The Search for Norway’s Northern Lights

This week, we’re excited to have another guest blogger: Marge Roberts.  She’s excited to share a trip with you that she took in 2017 to Norway.  As you’ll soon see (if the picture above wasn’t enough) there are a LOT of reasons Norway should be on your travel wish list.  Take it away, Marge! 

If you have ever thought about going to Norway…. run, don’t walk, to your favorite travel app, and book a trip now!

In 2017, when a friend asked me to join her, I jumped at the chance for a European vacation with friends, not really caring where we went. In hindsight, it was one of my favorite trips so far. I wanted to share my favorite activities and, of course, recommend some food/drink spots. 

After all, food and drinks consume a large portion of any good vacation, no?

Our adventures started off in Oslo, where a walk around the Royal Palace is a great place to start. You can walk all the way around the building itself, and the top of the steps is a great place for a Gossip Girl type photo. XOXO. 

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Frogner Park, about a mile from the Royal Palace, is a large public park with pristine landscaping, sculptures, and a museum. Some great photo ops are available amongst the natural beauty. 

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And, last but not least, you MUST visit the Viking Ship Museum to see several 9th Century Viking Ships. 

The best part about all of these escapades is that they are free, except for the Viking Ship Museum, which comes in at a reasonable ~$11.50/adult. 

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All of these daytime activities can be broken up with a quick trip to Harald’s Waffles. I recommend the classic combo with sour cream, jam, and brown cheese (weird, I know, just trust me). Eight Rooftop Bar of the Grand Hotel Oslo is another great pit stop, with scenic views to accompany an afternoon glass of Champagne which, believe me, we enjoyed!

Other noteworthy bites include Vulknfisk, inside Mathallen Food Hall. Get the mussels and you can thank me later.

Pipervika offers seafood with sweeping views of the port via floor to ceiling glass. Ruffino’s Italian is ideal for a nice dinner out followed by a nightcap at Summit Bar at top of Radisson Blu Scandinavian Hotel.

Summit Bar also has splendid views of the city at night through three full walls of windows, making it the perfect way to wind down your evening. 

But my favorite might have been the unassuming Schou Brewery, a no-frills brewery that feels like it could be underneath a palace. The warmth from the floor-to-ceiling brick combined with the warmth from the fireplace made for a nice juxtaposition to some chilled brews. 

After Oslo, we visited Tromsø, Norway. If you have never heard of it, do not worry.  I had not either. And yet, this place quickly became the star of the show! We found another cozy pub, Huken Pub, with superb burgers and a warm cabin-like environment. We even managed to meet some locals at Solid, a bar with spunky music, and a lively crowd. 

But guys, the best was yet to come.

There were two events, yes events not activities, that were easily the highlight of the whole trip.  First, the Fjellheisen cable car offers panoramic views of the city and the surrounding island. I suggest going around sunset and taking in this breathtaking scene! 

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But the piece de resistance was, of course, a northern lights tour.

Everyone was dying to see them.  Everyone, it seemed, except me.  Don’t get me wrong, I thought it would be cool, but I severely underestimated this worldly wonder. We did a northern lights tour from Polar Adventures (https://www.polaradventures.no/) who had given us a wonderful bus tour of Tromsø the day before. The tour consisted of a drive up the mountain at night and we were given suits to help keep us warm. Our tour guides stopped the bus, gave us fold-out chairs, and made hot chocolate while we waited. 

Drumroll please…our tour guide said this was one of the best showings of the northern lights he had seen in 6 years (For reference, we went in mid-October).

The green lights came rolling in over the mountains for hours. We laid on the ground and watched, in awe, feeling so small and yet feeling the importance of what was happening.

I have never experienced anything quite this spectacular in my life. I implore you to take the time to get out of the city, up the mountain, and brave the cold because it will be something you will not forget. 

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Thanks Marge for sharing your absolutely incredible trip to Norway.  We’re both incredibly jealous and will be booking our trip just as soon as this whole lockdown thing gets lifted!