The most Norwegian pastime is going to a hyttetur for a weekend or more. But what exactly is a Norwegian cabin trip?
What is a Hyttetur?
The translation for hyttetur is literally cabin trip, but for a Norwegian, it means a lot more than just a word, it is a feeling, a life experience.
A “hytte” is a cabin in the middle of nature, generally with the most scenic surroundings.
In a hyttetur, getting to the cabin is as important as the time you spend there, and the company even more so.
Norwegian go on a cabin trip to disconnect from the rest of the world and from the daily routine. No more stress or worries!
Types of hytte
There are different types of cabins. I would say all of them are in timber and have the objective of being cosy and close to nature.
The entirely off-grid hytte:
These cabins usually are quite small and have no plumbing, no running water and no electricity. This means dinner at candlelight cooked on top of the fire oven. You'll have to get water from the well or, in some cases, melt snow.
Most of the times, this type of cabin doesn't even have a road leading up to it. You need to hike through the forest for 1 hour or more to get there. The toilet is an outside toilet (utedo).
The wannabe off-grid hytte:
I would say that this type of cabin is a middle ground for those who think the first type is too extreme but still want to live with a little bit of adventure and away from the rest of the world.
Here you can park your car close by. Although you don't have electricity, you maybe have an electric stove to cook on. You might even have a hose connected to the well to take water from. Instead of the outside toilet, you can have a combustion one inside.
The fake off-grid hytte:
This is either the type of cabins you see in magazines and architecture websites. Or the kind of cabins that you don't even recognize as a cabin and think it is just another ordinary house.
They are bigger, modern and definitely more comfortable. With electricity, running water, a kitchen and a full bathroom.
Types of hyttetur
There are also different types of cabin trips. It depends on the companionship, what season it is, where the cabin is located and of course the kind of person you are.
The "disconnect from the world" hyttetur:
I have to admit that this one is my favourite and the one I do the most.
Going away to a cabin in the middle of nowhere, without TV or internet can be one of the most relaxing things in the world. Here I would say going alone or with your partner works the best. You can expect a lot of warm drinks wrapped in a blanket looking at the most amazing views.
The ski hyttetur:
I think the name says everything. You go on this cabin trip when your primary purpose is to ski.
It can be a cabin close to a ski resort where you spend the days on the slopes doing down-hill ski or snowboard, or it can be the most "Norwegian way of skiing": cross-country (langrenn). Here you'll probably have to ski to reach the cabin. And you'll go on many langrenn "walks" through the forest, stopping in Stues to have a bun and a cup of coffee.
The summer hyttetur:
This cabin trip will be either next to a lake or close to the fjord shore. It will include, without a doubt, a boat or canoe trip, lots of barbecues and hikes. Probably you'll also spend some ours picking blueberries in the forest.
The party hyttetur:
Last but not least, there is the party cabin trip. Do I really need to explain this one? Summing up you can expect loud music, some dancing, alcohol, grandiosa pizzas, a lot of board games and a hangover the next day.
Types of toilets
When going to a hytte, you always have to lower your expectations about the toilet. It's better to be surprised in a positive way, so my tactic is always to expect the worst.
Oh, the famous Norwegian outside toilet... hated by many.
A true Norwegian hytte will have an utedo (like you see in the photos). It is a little house normally close to the main house, with a heart-shaped hole on the door.
Inside you'll have a wooden "step" with a whole on it. If you're fortunate that hole might have a nice styrofoam seat. You'll also find a bucket with soil inside. It´s there for you to scoop the soil on top of your "number 2" so it doesn't smell and attract animals.
And yes, it is super scary going to the toilet during the night, in the middle of the darkness, with minus degrees outside.
The combustion toilet:
I bet at this point you are wondering how you can have a cabin without electricity and water but still have an inside toilet? Introducing the combustion toilet!
It seems like a standard toilet until you open the lid and see there is no hole, but a metal plate inside. Here you're supposed to place a paper bag inside, do what you have to do, and then when you close the lid the toilet will open the metal plate, swallowing the bag and burning it completely until it is only ashes left.
You'll have to pray that your bag is heavy enough to get pulled down and doesn't get caught when the lid closes again...
What do you eat?
Well, there's a lot of different opinions about this topic. And of course, it depends on what type of cabin you're going to. One thing I'm sure, no one goes to a cabin trip without a kvikk lunsj.
If you don't have a proper kitchen, I would say the Norwegian open sandwiches and the sausages are a common choice. Many also opt to eat a lot of canned food like the Koykakaker (canned meatballs).
I tend to prepare cold salads, sandwiches, and in case we have a small stove, I'll have ready to eat meals that you can cook quickly. I always take a lot of snacks to the cabin and sometimes a bottle of wine.
The must have's
I asked you on my Instagram stories what were the most essential things you needed to take to a cabin trip and here are your answers (from more popular to least)
Cards / Board games
Kvikk lunsj (a type of Norwegian chocolate)
Lighter / matches
Good company (only one person said this, but I had to put it here)
What is there to do?
For many people going to a cabin is to do nothing at all. Maybe reading a book next to the fireplace or sitting on the porch with a cup of coffee looking at the landscape.
But for others, it's to go on an adventure, explore the surroundings and do exercise.
In general, the most common things to do are:
Play a lot of board games:
I consider myself a pro in this one. I love board games! We have a big collection at home, but when we go on a cabin trip, we never take any with us because we know there will be some at the hytte. A deck of cards is sure to be there. A Norwegian favorite is Yatzy. Some of my favorites to play are Ligretto, Carcassonne, Code names and Dixit.
Lately, we have been a bit addicted to Escape room board games. I find them so exciting to play on a cabin trip!
Go on a hike:
Going on a walk is always a good idea on a hyttetur! As I said, the surroundings are beautiful, with breathtaking nature and a lot of paths to explore.
We tend to find out if there is a natural park nearby, or a lake to hike to. You can also check the hikes closer to you on ut.no.
Use the sauna:
A lot of cabins have a sauna. It can be an interior one, most times included in the main bathroom, or an exterior smaller house. You're supposed to stay inside the sauna for a bit, then jump to the lake or roll in the snow and come back in again.
Norwegians are addicted to Cross-country ski, or as you say in Norway: å gå på ski.
This is such a big topic that I am seriously considering writing a whole blog post only about the cross-country concept.
But summing it up, if you are invited to go on a cabin trip during winter, and there's snow, then you'll most likely need to go on some cross-country "walks". Sometimes you even need to ski to reach the cabin.
If you visit Norway or any other Scandinavian country, I hope you give "the hyttetur" a try!
We will definitely continue to go on cabin trips and will keep sharing our experiences with you.
Watch HERE the videos from my cabin trips: