Travel tip: stay in a hostel
Vacationers to Norway are spoiled for choice when it comes to accommodations options, from elegant urban hotels to lighthouses, tretop huts, ice hotels, and spartan seaside fishermen’s cottages. But in a country where costs – including all types of lodging, luxe and less so – can run relatively high, booking a hostel stay makes considerable sense. Accommodations across Scandinavia generally offer good quality and high comfort regardless of price paid, so why waste funds on expensive overnights when they’ll be better spent on food, frolicking, shopping and entertainment?
The Land of the Midnight Sun boasts more than 100 youth and family hostels, according to tourism board Innovation Norway. Strung across this highly scenic country, Norwegian hostels, to quote tourism officials, offer “good standard accommodation in pleasant surroundings.” The vast majority are affiliated with Hosteling International-affiliated local hostel association Norske Vendrerhjem, based in Oslo. The association’s English-language website at www.vandrerhjem.no/en offers booking capability, tourism information, and specials and deals.
But going with the local “big gun” isn’t the prospective hosteler’s only choice. U.K.-based Hostelworld.com – itself a major global player in the market – offers a selection of some two dozen choice Norwegian hostels that often defy usual expectations. Bookable online at www.hostelworld.com/hostels/Norway, unique vetted venues include the Engholm Husky Design lodge. A collection of riverside, hand-built log cabins in Karasjok, the lodge offers niceties not normally associated with a hostel stay, such as free Internet, Husky dog sled rides and 24-hour reception. For hostels in other countries, visit www.dutch.hostelworld.com.
In general, beds at Norwegian hostels – booked online or on site – will generally cost from 100 to 300 kroner (about $18 to $54) per night, although plusher operations may charge as much as $100 per bed a night. Double and family rooms are also often available, at higher rates. Prices at more expensive hostels usually include breakfast, and meals at all properties are generally filling and affordable. Duvets and pillows will be provided, but travelers must either bring their own linens or rent them on arrival.
Speaking of arrival, be sure to have booked with purveyors such at Hostelworld.com to have your stay sewn up in advance because months and hours of operation at Norwegian hostels can be tricky. Some properties are only open June through August, and many close between 11 am and 4 pm, with midnight curfews to boot.