From the Northern Lights to seasonal cuisine
Norway’s dramatic and diverse landscapes are year-round wonders. But when autumn arrives, the country really comes to life. See the bright blue sky drop behind dramatic fjords, while pops of orange burst through the trees. Mornings are made for hikes taking in huge mountains and tiny, snow-dusted cabins. While in the evening, dine on seasonal seafood in cosy restaurants. And by dodging the summer crowds, you’ll be spoilt for choice when it comes to luxury hotels in Norway.
A burst of autumn colour
To experience autumn in the mountains, take a hike to Hjkerkinn. The shrubs, bushes and mountain moss glow in warm hues over the landscape. And in Norway, hygge, or next-level cosiness, is big news. So keep your eyes peeled for Snøhetta, an ultra-snug viewpoint looking out over the mountains.
Experience the magical Northern Lights
While the autumn colours are breathtaking, nothing compares to watching the celestial greens and pinks dance through the night sky. Though you’ll be tempted to capture it all through your smartphone screen, we encourage you to take it in with your own eyes. They’re infinitely more magical and dynamic than you’d imagine. October is a great time to catch this cosmic light show. And the further north you are, the higher chance you have of a sighting.
If you want the hubbub of a city but with the scenery of a secluded autumn retreat, head over to Ålesund. Known as the most beautiful city in Norway, this picture-perfect Norwegian dream sits surrounded by the staggering Sunnmore Alps. The autumn light illuminates its beauty even further. With its art nouveau architecture – all pastel-coated homes and gothic turrets – it’s like Prague in miniature.
It’s well worth spending a few days here, so stop off at Storfjord Hotel. From the outside, this country retreat has a rustic log cabin feel, but step inside, and you’ll be transported into a Scandinavian folk tale.
Further up the west coast, you’ll find yourself in charming Trondheim. As Norway’s former capital, this colourful town is steeped in history. From Europe’s northernmost gothic cathedral, to an intriguing Viking heritage, the country’s third largest city is an almost impossibly photogenic town. The stretch of warehouses that line the water are painted in shades of red, orange and green, mimicking the colours of autumn.
After all that fresh air you’ll have worked up an appetite. Thankfully, Norway’s seasonal cuisine is deliciously hearty and warming. Think rich mutton and cabbage stew, or fårikål. Meaty, yet delicate halibut and Norway’s best kept secret, coalfish. Restaurants all over the country make the most of the season’s produce, and there’s plenty for you to choose from.
Top tip: Autumn is a great time to go foraging for berries and mushrooms. In almost every marsh in Northern Norway, you’ll find an abundance of cloudberries – a local staple used in cakes and desserts. And as mushrooms aren’t a huge part of the Norwegian diet, there’s plenty to go around. Just make sure you know your tasty chanterelles from your Deadly webcap, as the two often grow in the same places.
Along the west coast, you won’t be short of places to sample local seafood. At XL Diner in Ålesund, the chefs stroll down to the harbour every morning to bring back the finest fish for the kitchen. Recognised as Europe’s best bacalao restaurant, its trophy catches line the entrance, salt-encrusted and inviting.
While you’re in Norway, be sure to sample the season’s best game. Though hard to find, grouse is a lean, delicious meat bursting with flavour. But most are eaten by the hunters, so it’s only available in select restaurants. For an autumnal treat that’s easier to come by, try a reindeer steak served with rich sauces, juniper berries and earthy vegetables after a long day hiking through the mountains.