Norway is one of the most liberal countries in Europe when it comes to gay rights. With a small but vibrant gay scene in the biggest cities, and increasingly more gay events in the countryside, Norway is a top choice for gay travellers. Here’s where to head at.
In 2019, Norway was declared the third most gay-friendly country on earth (after Sweden and Canada). Norwegians are generally proud to be open-minded and tolerant. Combined with the spectacular nature and the dynamic cities, this makes Norway a perfect travel destination for LGBTQ+ travellers. Here are our tips if you want to explore the queer scene in Norway.
The biggest gay scene in Norway is to be found in the capital. What might surprise you, is that most gay places are very popular among heterosexual people as well, and that exclusively gay places are very hard to find. (Blame it on the good music and the good vibes!) For drinks and dancing, head to Elsker and London. Elsker has a slightly younger public, and often organizes drag balls and other events like burlesque and stand-up comedy, while London offers karaoke, quizzes and late-night partying in the weekends. There’s also fetish club SLM, and bathhouse Hercules. Moreover, there are several queer-oriented club concepts that are organised at different locations from time to time, you can find more info on the site of Visit Oslo.
Oslo hosts also two yearly events with focus on LGBTQ+ life. Of course there’s the annual Oslo Pride, which takes place each June, and is a must-visit if you’re around at that time. Read our article about Oslo Pride here. Oslo also organizes a queer film festival every September, the Oslo Fusion International Film Festival. When in Oslo, stay at our HI Oslo Haraldsheim hostel og HI Oslo Holtekilen.
Bergen & Trondheim
There are also Pride Festivals in these cities. Each June, Bergen hosts the Regnbuedagene (“Rainbow Days”). Stavanger has its own festival in September, called Stavanger på skeivå, and each August, Kristiansand hosts the Skeive Sørlandsdager. Read our article about Norwegian Pride season.
Also outside of the cities, queer festivals are becoming more popular. The most original of these, is with no doubt Skeive Ski / Scandinavian Ski Pride, a queer ski festival, taking place in March every year in Hemsedal. Hemsedal is one of the best skiing places in Norway, and this festival wants to give queer people outside of the cities a place to meet.
Hiking in the mountains is one of the best activities Norway has to offer. And also here, there are plenty of possibilities to give a queer dimention to it! The last couple of years for example, it’s become popular to organise Pride Parades to mountain tops. Yes, it is true. Famous mountains like Gaustatoppen have already been visited by these organized Pride-hikes. If you want to join, you can take contact with FRI.
Moreover, DNT has now launched a series of hats which you can use to spice up your regular hikes as well. You can wear their popular green hat (Singellua), to signal to other hikers that you’re single. And recently, they also added a rainbow hat (Regnbuelua), so you can easily find fellow queer hikers while in the mountains!
Every hostel in the Hostelling International-network is committed to tolerance, equal rights and intercultural understanding. In Norway, we have over 40 hostels throughout the country, that offer a welcoming base for queer guests. Plan your stay here.
Our HI hostels wish you welcome to Norway!