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Women in front of lighthouse on Fedje Island

Tracing Norway's Super Women

A journey dedicated to the groundbreaking female stories of Norway's past and present

Duration

10 days

Season

All year

Best suited for

Small groups of up to 8 discoverers (male and female) who seek to be enriched and inspired to create positive change in their own and others’ lives.

The eternal question: Can full equality ever be achieved? According to the UN’s sustainable development index, Norway is among the top five gender-equal countries in the world. Our government’s action plans for gender equality and women’s rights in Norway (and around the world) aim to empower girls and women, and promote the right to self-determination.

On this journey we’ll keep you ‘edutained’ throughout a historical and geographical passage from East to North and West; from 17th-century witch trials in wild Varanger to female empowerment through whisky production on Fedje island. Prepare to be blown away by remarkable stories told by humble people in rugged landscapes, and inscribed within intriguing architecture and design features.

Summer - Luis Mendo

Impact Statement

On this journey, we want to build awareness around the United Nations SDG 5 - 'Gender Equality'. As travel curators, we are constantly striving to ensure that equality remains clearly visible on the map. We have decided to curate an itinerary that invites travellers to explore Norway from a gender equality perspective, and discover why Norway ranks so highly in the UN’s sustainable development chart and is among the top five gender-equal countries in the world.

Itinerary Highlights

  • Scandinavia’s only Women’s Museum for an introduction to Norway’s equality journey from an international perspective.
  • A visit to Feddie Ocean Distillery, to hear the empowering story of the women who have created Norway’s first organic certified distillery
  • Guided tour of Ekeberg Sculpture Park, one of the world’s top five sculpture parks, featuring works by pioneering female artists such as Niki de Saint Phalle & Sarah Lucas
  • Staying in luxury accommodation that celebrates the country’s leading ladies – including the exquisitely restored Camilla’s House, originally the private residence of Camilla Collett, one of Norway’s most significant novelists & women’s rights activists.

1/10

Ease into Norway

Your journey starts in Oslo, currently enjoying a booming art, design and cultural scene. With impressive, award-winning new buildings such as the cutting edge Deichman Library (world’s best new public library in 2021), the new MUNCH museum (screaming for attention on the city skyline), and the sprawling new National Museum (the largest museum in the Nordics), our rich cultural heritage is coming alive in a big way.

Settle in for a three-night stay at the Hotel Continental, a Leading Hotel of the World member which is owned and run by women. Or the exquisitely restored boutique hotel Camilla’s House, in a quiet area near the Royal Castle. This seven-room hotel was built in 1845 as a private residence, and its first tenant was author Camilla Collett, one of Norway’s most significant novelists and women’s rights activists.

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Women relaxing outside in Oslo city

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A Rich Urban Mix

Your Oslo stay will include an urban introduction to Norwegian culture and modern city development. A professional guide will walk you through Ekeberg Sculpture Park, acclaimed as one of the world’s top five sculpture parks, which features depictions of women and work by female artists.

We’ll also introduce you to Oslo’s ‘Proud and Free Action Plan’, instigated to increase recognition of gender and sexual diversity, and to boost equality and inclusivity. One important outcome of this strategy is Oslo’s annual Pride celebration.

Don’t forget the food scene! Local specialties made with top-quality produce from dedicated Norwegian farmers will be served at a local restaurant and at a local dairy/deli, both run by ambitious women owners.

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Visions of the Green Shift

Today you’ll head into our deep forests to visit a green furniture factory and a unique Women’s Museum.

A fantastic ride along narrow woodland roads brings you to The Plus in Magnor, near the Swedish border. This hypermodern factory, established by furniture producers Vestre in the heart of the local pine forest, was completed in 2022 and is set out to be the world’s most environmentally friendly facility of its kind. This playful industrial site is a tribute to Norway’s age-old ‘right to roam’ laws. On a guided tour, you will be shown the indoor and outdoor facilities and hear about Vestre’s big long-term vision. Trust us – this is one of those places you didn’t know you wanted to visit.

Continue to Kongsvinger, where Scandinavia’s only Women’s Museum is located in a villa in the old town, Øvrebyen. You will learn about the history of gender equality in Norway, and the role played by women over the centuries. Before heading back to Oslo, stroll around the streets among beautiful wooden houses and grab coffee and buns at the local cafe.

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The world's most environmentally friendly furniture factory

4/10

Life-Changing Perspectives


The untamed Varanger peninsula is home to rugged folk well-equipped to live through the changing seasons in the North. (Fun fact: One of these is explorer Kristin Harila, European Adventurer of the Year 2022.) Varanger is all about long lines in the landscape and even longer timelines through history.

At Vadsø airport, stepping off the morning flight from Oslo, you’ll instantly appreciate the change in the air, the very different Northern culture, and the sheer drama of life in this extraordinary part of the world.

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Steilneset witch memorial in Varanger
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Varanger Lodge under the Northern Lights

Your Varanger residence for the next three nights will be waterfront lodge in fishing village Nesseby. The design of the environmentally friendly buildings is influenced by the surrounding mountain range, combining local building tradition with modern aesthetics.

Slow down, settle in, take a refreshing dip in the sea and relax in the sauna. Over dinner, you will be introduced to the Samis, our indigenous people, and some of the strong personalities in this region. Expect remarkable encounters with nature and wildlife. The next few days will enrich your life forever.

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Witchcraft and Wildlife


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Art in Northern Norway

Ride to Vardø along the breathtaking Scenic Route Varanger. Today’s story begins at Vardøhus, the world's northernmost fortress and an important national symbol of protection against eastern powers. Long ago, a tragic history of witch hunting unfolded here. We won’t reveal the gruesome details now, but Steilneset memorial, an extraordinary installation by artist Louise Bourgeois and architect Peter Zumthor, commemorates the most witch burnings in Europe according to population size. These monstrous persecutions are powerfully commemorated through impressive architecture, art and storytelling.

Vardø is full of old, weatherbeaten houses. Street artist Pøbel made it a project to breathe life back into these dilapidated buildings. In fact Vardø has a lot of art to offer, including intriguing works and installations by Norwegian architect practice Biotope and Russian art collective Taibola.

Varanger’s teeming birdlife is magnificent. Before returning to the lodge you will stop off at Ekkerøy peninsula on the fjord – a nature reserve with clear views of the majestic bird cliff, home to king eiders and tens of thousands of kittiwakes.

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Vardø Street Art
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Birds flying in the sun

Breathe in the fresh air as you stroll through grassy plains soaking up the sounds, sights and smells of the abundant wildlife. You will hear about how the egg collectors worked tirelessly back in the days, how the kids had to work long hours in the peat fields, and how the lives of the inhabitants of Ekkerøy changed during the war. You will discover the unique story of the witches of Ekkerøy and end with a walk along The Shore of The Lucky Stones, where you just might find your own energy stone.

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Crab Fishing – Fit for a Queen



Today you’ll join your host Edgar on his daily shift as a king crab fisherman in the Varangerfjord. This is as far from a commercial fishing operation as you could get. ‘When dealing with nature, nothing can be planned to perfection,’ Edgar says, ‘and that's what makes it exciting.’ Later, thanks to his experience and expertise, you’ll likely get to indulge in as much fresh crabmeat as you can eat. Nothing fancy, just the crab, a slice of ‘loff’ (white bread) and a squeeze of lemon. Washed down with a crisp glass of white wine.

You will be told stories about strong female characters who - in the local sami community - historically have served the same roles as men as skippers and in the household. Up here these days, some of the most robust young women you’re likely to meet are trained to fish and command their own boats.

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Fishing with a real king crab fisherman

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World Beating Whisky on Fedje Island


A contemplative day, as you transfer by road to Kirkenes and fly south west to Bergen, from where we’ll head even further west – to the island of Fedje, far out at sea.

Feddie Ocean Distillery was founded at Fedje in 2020 by Anne Koppang. So far around 650 women have invested in the distillery. They are in the process of creating a completely new type of classic whisky: Norwegian single malt. Feddie’s ownership structure sets them apart from all other Norwegian and international distilleries. Calling for female ownership was a vital aspect, encouraging more women to take risks and invest. This is a story about the women who have created Norway’s first organic certified distillery, and pioneer local business development to contribute to a vibrant future for the island of Fedje.

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Whisky production by women on Fedje Island

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Feddie: Empowering Investments


What is happening in Fedje is about pioneering rural business development, female entrepreneurship and ownership, Norway’s first organic certified distillery – and embracing the full force of nature on this island at the edge of the world.

One of Feddie’s investors will accompany you throughout your stay at Fedje, so there will be plenty more opportunities to hear about the incredible achievements of Feddie and the island. Local food will be served both inside and outside, and you will stay in local apartments.

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Raw nature kayaking
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Tasting whisky on Fedje Island

While on the island you will visit the distillery and barrel storage, take a RIB (inflatable speedboat) trip to Hellisøy lighthouse, maybe go fishing or harvesting (depending on the weather and time of year), and take a walk on the North Sea Trail (with a Champagne stop whatever the weather!). You might also hear the story of ‘Fiskarkona’ (the fisherman’s wife), and the essential role played by women when the men were put to sea.

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A Taste of Luxury in Historic Bergen



Head back to the mainland on the local ferry and reach Bergen by road in time for lunch and some city roaming. The time is yours to spend as you wish, with the option of using our personalised insider recommendations.

Spend your last night at the family-run Opus 16 (a Small Luxury Hotels of the World member). This Edvard Grieg heritage hotel is conveniently located in the heart of the city, within easy walking distance of the UNESCO heritage-protected harbour.

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A Hotel room

The spectacular frescoed hall of the Bergen Børs Hotel – this Hanseatic city’s former stock exchange – serves as the venue for your farewell dinner. Enjoy informal modern-day dining, maybe paired with cider from Hardanger, while admiring the surrounding frescos by Axel Revold, which recount incidents from Norway’s and Bergen’s history. Reflect and wrap Up: tomorrow, one story ends and a new chapter begins.

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Restaurant in Bergen

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Leaving on a High



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Randi Skaug

Your journey does not have to end here. We would love to introduce you to more of our favourite women! Like the first Norwegian woman to reach the summit of Mount Everest, Randi Skaug. After conquering all seven summits, she purchased an island, Naustholmen, in the Steigen region of Northern Norway. Here she invites guests to experience ‘Kongefølelsen’ – the feeling of being monarch of all you survey. The best way to get through a rainy day…

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Women in front of lighthouse on Fedje Island

Personalize and book Tracing Norwegian Women’s Journeys to Equality

  • Personalized itinerary

    This journey has been curated to offer a luxurious journey to far-flung places that touches you at the core. It can be booked as proposed or further personalized to you.

  • Worry-free booking

    With our flexible terms, we hope to provide you with all the certainty and adaptability you need when booking your well-deserved escape.

  • Pricing

    Read more about our pricing here.

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Torunn Tronsvang

Founder

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Danny Dodd working at Up Norway

Danny Dodd

Travel Curator
Hi! I'm Danny, and I'm a Travel Curator here at Up. Get in touch, and I'll do my best to answer any questions you might have.