Overnight in Norway?
Simple as well as complicated at the same time, because countless possibilities, a fundamentally different understanding or rather, completely different expectations of the Norwegians as well as an extremely wide price range of the individual offers do not make the selection very easy.
In addition, in many regions, the offers depend very much on the (usually very short) season and even large hotels with the conclusion of these just close their doors or at least their restaurants ... ..
Since we were allowed to experience all variants of tents in the meantime even to the sensational dream hotel, we would like to share some tips, experiences and information with you. In the next sections we will introduce you to the peculiarities as well as the advantages and disadvantages of the different possibilities:
Staying in holiday homes and DNT cabins
Staying in a cabin: Let's start with that, because the Norwegians love cabins in any form. Almost everyone has their own hut, knows someone who owns one or at least has the opportunity to spend his free time in the "company hut". It is therefore not surprising that there is an infinite variety of offers for the use of a hut - from the simple mountain hut of the DNT to the luxury log cabin private provider. In addition, almost every campsite offers cottages of varying quality and amenities, which are usually used by travelers for only one or two nights. But more in our contribution to the subject of camping in Norway.
If you want to stay in one place for a long time, it is recommended to rent a cabin directly from the owner or through one of the reputed agents for a week or more. We have very much liked in a two-week vacation for a week a hut by the sea and for the rest of the time something appropriate in the mountains or another region rented. So you did not have to move constantly, had a solid base camp and could discover from there on day trips constantly new things, without it gets boring. A perfect alternative to the classic round trip, in our view.
The cabins are usually fully equipped and, depending on the price range, simply or even luxuriously furnished. It is not uncommon in remote areas that there may be no electricity, no water or even an outside toilet. Often you have a stove and sometimes even a sauna (in Norwegian "Badstue") in the house. You should see if you need to bring sheets and / or towels, which is usually the case.
In general, you should also clarify in advance or see if the final cleaning of the cottage when leaving the total price is included and whether the desired comfort is also offered. As already noted: Running water, electricity or even a TV are not always self-evident, because the value of a hut in Norway often results more from the exclusive location in a breathtaking nature, than from the facilities.
As an angler you should also clarify whether a boat belongs to the hut, or this additionally rented and also reserved (!!) must be.
One should not be surprised that the handover of a hut in Norway is very casual and quite often based on trust. So we did not even meet the landlord during our stay and the key on hiding places at the hut taken over and handed over again.
As a rule, these cabins are reserved and booked well in advance. Demand here is correspondingly high, especially in the high season, especially as the Norwegians often go on vacation themselves during this time. For round trips with spontaneous overnight stays or a flexible route these huts are rather not suitable and just not recommended. For the booking you either use one of the major agents or, if you are a bit Norwegian, the possibility to book directly with a private provider via the leading Norwegian classifieds platform finn.no. There are currently more than 5000 huts available for rent throughout Norway.
If you are a hiker in the mountains or backpacker with backpack in the country on the way, you can also use the well-developed network of shelters or one of the almost 500 cabins of the Norwegian hiking club DNT. These cabins are divided into three categories:
- "UBETJENT" - huts not serviced (simple shelters with fire and sleeping facilities but without provisions storage / either not locked or with DNT universal key to open)
- "SELVBETJENT" - cabins are self-service (huts that are used or trusted by trust and in addition to the fire and sleeping facilities also a kitchen and a warehouse with provisions offer / open with DNT universal key or busy in the season sometimes with a landlord as a guard )
- "BETJENT" - Huts served (analogous to mountain or mountain hotels, with hospitality and allocation of sleeping places by the operators on site / accommodation in 2-, 4- or shared rooms / Simple, but good facilities with electricity, shower and drying room for hiking clothes / Toilets are mostly outdoors or in the hallway.)
Basically you can also use these huts, if you are not a member of the DNT. However, you pay in any case higher prices and has no DNT universal key for the uncultivated huts. In this one comes only if there other DNT members also want to stay and open the hut for it. From our experience as well as considerations, we can say that membership in the DNT is worth starting from just three nights and the annual fee for membership (see table) is offset by the discounts granted.
Being a member is also possible for Germans and very simple: On the one hand there is the possibility that you will become a member directly through the DNT website. You will then receive the ID either by post, which can take about 2 weeks, or you can send your membership number by e-mail. Alternatively, since 2018, you can also maintain your membership electronically via the DNT App and prove how we are doing it in the meantime.
An overview of all huts including a great map can be found on the Norwegian website ut.no.
In this german video you will learn more about the DNT-huts and their use:
Spend the night in a hotel
Gjestegård, Bed and Breakfast, Vandrehjem, Fjellstue, Betjent Hytte, Hotell - and certainly many more offers and possibilities more .... The boundaries are often fluid and even the number of stars in Norway will ultimately give little assurance in terms of quality, location and value for money.
The Norwegians are simply pragmatic, have different priorities and different expectations. A shared bathroom in an otherwise great and almost glamorous hotel is no problem for them, if service, location and / or breakfast buffet are good. In the meantime we have gotten to know and appreciate a lot of great hotels in Norway.
Here are a variety of beautiful events and experiences in memory: The nice owner of the fjord hotel in Evenes (our overnight stay at round trips in the north), who has prepared us at night a delicious meal, the magnificent view over the underlying Oslo city from the Scandic Holmenkollen Hotel, the damn delicious and individually prepared fresh fish on the island of Vega and countless other experiences that we do not want to miss.
Almost always we experienced an incredible friendliness and guest orientation as well as the already mentioned pragmatism, which is deeply and historically rooted in the Norwegians: a guest who knocks on the door, which must be helped. So there is always a bed and / or a bed and usually also something to eat. You can and can be quite spontaneous in Norway, if it is not just about the hottest hot spots in the season.
In this context, we would like to report here from the hostel Gjendebu. This is only accessible on foot on the banks of the Gjende and is often used by hikers on this lake and in the Jotunheimen as accommodation for one night. We got to know the great atmosphere and the hospitality there during our hut tour through the Jotunheimen 2013. On the homepage of this location, the question, what happens, if you arrive there late and all sleeping places are already taken, you read the characteristic, charming and typical Norwegian answer:
Gjendebu is 4 to 5 hours' walk from the nearest property. Of course we can not refuse anyone. No matter how full it is. So that means: on some days we have more guests than beds. Then we look for places for extra mattresses where guests can sleep, and the kitchen prepares some more meals.
In 2006, that has been the case over 23 days. Our guests had understanding and packed with active. Nice to see that in such a situation also new friendships arise, because just everyone moves a little closer together.
For the distribution of beds, of course, we have clear rules: first, families with children. We always try to give them their own space. A family with two children can be found in a 2-bed room - of course with extra mattresses. Then come everyone who is older than 60. They usually get a place in a 2- to 4-bed room.
For example, we would like to accommodate groups that know each other in a 4-bed room, or we offer one of our large lavvo tents.
When we have filled all the beds, dorms and lavvos in this way, we start again and put for example a 6th or 7th mattress in a 4-bed room and take advantage of every corner. And finally, we convert the large lounges and fireplace rooms into dormitories with mattresses.
Our only goal when it is crowded: Each of our guests should feel welcome and treated well.
The many historical hotels in Norway deserve a separate chapter, where the visit often looks like a journey into another time or another world. These providers have joined together in an association to cultivate traditions and their own marketing. An overnight stay in one of these hotels, which often has its own unique charm and soul (as the Norwegians say), is an unforgettable experience. Especially romantic winter days for two, the honeymoon or other, very special occasions are ideal for a booking in a historic hotel.
In Scandinavia, the B B's are as widespread as in the British Isles. With many tourists exploring the country on round trips, there is a large bed and breakfast offering in all price ranges, with the transition to classic hotels or farms being mostly fluid. Many rural property owners are improving with the rental of small cabins, apartments or rooms. We have consistently good experience, whether at the Sognefjord on the great estate Nes Gard or in the Oldendal on Nordfjord in the cabins of the farm Aabrekk Gard.
Most of the time you live very original, immerse yourself in the Norwegian life and sometimes even has access to the family. In the main season (mid-July to mid-August), it is advisable to book in advance in the popular regions (in the fjords and Lofoten) online. If you want to be spontaneous and flexible, then you should arrive early in the afternoon and ask for free rooms, as these are usually fully booked until the evening.
In the north of Norway, above Trondheim, there are often installations with the well-known old fishermen's huts, the so-called Rorbuern. These picturesque and beautifully to look at, usually red painted wooden houses by the sea, invite in many different ways to unforgettable nights. Whether newly built or lovingly restored - a stay in these cabins, which are mostly part of a hotel business, is incredibly impressive and is ideal for honeymoon or other highlights.
Staying on a farm or work and travel in Norway
In Norway, the emphasis is on good raw materials for food, the preservation of nature and the maintenance of historical traditions as well as a certain originality. So it is not surprising that there are many self-sufficient, farms with conventional methods and in fact many companies that are operated with much idealism. They are always happy to welcome customers in their farm shops or overnight guests as well as energetic helpers in everyday life.
If your budget is tight or you want to travel in Norway for a long time, this tour can usually be combined well and simply with these stays. Often one helps in the household or with the care of the guests and receives in return a small pocket money or free food and lodging for the time. One of the biggest intermediaries for these stays is Workaway, who currently offers 391 opportunities in Norway on his Workaway.info portal .
A few years ago still an insider tip and now more popular, but not so well known in Germany, the Norwegian Association Hanen, offers stays and vacations in the original environment and mostly far from the tourist crowds. Have a look at the German-> , where you can get a great overview of accommodation offers as well as fruit shops, riding stables and much more on a map. Also, for a spontaneous stay on a tour of the country, these lodgings often offer, as they usually somehow still have a room available ....
Stay overnight at the Norwegian hostel
Here, too, there is a fluid transition between the classic youth hostels, hotels and the popular in Norway Vandrehjem (Wanderheim). These are often and gladly used for a reasonably priced overnight stay in transit and, in addition to larger bedrooms, also offer 2 to 4-bed rooms. Most of the bathrooms and toilets can be found either in the corridor or outside the sleeping building. Nevertheless, usually the price-performance ratio is right and so you can definitely plan these offers as a cheap alternative on your trip in Norway.
Again, there is a portal on which you can get an overview and possibly even book now. On the Norwegian website hihostels.no you will find an incredible number of hostels in Norway and more information.
We hope that we have given you a comprehensive overview of all accommodation options in Norway and with our first-hand experience. Does anything miss? Do you have special questions? Then we look forward to your comments under this article.