Why Solo Women Should Travel to Norway

Why Solo Women Should Travel to Norway

Ever wish it was still possible to hitchhike across the country in the back of a truck, fresh wind whipping through your hair, chatting with total strangers as your speed towards your next destination? It may not be safe in some countries, but it is still very common in Norway, even if you’re a single female traveler! Here are some other reasons why solo women should travel to Norway.

Norway has a low crime rate

Norway is located in one of the safest parts of the world for female travelers: Scandinavia. The country enjoys not only a low crime rate, but also a surprisingly feminist society. For example, in 2003 they passed legislation that required at least 40% of the workforce at private companies be female. In Norway, women make 77% of what men do, and while this is still not great, it’s the highest in the world. Of the 24 countries I have visited, none have felt safer to me than Norway (and nearby Iceland). Though one must still use caution in bigger cities (mainly Oslo), rural Norway is popular among outdoorsy people who travel alone.

There are many group and solo outdoor activities to enjoy

If you’re the kind of woman who likes to strike out on her own for hiking, camping, climbing, or kayaking, Norway is the place for you. It’s also great if you wish to do these things with temporary companions. While I was there in August I completed some hikes myself, but I also joined the company Njord, based out of Flam, for a 3 day fjords kayaking expedition.

The tour pairs up single travelers, who share a kayak and a tent. While I was glad to be around other travelers for my kayaking trip, I loved that I felt just as comfortable camping in Geiranger alone. In fact, during my journey across the country (from Oslo to Bergen), I encountered many women pitching tents on farmland around the fjords. Norway enjoys free camp, which means that as long as you get the property owner’s permission and leave the land in the condition you found it, you can camp where you like for free.

Hitchhiking is still common–and safe

Not only is it comparatively safe to camp alone, it is also safe to make your way around Norway by hitchhiking. This is in part because the public transportation around Norway is notoriously unreliable. While I was there, the train stopped running because of rockslides, and the last bus I needed to catch on my 7-bus, 8 hour journey to Flam simply didn’t show up.

In the rural parts of the country, there are no taxis readily available. It’s sometimes necessary to do as the locals do and hitch a ride when your public transportation proves inconsistent. Hitchhiking is also useful if you find yourself caught in the rain. It’s easy to do – according to locals, the beautiful city of Bergen only gets around 55 days of clear, sunny skies per year.

Why Solo Women Should Travel to Norway

The first time I hitched a ride it was of necessity. I’d just come off the last ferry across the fjord, and my bus had simply failed to show up. I picked a car and asked for a ride. I was hooked. All of the people with whom I hitchhiked told me great stories about Norway, and I learned quirky facts (like how Norwegians often paint their kitchens blue because they believe it deters flies). Many of them talked about how Norway’s tourism industry has changed over the years, and some complained about the massive cruise ships that overtake their tiny towns.

Most wanted to know more about American politics. Because towns in Norway are far apart, the longest ride I took was an hour with an older man whose children both work in tourism. As we drove through a tunnel that takes a full half hour to get through, he told me about the folklore of Norway. Though the characters I met varied, I felt safe with all of them.

Why Solo Women Should Travel to Norway

Why Solo Women Should Travel to Norway

Men are less aggressive

I may have felt safe with these drivers (all of whom happened to be men) because men seem to be less aggressive overall in Norway. I noticed this in bars, in restaurants, and on the streets. I did not hear any catcalling, and I didn’t notice any of the blatant up-and-down once-overs that many women are so accustomed to. No one made a dirty joke or rude comment in my presence.

I was also never once addressed as ‘girl’, ‘little lady’, or any of the other terms that drive me nuts in the States. I felt totally comfortable having a drink alone in a bar; if I wanted to talk to someone, I had to start the conversation. It was a refreshing experience.

Eating and going out alone is OK

Perhaps best of all, eating and going out alone in Norway is not unusual. At almost every restaurant I visited, there were other women dining by themselves, some with books, some playing with their phones, and some just enjoying the atmosphere. Many of them seemed to be Norwegian, so it was not just other women traveling. We are often taught that going to a movie or to a bar alone is odd behavior, but in Norway no one gives a solo diner strange looks.

The waiters don’t even ask if someone will be joining you. Like Norway in general, I found this liberating and empowering. I was able to enjoy all the venues the small towns had to offer without feeling judged. What a relief.

If you’re looking for beautiful country with outdoor opportunities that’s safe to travel alone, check out Norway!

 

Why Solo Women Should Travel to Norway

Related Reading

A Lifelong Love of the Norwegian Fjord
Settling into My New Life in Norway
The Kindness of Strangers in Norway

Have you traveled to Norway? Email us at editor@pinkpangea.com to share your experience and advice with the Pink Pangea community. We can’t wait to hear from you.

 


About Bailey Bridgewater

Bailey BridgewaterBailey is an Executive Director at a midwestern university who spends her spare time traveling-preferably by boat. Her travel writing has appeared in Inside Himalayas, and her short stories turn up in publications like The Molotov Cocktail, Eunoia Review, Fiction on the Web, and Crack the Spine. You can keep up with her work at www.baileybridgewater.com or stalk her travel photos on instagram at bailey.nb9.

2 thoughts on “Why Solo Women Should Travel to Norway

  1. Avatar
    Amenda A.
    September 7, 2017
    Reply

    Dani,
    I am extremely grateful to come across your article. I recently am going through a tough break-up and Norway was at the top of my list with my ex partner. Seeing that we will not be able to do anymore trips together I still want to visit Norway. I was really nervous because 1. I’m a woman, 2. I’d be alone. 3. Norway seems very isolated. I enjoy hiking and watching waterfalls, mountains, and other nature-like beauties. After reading your article I feel VERY confident. I’m honestly considering Norway as my first female solo trip.

    Do you have any advice in terms of finding a place to sleep?

    • Dani Bailey
      Dani Bailey
      September 7, 2017
      Reply

      Hello! I’m so glad you’ll still be making the trip to Norway. You won’t regret it. If you’re considering traveling during the Spring/Summer/early Fall, you’ll want to arrange your accommodations well in advance. A lot of the little villages on the fjords have become super hot destinations lately, and most only have a few hostels or hotels, which book up terribly fast. I found this to especially be the case in Geiranger. So if you’re particular about rooms, book ahead. If you’re super flexible, consider camping! Norway is a free-camp country, so if you have a tent and a sleeping bag, you can plop down anywhere as long as you leave no trace. Otherwise, hostels in Norway are very nice and clean, though again they can book up fast. Enjoy your trip!

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