Try affordable luxury hotels, shared excursions, winter visits and more.
Scandinavia can be one of the most expensive regions in the world to visit, according to Kelly Brennan, a travel adviser at the New York City travel company Indagare. However, Norway is the exception.
“Norway is a great choice for travelers on a limited budget who want a luxury experience, because it’s still up-and-coming in popularity,” Brennan said. She also offered some tips on how to enjoy a luxury vacation in Norway without emptying your wallet in the process.
Stay at the most upscale hotels: The best hotels in Norway are a bargain compared with other countries in Scandinavia and other global tourist destinations. Luxury properties such as the Storfjord Hotel, which is the best place to stay to explore the fjords and the charming town of Alesund, have rates starting at $200 a night.
Book shared excursions: Many of Norway’s best activities are offered as small- group experiences. Consider gathering a small group and booking a sailboat tour in the fjords, going dog-sledding and ice-fishing in Tromsø, or enjoying a boat tour complete with a prawn buffet and cocktails in Oslo.
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Brennan encourages travelers to book these instead of springing for private tours because they’re often 75 percent cheaper and are equally enjoyable when shared with others. Learn more about available group excursions through your hotel’s concierge, an online search or through a local tourist office.
Splurge on a few private activities: Whether it’s spending the night in a 150-year-old restored lighthouse in Alesund, seeing the Northern Lights by car or another unique excursion, Brennan said that special, intimate activities are the ones worth booking privately. She noted that it’s not going to cost travelers more than a few hundred dollars per person to book for an individual or a couple. “Many private activities are so reasonably priced that most travelers can afford to splurge on one or two,” she said.
Visit Oslo in the winter: While this season provides the city with very little sunlight, winter is a great time to visit Oslo because hotel rates and prices for airline tickets and tours are at their lowest. Brennan said travelers will also be rewarded with a lively atmosphere.
During the coldest months, restaurants offer sheepskin wool blankets and space heaters so patrons can dine outside; outdoor movies play in the downtown area; and locals crowd the bars and warm up with mulled wine.
See the free attractions: They include the Geiranger Fjord; the Trollstigen, a serpentine mountain road; and National Tourist Routes, a collection of scenic highways throughout the country.
The country also happens to be a paradise for driving, Brennan explained. “Car rentals are affordable, driving around is easy, and if you get lost, most Norwegians speak English,” she said.