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A view towards the Flåmsdalen Valley and an oncoming train from a window on the Flåm Railway
An electric boat sails across the Aurlandsfjord at dusk
A summer day at the quayside in Flåm, with people sitting outside the Flåm Bakeri
Fretheim Hotel viewed from the rose garden, with green glass and blue sky
Two people wearing bike helmets and looking towards a waterfall in Flåmsdalen
An electric boat on Oslofjord in the sunset

10 easy tips for a sustainable holiday

We’re always being told about sustainable tourism and that we should travel more sustainably. There are times when all that well-intentioned advice on what has to happen and what we should do and not do can actually be quite overwhelming. That’s why we’ve put together 10 simple tips for tourists to support our environment, local community and local economy and make your holiday more sustainable. Moreover, you shouldn’t disregard the fact that your trip will actually be more exciting and eventful if you take these tips on board.

The Flåm Railway seen from the window of the train, with tourists in the carriage and an oncoming train approaching

1. Use public transport

So you can let others drive and just sit back and enjoy the view. Instead of arguing over the map or listening to the satnav. Parts of your trip may even turn into some of the highlights of your holiday. If you take the train to Flåm, the Flåm Railway, one of the most beautiful rail journeys in the world, is part of your route.

2. Choosing somewhere to stay

Hotels, campsites, hostels and guesthouses are important employers in communities and villages, and they depend on tourists actually using them. Many of them are also eco-labelled – look out for information or the Eco-Lighthouse logo when you book. Slightly unusual places to stay can be found almost everywhere, such as the historic Fretheim Hotel, which dates back to a time when English lords came to Sogn to fish for salmon in the 19th century. 

Two women cycling down the twisty road from Vatnahalsen

3. Bike hire

Whether you use public transport or choose to drive yourself, cycling is an excellent and eco-friendly way of exploring your destination. Hire a bike at your destination if you don’t bring along your own – and don’t forget, many places now offer electric bikes as well. Alternative, some places have small electric cars available – try eMobility in Flåm, for example. 

An electric catamaran sailing in the shade on the Nærøyfjord

4. Choose emissions-free activities

If you have the opportunity, check what alternatives are available before booking tickets for activities. Are some choices more sustainable than others? If you’d like to do a fjord cruise, check whether electric boats are available for the area you want to go to. On  the Nærøyfjord, the Future of the Fjords and the Vision of the Fjords will be starting to operate on the Sørfjord in Hardanger in 2020. These are emissions-free sightseeing boats that sail silently through the fjords so that you can concentrate on the views!

The quay in Flåm on a summer day, with tourists on benches and outside Flåm Bakeri

5. Put your rubbish in the bin

This ought to be a no-brainer. Take all your rubbish with you until you find a bin, and sort and recycle your rubbish if you can. Did you know, it can take a whole 2 years for nature to break down orange peel or banana skins? It might be a good idea to take this with you in popular hiking areas and picnic areas, and the same goes for toilet paper. Everything is so much nicer for everyone when we all do our bit.

Conference guests making the most of a buffet at the Fretheim Hotel

6. Eat at restaurants that support local suppliers

Restaurants and eateries that use local ingredients help to support local farmers and the local economy. And what’s more, you might learn a bit about the local culinary culture at the same time. At Restaurant Arven at the Fretheim Hotel, the chef is very keen on animal welfare and making the most of ancient traditions, and he works closely with local growers of fruit and vegetables, cheese producers and small local abattoirs. Local products also reduce emissions as they don’t have to be transported.

Two cyclists looking at a waterfall in Flåmsdalen

7. Take your own water bottle with you

Instead of buying plastic bottles of water, take a water bottle with you from home and top it up as you go along. If you don’t have a decent bottle, buy one that’s made of steel or another sustainable, durable material. If you’re in Flåm, you can pop into Flåm Store – they have a number of different kinds to choose from.

Goats at a farm at the top of the Flåmsdalen Valley

8. Respect the local people

You’re on holiday, but this is day-to-day life for the people who live there. You’ll go far if you just ask questions. If you’re not sure whether you’re allowed to park or walk somewhere, just ask someone. Respect privacy and cultivated land, and by all means have a chat with anybody you meet. Nobody knows your holiday destination like the people who live there. Maybe they’ll tell you about one of the local hidden gems.

A boat sailing on the Hjørundfjord, seen from a flowery meadow at Sæbø

9. Read up on the right of public access

The right of public access is a benefit that gives us freedom with responsibility. It gives us the opportunity to travel and camp almost anywhere in Norway so that we can enjoy the unique trips that we dream of. Just remember that the Outdoor Recreation Act still applies. Take your backpack and hammock with you into the forest, onto the shore or into the mountain at least 150 metres from buildings and cabins, make camp in your dream location for up to 48 hours and leave the place the way it was when you found it so that it’s every bit as beautiful and untouched when the next person comes along.

Vases of flowers outside the Flåm Store

10. Shop locally

Whether you want to buy food, footwear, clothes or souvenirs – pop into the local shops in your area and support local trade. The chances of finding something that nobody else has back at home are enormous, even though you’re on holiday in Norway. For instance, how many of the shoe shops at home sell Aurland shoes, the original penny loafers?