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Blog The 15 best beaches in Norway
Date: 12 June 2020

The 15 best beaches in Norway

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White shores and dramatic coastlines, unspoiled landscapes and stunning nature trails, surfing under the midnight sun and lounging by the azure waters, Norway’s beaches really do have it all.

When it comes to a day on the beach, Norway might not be the destination you first think of, but the Land of the Vikings is so much more than its waterfalls and fjords (as incredible as they are).

The unparalleled scenery and breathtaking natural wonders for which the country is best known, combined with white stretches of sand and crystal-blue waters that could rival those of the Caribbean, make the beaches in Norway incredible places to explore.

Whether you’re looking to take a dip in summer or simply soak in the beauty in the cooler months, here we give you the best beaches in Norway for your travel bucket list.

Reward tip: Earn CashPoints when you book your flights to Norway with Norwegian.  If you’re looking to explore several destinations on your break, check out our tips on unique hotels in Norway and road trip routes in Norway.

Note: Due to the COVID-19 global pandemic, opening hours and availability of activities could be affected. Remember to check current travel restrictions before booking travel.

1. Sola beach, Stavanger

People on the sand on a sunny day at Sola beach.
A trip to the long Sola beach can be lazy or action packed. Photo: © Sola Strand Hotel

One of the most popular beaches in Norway’s Stavanger region, this long, crescent-shaped bay was dubbed one of the best beaches in the world by the Sunday Times.

With fine golden sands that stretch for 2.3 km and slope off gently into shallow waters, Sola beach (aka Solastranden) an ideal holiday spot for families. Even on busy days there’s plenty of room to spread out.

There’s a range of activities for all ages on offer at Sola beach, including volleyball, sailing and kite-surfing.

If you’re planning to stay here for a few days, take a look at the beachfront Sola Strand Hotel for your accommodation, which has a full-service spa and a pool, as well as a new water sports center which opened in summer 2020, where you can participate in surfing and kite-surfing lessons, and rent equipment for other water sports such as Stand-Up Paddle.

2. Hoddevik beach, Stad

Two surfers practice on the sand at Hoddevik beach
Practice your surfing skills at Hoddevik beach. Photo: © CH – VisitNorway.com

This idyllic beach in Norway is a true surfer’s paradise. With soft white sand, clear blue waters and towering cliffs either side of the bay, this stunning beach on the west coast of Nordfjord was actually deemed one of the best surf locations in the world by The Guardian.

Rarely crowded and with a great vibe, the 1 km beach is home to two surf camps, Lapoint Surf School and Stad Surfing, so even if you’re not a pro wave-rider, you can pick up some lessons and be out on the water in no time. With Stad Surfing, there are even sessions for children, and all wetsuits and equipment are provided.

If surfing’s not your thing, then this quiet beach is a good place to set up camp, enjoy a hike in the surrounding mountains and soak in the views stretching out over the North Atlantic Ocean.

3. Bunes beach, Lofoten

View of Bunes beach from the cliffside
Bunes is one of the most impressive beaches in Lofoten. Photo: © Sven Broeckx

This is one of the most scenic and isolated beaches in the picturesque Lofoten Islands. Amongst the most spectacular places in Norway, Lofoten is home to some breathtaking scenery, complete with towering mountains and crystal-blue fjords.

To get to Bunes beach, you’ll need to walk from the small village of Vindstad, which you can get to by ferry from Reine. Don’t worry if you’re not a fan of hiking, the trail is easily accessible – even families with children can manage it – and the journey itself from Reine to Bunes is part of what makes visiting this beach so amazing.

The beach itself is impressive, with its vast white sands and carved cliffs on surrounding the bay. This place is a camper’s paradise, as when the summer crowds have returned to the village, you’re left in the perfect place to enjoy the (late) sunset and even pick up some of the driftwood left by storms for a quiet evening campfire.

Tip: If you’re day-tripping from Reine, then be sure to check out Sakrisøy Rorbuer for your accommodation and stay in an authentic fisherman’s cabin, built on poles over the fjord.

4. Huk & Paradisbukta beaches, Oslo

Person standing on the pier at Huk beach near Oslo
Take a short trip from Oslo to Huk or Paradisbukta for some R&R. Photo: bjaglin– Flickr / CC BY 2.0

Located just 5km from Oslo and easily accessible by bus, the beaches of Huk and Paradisbukta on the Bygdøy peninsula are popular places to escape the bustling capital for a day during Norway’s warmer summer months.

These sandy inlets are great for catching some rays, enjoying a stroll by the shore and taking a refreshing dip in the fjord.

Huk is divided into a regular beach and a naturist area, while Paradisbukta (Paradise Bay in English) is home to some hiking trails, and both beaches have snack bars on site and restaurants nearby.

Tip: Take a look at these things to do in Oslo during summer for some more activity ideas.

5. Sommarøy beaches, Tromsø

Man kayaking in the water around Sommarøy island
A guided kayak tour around Sommarøy is an amazing experience. Photo: © CH – VisitNorway.com

Situated just an hour’s car journey outside Tromsø, the small fishing island of Sommarøy plays host to beautiful beaches with plenty of sheltered coves and shallow waters to take a refreshing dip.

There’s an abundance of water activities to enjoy here, from Stand-Up Paddle and kayaking to diving and whale-watching safaris. Hop on an exciting RIB boat ride with the midnight sun to guide your way during summer or experience the dancing Northern Lights from the shore in winter.

If you decide to take a guided kayak tour, you might see a seal or two popping up to say hello or even find yourself amid one of the pods of killer whales that sometimes pass through local waters.

Back on land, a bike ride around the island will give you a glimpse into the traditions of this vibrant coastal community, which is one of Norway’s main herring producers.

6. Stokkøya beaches, Trondelag

Stokkøya Sjøsenter table and chairs with path leading to sea next to them and very low sun on the horizon in the distance
There’s a beach bar, funky accommodation and more at Stokkøya Sjøsenter. Photo: © Jarle Hagen – VisitTrondheim.com

When it comes to beach activities, you won’t be bored at the Stokkøya beaches. The conditions on this island in Norway’s central Trondelag region make it the perfect place to practice your windsurfing, kayaking, diving and fishing. There are plenty of caves, mountains and lakes to explore in the area, too.

At Stokkøya Sjøsenter, you’ll find a beach bar where you can grab a bite or relax with a drink. The menu here uses seasonal produce and meat from their own farm, and it changes daily based on what’s available on the day.

If you like, you can stay in Stokkøya Sjøsenter’s coastal cottages, sleek subterranean rooms, or even try a spot of glamping.

Tip: Stokkøya is located around 2.5 hours by car from Trondheim, so if you’re thinking of spending a day in region’s capital, then check out these top things to do in Trondheim.

7. Mjelle beach, Bodø

Midnight sun over Mjelle beach
The colourful sands and midnight sun at Mjelle beach are a photographer’s dream. Photo: © Henrik Dvergsda

Thanks to its stunning red and white sands, Mjelle beach is one of the best beaches in Norway for photographers.

Around a 30-minute drive from Bodø in the north of the country, plus a 15-minute easy hike along a coastal trail, this Arctic beach is an Instagrammer’s dream.

The garnet mineral particles change the hue of the shore according to the winds and tides, and the midnight sun glints off the clear sea in the warmer months of the year.

8. Kvalvika beach, Lofoten

Cliffs, water, sand and grass at Kvalvika beach
The hike to Kvalvika beach is almost as rewarding as reaching the destination. Photo: Karl Brodowsky – Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 3.0

Another of Norway’s most dramatic beaches, Kvalvika is also a great spot for photo opportunities. Nestled between mountains over 600 metres tall, this white-sand beach can only be reached on foot, which makes it popular for hikers and campers alike.

The 2 to 4-hour trail from Fredvang is reasonably easy and well-trodden, taking you past lakes, streams and hills, and making the scenic journey towards the aquamarine waters below well worth the trip.

You can also head up to Ryten, which overlooks the bay, for some amazing vistas of Kvalvika beach from the clifftops.

9. Orrestranden beach, Jæren

Pebbles, sand and sea on a sunny day at Orrestranden beach
There’s plenty of space at one of Norway’s longest beaches, Orre. Photo: Gunleiv Hadland – Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 3.0

Orrestranden, or Orre beach, is one of the longest beaches in Norway. The 3 km stretch of fine golden sand can be found just a 40-minute drive from Stavanger on the west coast of the country.

A calm atmosphere mixed with plenty of amenities at the nearby recreation centre, Friluftshuset, such as barbecue facilities, toilets, car and bike parking, and a place to grab a bite to eat, make it one of the best beaches in Norway for families with kids.

Orrestranden, alongside others in Jæren, form part of a protected nature area, which means there are certain restrictions in place to protect the wildlife, such as no camping in the sand dunes and a limit on where and when you can practice certain water sports.

It also has ‘Blue Flag’ status which means that the bathing water and beach facilities are top quality.

As an effect, Orre beach is a tranquil natural paradise, especially in summer when you can relax, soak up some rays and take a dip in the pristine waters.

Tip: If you’re in the Stavanger area, be sure to add a trip to Pulpit Rock to your itinerary. This sheer rock face with an impressive 600-metre drop into the fjord below won’t disappoint.

10. Unstad beach, Lofoten

Surfers on the shore and in the water at Unstad beach
Unstand is arguably the best beach in Norway for surfing. Photo: Olivier Bruchez – Flickr / CC BY-SA 2.0

Unstad beach is said to be one of the best beaches in Norway for surfing, attracting wave-riders from all over the world for decades.

The largest and most stable waves roll in during autumn and winter, making it the best time of year for advanced surfers, while during summer the waves at Unstad beach are a little kinder, so beginners and children can have a go.  

You can take lessons at Unstad Arctic Surf, the world’s most northerly surfing school. The school was founded by Thor Frantzen, a Norwegian who believes himself to be one of the first surfers in Norway. Frantzen began making his own boards in the ’60s after discovering the sport at the famous Bondi Beach in Australia when working on a cargo ship.

11. Mølen beach, Larvik

Large pebbles and sea with sun in the background at Mølen beach
See the unique rock formations from the last Ice Age at Mølen beach. Photo: © Simon Sorhaug – VisitVestfold.com

This beach is one of Larvik’s most popular attractions, thanks to its unusual boulders and birdlife.

Mølen is known as Norway’s biggest pebble beach and forms part of one of the largest natural monuments in Europe from the last Ice Age around 12,000 years ago.

Declared Norway’s first UNESCO Geopark Area, there are over 100 different types of rock to be found here, as well as more than 300 varieties of bird species. In fact, the migratory arrivals and departures of the birds at Mølen beach is a breathtaking sight to behold during the spring and autumn.

Tip: You can reach this beach in about 2 hours by car from Oslo.

12. Haukland beach, Lofoten

Man stands on rocks overlooking Haukland beach with blue water and white sands
Haukland is said to be the most beautiful beach in Norway. Photo: © Sonia Arrepia – VisitNorway.com

With the white sands and clear waters typical of the Lofoten beaches, Haukland is a particular Arctic paradise, and has been named by various publications as the most beautiful beach in Norway.

The bay has easy access from a nearby road, so it’s a popular place for visitors in summer, and its location on the west coast of the archipelago makes it one of the best places in Lofoten to experience the spectacular sunrises and sunsets.

Hiking a few kilometres along the coastline and around the mountain, you’ll reach the equally picturesque Uttakleiv beach.

Tip: If you’re looking to experience even more of Lofoten’s incredible natural beauty, take a look at these Lofoten Island tours and earn CashPoints with each booking.

13. Uttakleiv beach, Lofoten

Blue water, white sand, rocks and cliffs at Uttakleiv beach
The picturesque Uttakleiv beach is one of the most photographed in Norway. Photo: Eivind Barstad Waaler – Flickr / CC BY-SA 2.0

With its idyllic location in Lofoten, close to Haukland beach, Uttakleiv beach on Vestvågøy island is one of Norway’s most photographed beaches.

It’s been mentioned by both National Geographic and The Sunday Times, and been voted the world’s most romantic beach, as well as the world’s third best beach. This hasn’t gone unnoticed; the small village of Uttakleiv only has 22 inhabitants, but welcomes up to 200,000 tourists every year!

Surrounded by steep mountains and facing north, Uttakleiv is a perfect place to feel sand between your toes and watch the midnight sun at its most beautiful. Half of the beach is covered with fine, chalky sand, and the other half with smooth pebbles, providing a wonderful backdrop for your holiday snaps.

The area has a popular campsite, where you can park your caravan or pitch your tent for a small fee, and there are toilets for visitors.

14. Åkrasanden beach, Karmøy

Boats both in and on the blue water at Karmøy, next to serveral white sandy coves
The coves and bays of Karmøy are a welcoming sight on a summer’s day. Photo: Ingve Moss Liknes – Flickr / CC BY-ND 2.0

Along the west side of the island of Karmøy (just 15 minutes from Haugesund airport) there are some fantastic beaches, and Åkrasanden is arguably the best. With silky soft sands and clean azure waters, this bay is a great place to recharge your batteries.

There’s a nearby nature and heritage trail which is ideal for a summer’s day spent walking along the coastline, taking in the fabulous views and exploring the cultural sights along the way, such as the remains of two 30-metre long Viking boathouses, and a consecrated altar and cross memorial site dedicated to the memory of local fishermen who lost their lives at sea.

Tip: Want to learn more about the Vikings while in Norway? Check out our post on the top viking sites and ruins to visit around the world.

15. Bystranda beach, Kristiansand 

A blonde child in swimming shorts plays on the sand at Bystranda in Kristiansand
Kristiansand’s Bystranda is a fantastic city beach for the whole family. Photo: Stig Berge – Flickr / CC0

If you’re looking for a real Riviera feel, the Kristiansand city beach is for you.

Bystranda is of the few beaches in Norway that has been awarded the ‘Blue Flag’ of quality, which indicates that the bathing water, beach and facilities are top notch.

Here, not only will you find fine sand and clear water, but also palm trees, which give it that extra beach holiday vibe.

This Norwegian beach has shallow waters and is suitable for all ages. It’s a great place for kids to play and adults to relax, and there’s a nice promenade along the harbour for when you fancy taking a stroll.

You’ll also find climbing nets, seating areas, fishing spots, vantage points, table tennis tables, and volleyball courts here.

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Castle hotels: 10 places you can stay like royalty