5 Amazing Things to See in Norway When You Next Visit

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If you looking for the perfect spot to experience the infamous Northern Lights or the midnight sun north of the Arctic Circle, there can only be one country that comes to mind – Norway. It is the epitome of breathtaking beauty and with so many things to see in Norway, it’s understandably a country that should be on everyone’s upcoming travel plans.

Despite the plethora of attractions in this country, we have yet to explore this iconic nation aside from spending a solitary night at Oslo Airport. After reading so many amazing stories and seeing spectacular images of the landscapes around Norway, we are ready to head back and experience everything ‘The Land of the Midnight Sun’ has to offer.

norway midnight sun

Why Visit Norway?

Let’s start with a pretty simple question. What do you consider to be the top reasons to visit Norway? Given the recent British exit from the European Union, Norway has become one of the hot-topic countries given their independence from the EU.

things to see in norway in lofoten
Image courtesy of Bay Breezin’

As part of Scandinavia, Norway has always been an attractive country for many visitors but let’s take a look at what makes Norway such an amazing place. I can quickly summarize three key areas that make Norway so popular before you even think about specific cities or landmarks.

  • Urban vs Rural – Whether you want to spend time exploring a city like Oslo or perhaps head out on a glacial expedition in the fjords, Norway has it all!
  • Epic Natural Experiences – There are not many places on this earth that have better opportunities to see natural phenomena like the Aurora Borealis (Northern Lights) and Midnight Sun than Norway!
  • Norway is Energy Efficient – The Norwegians certainly know all about renewable energy (perhaps other nations could take a leaf from their book) as hydropower is the largest provider of electricity production in the nation. It’s no surprise to see the UK collaborating with the Norwegians to import the use of this hydropower.

In our opinion, here are the 5 of the top places and things to see in Norway.

things to see in norway
Image courtesy of Bay Breezin’

Oslo

Is there any better place to start than the beautiful capital city of Oslo? Whether you want to experience fine architecture at the Oslo Opera House or perhaps just people watch and partake in a little retail therapy along the Karl Johans Gate, also known as the heart of the city.

oslo opera house
Image courtesy of Maria Abroad

Oslo is home to a variety of Nordic inspired museums, so if you are an avid historian or enthusiastic art critic, there are a number of options available to you. The Munch Museum is home to the world’s largest collection of works by Edvard Munch, while the Kon-Tiki Museum offers visitors the opportunity to learn all about the historic voyage that later became a well-renowned movie.

things to see in norway
Image courtesy of Bay Breezin’

Take some time to head over to another of Oslo’s historic landmarks, the Holmenkollen Ski Jump Tower and Museum. Here you can learn all about the history of skiing while a visit to the observation deck at the summit of the jump tower offers panoramic views around Oslo.

Holmenkollen Ski Tower and Museum
Image courtesy of Bay Breezin’

Bergen

After exploring the capital, you may be ready to head to the west coast and experience the underrated city of Bergen, the second most populous metropolis in Norway. Bergen’s historic quarter runs along the eastern shore and is known as Bryggen. This old wharf is characterized by colorful, vibrant architecture that is a representation of the trading empire that once thrived here.

bergen architecture

Although Bryggen is a reflection of the rich cultural heritage in Bergen, a trip to the Bergenhus Fortress will give you a look back at life in the 13th century. The King Haakon’s Hall is the only surviving building of the royal palace that once stood on these grounds and along with the Rosenkrantz Tower, this is definitely an intriguing place to visit.

bergen norway

Tromsø

If you are thinking about experiencing the midnight sun effect, Tromsø is definitely a city you will want to visit. Located 217 miles north of the Arctic Circle, Tromsø is not only the largest city in Northern Norway and allows visitors the opportunity to have unlimited daylight for two months of the year, it is also a popular spot for those seeking out the Northern Lights.

Tromsø Norway
Image courtesy of Bay Breezin’

From 20 May to 20 July the infamous midnight sun shines, so be prepared to get some rest before heading to Tromsø because during this timeframe it is well and truly a 24-hour city!

A lively nightlife scene makes Tromsø a popular spot for weekend getaways but it’s perhaps the delicious Arctic seafood that makes this such an intriguing destination for foodies and other cuisine connoisseurs. Meanwhile, a trip to see the epic sights of the Northern Lights is a popular excursion for folks visiting this city.

norway northern lights

I am an avid golfer so when I heard that Tromsø is home to the world’s most northernmost golf course (Tromsø Golf Park), I was immediately sold and need to plan a trip where I can take my golf clubs along. Imagine playing golf at midnight and then heading to the 19th hole in the early hours of the morning!

Arctic Cathedral in Tromsø
Image courtesy of Bay Breezin’

Tromsø is home to a number of quirky yet brilliantly designed architectural structures. The Polaria is an aquarium designed in a shape that is supposed to represent ice flowing. The Arctic Cathedral is another gorgeous building that is in fact, a parish church rather than a cathedral as it is named.

Fjords of Western Norway

When thinking about stereotypical Norwegian landscapes, there is nothing quite like the breathtaking scenery created by the fjords that are scattered along the western coast of Norway. Norway fjords are unlike anywhere else in the world and it’s one of those unique experiences that you have to see in order to fully appreciate it.

norway fjords

The development of the Western Norwegian fjords dates back to the ice age but the iconography of these natural features today is such that they were granted World Heritage status by UNESCO in 2005. Although there are thousands of fjords throughout Norway, the iconic ones like the Nærøyfjord, Geirangerfjord, and the Sognefjord are located on the west coast.

geirangerfjord in norway

Many of these fjords offer a perfect blend of incredible scenery, rich history and culture in the local towns that can be found along the banks and of course, a myriad of activities that visitors and locals alike can enjoy. If you are seeking a moment of pure relaxation, there are few places better than the Norwegian fjords to just get away and enjoy the intimate surroundings of these stunning natural landscapes.

Lofoten Archipelago

Interesting in taking a coastal voyage from Tromsø to appreciate some of Norway’s finest scenery from a boat? Head down to the Lofoten Islands, an archipelago characterized by gorgeous peaks, sheltered inlets, and largely untouched landscapes.

The beauty of this place is simply staggering (Lonely Planet)

Lofoten has a strong connection with the Viking age, so be sure to check out the Lofotr Viking Museum which offers a reflection of how life was like in the Viking years.

things to see in norway
Image courtesy of Bay Breezin’

If you are arriving in Lofoten by boat, consider renting a car on arrival to fully explore the Lofoten Islands. Or perhaps you want to start exploring on foot and then go rafting in the Trollfjord to appreciate the panoramic bliss around you.

lofoten islands norway
Image courtesy of Bay Breezin’

Henningsvær is a quaint fishing village with a population just over 400. However, this is not necessarily a place for people watching rather take a moment to appreciate the natural beauty both surrounding and within this small town.

lofoten islands norway
Image courtesy of Bay Breezin’

Summary

We have briefly touched on a few reasons why Norway is such an attractive country that we should all consider visiting. When you start thinking about the best places to see in Norway, I’m sure you will have different opinions but the eye-catching geography of this nation means that there is something beautiful wherever you visit.

things to see in norway

We are hoping to visit Norway in the near future to fully appreciate everything that we have covered in this post but I’m sure there will be one or two other hidden surprises waiting for us in the perfectly named Land of the Midnight Sun!

Have you visited Norway? What are your top reasons for visiting?

weekend wanderlust


35 COMMENTS

    • Thanks Lydia as always for your kind comments! We were fortunate to see the Northern Lights in Iceland and would love to have the opportunity to compare and contrast those in Norway.

  1. I went to Norway around 13 years ago (!!) and that’s probably 12 years too long ago…thank you for the reminder! On that trip I only made it to Oslo, so next time I’d definitely like to hit Bergen and the fjords. The Lofoten Archipelago also sounds really interesting.

    • We are really inspired to check out the natural landscapes of Norway, particularly those breathtaking fjords on the West Coast. I was pleasantly surprised to learn about the Lofoten Archipelago. It looks so picturesque and untouched and perhaps a part of Norway that is not visited as much as some of the other areas.

    • I think that pretty much typifies the whole of Europe 🙂 Expect rain! But you can’t let that spoil your experience and that’s coming from someone that grew up in England for 22+ years. Embrace the weather and take advantage of the sunshine and dry days when they come along.

  2. Norway is so beautiful! I’m DYING to go on a big trip throughout the whole country! I’ll definitely be saving this!! #WeekendWanderlust

    • Thanks Lolo! An epic road trip around Norway sounds like a great way to experience the country and all its inherent beauty. Spending some time exploring the cities like Tromso, Oslo and Bergen and then relaxing by these breathtaking fjords…yeah, I’m sold on this idea just typing this response 🙂

  3. Great list of the highlights of Norway! So happy that you included Tromsø, where we live, hehe. 🙂 You can add dog sledding, whale safari and reindeer sledding to your activities in Tromsø.

    We are actually heading down to Lofoten next week to go hiking in the mountains. Let us know when/ if you are coming to Tromso, would be cool to meet up!

    Happy travels!
    Maria from Nerd Nomads recently posted…Sri Lanka Itinerary – The Best Of Sri Lanka In Two WeeksMy Profile

    • Sounds great Maria, we will let you know! Hoping to explore Norway sometime in 2017 but that’s only tentative right now. So many places to explore, so little time to do it 🙂 Story of a traveler right! Hope you had an awesome experience exploring Lofoten, it looks spectacular.

  4. I absolutely love Norway. I spent part of my honeymoon there on a camping trip through Scandinavia. The nature as well as the cities are so beautiful, you could barely walk 10 yards without taking another picture.

    • That’s exactly how I envision Norway Maria 🙂 I can’t imagine just visiting for a few days would be sufficient!! So much to see and explore and a picture waiting to be a taken every few steps. But it’s all about creating those memories right and Norway appears to be the perfect country to do that 🙂

    • Thanks so much Lyn! We honestly wrote this post to give us more inspiration to hopefully book a trip to Norway in the near future. I have always been fascinated with the spectacular scenery, in particular, those breathtaking fjords that just capture the imagination. But the blend of urban vs rural is yet another reason why Norway is such an attractive nation that we should all plan on visiting 🙂

  5. Not only is Norway the top place I wish to visit in Europe that I haven’t managed to get around to seeing, I have a Norwegian friend whom I am dying to see!! I am ashamed of myself … and every time I see amazing photos such as these and here such wonderful stories, I am reminded that I have been extremely slack! This is a country that I don’t just want to visit, I neeeeed to visit!! This is a great post, thank you for sharing!

    • Thanks Angie for your kind comments! Sounds like you have similar feelings towards Norway as we do. We can’t wait to visit and explore all of this amazing scenery.

  6. A lovely summary, very enticing – I’m visiting for the 1st time in September and will take some tips from this! Loved all the pics, especially the Bergen and northern lights ones – where are they from?!

    • Thanks so much Sara! The Northern Lights image was captured along the western coastline of Norway. Definitely a place that we can’t wait to explore. We look forward to hearing your stories after your trip to Norway in September.

  7. Hey Chris! Love your blog! I would love to share a link to your post about Norway on a new website I am launching shortly – is that something you would be interested in?

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