Europe Travel News

Ski across the country in Norway

When people talk about skiing, they usually refer to the alpine variety, where sportsmen turn their tips downhill and rip across slopes. While that provides quite the adrenaline rush, little else beats cross-country skiing when it comes to truly appreciating a wintry countryside. 

The question remains, though, where is the best cross-country skiing? The answer comes easily in the form of Olympic medals. With more Winter Olympic gold, silver and bronze than any other country - as well as the most in cross-country skiing - Norway is the sport's obvious home. That's none too surprising, given that skiing finds its origins in the frozen expanses of the Nordic nation, and that the word ski derives from Old Norse. Travelers looking for a cross-country skiing vacation should book their flights for Oslo.

Born of necessity
It seems clear that the Norwegians would be so good at the sport because it was an invention of necessity. According to the International Olympic Committee, skis were a way of hunting game and collecting firewood throughout the winter. Given that communities were once small and isolated, skis became a way of quick transport between towns. It also developed into a mode of transportation for Norwegian army units. By the 19th century it had become a sport, and made its official debut in the Olympics in 1924. 

Today, Norway offers hundreds of miles of trails. A jury of famed skiers recently named the town of Sjusjøen in Hedmark county as the top spot for cross-country skiers, citing plenty of varied track through forests and over mountains, according to Norway's official website. The crown jewel is the Birkebeiner Trail from Rena to Lillehammer, which intersperses downhill sections with flat, expansive terrain for an afternoon of challenging but rewarding exercise and sightseeing. However, that's just one of many skiable regions from Trondheim to Svalbard. 

Capital skiing
One of the most convenient places to go cross-country skiing is Oslo, the capital city of Norway. Its nearby forests boast 1,600 miles of trails as well as dozens of cabins for evening retreats. The best part about Oslo skiing, however, is its proximity to city life. Getting to trails is as easy as hopping on public transit. When it's time for a break, travelers can explore all the city has to offer, from historic marketplaces to hip boutiques. 

Recommended Tours

Baltics Highlights

7 days from $1,785 pp*
Custom Private Tour
The scent of rich pine forests lingers in the breeze as the 13th-century ruins of Turaida Castle are revealed before your eyes in the lush Gauja River valley in a medieval sanctuary untouched by the march of time.
More Info

Budapest, Vienna, Prague Signature

7 days from $2,044 pp*
Custom Private Tour
The aroma of dark roasted Viennese coffee hangs thick in the air as you tread the cobblestone laneways and bask in the elegant architecture, atmospheric cafes and refined restaurants in one of the most beautiful cities in Eastern Europe.
More Info

Highlights of Eastern Europe

10 days from $2,800 pp*
Custom Private Tour
The rhythmic trot of your horse and the soft crunch of your carriage wheels upon cobblestones is a seductive soundtrack to accompany the stunning ancient architecture of Vienna’s charming Ringstrasse.
More Info
Kensington Advantage
Personalized itinerary with private guide & driver. Award winning value.
  • Personalized itinerary that fits like a glove
  • Full attention of your own private guide & driver
  • In-country offices for 24/7 peace of mind
  • Multi-award winning
  • 30,000 delighted clients

With the inside track on the new, the old, the off-the-beaten track and the out-of-this-world, you won't find a more knowledgeable team of destination specialists.

Meet Our Experts
Curators of extraordinary experiences, you won't find a more skillful team.
30,000 Delighted Customers
"Kensington, you've done it again...perfection!"

Don't take our word for it.
Here's what our clients say.

"Fabulous trip. Every aspect from the planning to execution was excellent."

Newsletter Subscription
Have our hand picked trips, news & specials delivered to you.
Thank you for signing up!

Your details have been received and processed successfully.
Travel + Leisure : World's Best Award 2014 Family National Geographic Traveler : 50 Tours of a Lifetime Travel Leisure Award 2015