We have many clichés concerning the countries of the North and, in particular, Norway. Some truths in the form of clichés but not only! It is the country where it is very, very cold, and you never see the sun. It is also the place where tall blondes in rain boots and living in wooden cabins take care of farmed salmon and cod.
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Where to start to visit Norway and what to do? Sparkling fjords, breathtaking panoramas, end-wood churches, glaciers in the South. Northern lights, polar bears, whales, isolated fishing villages in the North. Perhaps far from the hot temperatures and the white sandy beaches of southern countries, Norway offers an authentic immersion with a warm welcome from its local population in breathtaking nature. You will come back amazed by the total change of scenery.
Table of contents
- OSLO: A COSMOPOLITAN AND INNOVATIVE CITY
- NORWEGIAN FJORDS
- LOFOTEN ISLANDS
- VIEWING THE NORTHERN LIGHTS FROM THE SMALL VILLAGE OF TROMSØ
- Hike to iconic natural wonders
- Norway’s railway offers a unique train ride
- Steinsdalsfossen Waterfall
- Tvinde Waterfall
- Historic Bryggen
Image by Alexandra von Gutthenbach-Lindau from Pixabay
The capital of Norway, Oslo, is a young and dynamic city. It is renowned for its museums and its unusual and innovative architecture. Built on the side of a fjord and surrounded by hills, it is a stunning city nestled between sea and mountains. Visiting Oslo means:
- exploring the cultural Viking visiting the museum of Viking ships, or the historical museum.
- Understand the Norwegian way of life at the Norske Folke Museum (traditional house from different regions of Norway). Visit the Fram Museum (a 19th-century polar exploration vessel)
- discover local art with paintings by Edvard Munch. Stroll through Vigeland Park and observe its bronze statues.
- Marvel at the architectural renewal of his new opera house.
- This city will not stop surprising you. It will allow you to combine a multitude of nature activities and cultural discoveries. It is impossible to get bored by bikes, cross-country skiing, kayaking, or even visits to the surrounding islands!
Norway has more than a thousand fjords, some of which are listed as Unesco heritage. It is not for nothing that they remain the most symbolic landscapes of Norway. Whether hiking, kayaking, or even by boat, there are many options for visiting the fjords. Here is a top 5 fjords to visit during your trip :
- Geirangerfjord: a sustainable tourism destination classified by Unesco, it is the ideal place for nature lovers.
- Nærøyfjord: the narrowest Fjord and classified by Unesco, the ferry or kayak ride will dazzle you with its vertical landscapes and waterfalls. This is the opportunity to discover the particular way of life of the farmers in their chalets perched high on the reliefs.
- Sognefjord: it is the longest and deepest of the fjords (250 km for 1400m of depth). It is said that it’s the most beautiful landscape in spring. Its orchards in bloom, the Sognefjord offers a breathtaking panorama, with the snow-capped mountains as a backdrop.
- Lysefjord: famous for its famous rock (Preikestolen in Norwegian. Vertical wall of 600m with a splendid point of view on the Lysefjord) which one reaches in approximately 2 hours of walk, it remains a must-see in the region.
- Hardangerfjord: you can access this fjord from Stavanger. The Trolltunga hike is the most famous (photogenic rocky tongue overlooking the Fjord) for its incredible view of the surrounding landforms.
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Translucent fjords, playgrounds for ski touring enthusiasts, vertiginous mountains, or even typical fishing villages. Who has never heard of the Lofoten Islands and its cousins, the Vesterålen Islands? Without forgetting the Northern Lights or the observation of the majestic whales, a true wild beauty awaits you. Stay in “Rorbuer”, old fisherman’s huts built on stilts on the edge of beautiful white sand beaches, and enjoy a breath of fresh air for a total change of scenery.
We recommend circuits of 6 to 9 days to be able to visit these two chains of islands. A few stops are not to be missed, such as the typical small villages of Å, with their wooden buildings and its best-preserved fishing port, and Reine, with its magical setting and village life.
On the cultural side, if you want to learn a little more about Viking culture, don’t miss a visit to the Lofotr Museum or the “Lofoten Cathedral” located in Kavelbåg.
Nicknamed the “Arctic capital” thanks to its geographical position, Tromso is surrounded by bluish mountains with snow-capped peaks. This imposing landscape sends back a strange arctic light that sparkles on the waters, making the atmosphere completely unreal. Tromsø is a modern city, and its famous arctic glass cathedral bears witness to this. It is good to live there, and its cuisine is renowned throughout the world. A city also animated by its student life, there is a fascinating polar museum. The program reconstructs a trapper’s hut, whaling, polar bear traps, and old-fashioned skis!
In winter, the city of Tromsø is plunged into total darkness and is the most beautiful place to observe the Northern Lights. Because of its position at 70 ° North latitude, you can observe the midnight sun phenomenon from July to August. Snowshoeing or dog sledding, many excursions are available from the city, even if you do not practice sport.
Higher up, we find the extreme northern tip of Europe, the North Cape, like a taste of the end of the world. Crab fishing or even an ornithological safari (famous in particular in the Varanger region), you can also live the experience of sleeping in an ice hotel.
Norway’s natural beauty can be explored by hiking the trail. You will work up a sweat climbing mighty mountains to reach stunning photogenic spots. The panorama from the top will be worth it!
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The Loen Skylift was opened by the Queen of Norway in 2017 and is one of Norway’s most recent additions. The cable car will take you 1,011m to Mount Hoven.
You can take in the stunning views from the summit or stop by a restaurant with a fjord view.
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Preikestolen, also known as Pulpit Rock, is one of Norway’s most iconic landmarks. It is a 2-hour hike, approximately 10 km long, that takes you to the top of a 604-meter tall cliff. From there, you can experience breathtaking views of Lysefjord below.
If you are brave enough, you might even dare to look beyond the ‘preacher’s pulpit.
Image by Patrik Houštecký from Pixabay
Are you looking for ultimate adrenaline? Trolltunga is a rock formation that defies gravity, which rises from the mountainside. It hangs unsupported at more than 700m above Lake Ringedalsvatnet. The stunning views make it worth the 10-to-12-hour trek.
Norway has a vast rail network that makes it easy to explore the country, even without a car. These routes provide unique views of Norway’s outstanding natural beauty and allow you to access remote areas. These are our top three favorite railway journeys.
The Dovre Railway runs from Oslo to Trondheim via Gudbrandsdalen Valley, taking you into Norway’s wild wilderness. It takes you through beautiful fjords and majestic mountains, as well as past stunning waterfalls.
It takes seven hours to travel, and you can stop at Dovrefjell mountain hiking trails, ski resorts, or national parks like Jotunheimen or Rondane.
You could easily spend several weeks exploring this route. Many of our all-inclusive Norway tours will help you to do just that.
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Nestled under majestic mountains and just a few steps from powerful waterfalls, Flam is a paradise for outdoor lovers. It is positioned at the end of Aurlandsfjord and is ideal for hiking, exploring historical sites such as Flam Church (17th century) or cultural attractions such as Aegir Microbrewery (14th century).
Here is where the Flam Railway, or Flamsbana, departs to reach Myrdal high up. This 20km route, which is often mentioned on VIP lists as one of the most beautiful train rides in the world and the highest railway track in the world, is frequently named.
The Rauma Railway leads you to some of Norway’s most stunning scenery. The Rauma Railway runs only 70 miles and connects Dombas with Andalsnes. The 1-hour journey takes you through dramatic fjords and thick forests, as well as past majestic mountains.
This route is popular with Harry Potter fans, as it was the location of parts of Harry Potter’s Half-Blood Prince.
Image by Jan Zatloukal from Pixabay
Norway has over 300 waterfalls. Each one is unique. After spending some time at Bergen’s Hanseatic Wharf, you can head out to Steinsdalsfossen, one of Norway’s most famous waterfalls.
The falls are over 150 feet high. A single pathway runs behind them to keep people dry. Admire the light dancing through the water as you walk behind it.
You can stop at the base of the falls for a photo or go to the lookout point to take in the view of the picturesque Norwegian architecture and farm homes below.
The magnificent Tvindefossen flows just an hour outside of Flam, north of the village of Vossevangen. Tvindefossen can be seen from a roadside observation point, surrounded by the evergreen treetops as well as the towering cliffs in Naeroy Valley. According to local legend, the waters of Tvindefossen can be used as a cure for youth.
Tvindefossen is a popular spot for photographers, but many people visit the area for the tranquility and peace they find in nature. As the waterfalls cascade, listen to the pure water flow from the drop of almost 500 feet.
Not only is Bryggen a UNESCO World Heritage Site, but it’s also the iconic town center of Bergen. Bergen was a shipping and trading port since the Middle Ages. Bergen was rebuilt after a devastating 1955 fire.
The rows of trading houses that line Bryggen’s harbor are now postcard-worthy. Explore the shops, restaurants, and galleries along the wharf that faces the sea.