Things to Know When Visiting a National Park in Norway

Untouched nature awaits at Norways National Parks
Untouched nature awaits at Norway's National Parks | © Cathrine Dokken, Nasjonalparkriket

Norway’s 46 National Parks are a sight to behold. Whether you’re mesmerized by glaciers and lush valleys or yearn to hike upon mountainous areas, an adventure definitely awaits you. However, be sure to know your rights, your obligations, and the true power of those Instagram moments you’ll be sharing.

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Don’t be afraid to venture far from the beaten track

Most Natural Park areas in Norway are huge yet still easily accessible to visitors. So if you like the feeling of being all alone in untouched nature, all you have to do is venture a bit further from the parks’ most visited areas. If you are unsure of your wilderness skills though, don’t hesitate to enlist the help of a local tour operator.

Folgefonna National Park

Make sure to adhere to the Mountain Safety Code

Norwegian nature is certainly epic but to safely experience it you need to have some rules down pat first, especially in mountainous areas. The so-called, ‘Mountain Code’ covers things like paying attention to the weather changes and avalanche warnings, as well as always using a map and a compass. You will also learn about arranging meeting points with your group that can be found even if you’re out of cellphone range. Take a read of the whole thing, here.

Dress appropriately

You know the famous Norwegian saying, ‘There is no bad weather, only inappropriate clothing”? When you’re exposed to nature, it’s more important than ever to be sartorially prepared. Now, it may be a fine summer day – you know you’ll get hot and sweaty from hiking so you dress light – but the weather in Norway can be unpredictable and rain can be just around the corner. More importantly, it’s crucial to always pack enough warm clothes with you in the event of an accident. A jacket and a wool or fleece sweater can go a long way (pun intended).

Always carry warm clothes when hiking

Mind your tech

Technology can be your most essential ally, especially on long hikes. But you need to choose your tech tools carefully: cellphones, for instance, may not be of much help if you’re deep into a mountainous area where there’s poor mobile coverage. Instead, go for a personal tracker or a GPSr device (the latter is used a lot in geocaching and is preferred for its accuracy). Don’t neglect your phone though: you should always bring a backup charger with you in case you need to make a call.

Do take photos — not just for the ‘gram

We know you’re already planning on doing that. But do you know why taking photos inside Norway’s National Parks is important (besides increasing your Instagram followers)? By posting the magnificent nature you’re witnessing, you’re actually creating awareness as there are currently very few photos taken inside the National Parks on social media. The more you post, the more people will have a chance to see a hidden part of Norwegian nature and perhaps decide to experience and explore it themselves.

Taking photos is a great way to raise awareness

Leave everything just as you found it

This is arguably the most important ‘rule’ on this list. Norwegian philosopher Arne Næss has famously said, “To use something is not the same as consuming it” — and that way of thinking should follow your every step. See, the ecosystems found within Norway’s National Parks are vast, and many of them are rare and fragile. There are many endangered species of fauna and flora that call these parks home, so you should always respect any restricted areas you may encounter (as those are kept for the animals to breed and nest undisturbed). And you should always leave nature as you found it. You can, of course, pick berries and mushrooms freely, or even fish and hunt if the specific area allows it, but always clean up after yourself. Make sure you treat the landscape with respect, and it will respect you back.

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