Norway during the summer, might just be one of the most beautiful, awe-inspiring, places on Earth, and the absolute best way to experience its endless splendor is by van.
Pristine, snow-capped, sheer-sloped mountains shaded in pink, peach and gold, under a soft sun that skims along the jagged blue horizon, playfully refusing to sink entirely into the inky night. The Norwegian landscape is Mother Nature at her most extravagant, uninhibited and unblemished.
The gentle wild-flower meadows and tumbling farmlands of south-eastern Norway give way to the sheer grandeur and incomprehensible magnitude of the countless mirror-like fjords, pine forests, waterfalls, unique rock formations and mountains in western Norway. Then, there are the extremes of the vast arctic north, harsh, desolate, sparsely populated and wild…
Norway has an unlimited source of wonder, and when it comes to a VanLifer’s paradise, THIS is it:
And there’s so much more than meets the eye. Drew and I spent 5 weeks in Norway (July- August). We crossed the Norwegian border in the north after having spent 5 days hiking and camping along the Kungsleden (full post here), Scandinavia’s longest, most famous through hike. Our plan was to start in the Lofoten Islands and make our way south, visiting all the National Parks, hiking all the mountains + exploring Stavanger and Oslo before needing to return to England in time for the end of our Schengen Visas:
Mentioned in the video above, “Allemannsretten,” which literally translates to “Every Man’s Right,” and is commonly referred to as the “Right to Roam,” is the right of public access to the wilderness (great article here). This right has been maintained from ancient times and in 1957, the Norwegians enshrined wild camping in the Outdoor Recreation Act. This is what makes it possible for us VanLifers (+ backpackers + outdoor lovers in general) to camp in THE MOST STUNNINGLY UNFORGETTABLE PLACES without any concern of the “dreaded 2am knock.” Flashback to the 3 months we spent in Croatia where wild camping is totally illegal… With a small population and such an abundance of big, open spaces in Norway, we never had a problem finding a place to camp for the night:
What’s even more amazing is that nearly the entire country is set up for campers! We were almost always able to find free water (paid 10 NOK at the gas station once), free places to empty our tanks and sometimes we even found free electricity! Plus, we’re pretty sure we found the world’s prettiest dump station:
Oh and we can’t forget the joy of a cozy campfire. No matter what small piece of forest, river bank or beach we were calling “home” that night, there was nearly always a fire ring just waiting for us to spark things up again:
Also, the community of VanLifers, hitch hikers, car campers and backpackers was unlike anything we had ever experienced before! In our short, action-packed time, we managed to make friends with a French chef hiking solo across Lofoten + hiked with a woman who was “hostel hopping” from Switzerland + shared a campfire with a couple traveling in a vintage green VW from Germany + sipped on tea and coffee with a couple in an RV from England + we even enjoyed a van-side, spaghetti dinner date under a bridge with a sweet couple from Holland (@travelmanyroads) who we parked next to the night before and hiked up Ryten with them earlier that day!
And I can’t believe we still haven’t mentioned the INSANE variety of OUTRAGEOUS adventures that are to be had in Norway! (Yr.No is the absolute best site for navigating Norway’s unpredictable weather patterns.)
We have never been so hiked out in our lives! Never. I didn’t even know it could happen. Here’s a page from my journal that lists ALL the hikes + summits we reached during our time there (+ full post on the 11 most UNFORGETTABLE hikes in Norway here!):
Now, showers were a bit tricky to come by. Often times we were able to find them at the mountain huts located at the hiking trailheads (once we found a coin operated shower at a marina), but the majority of the time we embraced the Arctic chill and went with a polar plunge. With views as good as this, you forget how cold you are… well, sorta:
Ooooh Norway, you maybe one of the most expensive countries in the world, but thanks to our rolling home, we were able to enjoy you without worrying quite so much about our pennies… or should we say “kroner.” As you’ll see in this episode (fun moments Norwegian grocery store shopping + $12 liter of Ben and Jerry’s!), we ate out just once during our 5 weeks in Norway, which helped us with our budgeting + we stocked up on non-perishables and beverages in France + Germany before crossing the border. When all your van-made meals come with a giant side of splendor, there really is no place else we’d rather be anyway:
And we can’t forget the loads (literally pounds/kilos) of wild-raspberries we foraged that helped offset our costs:
Plus, Norway also comes complete with some of the cutest, fuzziest, friendliest neighbors around (episode with our cow friends licking the Howlin’ Yoweller here):
There is so much more we could say about why VanLife in Norway is so magical… but we’ll just let our videos and photos do the talking + you can watch our VanLife Norway Vlog, filmed during the 1st week we were there, here. May you embrace the spirit of “friluftsliv” that lives inside each and every one of us.
For more insight on VanLife in Norway, you can watch the little vlog we filmed during our first week exploring the country