Discover Norway’s breathtaking mountains and coastal fjords by letting Oslo-based travel agency Up Norway curate the Scandinavian adventure of your dreams.
Happy hour awaits at The Palm Room at Hotel Union Øye.
When I was first invited to Norway, I admit that I didn’t know what to expect. My maternal grandmother’s family immigrated to the United States from nearby Finland, but that was about the extent of my Scandinavian knowledge. After a week of traveling throughout the country with Up Norway (upnorway. com), though, I can confidently say that not only have I fallen in love with Norway and its Scandinavian culture, but I’m thrilled that you, too, can experience its magic like a local.
Hotel Union Øye’s Swiss-inspired architecture charms.
Founded in 2016 by native Norwegian Torunn Tronsvang, Up Norway has been touted by Travel + Leisure and Condé Nast Traveler for providing truly unique experiences to its guests, whether their goal is to immerse themselves in the urban excitement of Oslo or head off the beaten path to dog-sled with the natives. Up Norway—and Norway as a whole—is also deeply committed to sustainable travel, which has earned it the honor of being the only Norwegian travel company to be both Travelife and B Corp certified. So, let’s begin our adventure, shall we?
Explore Norway’s bounty at Restaurant Skadir at Skåbu Fjellhotell.
Launched in spring 2021, Norse Atlantic Airways is the newest airline to offer direct flights from New York City, Fort Lauderdale and Los Angeles to Oslo. Opt for the airline’s Plus class to enjoy spacious reclined seating, two in-flight meals, maximum baggage allowance, VIP check-in and increased ticket flexibility. Relax aboard Norse’s fleet of Boeing 787 Dreamliners as you cruise for roughly seven hours from New York and 10 hours from Los Angeles. Once you land in Oslo, easily accessible trains can take you into the city or away from it, depending on your destination.
Our journey with Up Norway begins in the idyllic village of Skåbu, Northern Europe’s highest inhabited settlement, where roughly 600 Norwegians live year-round. Two of those residents are husband and wife Henrik and Jannicke, who opened Skåbu Fjellhotell in 2018. Warm and inviting, the 17-room lodge enchants with a crackling fireplace in the living room-style lobby and upscale dining at the on-site Restaurant Skadir. Led by chef Lukasz B. Socha, the concept is an adventure in gastronomy with menus that change daily and highlight the bounty of the nearby fishing lakes and land—think pork, sheep, moose and bison. With snow on the ground during our visit in late March, our days in Norway’s oldest village are spent dogsledding with locals from Skåbu Mountain Adventure, snowshoeing and eating moose burgers at Henrik and Jannicke’s family farm.
Ekspedisjonshallen restaurant at Sommerro
After departing from Skåbu, we travel by train along the famous Rauma Railway—as seen in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince—to reach our next stop: Storfjord Hotel. Nestled within the trees in Glomset, with views of the Storfjord and the Sunnmøre Alps as its backdrop, this quietly luxurious hotel features 30 rooms and suites outfitted with fireplaces, heated floors, rustic furnishings and sumptuous linens. Take a dip beneath the trees in the outdoor hot tub as you sip Storfjord Brygg, a Nordic beer brewed exclusively for the property. At dinner, head chef Ingeborg offers an ever-changing four-course menu in the on-site restaurant. As always, Up Norway adds a special touch to our stay by coordinating a fireside cocktail hour inside a yurt, a morning kayak adventure and an authentic Norwegian lunch with local Inger Anne Tolaas at her family’s farm.
Snap a photo at the famous swing at Christian Gaard Bygdetun.
THE ROYAL TREATMENT
One of the country’s most breathtaking sights lies between Norway’s majestic mountains— fjords. These deep, narrow bodies of water reflect the snowcapped peaks above with a glasslike quality that inspires awe. To get to our next destination, we board a private boat, sip Champagne and stop by Christian Gaard Bygdetun, a pub in Trandal accessible only by the fjords. From there, we head to the historic Hotel Union Øye, a Relais & Châteaux property frequented by royals since its opening in 1891. Every room is named for a famous guest—think King Haakon VII and Queen Maud of Norway—and all modern technology has been omitted to transport guests back in time. Sip a cocktail in the Palm Room as you enjoy views of Mount Slogen before heading to dinner in the exquisite Conservatory. By night, stars glimmer through the glass ceiling and a four-course prix fixe menu is paired with premium varietals from the multiroom wine cellar.
Views of the Sunnmøre Alps abound at Storfjord Hotel
ALL ABOUT OSLO
A car, boat and plane ride later—a one-hour flight via Widerøe airlines—and we’re back in Oslo. We check in to Sommerro House, a five-star property that once housed Oslo’s electric company. Opened in 2022, the GrecoDecodesigned hotel offers Oslo’s only year-round rooftop pool and draws gourmands to its popular restaurant Ekspedisjonshallen with a wraparound bar and live music. Once rested, our final two days are full of history—the Royal Palace, where Their Majesties King Harald and Queen Sonja live, is just up the street from Sommerro, and our walking tour takes us to Akershus Fortress, a medieval site where many dramatic acts of war took place. (Its castle is the inspiration for Anna and Elsa’s home in Disney’s Frozen.)
Sommerro House’s 246 rooms pair Norwegian functionalism with art deco details.
Finally, we toast a vacation well spent over reindeer sausages and ciders, and celebrate like the locals by indulging in a sauna session at SALT Art & Music, a practice akin to visiting a brewery in America. Like every moment we’ve spent in Norway, it’s magical, unique and a memory to write home about.
Upscale dining takes place at the hotel’s Conservatory.
Photography by: FROM TOP: PHOTO BY JOHANNE NYBORG; PHOTO BY JOHANNE NYBORG; PHOTO COURTESY OF BRAND; PHOTO COURTESY OF BRAND; SWING PHOTO BY TORUNN TRONSVANG; PHOTO COURTESY OF BRAND; SOMMERRO HOUSE PHOTO BY FRANCISCO NOGUEIRA