Travel Sustainably in Norway
You’ll soon be travelling to Norway and we’re here to help you get prepared in the best way possible.
When visiting this Scandinavian gem, it’s good to keep in mind the importance of preserving it all for future generations to enjoy.
At Nordic Visitor, we believe in doing our part for the planet and our local environment. For that reason, we want to encourage you to do the same when visiting our beloved region.
At Nordic Visitor, we believe in doing our part for the planet and our local environments. For that reason, we want to encourage you to do the same when visiting our beloved region.
That said, sustainable travel is not just about conserving the environment. It’s also about supporting local economies and having a positive impact on the local communities.
On this page, you’ll find some friendly suggestions on how you can do your part.
Packing for your visit to Norway
Arrive in Norway prepared to be as green as possible by bringing a couple of items from home. We recommend packing a reusable water bottle and shopping bags. This way, you can save money and be environmentally friendly all at once.
The drinking water in the Nordic region is clean and pure. That means it’s safe to drink the tap water and you can refill your bottle as you go.
When it comes to shopping bags, shops in Norway are required by law to charge you for them. So an easy way for you to reduce the amount of waste from your holiday and save money is to bring a reusable shopping bag with you. It’s a win-win situation!
Making the most of the local cultures
Norwegian culture is famously rooted in their Viking heritage, but this isn’t all you’ll find here. You’ll also discover a people deeply connected to their land and its nature.
By supporting the local cultures, you’ll embrace your Norwegian experience while making a positive impact on the economy and people.
1. Shop local for souvenirs
If you plan on buying souvenirs, why not purchase items made locally? Here are some suggestions:
- Candy or chocolate – you might already know, but the Norwegians love black licorice. Make sure to try it and take some home if you have Scandinavian tastes. You’ll also find a number of chocolatiers to buy from.
- Brown cheese or a cheese slicer – sweet, brown cheese (or “brunost”) is very popular in Norway and you might want to try it to eat like the locals for lunch.
- Knitted wool items – you could purchase jumpers or mittens hand-knitted by locals. Norway is a fairly cold country so you can trust the locals to know how to keep warm.
- Norwegian aquavit – this strong alcohol is distilled from potato and often flavoured with local herbs.
- Sámi accessories – pick up some fancy jewellery or wood-carved items, hand-crafted by the indigenous communities in the north of Norway.
When buying souvenirs, try to look at the origins of the product to see if they are local or not. You can also ask the vendor.
2. Don’t remove natural items from the landscape
Please keep in mind that in Norway you are not allowed to remove stones, plants, rocks or other natural items from protected areas.
3. Eat local
An easy way to support the economy while travelling is to eat out at local restaurants. You need to eat, after all! We especially recommend looking for menus that feature local, seasonal produce.
4. Attend Scandinavian events
Going to festivals and special events hosted in Oslo, Bergen, Trondheim or further afield is a great way to soak up the local cultures.
Check out these local websites like Visit Oslo to find more information. There you will be able to access information on cultural events during the dates you visit.
5. Be respectful of local traditions and customs
When visiting cultural and historical sites, remember to be mindful of the importance these sites have for locals. They represent their culture and hundreds of years of tradition and are great sources of pride.
Using sustainable transportation
1. Walk around if you can
The top Norwegian cities, Oslo, Bergen and Trondheim, are all easy to get around on foot. Wandering the enchanting streets of the old city centres is also a great way to explore. Your accommodation is likely to be central so you can access restaurants and shops without a car.
2. Hop on public transport
Public transport is an easy, cheap, and sustainable way to travel around Scandinavian cities. Most cities offer extensive routes with buses and trams.
- Or check out train tours in Norway to travel sustainably around the country
3. Drive gently to be more eco-efficient
If you are going on a self-drive tour, there is still a way for you to be more sustainable. The easiest way to limit the fuel consumption of your vehicle is to drive gently, evenly and smoothly.
Acceleration and braking require more energy, so avoid sharp acceleration and abrupt braking. Try maintaining a constant speed to be more economical and eco-friendly.
Conserving the natural environment
One of the main attractions in Norway is its incredible natural scenery. There is a lot you can do and keep in mind to help preserve it during your trip.
1. Leave no trace behind
Norway is known for its unspoiled and clean nature. Help keep it this way by putting your litter in bins and recycling if possible. If there are no bins where you are visiting, take your rubbish back with you to your accommodation so you can dispose of it there.
2. Don’t go off-road driving
Driving and parking sensibly will help preserve the natural landscapes. Keep to marked roads and parking spots and do not create an obstruction.
3. Hike along marked trails
Hiking is a great way to discover more of the natural gems of Norway. You’ll find many beautiful hiking trails of all levels and through a variety of landscapes.
You’ll find it useful to know that Norway offers the freedom to roam. This means you are welcome to roam around the natural landscape, go hiking, enjoy nature, swim in lakes and pick berries.
The main principle to keep in mind on your journey is “do not disturb and do not destroy”.
For your safety, and to conserve the natural environment, always follow advice from park rangers and directions from safety signs. If marked paths are available, please use these.
4. Be mindful when visiting national parks and protected areas
You need to show extra consideration to the natural environment when visiting national parks and protected areas.
Please be aware that you are not allowed to pick protected species or to remove items from national parks or nature reserves. You are also not allowed to swim in lakes within nature reserves or where there are bird sanctuaries.
Some sites may even have restricted access during wildlife nesting and breeding seasons. Make sure to honour these restrictions so as not to disturb the wildlife.
5. Observe wildlife without disturbing it
When visiting Scandinavia and going wildlife spotting, your goal should be quiet observation. To not disturb the different species, we recommend you do not make quick movements or loud noises.
You should also try keeping your distance. A recommended 200 metres (700 feet) is ideal. This is especially true if you’re out hiking and come upon animals.
When meeting farm animals, please respect farmers' advice. If they are out in fields, do not pet them or feed them.
Carbon offsetting your trip
If you are interested in carbon offsetting your trip, you can do so through Sustainable Travel International. What does carbon offsetting mean? Trees will be planted to offset the carbon emissions produced by your trip.
Sustainable Travel International also funds projects to reduce CO2 emissions, like generating renewable energy or increasing energy efficiency. They support farmers worldwide who want to practice sustainable harvesting, help restore wetlands, and much more.
If you’re looking for more resources, you can also check out the practical information section of our Norway Travel Guide. Here you’ll find handy tips to prepare for your trip, such as weather conditions, health and safety and what to pack.
By travelling in a sustainable way you are helping us preserve Norway so that future generations can also enjoy visiting.