Despite its reputation for outdoor experiences, Norway is not exactly known for its beach holidays. However, the country has many beaches with the prospect of competing all over Southern Europe if you do not mind the cold water. Some – especially in the southern country – are even home to beach bars to complete the illusion.
Although it is unlikely that you will plan an entire beach holiday in Norway, it is worth including one or two stops on a longer summer route. Beaches in Norway are also a big feature for surfers, photographers and hikers.
The beaches in Jæren
Many of Norway’s largest, whitest beaches are grouped in the Jæren region along the coast south of Stavanger. The flat lowlands in Jæren mean that there is little to prevent strong winds from the sea, but on calm, sunny days there are few better beach spots throughout Scandinavia.
Nearly three miles long, Orrestranda is Norway’s longest sandy beach, so you will always be able to find a good place. The nearby Borestranda the beach is popular for swimming and walking and has a toilet and shower which is open April to October.
While Norway’s Lofoten islands are best known for their impressive mountain scenery and picturesque villages by the water, they also hide the country’s most stunning beaches.
Unstad beach has developed a global reputation in the surfing world. Home to the Lofoten Masters surfing competition, Unstad is a dream destination for many cold water surfers but also photographers thanks to its mountainous location and regular northern lights appearances.
Unstad can get busy, but it is not the same for many of Lofoten’s beaches. “In the western part of the island Moskenesøy there are beaches that can only be reached by hiking. There are no roads, no houses, no power lines, just these amazing beaches surrounded by granite walls, ”said local photographer Cody Duncan in a podcast interview.
Perhaps it is the best known Qualifying week on the northern side of Moskenesøy. Elsewhere on the islands, Uttakleiv is perhaps the most photographed beach in Norway. It attracts photographers who want to capture the aurora borealis because of its mountainous landscape, distinctive boulders and north-facing perspective.
On the nearby Vesterålen archipelago, chalk white Black the beach is more than a mile long and attracts bird watchers, hikers and campers.
Norway’s capital has a handful of beaches that are quickly filled by locals when the sun is shining. They are good places to enjoy a refreshing dip in the Oslo Fjord during a summer holiday.
While the best known beaches at Tjuvholmen, Sørenga and in front of the new Munch Museum are all in the center, Oslo’s best choice is a little further away.
In the residential southeastern part of the city, Hvervenbukta is a popular beach that offers access to the calm Oslofjord water. Although the beach itself is small, there is more space on the grassy shores, while a kiosk and nearby campsite add to the attraction.
Just a few minutes ferry ride from Oslo, the Oslo Fjord also offers several good bathing spots.
The small beaches on the south side of The main island, the closest town to the city, are the busiest, so it’s worth taking the slightly longer trip to The Long Islands for more space.
There are plenty of beaches along the southern coast of Norway, but the easiest access is in the heart of Kristiansand. Bystranda is a blue flag beach of fine-grained sand with all the amenities of a city center just steps away.
In the summer months, there is outdoor seating, bathing stairs, a sand volleyball court, an ice rink, children’s play equipment and toilets.
41 km southwest of Kristiansand, Sjøsanden the beach in Mandal has a wilder feel but it is still close to the amenities of the town.
A bit out of the way for some tourists, but the facilities on Stokkøya the island is perfect for a longer stay, especially when combined with a city break in Trondheim. The beach is one of the best in central Norway, but it is the beach bar, several accommodation options and hiking that are the main attractions.
Named Norway’s best beach in 2021 by Nettavisen readers, Rørestrand in Horten is a quiet beach and bathing area protected by a breakwater.
Significant investments in new footbridges, access to wheelchairs, a sand handball court and a beach kiosk have made the beach one of Norway’s best. The cabins at the adjacent Rørestrand Camping provide an ideal opportunity for cheap accommodation.