Camping in Norway

Camping in Norway: Exploring campsites in Norway

For the outdoor adventurer, camping in Norway is a dream come true. Defined by dramatic landscapes, amazing hiking trails, and incredible wildlife, Norway will change the way you look at camping forever.

Of course, before you can dive in and start pitching your tent, you’ll need to know a little about the rules and reality of Norwegian camping.

While Norway has hundreds of amazing places to visit if you want to sleep under the stars, it can also be a pretty challenging environment for beginners. The rules of camping in Norway may not be the same as the ones you know back home.

On the plus side, you can rest assured you’ll be in a relatively safe place, wherever you choose to stay, as Norway is known for its friendly locals.

Today, we’re going to cover all the essential rules you need to know about camping in Norway, as well as giving you an insight into some of the best campsites in Norway, so you can plan your trip.

Let’s get exploring.

Wild camping in Norway: Can you camp anywhere in Norway?

Like most parts of the world, Norway has no shortage of dedicated camping spots for explorers. You can snuggle up for a night in a cozy cabin, travel in your own campervan, or just pitch a tent. What makes camping in Norway particularly unique, is the right to sleep almost anywhere.

Norway has something called “the right to roam”. This means you can walk just about anywhere in the region, and explore nature at your leisure, provided you’re respectful, and don’t cause any damage. You can put up a tent wherever you go to sleep under the stars.

This rule applies to forest, mountains, countryside and more. The only major rule is you need to stay at least 150 meters away from the nearest inhabited cabin or house (this includes camping grounds).

Notably, if you choose to embrace “wild camping”, or camping without any access to amenities and campsite support in Norway, you can only stay in the same place for one day. Each morning, you’ll need to get up and find somewhere else to place your tent.

There are also other guidelines you’ll need to be aware of if you’re going to try wild camping. For instance, you’ll have to double-check the site you’re at allows for campfires before you start building a fire, and you’ll have to ensure it’s fully extinguished.

Norway also allows campers to pick wildflowers, mushrooms, and berries, or you can fish for saltwater species if you want a little lunch. However, there are rules about picking cloudberries in Northern Norway, so it’s best to double-check your options before you start foraging for your dinner.

Camping in Norway

Is Norway motorhome friendly?

For those who enjoy the great outdoors, it’s hard to find a location more flexible and accommodating than Norway. The right to roam means you can place your tent just about anywhere you choose, and there are no rules against sleeping in your car in Norway either.

This means you can easily just pull off the road and take a nap when you need to mid-travel. Just be sure your parking won’t disrupt any other drivers or cause any disruptions on the road.

If you want to explore as much of Norway’s incredible landscape as possible during your trip, using a campervan is usually the best bet. However, it’s worth remembering that though you’re allowed to pitch a tent anywhere in Norway, you can’t just park a caravan wherever you choose.

If you’re in a parking lot, you’ll usually be able to see signs saying “no camping” when motorhomes aren’t permitted. Make sure you stick to those rules, otherwise you could end up getting into a lot of trouble.

Fortunately, there are a lot of parking lots and designated camping spots for motorhomes, so if you’re thinking of travelling in winter, you can definitely use your caravan.

What are the rules for camping in Norway?

The rules for camping in Norway vary depending on the kind of camping you’re doing. For the most part, Allemannsretten (the right to roam), ensures you can use all the land in Norway for your own purpose, as long as you’re respectful.

This makes it much easier to camp close to the various locations you might want to visit during your Norwegian trip.

Of course, not every piece of land is public — so make sure you keep your eyes open for any signs identifying a location as “private land”, as you won’t be permitted to camp there. You’ll also be responsible for following various rules to keep Norway looking amazing.

Some important rules for camping in Norway include:

  • You can camp on public land only when it’s 150m away from private property, buildings in use, or even campsites in use by other people.
  • Land that is being cultivated is not available for camping. This includes farmland, hay meadows, and young plantations of forest.
  • You can only camp for up to two nights in any stretch of uncultivated land before you need to ask permission from the local authorities.
  • You should not be blocking the view of any major tourist attractions with your camping strategy, and your camp shouldn’t impact any trails or hiking routes.
  • You must always respect nature and leave no evidence of your stay behind. This means picking up any litter.
  • You can camp near cities provided you follow the rules associated with staying away from private land and homes. There are some fields and other locations around Oslo and popular cities for camping.
  • Campers are permitted to swim wherever they like in Norway, as long as it’s not in a source of drinking water. Check for signposting in the area to make sure the space is safe for swimming and stay away from private property.
Camping in Norway

When’s the best time for camping in Norway?

Technically, Norway’s laws will allow campers to camp whenever they like, wherever they like all throughout the year. However, this doesn’t necessarily mean pitching a tent in the winter is a good idea.

The winters in Norway are among the most dangerous in the world. There’s very little sunlight during some parts of the year, and you could risk some serious issues if you’re not prepared.

If you’re planning on camping in winter, it’s best to ensure you’re using either a campervan or a lodge, as you will likely struggle to stay warm enough in a tent alone.

On the plus side, if you do decide to camp somewhere safe in the winter months, you may have a higher chance of seeing the Northern Lights, as the lack of daylight makes it easier to spot the colors in the sky.

Due to the extreme cold of the winter month, the camping season in Norway usually runs throughout spring and summer. During the summer, the sun stays in the sky for long periods, giving you more time to explore the open land and see as much of the country as possible.

Although temperatures won’t be sweltering, they should be warm enough.

One point to keep in mind when camping throughout the year is there are various hunting seasons for different animals. Wild camping tends to be banned in areas where hunts are happening for your safety, so double check the space you hope to use is available.

Best campsites in Norway: Places to visit

The ultimate campsite in Norway for your needs will depend on a number of factors, including the kind of camping experience you want. There are hundreds of campsites dotted around the country, and a star system ranks most.

The higher the number of stars, the more amenities you’ll get. For instance, a one-star location may just have clean water, while a 5-star has a shop and pool.

Depending on your campsite of choice, you can usually decide whether you’d prefer to stay in your own campervan or tent, or you’d like to hire something from the destination. Some locations will have luxurious cabins to rent if you feel like having a bit more comfort on cold evenings.

Here are some of the best campsites in Norway to try:

Camping in Norway
Credit: Lillehammer Camping

1. Lillehammer camping

Lillehammer camping in Eastern Norway is located close to the biggest lake in the country — lake Mjosa. The destination isn’t far from the historical city center for Lillehammer either, so you’ll have plenty to do when you’re enjoying your stay.

One great thing about this camping destination is its proximity to fun locations for the kids — like the Hunderfossen adventure park.

2. Hammerstad camping

Located in the Lofoten region, Hammerstad camping is positioned in a charming spot next to the Austenesjford, making it a great choice for nature lovers who want an amazing view.

There are plenty of mountains and surrounding natural spots to explore, and you can even rent a boat if you want to go exploring on the water. For those who don’t have their own van or tent, there are cabins and caravans available for extra comfort.

3. Fagernes camping

With luxury camping spots and locations where you can pitch your own tent, the Fagernes camping spot give you plenty of variety for your outdoor adventure. The destination is warm and welcoming, with great deals to offer in winter too.

This campsite is particularly appealing because it’s close to the Valdres open-air museum. Plus, there are lots of mountains nearby for hiking.

For those in search of extra things to do, Fagernes camping offers bike rides, and access to a legendary food festival during November, known as Rakfiskfestivalen.

4. Boflaten camping AS

Considered by visitors to be one of the most superb camping spots in Norway, the Boflaten grounds are available for tent users and van campers alike. There’s also a selection of wooden cabins available if you need somewhere warmer to stay.

The site is located next to lake Vangsmose, and it’s only a little while away from various locations, like a nearby city, a private sandy beach, and more.

When visiting this destination, you’ll find plenty of things to do, including fishing, kayaking, bike riding and hiking. Free wi-fi is available on-site.

Camping in Norway
Credit: Visit Kragero

5. Lovisenberg family camping

Easily one of the more stunning campsites in Norway, Lovisenberg family camping comes with everything from a private pool, to your own waterslide. The ground is located by the Helle fjord, and there’s plenty of nature to explore nearby if you’re an avid hiker.

This destination is perfect to visit in the summer when the sun is shining, and you might want to go for a dip.

The heated saltwater pool is just one of the fantastic amenities. There’s a family room, dining room with kitchen, a shop, and a reception. You can also rent a cabin if you’re looking for extra comfort.

6. Malkevoll Bretun camping

Committed to giving you one of the most beautiful Norwegian camping experiences around, the Malkevoll Bretun camping spot is the place to go for amazing views. You’ll settle into your camping ground surrounded by mountains and nature.

There’s even the world-famous Krisdal glacier to explore nearby, or you can visit Jostedal national park.

The Malevoll camping ground includes a free sauna — for a truly Norwegian experience, and a kitchen barn. There’s also a natural bouldering course on site and a lot of surrounding hiking routes.

7. Rystad Lofoten camping

With amazing wooden cabins and wide grassy spaces where you can park your tent or campervan, this coastal site in the Lofoten islands is great for sea lovers.

You’ll be able to wake up each morning to the view of mountains and glistening ocean, plus there are picnic benches nearby so you can enjoy your lunch in style.

Though a little simpler than some of the camping locations you’ll find around Norway, this is still a great go-to location for getting back to nature.

8. Skottevik feriesenter

An excellent place to consider if you’d like to rent your own apartment or cabin in Norway, the Skottevik campsite has something for everyone.

There’s plenty of room for tents and campervans if you’re bringing your own, and the onsite amenities are great, including everything from a heated swimming pool, to a sand volleyball court.

For those who don’t feel like catching and cooking their own food, there’s a delicious restaurant where you can try some local delights too.

9. Geirangerfjorden feriesenter

For a true look at the beauty of Norway, it’s hard to compete with the Geirangerfjord area. This camping ground is located directly next to the fjord, offering a scenic view of one of the locations on the UNESCO World Heritage list.

The beautiful destination is surrounded by snow-covered mountains and wild waterfalls, for an experience like no other.

One of the biggest benefits of staying here is a chance to stock up on some delicious food. There are local restaurants and eateries where families can fill their tummies without emptying their wallet.

Camping in Norway
Credit: Skrolsvik Kystferie

10. Skrolsvik Kystferie

Located a little south of Senja, a region in the Artic-circle, Skrolsvik Kystferie offers a natural, quiet, and wonderful experience of the Norwegian outdoors. Here, you’ll find modern accommodation to hire, as well as plenty of space for pitching your tent.

There’s an amazing range of activities to take part in, including swimming, and the “midnight sun safari”.

Visitors will also be around 40 minutes away from the Anderdalen national park, which features everything from lava fields and fjords to coastal forests.

Preparing for camping in Norway

As you can see, camping in Norway can be an amazing and beautiful experience, but it’s also somewhat challenging for beginners, due to the extreme elements and unpredictable weather.

If you’re planning on visiting some of the Norwegian campsites mentioned above, make sure you plan your trip carefully. Use lodges and campers in the winter and stick to high-quality tents and camping equipment at any point during the year.

We’d definitely recommend packing plenty of warm clothing whenever you’re visiting Norway too. Although the summers here can be mild, the nights are generally a lot colder, so you may need to wrap up.

Consider getting a heavy-duty sleeping bag if you’re going to be camping in a tent and use a ground mat to avoid being cold and uncomfortable during the night.

Here are some quick tips to keep in mind:

Choose your spot carefully

A sheltered area will usually be the best bet if you want to remain comfortable and warm during the night. The elements in Norway are unpredictable.

Be wary of mosquitos

You may not expect bugs like mosquitos to be a problem in Norway, but they’re more prevalent than you’d think.

Pack a lot of layers

Layers are imperative in Norway, because you can add them when you’re cold, and strip off when you’re overheated during a hike.

Bring a portable stove

Open fires and disposable barbecues aren’t always an option in Norway, so having your own portable gas stove will be a lifesaver.

Be cautious with hunting

Although hunting is common in Norway, you won’t always be permitted to go out and shoot your food. Check the Directorate here.

Remember your travel insurance

It’s best to have travel insurance wherever you venture in Scandinavia, particularly if you’re going to be braving the elements

Plan your bathroom breaks

Make sure you know where you can go to the bathroom. If you’re wild camping, it will need to be far away from any sources of freshwater.

Do your research

Make sure you know each area before you choose to camp there. Preparing in advance will help you find things to do, and ensure you stay out of the way of dangerous locations.

Take a break

If you’re exhausted from the great outdoors, you can always stay in a cabin or a hotel for a night.

Camping in Norway

Ready to go camping in Norway?

With all the information above, you should be pretty well-prepared to go camping in Norway. Crucially, the rules and guidelines for camping can change in Norway at any point, so it’s best to double check what you’re allowed to do before you start your trip.

This is particularly important if you’re planning on wild camping, where you’ll be building your own fires.

Remember, much of Norway is free to explore by foot, bicycle, and campervan. However, the country will require you to be respectful of the nature you’re exploring. If you can’t ensure you’re going to leave the place you visited as perfect as when you found it, look for somewhere else to camp.

We’d also recommend being realistic about your camping options in Norway during colder months. The reality is most people will struggle to survive a few nights in the bitter cold of the Norwegian winter.

We would always recommend using a cabin rental provider during these months if you want to improve your chances of seeing winter phenomena, like the Northern Lights.

Don’t forget to check out our other amazing guides to camping around Scandinavia too, for more tips and information on the best locations to lay your tent in the Nords.

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