5 Reasons Why Norway Is The Best Destination for Solo Travelers
Deciding where to go on a solo adventure can be super overwhelming. You have no one but yourself to please so you get to tailor your trip to your interests and energy level, which makes your options seem endless. But there are some major considerations, such as safety and affordability, that need to be accounted for when making your destination decision. Given a week off from work in August, I chose to venture around Scandinavia through Sweden, Denmark, and Norway. I found all three to be super safe and some of the reasons listed below definitely apply to all three countries! However, being a solo traveler in Norway had a couple notable advantages over being solo in the other two countries, meaning I found my experience to be enhanced by traveling by myself in Norway.
(1) It's a Super Safe and happy place
Safety was an absolute criteria for me before booking this trip. As a female who knows about the movie Taken, I tend to err on the cautious side. The Nordic countries constantly make the Top 20 list for the world's safest countries. But what I found to be super cute was that Norway is constantly ranked as one of the happiest places in the world. For some place that gets so bitterly cold and dark, this stat was remarkable to me. I found this to be largely driven by the people who live there and their attitudes towards others. Over 75% of the citizens believe that other people are good, which if you polled people in the U.S. I highly doubt we'd come out looking as optimistic.
(2) Cheap flights!
Flying in and out of Norway were some of the cheapest flights that I have experienced. I actually booked one of the flights the morning of and it was only 20 euros! (to go to Gdansk, Poland - see here). Norwegian Air basically prides itself on its affordability, and other airlines, such as WOW! Air, that operate under similar business models have many flights in and out of Oslo and Bergen. The one you have to watch out for is the baggage extra fees! The safest way to go is to just travel with a backpack - I mean you're by yourself, who do you have to impress? ;) This counts as your carry on and they won't charge you any extra bag fees. If you do need a bag, purchase it in advance because paying at the airport is so much more expensive.
Oslo is known as an expensive city (not like London or Paris, but still). So it's nice to be able to save money on flights and travel and spend it on dining out and other experiences. If you're like me though, you only care where you eat when you're with other people for the experience, so it actually didn't make a difference to me and it was overall a super cheap trip.
(3) Everyone speaks English
Okay so maybe an exaggeration to say everyone, but every person that I encountered that worked in any type of hospitality (train stations, restaurants, shops) spoke English and many other languages. One of the best things I saw was a woman at a shop trying to help an older man that did not speak English. She just kept switching through languages until she finally landed on French which he understood. She must have tried six different languages before getting there. You will have absolutely no issues getting around using English - which if you're reading this post, I assume you understand well.
(4) Fjord Excursions
The fjords are probably the most iconic thing in Norway, with the cliffs leading down into the still icy blue waters. It honestly feels like a whole different world when you're there. Depending on your preference, there are a ton of different ways that you can see these amazing World Heritage sites, including hiking, boating, fishing tours, etc. At the fjords, there are several marked trails within the national parks along with staff available to guide you. I recommend going to the tourist center in Bergen (by Bryggen) and talking to someone there. They will set you up with a tour or whatever you need for your perfect adventure. It's really nice when you're by yourself to have these guided tour options. You don't have to venture through the fjords alone, and you can meet a couple new people too, if you're into that. (While it's perfectly fine to go by yourself, accidents do happen.) I chose to spend an afternoon in Voss, Norway, which isn't as notable of a fjord, but still was incredible (pictured below).
(5) This Trip Needs Flexibility
The one thing that I can say negatively about Norway is that even in the best season, the weather isn't perfect. There are days in Bergen when the fog is so bad that they don't do the fjord excursions or allow people to go up the mountains. And - from experience - walking around Oslo in the rain isn't exactly as fun as it could be under different conditions. For those reasons, it's nice to only have yourself to make the call on how long you stay in each place. For example, I wanted to see what Oslo looked like in some nicer weather, so I opted to stay a little longer and left the next morning for Bergen instead. When you have other people with you, there's different opinions on what's the best option, so when you travel solo, the weather isn't as big of a deal, and you can just do what feels right!
There are so many other reasons why Norway was the best trip for me -- what are your favorite solo trips? Would love to hear!