Up Norway has recently developed The World’s Most Sustainable Journey. With sustainability at the forefront, this 12-night excursion for conscious travelers offers unique experiences along western Norway from Bergen to Stavanger. This route was originally established in the 1880s when travelers came by horse and carriage to experience the breathtaking landscape of glaciers, mountains, roaring waterfalls, crystal clear rivers, and pristine fjords.
Just in time to prepare for 2023 travel, this journey is available between April-September. Culinary highlights from the tour include enjoying sustainable with food from the local sea, fjord, forest and mountain. This also includes dinner at chef Sven Erik Renaa’s Michelin two-starred Re-naa. Additional highlights from the trip are snorkeling with salmon, a guided visit to the Trefadder Forest, a cruise under Langfossen, and much more.
Below we share our recent interview with Torunn Tronsvang, the Founder of Up Norway. We discuss everything from the importance of highlighting sustainable cuisine when traveling to must-do experiences for Norway’s regular visitors to first-time travelers to the Land of the Midnight Sun.
Why is sustainable travel and tourism now more important than ever?
Seeing how some places flourished when travel activity decreased during the pandemic, the need for regulation to allow nature to regenerate has become very apparent.
Additionally, the travel industry has had time to reflect upon what type of tourism business they want to be part of.
In Norway, the experiences offered to travelers have changed from a one-size-fits all with a focus on typical tourist highlights to custom experiences that showcase why we consistently rank high in The Happiness Index, Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Index and the UN Sustainable Development Report.
Travelers too. Over the last few years, travelers have been drawn to more experiential and meaningful experiences. Accelerated due to the pandemic, travelers are becoming more and more conscious about spending their money to contribute to positive value creation.
Up Norway embraces sustainable travel as our ethos, and we look to create the best fit between travelers and the environment. We believe sustainable travel is an integral part in solving the climate crisis, while retaining the economic and social advantages of travel.
Please highlight the cuisine during the journey. Which foods could guests look forward to trying, perhaps for the first time?
Food is an integral part of all our journeys.
One of our most popular journeys is the ‘Discovery route’. This route starts in Bergen, one of Norway’s eight UNESCO World Heritage Sites, which is known for its harborside wharf. Dinner is served at a restaurant just a stone’s throw away in a former meat market dating from 1877. As you eat at the heart of Norway’s cultural and nature capital, you’ll feel the past coming to life around you.
Further on your trip, nurtured under golden Arctic light, you will get to taste Hardanger’s arctic apples. The region’s first fruit trees were in fact planted by Cistercian monks in the early 13th century.
Next you will get the opportunity to snorkel alongside salmon in their natural environment and learn about wild vs. farmed.
At the end of the trip, you will reach the city of Stavanger, famous for its oil-related business. Here you will find Sven Erik Renaa’s restaurants: the Michelin two-starred Re-naa and the more casual Re-naa Matbaren sourcing food from local sea, fjord forest and mountain.
Whether you’re an oil sheik or a foodie, these are culinary experiences served in an unforgettable atmosphere.
Another favorite for foodies is our ‘Arctic Circle Express Train‘ journey. During the journey, guests will make a detour to Utskarpen where they will be introduced to the visionary project of chefs and hosts Elise and Marius. Elise and Marius escaped the city to fulfil their dream: to create a sanctuary where guests can be served real food from pasture to table, using the best ingredients and preparation methods.”
These are meals that have hardly travelled and are served with passion. The experience here serves as a successful example of counter-urbanization / ruralization; a trend we love!
What are some essential packing tips/accessories for traveling to Norway?
In Norway we value practicality over fashion. We recommend following in our fellow Scandinavians’ footsteps and wear a wool layer against your skin when it’s cold. Locals always tend to have Gore-Tex and down jackets handy, as it is common for weather conditions to shift rapidly.
Norwegian summers are generally mild and pleasant. However, this varies north to south and from west to east.
Dressing for success in Norway means being ready for any surprise that could come your way. See more in our Up Guide: Dress for Success.
For those visiting Norway for the first time, how could travelers prepare for their trip in advance?
If you are visiting Norway for the first time, contact one of our highly experienced travel curators who will create an unforgettable experience matching your interests. Up Norway ensures all your tickets and booking information, and a unique schedule of life-changing activities in hand.
For those who have visited, what may they experience differently with Up Norway?
Up Norway caters specifically to a modern and independent traveler. With our individually curated journeys, focusing on sustainability and Norwegian Luxury, each of our guests will experience the perfectly tailored journey.
Our guests will get access to a store of secret places. Up Norway takes you off the tourist trail to discover the local culture and cuisine.
When you travel with us, you will get access to ‘our Norway’ with people and places we have had a close relation to for many years.
What is the best month to visit Norway and why?
Each season in Norway has its own unique benefits, and therefore Norway is truly a destination year-round!
If you are looking to experience the majestic fjords or going for a swim in the midnight sun, the summer months would be perfect for you. In the winter, Norway is often draped in thick snow, and this is the time to experience the magical northern lights as well as ‘Kos‘.
If you visit in the wintertime, make sure to head north to the arctic circle to enjoy the true meaning of winter.
Spring is the perfect time to visit Hardanger. Spring is when the apple orchards are in bloom surrounding the Hardanger fjord and the contrasts between the snow covered mountains and green valleys are enormous. People re-awaken and feel playful after a long winter.
Autumn is a time for contemplation. We love Lofoten at this time of the year because the changes in weather, scenery and light are so dramatic that every outdoor experience is heightened.
What are some add on / complements to the trip you may recommend?
As a complement to our journeys we’d recommend including a visit to a local farm to meet the farmers and their animals and taste the local produce.
We have handpicked and curated farm experiences around the country where we know that the passionate farmers will leave an everlasting impression on guests when they get to show you their lifework. They will also share their philosophies around animal and planet welfare, small scale production and high quality produce.
Available April-September, price per person for the World’s Most Sustainable Journey starts at $5,380 based on four travelers sharing one car and two rooms.