Although Norway isn’t one of the larger countries of the world, there is so much fun, history, and culture packed into this Scandinavian country that it’s become a favorite for world travelers who want to broaden their horizons. In my opinion, here are the 5 must-see destinations in Norway.
When planning your trip to Norway, you’ll probably plan a stop in the capital city of Oslo, but there are so many must-see destinations in this gorgeous country that it would be a shame to stop your trip after visiting one city. And who knows? You may find your grandest adventure by going off the beaten path.
Settled by Vikings nearly 1,000 years ago, Bergen is one of the most historical places to visit in Norway. It’s a popular cruise ship port, so when you’re researching itineraries for Mediterranean cruises, you may stumble upon lots of references to Bergen.
Related: Beautiful Bergen – Its Art and Artists
In Bergen, you’ll find some of Norway’s finest dining and legendary Norwegian pizza. You’ll discover one of the most modern art museums (the KODE) in Scandanavia, and have the chance to explore a medieval fortress. Bergen offers a delightful juxtaposition of ancient and modern, and there’s something for everyone.
The picturesque town of Reine is nestled on the island of Moskenesøya and is part of the beautiful Lofoten Islands and archipelago. With a population of fewer than 400 people, Reine has earned a reputation for being a great place to travel alone. You’ll have all the solitude you crave when you stay in one of the converted fisherman’s cabins.
If you want to experience something almost otherworldly, head down to Bunes Beach with a blanket. When you lie down and gaze at the dancing Northern Lights, you’ll have an experience you’ll remember for your entire life. And what a story you’ll have to tell!
If vintage charm is what you’re looking for, then Røros is a place you don’t want to miss. As one of Europe’s oldest towns of wooden buildings, there is charm galore if you love seeing ancient architecture and homes. In 1980, Røros was added to the UNESCO World Heritage List and gives a glimpse into what a Norwegian mining town may have looked like in the 1600s.
Related: Step Back in Time at Røros
Since it is a living museum, the town center is highly protected. When you explore the narrow streets, buildings, and old courtyards, you’ll be delighted with the unique independent shops and workshops. Popular things to buy include food, clothing, and ceramics.
Although it’s the third-largest city in Norway, Trondheim has a cozy small-town feel. Part of what gives Trondheim its coziness is the plethora of colorful wooden cottages on stilts. To get an eyeful of color, take a drive or boat ride along the Nidelva River. You’ll see all of the colors your heart desires.
One of the top attractions in Trondheim is Nidaros Cathedral, an 11th-century gothic cathedral where King Olav II is buried. Trondheim is chock-full of museums and art galleries, so you can feed your craving for culture.
Want to see more wooden buildings? Be sure to check out Bakklandet, a small neighborhood of colorful wooden warehouses, where 17th-century artisans and merchants lived and worked.
Norway is a thoroughly modern country that offers old-world charm with modern conveniences and attractions. However, hidden within all of Norway’s modern cities are villages that seem to exist outside of time. Flåm is one such village.
Located at the innermost bank of the Aurlandsfjord, Flåm is surrounded by thundering waterfalls, steep mountains, and narrow valleys. Even though it seems off the beaten path, Flåm is surprisingly accessible via boat, bus, train, or car, and Flåm’s harbor is a popular stop for cruise ships that glide in the Sognefjord.
Related: Norwegian Railway Heralded as a Wonder of the World
Most people who visit Flåm take a cruise through Nærøyfjord for once-in-a-lifetime sightseeing.
Equally popular is the breathtaking scenic Flåm Railway train journey.
So Much Norway, So Little Time
The minute you set your sails (or wings) home after your vacation in Norway, you’ll probably be planning your next trip back. There’s so much to see and do in Norway, and so many exciting contrasts. It’s easy to see why it’s become one of the world’s premier vacation destinations.
Until next time!
Feature image (on top): Northern lights at Lofoten islands, northern Norway.
Photo: Stian Klo/Visit Norway
5 Must See Destinations in Norway is written for Daily Scandinavian by Craig Middleton. Craig is a retired business consultant who has worked in health, real estate, and HR businesses for most of his professional career. He graduated at UC Berkeley with a bachelor’s degree in Marketing and currently spends his days blogging and enjoying his retirement traveling Scandinavia.