Top Things to Do in Norway

Where to Go and What to See in Norway

Wondering what to do and see in Norway? There are so many great places to visit in Norway and top things to do, so I asked a few female travel bloggers about their top tips and here are their recommendations for visiting Norway!

Find out about the best things to do in Norway:

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Visit Svalbard

Recommended by Megan from Megan Star 

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Svalbard is a group of islands in the far north Atlantic that belongs to Norway (and perhaps a bit of Russia).  The islands are renowned for their picturesque landscapes and being home to the northernmost town in the world, Longyearbyen.  But… the thing that makes them the most famous is that they are home to polar bears!  In fact, Svalbard has more polar bears residing on its soil than humans.  This makes the islands immensely popular amongst researchers, climate change experts, and nature enthusiasts.

Longyearbyen, the ‘capital’ of Svalbard and its main town, is named after John Munro Longyear, an American who owned the Arctic Coal Company which surveyed and mined on Svalbard (the islands have a rich mining history) at the turn of the 20th century.  Longyearbyen’s mining past is ever-present today as many of the mines still stand abandoned across this barren and harsh landscape.  Several dorms and accommodation for miners have been converted into hotels and guesthouses and you can stay at them cheaply today.  The long summer days and short dark nights really put reality into check that you are visiting a destination at the very top of the world!

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Discover Flam

Recommended by Jurga from Full Suitcase

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Flam area is without a doubt one of the must-visit places in Norway. It is best known for the scenic Flam railway and one of the most beautiful fjords of Norway – UNESCO World Heritage Site Nærøyfjord. Considered as one of the most scenic train journeys in the world, a short trip on the Flam railway is certainly not to be missed. The fjord cruise is another must-do in Flam.

However, there is more to see and do in Flam area than that. You can visit tiny villages along the fjord, go hiking or kayaking, and the area is also known for some of the most beautiful waterfalls in Norway. Europe’s longest car tunnel, the Lærdal tunnel, is nearby, or you can opt for the more scenic option and (in summer) drive one of the highest roads in Norway…

If you are looking for a special cultural experience, one of our favorite places in Flam area is the newly opened Viking Valley in Gudvangen. In this authentic Viking village you can meet real Vikings and learn more about their history and their way of life – centuries ago, but also today. It’s a unique place, one I highly recommend to anyone visiting Norway.

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Pic: Full Suitcase

See Uloya

Recommended by Lavina from Continent Hop

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If you’re screaming for somewhere remote in Norway, it doesn’t get more remote than Uloya near Tromso. To get to Uloya, you first need to get to Tromso, take a 3-hour drive, then a ferry for about 30 minutes…to Uloya.

Why head off to somewhere this remote? Well because all you need to do to see the Northern Lights is to step outside your cabin in Uloya or if you’re cold, sip some brandy (or tea) and watch it from the window!

There are few things that rival the beauty of watching the lights make mysterious, shimmery, colorful patterns in the sky. Sometimes for a moment they also seem like they’re falling down on you!

Watching the Northern lights is the top activity here, however, other than watching the lights, there are many other exciting activities you could take up here. One of the most unique ski slopes in the world is located here, so you could go skiing or snowmobiling! If you’d rather not be too adventurous, you could try snow-shoe walking or ice-fishing on frozen fjords.

The landscapes here are breathtaking! At night the tiny island feels very peaceful and surreal. Definitely, a remarkable place to visit sometime!

Hike Preikestolen

Recommended by Lamar and Courtney from Travel For Days

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Preikestolen, or Pulpit’s Rock as it is also known is a geographical treasure. You take a ferry from nearby Stavanger, Norway into Tau and the fun begins. At just shy of 2000 meters in elevation, it’s a healthy hike, growing steep and narrow at points, while fanning out for beautiful panoramas in other parts.

The views are absurd, and you’ll need to allow time to stop along the way. To blow past the skyline communing with this mountain, the vibrant lush greens popping out of every rock face, the natural lakes and the sheer serenity of it all…well, it would just be wrong. This rock formation was cut and forged by glaciers thousands of years ago, and the ancient art of the surrounding canvas will speak to you at the most-base level of your existence.

To say it was a cleansing experience might seem a touch on the intense or dramatic side, but the combination of physical exertion and dedication it takes to summit Preikestolen combined with a rather raw and untouched subset of nature, it certainly had that effect on us! When you get to the top, you really feel like you accomplished a feat you’ll never be able to forget. Put that together with the colors (turquoise fjords, ice-gray rock, deep navy hued lakes, bright greens and misty, rolling fog) and the incredible views in all directions, your soul will be full.

Some tips to do it best:

1.      Plan for the excursion to take you 6-8 hours (1 hour to get to Tau and then to Preikestolen, 2 hours to hike it, an hour to take in the views on top, 2 hours to get down, and another hour to return to Stavanger depending on if you just missed or just made the ferry)

2.      The earlier the better.

3.      Bring some additional layers (as the top is much colder than the bottom).

4.      Proper hiking shoes are highly recommended.

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Visit Tromsø

Recommended by Brooke from Roamscapes

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Tromsø is the largest city in northern Norway; as a regular departure point for polar expeditions, it’s known as the “Gateway to the Arctic”. This city backed by the majestic Lyngen Alps is an outdoor lover’s dream, but Tromsø is also a cultural center for the region, home to both Nordic and Sámi culture as well as numerous festivals.

Because it sits within the auroral zone, Tromsø is one of the most popular destinations for seeing the northern lights (aurora borealis). If you’re lucky, you may catch sight of the aurora from within the city! Otherwise, you can always drive out of town on your own or join a professional tour for the best chance at seeing this magical, elusive wonder of nature.

Of course, Tromsø is such a fun destination because there’s much more to do than waiting for the aurora. You can go whale watching, dog sledding or even reindeer sledding as part of a traditional Sami cultural experience, and enjoy a traditional meal inside a Sami hut. Want to relax? Simply stroll through town, visit the Arctic Cathedral, and enjoy great Norwegian beer at Tromsø’s many bars and pubs.

Although it’s seen as a sort of winter wonderland, summer is also an insanely busy tourist season in Tromsø because of the midnight sun: the annual Tromsø Midnight Sun Marathon sees runners arriving from all over the world to complete the challenge. If you want to experience living in constant daylight while going hiking on the tundra and kayaking along the fjords, plan for your visit for mid-May through July.

Cruise the Fjords in Norway

Recommended by Great from Greta’s Travels

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If you’re planning a trip to Norway you can’t not do a cruise in the fjords. Cruises normally start in Bergen and go as far as Cape North, lasting from 2D/1N to a whole week. The highlight of the trip for me was cruising in the Geirangerfjord. This is a 15km long fjord that is protected by the UNESCO. You can admire the natural beauty of Norway while comfortably sat on the deck of your boat, as it cruises past the lush green vegetation and waterfalls, with the peaks of the fjords capped by snow or hidden by clouds.

Once you get close enough to the town of Geiranger the cruise boats will dock away from the shore (they’re too big to dock in the harbor!) and smaller boats will take you to the harbor. Here shuttle buses will take you to the top of the fjord, where you can admire the cliffs from above, one of the best views I have ever seen!

The best company to do the cruise with is Hurtigruten; they have been operating for over 100 years first as a cargo operator and more recently as cruise and ferry services. It is a truly exceptional experience and not just because of the tasty salmon they serve at all meals!

Discover Norway in a Nutshell

Recommended by Kaylie from Happiness Travels Here

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Norway in a Nutshell is a set itinerary that has been designed to showcase some of Norway’s most breathtaking scenery. The route runs between Oslo and Bergen and is as much about the Journey as the destination.

Catch the first of 3 trains from Oslo, sit on the left for the best views of the snowy landscapes and glacial lakes which remain frozen well into the summer. The train times its arrival to meet with the Flam railway, the steepest railway of its type in the world, the line drops 867 metres down to the town of Flam; past steep mountainside impressive waterfalls and through 20 tunnels it’s clear to see why the Flam railway has been voted one of the world’s best train journeys.

Flam is the natural halfway point in the journey, and the gateway to Sognefjord, Norway’s largest and deepest Fjord. Spend some time here hiking or exploring the remote corners of the fjords by boat.

Next, take the Ferry to Gudvangen, the boat passes down the Naerowfjord, Norway’s narrowest fjord and a UNESCO heritage site. Steep snow-capped peaks launch out of the depths, and waterfalls rush back down to the valley floors.

The Bus from Gudvangen to Voss is unlike any other you will take, a scenic detour on the old postal road gives a fantastic view back down the Fjord, as you pass waterfalls which almost spill over the road.

Meet your final train in Voss and sit on the right to enjoy the last views of the Fjords before arriving in the port town of Bergen. Catch an overnight train back to Oslo or even better stay and explore Bergen a few days.

Visit Bergen

Recommended by Alina from Visit and Review

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If you were looking for a place surrounded by beautiful views and rich culture, then Bergen is the perfect choice. Considered to be the Gateway to Norway’s Fjords, Bergen offers plenty of attractions throughout all seasons.

The main activities in Bergen are the trips in the seven surrounding mountains, with different walking and hiking tours. You can also opt for a walk on marked trails to explore the beautiful view of the city and its surroundings.

Tourists in Bergen can explore colorful houses, friendly people, and small streets. A walk through the entire town will definitely be a pleasure for any tourist. Tourists can also visit different Unesco attractions, such as the Bryggen, the Fish Market or the Bergen Aquarium.

For those who want to explore the surrounding areas of Bergen, the Flam Railway is the best choice. The train crosses the mountains and tunnels of Norway, offering beautiful views for all passengers.

Another place for the most beautiful views is the Trolltunga. This attraction allows tourists to explore Norway’s amazing rock formations, dating back to the Ice Age. Hiking is also a great activity in this area, so make sure you’re prepared for an adventure.

A 3-day trip glacier trip is the best escape from city life. Among the most popular activities are kayaking and hiking in Rosendal, the Blue Ice Hike in Juklavaas Glacier or different other guided glacier hiking trips.

The fjords are among Norway’s most popular destinations. Tourists can join different day trips and cruises in this area, among which the Cornelius Seafood Experience, trips and cruises to Rosendal and Mostraumen.

Overall, if you decide to spend your holiday in Bergen, you will have plenty of activities to choose from. This is definitely one of the most attractive places in Norway.

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Lofoten

Recommended by Daniele & Elena from Cycloscope

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The Lofoten Islands are something in between an archipelago and a peninsula. Situated in the north of Norway, beyond the Arctic Circle, the Lofoten are indeed cut into separate islands by dozens of fjords.

The mountains fall into the sea and mirror in incredibly placid waters, often made uncertain by the fog. The mosses are so thick that you can stand on them, even where there’s nothing below. A magical fairytale land.

The largest islands (Austvågøy, Gimsøya, Vestvågøy, Flakstadøya, Moskenesøya) are connected by bridges, those are the ones where the most populated cities are located. One of these is Svolvær, the oldest city in the Arctic Circle, already inhabited during the Vikings times.

Despite being so northernly located, temperatures on the Lofoten islands rarely drop below 0°C. The economy of this archipelago relies almost entirely on fishing.

The Lofoten Islands are a great place to spot the northern lights, enjoy unreal views while hiking, and take boat rides through the many gorgeous fjords. They also are perfect destinations for a bicycle trip, even for beginners.

The desolately beautiful Lofoten Islands have long attracted the attention of the wider world because of the terrifying marine phenomenon off their shores, known as Maelström (Moskenstraumen). A convergence of fast-flowing currents close to Moskenesøy, the westernmost of the five main islands, creates a mighty whirlpool that has entered the collective imagery thanks to the writings of Jules Verne, Edgar Allan Poe, and Herman Melville.

Ålesund

Recommended by Silvia from Heart my Backpack

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People are always surprised to hear what my favorite city in Norway is. No, it’s not Bergen, Tromsø, or even my old home of Trondheim, but a smaller city on Norway’s west coast – Ålesund!

The city itself is gorgeous, and really unique in Norway. After a fire wiped out most of the downtown in 1904, Ålesund was rebuilt with stone Art Nouveau buildings, instead of the traditional Norwegian wooden houses. It’s really special to see streets full of Art Nouveau buildings – the downtown looks so perfect it’s almost like walking through a painting.

But aside from the city’s beauty, Ålesund is worth a visit because it’s located right by some of Norway’s most breathtaking landscapes.

Seriously, if you’re heading to Norway and only have time to explore one place, hop on a flight to Ålesund and spend a day in the city and the rest of your time in the surrounding fjords. Trollstigen, one of Norway’s most dramatic roads, is less than two hours from Ålesund, and Geirangerfjord, one of Norway’s most beautiful fjords, is just two hours from Ålesund.

 

What do you think? Have we missed some great things to do in Norway? Let us know about the most beautiful place in Norway and your recommendation for visiting Norway!

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