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Camping in Norway: A Comprehensive Guide to Exploring the Outdoors


Whether you’re drawn by the allure of pristine nature or the thrill of outdoor activities, Norway stands out as a premier destination for camping enthusiasts. With its expansive landscapes, well-maintained hiking trails, and the unique cultural concept of friluftsliv (outdoor life), Norway offers countless opportunities for an unforgettable camping adventure. This guide covers everything you need to know about camping in Norway, from the right-to-roam laws to the best campsites, including tips for camping with vehicles.

Norway’s Outdoor Appeal

Norway’s vast wilderness, crisscrossed with well-maintained hiking trails, offers unparalleled opportunities for hiking, birdwatching, and experiencing the Norwegian concept of friluftsliv. The proximity of these trails to major cities like Oslo makes it easy to embark on short hikes and day trips. However, for a truly immersive experience, venturing away from urban areas is recommended. Camping presents a more economical and flexible option compared to hotels, allowing you to connect deeply with nature.

Types of Camping

Campsite Camping

Norway’s dedicated campsites provide various amenities, including kitchens, bathrooms, showers, and access to electricity and water. Many campsites also feature small shops and cafes, with some offering cozy cabins for rent. These campsites cater to a range of preferences, from basic tent pitches to well-equipped spots for motorhomes.

Popular Campsites:

  • Bogstad Camping (Near Oslo): Close to central Oslo, ideal for combining city sightseeing with nature excursions. Located by a lake and near the vast city forest Nordmarka.
  • Ekeberg Camping (Near Oslo): Offers stunning views over Oslo and nearby attractions like a petting zoo and the Ekeberg Sculpture Park. Just a short bus ride from the city center.
  • Djuvik Camping (Sognefjord Region): Located on the shore of the Sognefjord, perfect for day trips to local museums and scenic boat rides.
  • Nærøyfjorden Camping (Sognefjord Region): Situated in the UNESCO-listed Nærøyfjord area, ideal for soaking in the fjord’s beauty.
  • Lillehammer Camping: Next to Norway’s biggest lake, Mjøsa. It’s a top choice for families and motorhome travelers, close to attractions like the Maihaugen open-air museum and Hunderfossen Family Park.
  • Preikestolen Camping: Designed as a basecamp for those hiking to the famous Preikestolen (Pulpit Rock). It accommodates both motorhomes and tents, though prices can be higher.

Wild Camping

Thanks to Norway’s right to roam law (allemannsretten), wild camping is permitted on public land, provided campers respect nature and maintain a distance of at least 150 meters from private property. Wild camping is ideal for those looking to minimize costs and enjoy Norway’s natural beauty, though it offers minimal facilities and is best suited for experienced campers.

Wild Camping Guidelines:

  • Distance: Maintain at least 150 meters from private properties, cultivated land, and occupied buildings.
  • Duration: Limit your stay to one night in the same location.
  • Foraging: Picking wild berries and mushrooms is allowed, but caution is advised, especially with mushrooms.
  • Campfires: Ensure campfires are permitted and fully extinguished before leaving, particularly during dry summer months.

Camping with Vehicles

While wild camping with tents is widely accepted, the same does not apply to vehicles such as motorhomes or camper vans. The right to roam law does not extend to vehicles, and many car parks explicitly prohibit camping. However, there are designated campsites and parking areas specifically for motorhomes and camper vans, some of which are free while others charge a fee.

Vehicle Camping Tips:

  • Designated Sites: Look for campsites and parking spaces that cater to motorhomes and camper vans. Some towns, like Risør on Norway’s south coast, offer paid parking facilities for motorhomes.
  • Regulations: Check for “no camping” signs in car parks and other areas. Adhering to local rules can help you avoid fines.
  • Facilities: Many designated campsites offer essential services such as water, electricity, and waste disposal.

Best Time to Camp

The optimal camping season in Norway runs from late spring to early autumn. Each season offers its own unique appeal:

  • Spring (April-May): The landscape awakens with blooming flowers and longer daylight hours. It’s a quieter time to camp before the summer crowds arrive.
  • Summer (June-August): This is the peak camping season, with the warmest weather and nearly endless daylight. July is the busiest month, so booking campsites in advance is recommended.
  • Autumn (September-October): A great time to experience the fall colors and enjoy cooler temperatures. The crowds thin out, offering a more peaceful camping experience.

Winter Camping:

While winter camping is possible, it presents significant challenges due to cold temperatures, limited daylight, and often closed campsites. However, it can be a rewarding experience for those prepared to brave the elements, especially for witnessing the northern lights. February and March are the best winter months for camping, though heavy snow and extreme conditions mean it’s best suited for experienced campers.

Tips for Winter Camping:

For those brave enough to camp during the winter, here are some essential tips:

  • Gear Up: Ensure you have proper winter camping gear, including a four-season tent, a sleeping bag rated for low temperatures, and plenty of thermal clothing.
  • Stay Dry: Keeping dry is crucial in winter conditions. Pack waterproof and windproof clothing and ensure your tent is weatherproof.
  • Light and Warmth: Short daylight hours mean you’ll spend more time in the dark. Bring sufficient lighting and consider a portable heater if safe to use.
  • Food and Hydration: Plan for high-energy meals to keep your body fueled and warm. Melting snow for water is an option, but ensure you have a reliable stove for this purpose.
  • Safety: Inform someone of your plans and expected return time. Carry a GPS device and a fully charged mobile phone.

Activities to Enjoy While Camping

Camping in Norway isn’t just about setting up a tent or parking your camper. The country’s diverse landscapes offer a variety of activities:

  • Hiking: With thousands of kilometers of trails, from gentle walks to challenging hikes like the Trolltunga and Preikestolen, there’s something for every level of hiker.
  • Fishing: Norway’s lakes, rivers, and coastline provide excellent fishing opportunities. Ensure you have the appropriate permits where required.
  • Kayaking and Canoeing: Many campsites are located near water bodies, making it easy to enjoy kayaking or canoeing.
  • Wildlife Watching: Norway’s wildlife includes elk, reindeer, and a variety of bird species. Be respectful and maintain a safe distance.
  • Foraging: In season, you can forage for berries and mushrooms. Make sure you know what you’re picking to avoid poisonous varieties.
  • Photography: The stunning landscapes offer endless opportunities for photography, from fjords and mountains to the northern lights in winter.

Cultural Insights and Local Etiquette

Understanding local customs and etiquette can enhance your camping experience in Norway:

  • Respect Nature: Norwegians have a deep respect for nature. Always follow the “leave no trace” principle.
  • Quiet Hours: Many campsites have quiet hours, usually between 11 PM and 7 AM. Respect these to ensure a peaceful environment for everyone.
  • Interactions: Norwegians value privacy but are generally friendly and helpful. A simple “hello” or “takk” (thank you) goes a long way.
  • Local Laws: Familiarize yourself with local laws regarding camping, fishing, and foraging. Adhering to these laws is important for preserving Norway’s natural beauty.

Additional Tips for Camping in Norway

  • Plan Ahead: Research campsites and wild camping spots in advance. Some popular sites require booking during peak season.
  • Leave No Trace: Follow the “leave no trace” principles to preserve Norway’s natural beauty. This includes cleaning up all litter and being careful with campfires.
  • Safety: Ensure you have proper gear for the conditions, especially if camping in remote areas or during the winter. This includes appropriate clothing, a reliable tent, and sufficient food and water supplies.


Camping in Norway offers a diverse range of experiences, from well-equipped campsites to the freedom and solitude of wild camping. By adhering to local guidelines and choosing the right time and place, you can ensure a safe and memorable adventure in Norway’s breathtaking outdoors. Whether you’re pitching a tent under the midnight sun or parking your camper van by a serene fjord, the Norwegian wilderness awaits your exploration. Embrace the adventure, respect nature, and create unforgettable memories in one of the world’s most stunning camping destinations.


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