The Recreational Mariner's Guide

2. Norway

Outdoor Activities

Visit Norway is a great resource on how to take advantage of Norway’s incredible outdoors. Below are a few suggestions and we list more under the applicable Harbours and Anchorages entries.

Norway’s right-to-roam guidelines

Norwegian Mile

Bear in mind that a mile to a non-sailing Norwegian is 10 kms, so if you are told that a shop is a mile and a half up the road, don’t assume it’s a pleasant half-hour stroll!


Norwegians learn to cross-country, downhill and telemark ski when they are children and it shows in their close connection to and love of the nature around them (and in how well they ski!). Though excellent skiers, they aren’t superior or disparaging of those of us who can’t ski as well as they do; rather, they are happy to be able to share their favourite trails and outdoor activity with others. 

Map of groomed ski trails

There are very few communities in Norway that don’t have groomed, lighted and free cross-country ski trails to help get you through the dark and cold months of December, January and February. And once the light comes back, there are hundreds of kilometres of back-country trails to enjoy, often linked by huts where you can stay overnight.

For example, while hardly a ski-and-sail destination, Oslo (Volume 2) is close to some of the world’s greatest terrain for cross-country skiing. Though climate change has shortened the skiing season by a month or two over a generation, anybody wintering in or near Oslo will have several hundred kms of groomed ski trails to choose from. And with a well-developed public transport system, you can reach ski trails at higher ground in winters where there is little snow in the city itself.

For those interested in more extreme skiing and sailing:

  • Lyngen is at the heart of some excellent ski-and-sail destinations in Troms and West Finnmark (Volume 4)
  • Lofoten is garnering increasing interest with the ski-and-sail fraternity, with trips usually starting and ending in Svolvær (Volume 4)
  • Romsdalsfjorden is popular with skiers and sees some ski-and-sail visitors based around Åndalsnes, as does Hjørundfjorden with boats based at Sæbø (Volume 3)
  • At Easter the visitors’ berths at Sauda Motorbåtforening are crowded with downhill ski enthusiasts. It is a short bus ride from there to the ski lifts at Sauda Skisenter. An alternative is to berth in Stavanger and catch the express boat to Sauda (Volume 2)

These are only some of the opportunities to ski right from your boat. But don’t underestimate the dangers involved. Avalanches pose a very real threat in some areas and the Red Cross, and other volunteer organizations that rescue those who get into trouble in the mountains, are requesting that you hire a guide when extreme skiing in unfamiliar terrain.

Rock and Glacier Climbing

Several areas in Norway offer superb mountain, rock and glacier climbing, with commercial outfits offering instruction and guidance. Consult local Tourist Information Offices for more information. 

A few suggested areas:

  • Åndalsnes, southeast of Molde, is internationally known for rock climbing (Volume 3)
  • The Nordnorsk Klatreskole is a climbing school in Henningsvær, Lofoten that offers courses and guided climbs (Volume 4)
  • The Jostedal glacier is the longest in continental Europe and guided tours on the glacier are offered from several centres which are not too distant from harbours in Sognefjorden and Nordfjorden (Volume 3) 
  • It is a short easy walk from your boat to the beautiful snout of Svartisen glacier in Holandsfjorden, south of Bodø; guided tours on the glacier are offered from tourist centres further inland (Volume 3)


Den Norske Turistforeningen/The Norwegian Trekking Association oversees one of Europe’s largest marked hiking trail networks (20,000 km) and arguably the world’s most extensive cross-country skiing track network (7000 km). They also manage over 450 cabins that are spaced along these networks, all opened with the same key. Once you are a member, you can pick up a key at any DNT office against a small deposit.

Nomaden Bookstore in Oslo is a great resource for hiking/climbing/skiing literature. We also recommend asking for local hiking trails, topographical maps, and information at the various Visitor Information Centres that are found in most towns of any size.

The Norsk Polarinstitutt provides topographical and other maps and photographs.

Below are a few books to get you started.