Norway is a beautiful country with stunning landscapes and breathtaking natural wonders that attract millions of visitors each year. From the majestic fjords to the vibrant cities, Norway has something for everyone. In this article, we will explore the best places to visit in Norway.
Lofoten Islands (Best Places to visit in Norway)
With its rugged mountains dramatically rising above the sea, the Lofoten Islands are a stunning sight to behold. Amid its awe-inspiring peaks, one can find secluded beaches, bays, and quaint fishing villages. Connected to the mainland by a series of bridges and tunnels, the archipelago boasts picturesque pastures, sheltered inlets, and epic fjords. Fishing has long been one of the Lofoten Islands’ primary industries, and visitors can explore traditional fishermen’s cabins and tourist sights, such as the Viking Museum and War Memorial Museum. While subarctic, the archipelago enjoys a relatively mild climate due to the Gulf Stream, with temperatures up to 23°C in the summer. Visitors can also enjoy hiking, cycling, rock climbing, scenic boat trips, and whale watching tours, as well as the chance to view the Aurora Borealis.
Geirangerfjord, one of Norway’s most famous and photographed fjords, presents breathtaking scenery featuring gigantic cliffs, sparkling waterfalls, and dazzling blue waters. This natural wonder extends over 15 kilometers, with steep mountains and jagged peaks flanking either side. Among the many waterfalls plunging down its cliff faces, Suitor and Seven Sisters Falls are the most alluring.
At either end of the fjord, you will find the scenic and secluded villages of Geiranger and Hellesylt. The fjord sees many cruise ships and sightseeing tours passing through, especially during the sunny summer months. Hiking up some of the prominent peaks and plateaus, such as Dalsnibba and Ornesvingen, is highly recommended for the incredible views it offers.
Alta (Best Places to visit in Norway)
One of the northernmost cities in the world, Alta lies in the north of Norway in the Arctic Circle, set on the shores of a scenic fjord. It is mostly known for being one of the best places to see the Aurora Borealis, which frequently paints the night sky a mesmerizing mix of colorful swirls. The city also boasts a magnificent museum, home to prehistoric rock carvings, and the daring and distinctive Northern Lights Cathedral. Lovely landscapes and spectacular scenery lie around Alta, particularly stunning coated in snow. Visitors can enjoy cross-country skiing, canoeing, and mountain biking, and no trip to Alta is complete without catching a glimpse of the beautiful Aurora Borealis.
Located on the beautiful southeast coastline of Norway, Arendal is a charming destination that is especially delightful to explore during the summer months. The city center set around its charming waterfront and wharf, home to beautiful old buildings and centuries-old churches. Cosy cottages and wooden houses lie next to harborside cafes and outdoor restaurants and bars, creating a charming look and feel to the place. Arendal also boasts a fantastic fish market, an interesting museum on the city’s history, and a packed calendar of festivals and concerts in the summer. Visitors can take a ferry ride from its wharf to visit Hisoy, Merdo, and Tromoy, three nearby islands that are all home to lovely natural scenery.
Svalbard (Best Places to visit in Norway)
Located within the Arctic Circle, Svalbard is a sanctuary for rare wildlife and boasts vast stretches of untouched wilderness. Despite its remote location, it is relatively accessible due to the presence of Longyearbyen, which is home to the northernmost commercial airport in the world. The landscape of Svalbard varies from imposing glaciers and mountains to snow-covered plains and sheltered coastal coves. Visitors can spot a range of wildlife, including polar bears, walruses, beluga whales, and a diverse assortment of birdlife, such as puffins and Arctic skuas. To truly appreciate the Norwegian archipelago’s beauty and wildlife, embarking on a small expedition vessel is highly recommended as it provides an up-close and personal experience.
Located in the Lysefjord, Preikestolen is one of Norway’s most captured sites.Nonetheless, some may lack the bravery to venture there. The natural plateau, measuring 25 meters by 25 meters, juts out over a sheer 600-meter drop into the fjord below, without any human-made interventions. To get to Preikestolen, also known as Pulpit Rock, you need to embark on a 10km hike that can be quite rewarding. Plan for 4-5 hours of walking and bring ample snacks!
The Atlantic Road (Best Places to visit in Norway)
Undoubtedly, one of the most scenic drives worldwide is the five-mile-long route that meanders over the Atlantic Ocean, aptly named the Atlantic Road. The Atlantic Road, which offers breathtaking views, connects the island of Averøy with the mainland at Eide. Originally planned as a railway line, the road opened in 1989 and is also referred to as Atlanterhavsvegen. While it may be slightly off the beaten track of typical tourist destinations, the awe-inspiring sights make it a worthwhile detour.
If you’re looking for a truly adventurous and remote Arctic experience, Bear Island is the place to go. It’s located in the Barents Sea, and although it’s the southernmost island in the Svalbard archipelago, it lacks the sheltered bays and fjords of other islands, making landing more challenging. However, for those who make the trip, the untamed scenery of Bear Island with its sheer bird cliffs is well worth it. It’s a haven for bird enthusiasts, with huge populations of black-legged kittiwakes, puffins, and little auks. While it’s a remote and rarely explored destination, Secret Atlas does offer trips to the island.
Ålesund (Best Places to visit in Norway)
The charming coastal town on the west coast serves as a gateway to exploring Norway’s expansive mountain landscapes and fjords. Take a stroll through Ålesund’s Art Nouveau district, featuring a collection of brightly painted buildings, before venturing to the Fjellstua viewpoint to absorb the stunning surroundings.
If the weather turns rainy, seek refuge in one of the city’s record shops, such as Serie Antivariet or Jukebox, while indulging in a steaming bowl of local fish soup. Beyond its close proximity to the magnificent Geirangerfjord, Ålesund draws visitors seeking outdoor activities, including alpine and cross-country skiing, hiking, and fishing. Take a quick excursion outside the city to visit Alnes Lighthouse or embark on a challenging mountain hike up Slogen.
Jotunheimen National Park
The great outdoors is a must-see on any trip to Norway, and the eastern region, known as the “home of the giants,” has an abundance of natural wonders to explore. Jotunheimen National Park, with over 250 mountains, including the towering Galdhøpiggen – the highest in Northern Europe, is the most famous. It’s a hiker’s paradise, with tens of thousands of visitors annually trekking the Besseggen Ridge, a place even the famed Norwegian playwright Henrik Ibsen wrote about in his play Peer Gynt. There are numerous other hiking trails and camping spots, from wild camping to cozy cabins. In addition to hiking, visitors come to Jotunheimen to see glaciers, stunning lakes, cycling routes, rafting, and horseback riding.
Stavanger (Best Places to visit in Norway)
Situated amidst a scenic landscape of mountains and beaches, the coastal city of Stavanger renowned for its rich history and cultural heritage. Stroll through the charming cobblestone streets of Gamle Stavanger, an old quarter adorned with 18th and 19th century wooden houses and small museums dedicated to Viking history. During the summer, the bustling port comes alive with vibrant street art and festivals like Nuart.
Beyond the city, Stavanger offers access to breathtaking natural wonders like Pulpit Rock, Sverd i fjell, and Kjeragbolten, making it an ideal base for hikers and outdoor enthusiasts.
The Hurtigruten coastal ferry is not just a mode of transportation, but an unforgettable journey that showcases the stunning coastal scenery of Norway. This iconic ferry travels between Bergen and Kirkenes, passing through breathtaking coastal fjords, remote villages inaccessible by road, dramatic headlands, and even crossing the Arctic Circle before returning a few days later. As it covers the length of Norway’s most magnificent coast, the Hurtigruten ferry offers a truly spectacular experience.
Nordland Coast (Best Places to visit in Norway)
The Kystriksveien coastal route in Nordland is a breathtakingly beautiful experience with light traffic. Even if you don’t have time to cover the entire 400-mile (650km) route, it’s highly recommended to take a sample trip from Sandnessjøen to Storvik on your way north. This is not a journey to be hurried, as the frequent ferry stops offer mandatory breaks and stunning views of the sea. Along the way, you can also explore inland glaciers and nearby offshore islands, such as Vega, known for its eider ducks, or Lovund, which is home to 200,000 puffins.
Preikestolen, also known as Pulpit Rock, boasts one of the most breathtaking vistas in Norway. Situated on a nearly vertical cliff that looms over the picturesque Lysefjord, this iconic landmark rises more than 2000ft (600m) above sea level. It’s a quintessential Norwegian sight that leaves visitors in awe, as they can’t help but peer over the edge to gaze at the striking views below. Despite the vertigo-inducing heights, tourists can’t resist the allure of dangling over the cliff, all while being drawn closer to the edge.
Norway is a country that offers a unique blend of natural wonders and cultural attractions. From the vibrant cities to the majestic fjords, there is something for everyone in Norway. Whether you are a hiker, photographer, or culture enthusiast, Norway is a destination that should not be missed.