Exploring Norway Feels Like Being on a Mission in Space

With the 'ultimate space race' underway and the rush to send the first tourists off into space, the Norwegians have weighed in with a more pocket-friendly alternative...

On July 11, some billionaires started setting off to space, in what has become known as the ultimate space race, all for wanting the legacy of sending off the first ‘space tourist’ ever. And since the Norwegians love to compete, they just could not resist to show up on the starting line, with a few tricks up their sleeves – they do know a thing or two about sending off tourists to space.

See, the Norwegians knew they had some advantages going on there. They know space here in Norway. The view, the feeling. And they also know that you don’t need expensive, fast flying rockets to take you there. Sometimes they walk to space, they climb, and other times a skylift can do the hard work for you. But the feeling of space is always there. And the best thing is, they are more than happy to share it with visitors from all over the world.

Space is the winning formula

Recent figures show that only 20 percent of people living in Europe want to travel abroad over the next months, and Norwegians love to compete with their neighbouring countries to attract as many of these tourists as possible. To win as many travelling hearts as possible this summer and fall, the Norwegians realised that they needed to draw out their best card – which is space.

Those who travel now want to feel safe, to have the feeling of space after spending time in lockdown and to have it all accessible in an easy way.

This week, Norway adapted to the EU standards and regulations for traveling throughout the pandemic and they are happy to again welcome international travellers to our great playground for discovering and enjoy all the space on offer.

Ever dreamed of becoming an explorer?

Norway is a great playground for discovering and enjoying space. The country has one the longest coastlines in the world and offers thousands of lakes, mountains, islands and beaches. And more than 700 fjords.

Norway is space. And it is ready to be explored now when it is possible to travel again.

Space walks

Friluftsliv and the right to roam are a reason to travel to Norway. Norwegian space travel includes hiking, biking, skiing (including summer skiing), climbing mountain tops and crossing valleys, and even following stairways to heaven, like Helgelandstrappa in Mosjøen, Norway’s longest stone staircase. Its 3,000 steps take you up the 818-metre-high Øyfjellet mountain in Helgeland, or like the stairs up to Mount Ulriken in Bergen.

Hiking, biking, climbing, kayaking, and other friluftsliv activities, can be easily enjoyed in Norwegian cities as well, including Oslo.

Open space

In Norway you can walk for hours in open space, like at the white beaches of Jæren in the Stavanger region, or by following the footsteps of reindeer at Finnmarksvidda in Northern Norway.

Norway’s northernmost outpost, Svalbard, gives you real-life explorer vibes from the very moment you get there and with unique activities in a breathtaking landscape.

Spacelike sites

Norway can offer many places that are simply perfect as locations for sci-fi movies. Here are some locations to discover.

The island of Leka in Trøndelag, part of Norway’s UNESCO geoparks and a geological monument of Norway. The majority of the island consists of serpentinite and olivine, which gidt the island with its characteristic yellow-red colour, otherwise only found on the American side of the Atlantic.

Stadlandet in Fjord Norway, and in particular the beach with green hills in the background in the west coast of the peninsula, situated in the northwestern part of Nordfjord. The beach has recently been chosen to represent planet Caladan in Denis Villeneuve’s Dune (2021).

Finse. Did you know that Finse is real-world Hoth, a legendary Star Wars location from the original trilogy? In 1979, the village of Finse was the film location for the exterior scenes of the ice planet Hoth in The Empire Strikes Back. The cast and crew slept in the Finse 1222 Hotel. The film locations in the area can be visited by hiring local guides.

The legendary scenes in which Han Solo (Harrison Ford) and Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) have to fight the cold and the attacks of the Imperial All Terrain Armored Transports were shot on the edge of the glacier Hardangerjøkulen.

Protected spaces

Friluftsliv, Norwegian’s love of the outdoors, can be fully appreciated and understood in more than 47 national parks to be found all over Norway. Many national parks offer outdoor activities with a network of marked paths and trails and overnight accommodation, where you can enjoy and help preserve the nature by leaving as small a footprint as possible.

Observing and exploring outer space

Here are some places around Norway where visitors can observe space:

  • Spaceship Aurora at Andøya Space Learning and Experience Center: Located in Vesterålen, Northern Norway and with a stunning scenic coastline, Spaceship Aurora offers virtual space missions, Northern lights explorations, as well as information about space exploration.
  • The Solar observatory in Harestua, in the Oslo region: The Science Centre of Northern Norway and the Northern Lights Planetarium in Tromsø. In Northern Norway, the midnight sun shines both night and day during the summer months, thus influencing local culture and the life of the locals. The Northern lights might just fill the sky suring your visit in the wintertime, bringing you a bit closer to the universe.

Sleeping in space

Norway offers unique places to stay that will make you feel on another planet. We have picked some few examples here:

  • The Bolder sky lodges in Lysefjorden, not far from iconic Preikestolen (“The Pulpit rock”)  and Stavanger.
  • The WonderINN glass cabin in Rælingen, in the Oslo region.
  • Trones eye glamping, a glass igloo on the water’s edge in Trøndelag.
  • Varanger lodge, far up Northeastern Norway.
  • Tungestølen cabins in Fjord Norway, designed by Snøhetta.

That space explorer feeling

Would you like to feel total weightlessness in Norway? The wind tunnel in Voss, or one of the country’s many ziplines might be just what you are looking for. The longest zipline is located in Flåm, and is the longest in Scandinavia, measuring 1381 metres.

Canyoning, caving, diving, and, why not, summer skiing in Norway will get you closer to that explorer feeling. There are many activities in Norway that perfect for adrenaline seekers, such as Voss High-Rope & Zipline Park, Loen Skylift, Norsk Tindesenteret (mountaineering centre) in Romsdalen and Kollensvevet zipline by the Holmenkollen ski arena in Oslo.
Donald Duck and Netflix got inspired by Hessdalen, “the UFO village in Trøndelag”.

The light phenomena in Hessdalen, Trøndelag, have been a mystery since the 1930s and have now inspired both a Donald Duck story (made in Norway and available in various European countries) and an upcoming Netflix series from Norway, called Blasted – gutta vs. aliens (Blasted – the boys vs aliens).

In the recent Donald Duck story by Egmont, Donald Duck and his nephews explore Norway, travelling from Oslo to Røros and Hessdalen, in search of UFOs in the Norwegian countryside.

Blasted – gutta vs. aliens, is also inspired by the light phenomena in Hessdalen. This sci-fi comedy has a Norwegian cast and will be available on Netflix in 2022.