In the Footsteps of author Knut Hamsun, Hamarøy (Photo: Ketil Kaasli)

When we’re supposed to be enjoying our holiday time, how do we truly relax? In the midst of the adventure travel wave, traveling to experience "the art of doing nothing" is THE emerging trend. And we know the best places to learn how to master the art. 

Photo: Doing nothing under the Midnight Sun at Træna Paradise Island

Photo: Doing nothing under the Midnight Sun at Træna Paradise Island

It’s easy to get caught up in routines and schedules, and to feel like we always need to be planning, producing, or accomplishing something.

When it’s time to take a vacation, we often end up with an itinerary packed with activities – and a full inbox waiting in our pockets. We forget to take stock of our surroundings and simply be. So how do we let go of all the myriad stresses that make up our busy lives?

Start by mastering the art of doing nothing. Spending time “doing nothing” has value in and of itself; it encourages us to reflect and promotes wellness. Giving your brain downtime has been shown to improve overall mental health and productivity. When we allow ourselves to do nothing, we give our thoughts space to meander, and complex ideas time to incubate.

This is harder than it sounds: it involves turning off your devices, getting away from your smartphone, sitting still and spending quiet time alone or with others. At first, doing nothing can seem a little overwhelming, but a great way to get started is to escape to a place free from distractions, noise, and the company of good people.

To practice the art of doing absolutely nothing, it helps to be in a tranquil environment where you can completely decompress, relax, and connect with your surroundings. With its stunning natural landscapes and homespun cabins, Norway is the perfect place to master that art.

Allow us to share three of our favourite blissful places to just be: 

 

#1: Edvardas Hus

In the small village of Tranøy, north of Hamarøy, you’ll find a haven of tranquillity. Edvardas Hus is a colourful hotel, deeply rooted in Norwegian cultural heritage – the author Knut Hamsun worked and fell in love on this island for a time as a young man, and much of his work was inspired by his time here. 

Now beautifully restored, this historic house offers a peaceful stay to its few guests. With only nine rooms, the hotel is naturally quiet. Time moves at a slower pace at Edvardas Hus, where guests come to unwind and switch off from the daily grind. Here you can find peace of mind in the silence: there are no TVs in the rooms, no background music to be heard. 

Instead, you can enjoy a breakfast of freshly baked bread and homemade jam on the sunlit balcony, enjoy a book in the library, relax by the water in the midnight sun, and be inspired by the local hosts, Torill and Valdemar. Best months to visit are Spring and Autumn.

 

#2: Villa Lofoten

Situated at Kvalnes in Vestvågøy municipality in Lofoten, Villa Lofoten is a spacious holiday home that welcomes travellers from around the world. Tucked away on the north side of the archipelago, this cozy home is the ideal place to enjoy the exquisite silence and stillness of the area. And a good storm. 

Originally built by a fisherman with a small farm in the late 40s, this villa has extensive grounds at around two acres, with a barn and byre. As we speak, an additional three houses are being restored to be able to welcome guests to the Saltery, Cod-Liver Oil Pressary & The Fisherman's Cabin. 

The atmospheric home has skylights and large windows in many of the rooms, where you can warm yourself by the wood-burning stove and watch the winter storms or the aurora-filled skies. Even the bathroom has breathtaking views over the sea. Pick up a book from the library, and sit in the cosy “red room” for a long read. 

For doing nothing outdoors: there is a sandy beach just five minutes from the house, where you can take a relaxing swim or even a quiet nap in the sunshine. Walk in the mountains behind the house and explore the spectacular landscape, stroll with the sheep and drink coffee with host Aaslaug.

With views facing the Arctic Ocean, Villa Lofoten is a beautiful place to rest, collect your thoughts, and spend quality time doing nothing.

 

#3: Fleinvær Refugium

Located on the beautiful island of Sørvær south of Bodø, you’ll find Fleinvær Refugium. The refugium is a tiny facility of buildings built to offer refuge from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. Surrounded by the Vestfjord, this peaceful island has all you need to get “off the grid”: no shops, no cars, and very few people.

Fleinvær Refugium – “Fordypningsrommet Fleinvær” in Norwegian – is the brainchild of composer and musician Håvard Lund. Designed by architects Sami Rintala and TYIN tegnestue, the refugium is made up of nine rustic cabins: four tiny sleeping huts, a kitchen, a creative room, a bathhouse, a sauna, and a “thinking box”.

The “thinking box” (or, literally translated, the “immersion room”) is a room specifically designed for contemplation: here, you sit in a hollow of the landscape, immersed in the nature around you, while the windows frame the ever-changing views of the horizon.

There are many ways to experience the calm of “doing nothing” at Fleinvær Refugium: relax in the sauna, swim in the cool coastal waters, savour a glass of wine, do yoga, watch the Northern Lights, or sit and gaze up at the vast shifting skies.

If you would like to browse our itineraries, visit upnorway.com/experiences