Top 10 Things to do in Norway
Discover the best things to do in Norway and make the most of your holiday. Famous for its sheer sided fjords, picturesque villages, thick forests and rolling valleys, Norway is a scenic paradise.
1. Cruise the coastline and the fjords
One of the best ways to appreciate Norway’s iconic coastline is from the water. The famous Hurtigruten ferries run all the way from Bergen to Kirkenes in the far north and you can either cruise the whole way up the 2,400km coastal route, or hop on and off local ferries for shorter trips, in combination with exploring by other means. The deep blue UNESCO-protected Geirangerfjord is surrounded by majestic, snow-covered peaks, wild waterfalls like Brudesloret (the Bridal Veil) and De syv sostrene (the Seven Sisters) – it’s a particularly beautiful stretch to see from the water.
Suggested itinerary: Hurtigruten Coastal Voyages
2. Keep watch for the northern lights
The north of Norway is a land of wide open spaces and little light pollution offering superb opportunities for seekers of the northern lights. From the stunning mountainous scenery of the Lofoten Islands to the quirky cultural city of Tromso, the fjord indented coastline of Finnmark to the North Cape itself, Norway’s vast skies are waiting for you.
Suggested itinerary: Aurora Weekend at Malangen Resort
3. Look out over North Cape
With less than 3000km of Arctic Ocean separating you from the North Pole, Norway’s North Cape (or Nordkapp) marks the northernmost point of mainland Europe and the views from atop the 307m cliffs are astounding – especially if you visit under the glow of the midnight sun. Heading south again, it’s worth stopping off to visit the open-air Alta Museum to see some incredible specimens of ancient rock art which are thought to have been carved between 5200-200BC.
Suggested itinerary: Above the Arctic Circle
4. Drive the tourist roads through the fjords
Many superlatives are used to describe Norway’s fjords, and rightly so. Norway has designated eighteen particularly picturesque routes as tourist roads. One of our favourites is the ‘Golden road’ Highway 63, which winds between Andalsnes and Geiranger and includes the famous Trollstigen (Troll’s ladder) and Eagle’s Road. Hiring a car is another fantastic way to experience Norway’s beautiful scenery – just make sure you’ve got someone to share the driving with!
Suggested itinerary: Norwegian Fjord Odyssey
5. Explore the enchanting Lofoten & Vesteralen islands
White sandy beaches, crystal clear turquoise waters and a jagged mountain skyline, ridged like a wyvern’s spine, characterise one of Northern Norway’s most iconic islands, Lofoten. Stay in colourful rorbuer (converted fishermen’s cottages) as you explore tiny villages and astounding scenery. At 68N these Arctic islands – warmed by the Gulf Stream – enjoy 24hrs of daylight in the summer months, meaning you’ve plenty of time to explore Lofoten and its gentler neighbours the Vesteralen islands.
Suggested itinerary: Around Lofoten
6. Discover Tromsø the ‘Paris of the North’
The gateway to the Norwegian Arctic, Tromsø is an attractive city – nicknamed ‘Paris of the North’ – whether you see it under the glow of the midnight sun, or use it as a base for northern lights spotting in winter. Tromsø was once a thriving trading post and now it’s a vibrant city with shops, restaurants and street cafes – as well as the launch site for both scientific and commercial polar expeditions. Take the cable car up Mt Storsteinen for incredible views over the city.
Suggested itinerary: Tromso Northern Lights City Break
7. Take the Flam Railway
Regularly called one of the world’s most beautiful railways, the Flam Line is a 20km long railway between Myrdal and Flam. Known as the ‘Corkscrew Railway’, it has ten stations, twenty tunnels and one bridge and is the steepest railway in Europe. If you’re feeling energetic, cycle hire is available in Flam, so you can opt to cycle back down to the town or perhaps take the train part way and finish with a gentle stroll through the countryside (all downhill!) before continuing to the beautiful Hanseatic city of Bergen.
Suggested itinerary: Over the Roof of Norway
8. Hike in magnificent scenery
Norway is truly a hiking heaven, offering a range of opportunities for you to lace up your boots and set out to explore. The long summer hours of daylight mean you can take your time – and soak up the views! If you’re feeling fit, we recommend the 8hr hike to Trolltunga (‘Troll’s tongue’) and back. This unique rock formation juts out over the southern branch of Hardangerfjord, one of the most bountiful places in Norway, and affords breathtaking views – a long walk, but well worth the effort.
Suggested itinerary: Walk Bergen and Beyond
9. Mix ancient and modern in Oslo
Scandinavia’s oldest capital city, Oslo is located at the top of Oslofjord and surrounded by huge fairy-tale pine forests. The city offers a variety of ways to get a Scandinavian culture fix – from cafes and restaurants to boutique shops and museums. Plan visits to Vigeland Sculpture Park, the Viking Ship Museum, the Munch Museum and Holmenkollen, as well as the more challenging Nobel Peace Centre and the Holocoust Center.
10. Snap a photo of a Stave Church
Norway’s natural wonders will take your breath away, but keep some awe in store for its man-made beauties too, such as the highly photogenic Urnes Stave Church on the mighty Sognefjord – the longest and deepest of the country’s fjords. The Unesco listed church, built in the 12th century, is thought to be the oldest surviving example of this traditional style and inside its unrivalled Norse carvings are a real gem.
Suggested itinerary: Norwegian Fjord Highlights