- Beautiful places in Norway you must visit
Beautiful places in Norway
Beautiful places in Norway, the westernmost of the Scandinavian countries. Norway is home to countless natural wonders and supernatural landscapes. With its dramatic mountains, glaciers, spectacular fjords, and waterfalls, it is a dream destination for many outdoor enthusiasts.
In addition to its beautiful nature, Norway also offers a wealth of cultural experiences. From the modern cosmopolitan culture in Oslo to the ancient traditions of the Sami people and the legacy of the Viking Age, Norwegian culture is exciting and diverse.
Here is our selection of the best places to visit in Norway to experience its history, culture and natural beauty:
Bergen is the second-largest city in Norway and one of the most popular tourist destinations in the country. It is situated on Norway’s southwest coast and is surrounded by amazing fjords, mountains, and thousands of small islands.
Known for its quaint medieval buildings, old churches, and impressive scenery, Bergen is a truly charming city. It is home to world-class restaurants and cozy coffee shops as well as a variety of cool museums. By far the most famous attraction here is Bryggen, a UNESCO-listed historic harbor district featuring a series of postcard-perfect colorful buildings.
Explore the stunning nature of Bergen by going hiking along the fantastic trails that criss-cross the mountains around the city. The most scenic trails are located on Fløyen Mountain which can be reached by the Fløibanen Funicular. From there you can enjoy panoramic views of Bergen and see the sunset over the city.
Bergen is also one of the best places in Norway to visit fjords, including Sognefjord, which is the longest and deepest fjord in the country. To experience the beauty of these tranquil glacial valleys, take one of the many fjord cruises departing daily from the city’s harbor.
See much more Bergen her, a Unesco World Heritage site as well.
Bryggen in Bergen in Norway on the Unesco World Heritage list
History and background of Bryggen, the historic harbor
Bryggen is a historic harbor district in Bergen, one of North Europe’s oldest port cities on the west coast of Norway which was established as a center for trade by the 12th century. In 1350 the Hanseatic League established a “Hanseatic Office” in Bergen. They gradually acquired ownership of Bryggen and controlled the trade in stockfish from Northern Norway through privileges granted by the Crown. The Hanseatic League established a total of four overseas Hanseatic Offices, Bryggen being the only one preserved today.
Bryggen has been damaged by a number of fires during the centuries
Bryggen has been damaged by a number of fires through the centuries and has been rebuilt after every fire, closely following the previous property structure and plan as well as building techniques. Bryggen’s appearance today stems from the time after the fire in 1702. The buildings are made of wood in keeping with vernacular building traditions. The original compact medieval urban structure is preserved with its long narrow rows of buildings facing the harbor, separated by narrow wooden passages. Today, some 62 buildings remain of this former townscape and these contain sufficient elements to demonstrate how this colony of bachelor German merchants lived and worked, and illustrate the use of space in the district. It is characterized by the construction of buildings along the narrow passages running parallel to the docks. The urban units are rows of two- to three-story buildings signified by the medieval name “gård”. They have gabled facades towards the harbor and lie on either one or both sides of the narrow passages that have the functions of a private courtyard. The houses are built in a combination of traditional timber log construction, and galleries with column and beam construction with horizontal wooden panel cladding. The roofs have original brick tiling or sheets, a result of fast repairs after an explosion during World War II. Towards the back of the gård, there are small fireproof warehouses or storerooms (kjellere) built of stone, for protection of special goods and valuables against fire. This repetitive structure was adapted to the living conditions of the Hanseatic trading post. The German merchants took up winter residence in the small individual wooden houses and the storerooms were used as individual or collective warehouses. A true colony, Bryggen enjoyed quasi-extraterritoriality which continued beyond the departure of the Hanseatic merchants until the creation of a Norwegian trading post in 1754, on the impetus of fishermen and ship owners of German origin. Today, Bryggen is a significant part of the historic wooden city of Bergen.
Source; Unesco World Heritage sites where Norway has 8 on the list.
Located on the northwest coast of Norway, about 150 km north of the Arctic Circle, Lofoten is a group of staggeringly beautiful islands. With steep mountains rising out of the sea and colorful fishing villages lining the shores, the archipelago is famous for its spectacular nature and is considered one of the most beautiful places in Norway. Many adventure seekers, wildlife enthusiasts and nature photographers are drawn to Lofoten throughout the year due to its pristine landscapes.
The islands offer a wide array of outdoor activities, such as kayaking, climbing, hiking, cycling, skiing, fishing and even Arctic surfing. Lofoten is also a great place for whale watching as the waters around the archipelago are home to humpback whales, orcas, sperm whales and various other species.
Along the coastline of Lofoten, you’ll find gorgeous beaches with long stretches of white sand and crystal blue sea. Although these beaches look very inviting, be aware that the sea here is quite cold. Nevertheless, on a sunny summer day, many people go swimming in these Arctic waters.
Since Lofoten is located so far north, it is possible to see Aurora Borealis aka the northern lights here during the darker months of the year. At the beginning of the summer, however, you can witness consecutive 24 hours of daylight – a phenomenon known as the Midnight Sun.
Tromsø, which is known as the capital of the Arctic, is the largest city in northern Norway. Just like Lofoten, it is another great destination for outdoor adventures, whale watching, northern lights and the Midnight Sun. In fact, Tromsø is widely regarded as one of the best places in the world to see the northern lights.
As the city is surrounded by fjords and mountain peaks, there are countless scenic hiking trails in the area. From family-friendly walks to challenging treks, you can be sure to find a trail that matches your experience level and offers incredible views of the Arctic landscapes. To see impressive panoramic vistas of the city of Tromsø, head to Storsteinen mountain either by taking a cable car or by climbing 1200 steps.
One of the most unique experiences to have in Tromsø is to take a reindeer sledding tour. During the tour, not only will you get to see reindeer but you’ll also meet indigenous Sami people who will teach you about their culture and ancient traditions. Another popular activity in Tromsø is to take a boat tour, where you’ll sail around the magnificent fjords and look for whales, dolphins and seals.
Aside from all the outdoor activities around Tromsø, you can also visit the Polar Museum to learn about the history of this region, explore the Northern Norwegian Science Center or enjoy a concert in the Arctic Cathedral.
Tromsø, Northern most city in the world
Norway’s capital city Oslo lies on the southern coast of the country and is renowned for its world-class museums, unique architecture and Viking history. Situated on the edge of the Oslofjord, the city is surrounded by verdant forests on one side and deep blue waters on the other.
Some of the most important attractions in the city of Oslo are the 13th-century Akershus Fortress, The Royal Palace with its surrounding gardens and the magnificent Oslo Opera House overlooking the harbor. In the National Museum of Oslo, you can admire one of the most famous paintings in the history of art – “The Scream” painted by the Norwegian artist Edvard Munch.
While exploring Oslo, make sure to also visit Aker Brygge, a lively waterfront promenade lined with elegant restaurants and bars. It’s a popular hangout for both locals and tourists and the starting point of many ferries sailing to the islands in the Oslofjord.
A little further from the city center, on Bygdøy peninsula, you can find some of the most famous museums in Oslo. The Norwegian Museum of Cultural History showcases how people have been living in Norway from the 16th century up until now and displays over 160 preserved traditional houses. Those interested in maritime history and polar expeditions should visit the Norwegian Maritime Museum, the Fram Museum or The Kon-Tiki Museum.
Scattered across several islands on Norway’s west coast, Ålesund is a picturesque port town surrounded by mountainous landscapes. In 1904, a large fire destroyed most of the city, after which it was rebuilt in a vibrant Art Nouveau architectural style. Ålesund is one of the most beautiful places in Norway and the perfect base to discover the surrounding fjords and mountains.
One of the best things to do in Ålesund is to simply wander around its charming streets and take in the beauty. For incredible panoramic views of Ålesund and the archipelago, visit the Fjellstua Viewpoint in the city park. In the heart of Ålesund, there’s a museum dedicated to Art Nouveau where you can admire interiors and exhibits showcasing this unique style.
A few hours drive from the city, lies the famous Geiranger fjord, which is often considered the most scenic fjord in Norway. Boasting snowy mountain peaks, lush vegetation and majestic waterfalls, it’s a true spectacle of nature and has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage site due to its exceptional beauty.
Another unique experience to have at Ålesund is to take a boat tour to the nearby bird island of Runde. In the summer months, the island is inhabited by 500,000-700,000 seabirds, including puffins.
Svalbard is a group of islands between mainland Norway and the North Pole and the ideal destination for those looking for a true arctic adventure. It is one of the northernmost inhabited areas in the world and is renowned for its rugged untouched terrain and rich wildlife.
The vast majority of the activities at Svalbard revolve around the islands’ wonderful nature. Since the archipelago is home to 3,000 polar bears, one of the most unique things to do here is to take a boat cruise to search for these majestic animals. In addition to polar bears, you can spot walruses, seals, whales and arctic foxes.
Another must-have experience in Svalbard is to visit one of the many glaciers on the islands. Not only will you get to walk on top of the glacier but also explore some magical ice caves. There are also many snowmobile safaris and dog sledding tours which are perfect for spotting reindeer and discovering Svalbard’s vast landscapes.
Svalbard’s largest town Longyearbyen offers a variety of cultural attractions and great restaurants. At Svalbard Museum you can learn about the history, geology, and wildlife of the region whereas the North Pole Expedition Museum focuses on historical explorations that have departed from Svalbard. This small town even has its own beer brewery which, unsurprisingly, is the northernmost brewery in the world.
The incredibly scenic Trolltunga, which translates into Troll’s tongue, is undoubtedly one of the most famous cliffs in Norway. Hovering about 700 meters above Ringedalsvatnet lake in southern Norway, it was carved by icecap thousands of years ago. This thin sliver of rock makes for a perfect viewing platform where you can enjoy breathtaking vistas of steep mountains and the shimmering lake below.
The only way to reach this wonder of nature is by hiking. If you’re up for a challenge, get ready to tackle a 28-kilometer hike, which should take you around 10 to 12 hours to complete. The trail takes you through phenomenal scenery, past snow-capped mountains, and eventually leads to the astonishing Trolltunga, where you can take that famous photo on the edge of the cliff.
Alternatively, you can shorten the hike to 20 kilometers by skipping the first section of the hike and leaving your car at a small parking lot on top of a mountain. However, be aware that parking there is expensive and the space is very limited.
If you do this hike between June and September, you don’t need a guide. Throughout the rest of the year, hiring a guide is highly recommended as the weather conditions are more challenging and days are shorter.
Stavanger is Norway’s third-largest city and is situated on the country’s south coast. With its world-class restaurants, fun museums, spectacular nature and a charming old town, Stavanger really has it all.
Wandering around the historic Gamle Stavanger quarter feels like stepping back in time. Full of narrow cobblestone streets and white wooden cottages, it is one of the most beautiful areas of Stavanger. The city is also known for the magnificent Stavanger Cathedral, which is the oldest cathedral in Norway and dates back to the 12th century. Another place you shouldn’t miss in Stavanger is Øvre Holmegate, a picturesque pedestrian street lined with quaint colorful houses and cafes.
Just outside the city, you can find some of the finest beaches in Norway. The most famous beaches here are Orre, Bore and Sola Beach, which all boast long stretches of white sand and crystal clear water. Not only are these beaches ideal for swimming and sunbathing but they also offer excellent conditions for surfing and other water sports.
Those interested in hiking should head to the famous Preikestolen cliff. Also known as the Pulpit Rock, the cliff towers 600 meters above the scenic Lysefjord and requires an 8-kilometer hike. Be aware that it’s one of the most popular hikes in the entire country, so you can expect to see lots of people on the trail.
Last but not least on this list of the best places to visit in Norway is the lovely town of Kristiansand. Located in the southernmost part of the country, this seaside resort town is a highly popular destination in the summer months. It is surrounded by an archipelago of granite islands and green expanses of forest and features spectacular scenery.
Take a relaxing walk along Kristiansand’s waterfront promenade to enjoy views of the Odderøya island and the marina, and stop at the several waterside parks. Visit also the small sandy Bystranda beach which has been awarded the Blue Flag status due to its high environmental standards.
Just outside the town lies Kristiansand Zoo and amusement park. Spread over an area of 60 hectares, it is the largest zoo in Norway and also includes a theme park and a water park.
About a 1.5-hour drive from Kristiansand, in the municipality of Lindesnes, you’ll find the famous restaurant Under. What makes this restaurant so unique is the fact that it is completely underwater and is the largest of its kind in the world.
Western Norway, as far west as you get in Scandinavia
These places in Norway, you simply have to see!