Superyacht Destination Guide: Norway & Svalbard

Offered By Superyacht Services by Alex. Birger Grieg A/S

With thanks to Superyacht Services by Alex Birger Grieg

With unbeatable scenery and plenty of outdoor pursuits, Norway is an ideal superyacht destination.

The glaciers, mountains, and waterfalls are all about raw, sublime power. On the other hand, natural wonders such as the Northern Lights, the midnight sun, the fjords, and quiet national parks highlight Norway’s serene qualities. And for those who come from warm and sunny places, the changing weather in Norway is an attraction in itself.

Superyacht cruising through Norway

“For me, Norway has it all. It’s like New Zealand and Canada rolled into one. It’s nature and off-the-beaten track adventure at its best without having to head to extreme remote locations – which you still can do if you head further north again. It may not be your classic yachting destination but it’s one that’s worth every nautical mile,” - Captain Fraser Gow, M/Y Stardust

When to visit Norway aboard a superyacht

In general, we recommend yachts visit Norway from late May onwards. If you are lucky with the weather this is the most beautiful time of year; everything starts to turn green but you still have some snow on the mountain tops. However, prospective visitors should be aware that the weather can be quite unstable. This is part of the charm in northern Europe: you never know what tomorrow will bring.

With this in mind, always bring a warm sweater to cover your shoulders in the evening. Indian summer in September is not unusual, but it could just as easily be snowing in October. All things considered, May/June are the safest options.

Cruising permits and yacht clearances in Norway

Norway is not part of the EU, so it’s important to contact an agent for information on clearance procedures and the paperwork required.

Norway requires all yachts to clear into the country, but rules are more relaxed if visitors are coming from another Nordic country or Schengen Area country. Yachts from other countries should immediately report to Customs on arrival at a Port of Entry.

Upon reporting to Customs, captains should show the yacht’s documents and each person’s passport. Customs must be cleared at a quay in the main harbour before the yacht moves to a berth. Immigration must be contacted on arrival and both Immigration and Customs must be cleared on departure. When completing the normal clearance at a Port of Entry, a list of harbours to be visited is required. These harbours are actually harbour districts, which in Norway, are very large areas. Don’t worry, they don’t mean every port you wish to enter!

For safety reasons, port authorities like to be advised when a boat arrives or leaves a port, if possible, and if the port is large enough to have any officials based there. There is no requirement for official clearance except at the first port of arrival into the country or the last when leaving Norwegian waters.

Northern Lights over Reinefjord

What to do in Norway

There are a number of attractions and landmarks to admire in Norway, as well as a host of activities that are sure to fit the bill for superyacht visitors. If you’re looking for natural beauty, icy adventures and Michelin-standard restaurants, Norway’s got you covered.

Norway Superyacht Services has given us the lowdown on the iconic sights and USPs of some of the key locations across the country.


Gateway to the fjords

Many yachts start their cruise in Bergen to enable the acquisition of provisions and supplies, but the place is so much more than that. It’s a beautiful city that exudes a lovely small-town vibe and atmosphere. As well as houses that cling to the mountainsides, Bergen contains old wooden architecture, a fish market and narrow streets packed with cosy cafés and modern shops.

Lysefjord and Pulpit Rock

Lysefjord and the famous Pulpit Rock is the southernmost of the fjords in Norway. It’s flanked by steep mountains, some of which stand at more than 1,000 metres tall. At some points, this fjord is as deep as the mountains are high!

At the foot of the Folgefonna glacier, surrounded by majestic mountains and waterfalls, sits Rosendal, Norway’s only barony. This unique village is situated at the very heart of the Hardangerfjord and has become one of the most popular destinations in Fjord Norway.

If you fancy trying your lucky hand at fishing (in a traditional sense), visitors can take to the sea with a local fisherman in the charming village of Bekkjarvik – and a Sea Eagle might join you in search of lunch. If you happen to get a catch of your own, the restaurant owned by 2015 Bocuse d'Or winner Ørjan Johannessen will happily prepare your bounty into a delicious fish course, just for you.

Norwegian fjords

Symbols of the beauty of traditional Norway

The fjords: a place where time moves at its own pace. The Geirangerfjord is often said to be the most dazzling of the fjords. Visitors are taken in by almost vertical mountainsides embellished with numerous waterfalls and topped by snow-capped mountain peaks that look like gigantic ice cream cones all year round. Three waterfalls are particularly well known: The Seven Sisters, The Suitor and The Bridal Veil.

Boat cruising through Geirangerfjord

Kalvåg, located in the fjord region, is famous for its excellent seafood and there’s no better place to enjoy it than the beautiful setting of the Knutholmen restaurant next to the sea. Knutholmen’s excellent chefs prepare wonderful seafood dishes in the atmospheric restaurant or on an excursion to a spectacular location in the region.

The Lofoten Islands are draped across the turbulent waters of the Norwegian Sea. This rare wilderness outpost offers an untrammelled landscape of majestic mountains, deep fjords, squawking seabirds, long, surf-swept beaches and small, interesting fishing villages. If you’re seeking unforgettable nature experiences, Lofoten will definitely not let you down. Due to the area’s diverse landscape, you can go hiking, skiing, fishing, ocean rafting, riding or scuba diving. Lofoten is also one of the world’s northernmost sites for surfing.

In Northern Norway, pure magic awaits in the form of spectacular scenery, culture and natural wonders. Get ready for a journey to the kingdom of light! Did you know the sun stays up all night in Northern Norway summertime? When the day sets and the sun gets closer to the horizon, it feels like the earth finds peace. The sea becomes calm, the animals silent. As the famous Norwegian author Knut Hamsun describes the Midnight Sun in his novel Pan (1894):

‘Night was coming on again; the sun just dipped into the sea and rose again, red, refreshed, as if it had been down to drink. I could feel more strangely on those nights than anyone would believe…’

The region boasts wild and untouched nature, arctic animals, and world-class seafood. Fishing has been, and still is, the reason why people have lived here, and the region is known for its many small fishing villages. Try eating skrei, the Arctic cod, stockfish and dried cod. And why not go paddling on picturesque fjords in the middle of the night, when the sky is on fire all night long.

Seals playing in the sea


Am I on a different planet?

This might be your first thought when arriving in Svalbard. Svalbard Islands - the polar bear’s kingdom - is located in the Arctic Ocean, between Norway and the North Pole. Here you will find untouched arctic wilderness and unique wildlife in a setting that is both rugged and fragile at the same time. The largest inhabited area Longyearbyen is a cosmopolitan city with modern hotels, a brewery and more than 15 different restaurants. You’ll also find one of Scandinavia’s largest wine cellars!

Yacht berths in Norway

In the main ports across Norway, superyacht visitors will be able to obtain fresh water and fuel (available types include LSMGO max 500ppm and AGO 10ppm), and dispose of waste. Shore power is available only at selected berths.

It’s worth noting that only a handful of marinas are able to accommodate yachts up to 30 metres (98 feet) and Med mooring (mooring a vessel at a perpendicular angle, as it standard in the Mediterranean) is seldom possible. Visitors also need to be aware of tide variations for passerelles when moving further north.

Nitrogen Oxide (NOx) emission taxes are applicable for most yachts cruising in Norway.

Plan your trip to Norway

Enamoured by the prospect of extraordinary scenery, untrammelled fishing villages and delicious seafood? Start planning your cruise through Norway by contacting charter companies and yacht agents who can assist you in developing a tailored itinerary.

Discover other key superyacht cruising locations in our library of Destination Guides.

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