An increasingly popular leisure activity, kayaking in Norway is a spectacular way to see the stunning scenery of the Norwegian coasts and fjords. Picture this: gliding along calm waters watching lush green forests and towering mountains pass by. Ah, bliss!
So, what do you need to know before heading off on your Norway kayaking adventure? Let’s explore all the important info you’ll need about kayaking in Norway, including the best Norwegian fjords for kayaking and the essential wet card for kayakers.
Is Kayaking Popular In Norway?
In a word, yes! Kayaking in Norway has become a very popular outdoor activity over the last few years, with kayaks and canoes available to rent all over the country.
An incredible way to see the beautiful landscapes of Norway and enjoy a fun outdoor activity at the same time, it’s no surprise that kayaking in Norway continues to increase in popularity each year. You also have a great opportunity to spot some of Norway’s aquatic wildlife when kayaking, including sea birds like the majestic sea eagle, plus porpoises and seals – cute!
Important note: To kayak in Norway, you need a wet card certification (‘vattkort’ in Norwegian).
What is a Wet Card In Norway?
Most kayak rental operators will ask for a wet card certification before you can rent a kayak in Norway. A fun and social experience, this basic water safety course for kayaking only takes around 3 hours to complete, meaning it can easily fit into your Norway vacation itinerary. You can find a range of providers offering wet card certification courses across the country.
Once you’ve completed the course, you’ll be granted access to rent a kayak and go on your very own Norway kayaking adventure! You’ll also have the skills and knowledge needed to enjoy a fun and safe time kayaking in Norway.
Can You Kayak In the Norwegian Fjords?
Yes, you can kayak in the Norwegian fjords. These narrow water inlets lined by steep cliffs, often covered with gorgeous greenery, make your kayaking experience that bit more magical!
Norway is home to some of the world’s most picturesque and famous fjords, making the Norwegian fjords a top choice for kayak enthusiasts. Spending an afternoon kayaking in the fjords is one of the most amazing ways to experience the beauty of this Nordic nation’s natural landscapes up close.
Sea Kayaking In Norway
As well as exploring Norway’s fjords by kayak, you can take your kayak to Norway’s coastal regions, skimming along the sea’s surface and enjoying the ocean breeze. If you’re staying in a coastal area, you may like to try sea kayaking in Norway.
One of the best places for sea kayaking in Norway has to be the beautiful Lofoten archipelago. The pristine nature of this collection of Arctic islands off Norway’s west coast makes the perfect environment for a guided Lofoten kayaking experience.
Another popular sea kayaking location in Norway is the stunning Helgeland coast, which is the southernmost district in Northern Norway.
Although sea kayaking in Norway offers incredible views, you’ll find many more Norway kayaking experiences offered in the country’s fjords. As the most popular locations for kayaking in Norway, the fjords deserve extra attention, so let’s explore more about kayaking in Norway’s fjords!
What Are the Best Fjords to Kayak In?
So, what are the best fjords to kayak in in Norway? With so many to choose from, it can be difficult to know where to start. But, don’t worry – that’s where we can help! Here’s a carefully-curated list of the best fjords for your Norway kayaking adventure:
The famous and spectacular Geirangerfjord is a stunning kayaker’s paradise with deep blue water, lush green mountains and even waterfalls to see along the way. This UNESCO-protected fjord is located in More og Romsdal county in Fjord Norway.
At 15 kilometers long, Geirangerfjord is actually a branch off the Storfjorden and remains one of Norway’s most-visited destinations for its breathtaking natural beauty. Kayaking down the crisp waters of Geirangerfjord is one of the best ways to experience this magical landscape for yourself.
After your kayaking adventure, you might like to explore this spectacular fjord further by taking one of the popular hiking routes through the mountains.
The longest and deepest fjord in Norway, Sognefjord stretches just over 200 kilometers in the heart of Fjord Norway. Located just north of the city of Bergen, Sognefjord is also known as the King of Fjords and reaches a maximum depth of over 1300 meters below sea level.
Extending all the way to the foot of the incredible Jotunheimen and Jostedalsbreen National Parks, this stunning Norwegian fjord is known for its idyllic surroundings and pristine natural beauty. Here, you can enjoy a calm afternoon gliding down the fjord in your kayak, soaking in all the wonderful vistas as you go.
As the second-longest fjord in Norway (and the third-longest fjord in the world), Hardangerfjord is home to thousands of fruit trees, making this area especially beautiful when the orchards are in full bloom. In spring, you’ll find the hills of Hardangerfjord covered in pretty white flowers and, during autumn, you can see fruit blossoming on the trees lining the hillside.
Located in Vestland county, Hardangerfjord reaches a maximum depth of 860 meters and stretches 179 meters from the Atlantic Ocean into Norway’s interior. Home to the famous Trolltunga hike that takes you onto a dramatic mountain plateau overlooking the fjord, Hardangerfjord is a super popular Norwegian fjord for kayakers and hikers alike.
Another Westland county fjord, Næroyfjord is Norway’s narrowest fjord, reaching only 500 meters wide at its narrowest sections. The best-known branch of the larger Sognefjord, Næroyfjord is a UNESCO World Heritage Site located in Vestland county.
At only 18 kilometers long, Næroyfjord is a good choice for beginner kayakers. Part of the popular ‘Norway in a nutshell’ tourist route, Næroyfjord is named after the Norse god of the sea, Njord, and certainly lives up to its name with the awe-inspiring cliffs, mountains and valleys.
Fancy a city kayaking adventure? You can enjoy just that by heading out with a kayak along the stunning Oslofjord. With picturesque beaches, mountains, hiking trails and cultural gems lining the water, Oslofjord offers an exciting city kayaking experience for kayakers of all levels.
Island hopping is one of our favorite activities to do at Oslofjord, where you can explore the beautiful islands dotted around the water and their fascinating cultural heritage. You’ll even find museums and cafés lining Oslofjord, making this the perfect destination for a full day out, starting with a kayaking adventure and ending with a museum trip!
Situated in Nordland county off the northwestern coast of Norway, Vestfjorden lies just above the Lofoten archipelago and stretches for 155 kilometers. A less well-known fjord for kayaking in Norway, Vestfjorden could be a good location to have in mind if you’re visiting Norway during the busy summer season.
At this peak travel time of year, the most popular of Norway’s fjords will most likely be busy with visitors keen to rent their kayak and get out on the water. The advantage of a spot like Vestfjorden is that you’ll have more chance of enjoying Norway’s natural beauty without the crowds.
Kayaking on Norway’s canals, rivers and lakes
Fancy something a little different? Did you know you can also kayak on Norway’s canals, rivers and lakes? If inland kayaking sounds more your thing, we recommend checking out the beautiful Telemark canal for amazing inland views and a wonderful all-round experience.
Top Tips For Kayaking In Norway
When kayaking in Norway, it’s important to be prepared and keep safety precautions in mind. Here are our top tips to help you enjoy a fun, beautiful and safe kayaking adventure in Norway:
- Check local currents and water conditions – Make sure to research local currents, water and shoreline conditions before setting out on your kayak. You can ask local guides to tell you anything important you need to know about the particular aquatic environment you’re going to be kayaking in. For example, it’s important to be aware that the waters of Northern Norway are extremely cold and can cause hypothermia, so extra care needs to be taken when kayaking here and you’ll need to wrap up warm.
- Dress according to water temperature – It’s vital that you remain warm enough during your Norway kayaking adventure, so it’s best to dress according to the water temperature. This means wearing warm, padded clothing to protect your body from the chill you might feel when out on the water. Waterproof clothing and shoes are, of course, the best options for Norway kayaking attire.
- Respect the weather – We highly recommend checking the local weather forecast beforehand, as Norway’s weather can be very changeable and we’re sure that you wouldn’t want to be caught out on the water in a rain shower!
- Wear an approved life jacket – When kayaking in Norway, it’s important to wear an approved life jacket that has been designed for kayaking, canoeing or paddling. These life jackets will allow you maximum flexibility to maneuver your arms and keep you safe.
- Bring the proper equipment – We recommend bringing along sunscreen, sunglasses, enough water and food, plus a change of clothes (preferably in a waterproof bag). Even if it doesn’t look very sunny on land, you’ll be more exposed to the sun when you head out onto the water, so sunscreen is a must. You may also wish to bring your camera in a waterproof case so you can capture the beauty of the surrounding landscapes.
- Stay close to the shore – It’s crucial to stay close to the shoreline when kayaking in Norway, as off-shore winds can make it difficult to return to land, plus ocean crossings are very dangerous unless you’re trained specifically for this. Stick close to the shore for the safest experience!
- Make sure others can see you – During your Norway kayaking adventure, it’s good practice to make sure that someone else can see you at all times. This means keeping within eyeshot of other boats, but always remaining a safe distance away.
Now you’re all set with the safety tips you need, we hope you enjoy your epic Norway kayaking experience!
Ready For Your Own Norway Kayaking Adventure?
Who’s feeling inspired to get out on the water and have a go at kayaking in Norway themselves? We definitely are! If you’re ready to start planning your own Norway adventure, we can help you out with our range of affordable and reliable campervan rentals in Norway, allowing you to travel from A to B and bring your home along with you.
Traveling by campervan is one of the most popular ways to explore Norway and enjoy the stunning views all around this unique country. With a campervan, you can easily travel from fjord to fjord, soaking in the amazing landscapes and enjoying your very own kayaking adventure in your own time – perfect!