, then that’s yet another fabulous activity to enjoy here!

View of Ankenes in Narvik 16:9 A picture-perfect view of Ankenes and Narvikfjellet!

15. Awaken your inner child and go tobogganing

You can either bring your kids – or gather a group of friends – and go large with some guided tobogganing. Prepare for a 2 kilometre-long trail, as well as lots of laughter and adrenaline! You’ll begin by taking a gondola up to the Fjellheis Restaurant, where you can enjoy some good food and drink, before getting a toboggan, a helmet and a security briefing. And once that’s complete, off you go!

16. Dog sledding with huskies

Like in Tromsø, you can try some dog sledding with dogs in Narvik too. Different kinds of huskies will take you on an exciting journey through the wild and magical terrain! And when you’re up in Northern Norway, the Northern Lights are never far-off! Combine this fun activity with a Nordic Lights ceremony for a truly unforgettable experience!

17. Snowshoeing under the Northern Lights

Now that we’re on the subject of the Northern Lights, how about experiencing this fabulous spectacle while on a snowshoe tour through the mountain landscape? If you book a guided snowshoeing tour, you’ll be collected from central Narvik, and given snowshoes and poles in your size. And the great thing about this activity is that you need no prior experience at all!

Snowshoeing (trugetur)Snowshoeing tour in Narvik is a must for your bucket list.

18. One of the world’s largest continuous rock formations

We have mentioned a number of winter activities in Narvik, but there’s also lots you can do here during the summer months. How about a trip to see the world’s largest continuous rock formations – ideal for both cyclists and hikers. This is an easy tour through a lovely hiking area with amazing views!