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The Midnight Sun & Other Norwegian Adventures
If there’s one person that’s the office go-to for travel tips, it’s Carolyn Addison, Head of Product for søster and Black Tomato. Carolyn recently visited Norway on a research trip hosted by an array of sustainable DMCs and hotels, which saw her travel to several destinations within the country, taking in the beautifully varied scenery and diverse experiences on offer. Here are a few highlights from her trip…
One of the most memorable properties I stayed in was Storfjord, half an hour from the town of Ålesund. It’s a secluded, typically Scandi-style property with the wooded aesthetic you can expect to see on the Alpine hilltops of Norway, but with a sophisticated, luxe edge. Storfjord loaned us their fleet of electric Porsches for a gorgeous (and fun!) drive to their sister hotel in the village of Øye. Cruising the fjords from Øye into Ålesund was as beautiful as I’d expected – always a pleasant surprise when reality lives up to your expectations on a holiday!
We finished the trip at Holmen Lofoten, above the Arctic Circle, where the gorgeous scenery and passionate chefs, artisans and guides made for a truly memorable stay. The hotel hosted experiences with cocktail masters and local blacksmiths as well as hikes, kayaking trips and excursions with naturalist guides.
The further north you go, the more nights of midnight sun you get. During the summer months above the Arctic Circle, you can experience up to 24 hours of sunlight. It takes some getting used to but is quite remarkable to experience. Finishing supper as the sun began to rise again at Holmen was unforgettable.
Many of the highlights of the trip revolved around the water; I’ll never forget seeing orcas in the Lofoten Islands, a rarity we were so lucky to experience. I was surprised at how much I enjoyed cold water swimming, which we did in the Oslo Fjord and straight off the dock at Holmen. It’s such a great way to wake up in the morning (especially if there is a sauna nearby) and has lots of great health benefits too from improving circulation and concentration to reducing stress.
Back in Oslo, an art must is the recently opened Munch Museum where you can see the artist’s masterpiece ‘The Scream’ among a huge range of his other early and later works. Design-lovers will be fascinated by The Plus factory, which also just opened and is aiming to be the most sustainable furniture factory in the world. They will be offering tours to visitors soon – charmingly, they’ve also built Norway’s highest slide from the factory’s public roof garden right down to the ground.
The diversity of the landscapes of Norway provides a great variety of experiences that suit all tastes and preferences. Kayaking, e-bikes and RIB boats are all wonderful ways to see the scenery, marine life and bird life from different perspectives. There’s no shortage of elegant dining experiences either; in addition to world-class restaurants we enjoyed open-air gourmet picnics and lunch at a restored 19th-century farmhouse made by a couple who source all the ingredients locally. It was a truly unique (and delicious) cultural experience.
A fun fact about Norway that travellers may not necessarily consider? It has impressive sustainability credentials, from the highest percentage of e-vehicles in the world to very little single-use plastic and good rail infrastructure that makes low-emission travel easy and enjoyable.
With all Covid-19 regulations dropped, Norway is a great all-round destination for incentives, brand experiences, prize giveaways and just general holidays. It never seems to get too crowded, but for those looking to plan a trip, I’d suggest May or September to avoid the busier summer months.