Top 15 sights of Norway
Norway is a country of stunning natural beauty, rich cultural heritage and diverse attractions. Whether you are looking for adventure, history, art or wildlife, you will find something to suit your interests in this Nordic nation. Here are some of the top places of interest in Norway that you should not miss on your trip.
Norway’s Largest Fjord Sognefjord is the longest and deepest fjord in Norway, stretching 204 kilometers inland from the coast and reaching depths of over 1,300 meters. Along its shores, you can admire the dramatic scenery of snow-capped mountains, cascading waterfalls, lush valleys and charming villages. You can also explore the smaller branches of the fjord, such as Nærøyfjord and Aurlandsfjord, which are UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Norway’s Largest Fjord Sognefjord is the longest and deepest fjord in Norway, stretching 204 kilometers inland from the coast and reaching depths of over 1,300 meters. Along its shores, you can admire the dramatic scenery of snow-capped mountains, cascading waterfalls, lush valleys and charming villages. You can also explore the smaller branches of the fjord, such as Nærøyfjord and Aurlandsfjord, which are UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Sognefjord offers a variety of activities, such as hiking, kayaking, cycling, fishing and glacier walking.
A World Heritage Site Geirangerfjord is one of the most famous and beautiful fjords in Norway, and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is known for its spectacular waterfalls, such as the Seven Sisters, the Bridal Veil and the Suitor, which plunge from the steep cliffs into the blue-green water. You can enjoy the stunning views of the fjord from various viewpoints, such as Flydalsjuvet and Dalsnibba, or take a scenic cruise or kayak tour along the fjord. Geirangerfjord is also a popular destination for hiking, biking and wildlife watching.
A Picturesque Archipelago Lofoten Islands are a group of islands in northern Norway that offer a stunning combination of rugged mountains, sandy beaches, fishing villages and wildlife. The islands are famous for their scenic beauty and cultural heritage, as well as their opportunities for outdoor activities. You can visit the traditional fishing villages of Reine, Henningsvær and Nusfjord, where you can see the wooden rorbuer (fishermen’s cottages) and the fish-drying racks. You can also enjoy hiking, surfing, kayaking, skiing and golfing on the islands. Lofoten Islands are also one of the best places to see the northern lights in winter.
The Capital City Oslo is the capital and largest city of Norway, and a hub of culture, history and innovation. The city boasts many attractions, such as the Vigeland Sculpture Park, which features over 200 sculptures by Norwegian artist Gustav Vigeland; the Holmenkollen Ski Jump, which offers panoramic views of the city and hosts international ski jumping competitions; the Akershus Fortress, which is a medieval castle and museum; and the Oslo City Hall, which is decorated with murals and hosts the Nobel Peace Prize ceremony every year. Oslo is also home to many museums, such as the Fram Museum, which displays the polar exploration ship Fram; the Kon-Tiki Museum, which exhibits the rafts used by adventurer Thor Heyerdahl; and the Viking Ship Museum, which showcases two well-preserved Viking ships13.
The Gateway to the Fjords Bergen is Norway’s second largest city and one of its most popular tourist destinations. It is known as the gateway to the fjords, as it is surrounded by some of the most scenic fjords in Norway, such as Hardangerfjord and Sognefjord. Bergen is also famous for its historic and colorful waterfront district of Bryggen, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and features wooden houses dating back to the Hanseatic era. You can also visit some of Bergen’s attractions, such as the Fløibanen Funicular, which takes you to Mount Fløyen for a panoramic view of the city; the Bergenhus Fortress, which is one of Norway’s oldest fortifications; and the Fish Market, where you can sample fresh seafood31.
The Arctic Capital Tromsø is a city in northern Norway that lies above the Arctic Circle and is nicknamed the Arctic Capital. It is a lively and cosmopolitan city that offers a range of cultural and outdoor activities. You can visit some of Tromsø’s attractions, such as the Polar Museum, which displays the history of polar exploration and expeditions; the Arctic Cathedral, which is a striking white church with a large stained-glass window; the Fjellheisen Cable Car, which takes you to a viewpoint on Mount Storsteinen for a panoramic view of the city and the fjord; and the Tromsø City Hall, which hosts the annual International Film Festival and Northern Lights Festival. Tromsø is also one of the best places to see the northern lights in winter, as well as to enjoy activities such as dog sledding, reindeer sledding, snowshoeing and skiing.
Jotunheimen National Park
The Home of the Giants Jotunheimen National Park is Norway’s premier destination for hiking and mountain climbing, as it contains some of the highest and most rugged peaks in Scandinavia. The park covers an area of 1,151 square kilometers and has over 250 mountains that exceed 1,900 meters in height, including Galdhøpiggen, which is the highest mountain in Northern Europe at 2,469 meters. The park also has many glaciers, lakes, waterfalls and valleys that offer stunning scenery and diverse wildlife. You can explore the park on foot or by bike along more than 200 kilometers of marked trails, or join guided tours that include glacier walking, rafting and kayaking.
The Oil Capital Stavanger is Norway’s fourth largest city and its oil capital, as it is the headquarters of many oil companies and related industries. The city has a modern and vibrant atmosphere, as well as a rich cultural and historical heritage. You can visit some of Stavanger’s attractions, such as the Norwegian Petroleum Museum, which showcases the history and technology of the oil industry; the Stavanger Cathedral, which is Norway’s oldest cathedral dating back to the 12th century; the Old Stavanger, which is a charming area of wooden houses and cobbled streets; and the Stavanger Art Museum, which displays a collection of Norwegian and international art. Stavanger is also a gateway to some of Norway’s most spectacular natural attractions, such as Preikestolen (Pulpit Rock), which is a flat-topped cliff that offers a breathtaking view over Lysefjord; Kjeragbolten, which is a boulder wedged between two rock faces; and Solastranden (Sola Beach), which is a long and sandy beach popular for surfing.
The Former Capital Trondheim is Norway’s third largest city and its former capital until 1217. It is a historic and cultural city that has a youthful and lively vibe, thanks to its large student population. You can visit some of Trondheim’s attractions, such as the Nidaros Cathedral, which is Norway’s national sanctuary and a Gothic masterpiece; the Archbishop’s Palace Museum, which displays archaeological finds and royal regalia; the Ringve Museum, which is Norway’s national museum of music and musical instruments; and the Kristiansten Fortress, which is a 17th-century fortification that offers a panoramic view of the city. Trondheim is also known for its colorful wooden houses along the river Nidelva, its cozy cafes and restaurants, its lively nightlife and its annual festivals.
The Art Nouveau Town Alesund is a town on Norway’s west coast that is famous for its distinctive Art Nouveau architecture. The town was rebuilt in this style after a devastating fire in 1904 that destroyed most of its buildings. Today, you can admire the elegant facades, turrets, spires and ornaments that give Alesund its unique character. You can also visit some of Alesund’s attractions, such as the Jugendstilsenteret (Art Nouveau Centre), which is a museum and cultural center dedicated to this artistic movement; the Alesund Museum, which displays the history and culture of the town; the Sunnmøre Museum
The National Sanctuary Nidaros Cathedral is Norway’s national sanctuary and a Gothic masterpiece. It is located in Trondheim and was built over the burial site of King Olav II, who became the patron saint of Norway after his death in 1030. The cathedral was completed in 1300 and has been a pilgrimage site for centuries. You can admire the elaborate facade, the rose window, the stained-glass windows and the sculptures that depict scenes from the Bible and Norwegian history. You can also visit the adjacent Archbishop’s Palace Museum, which displays archaeological finds and royal regalia.
The Orchard of Norway Hardangerfjord is the second longest fjord in Norway and the fourth longest in the world, measuring 179 kilometers from its mouth to its innermost point. It is also one of the most scenic fjords in Norway, as it is surrounded by mountains, glaciers, waterfalls and orchards. Hardangerfjord is known as the orchard of Norway, as it produces most of the country’s fruits, such as apples, pears, cherries and plums. You can enjoy the beauty of the fjord by taking a cruise, a bike tour or a hike along its shores. You can also visit some of the attractions along the fjord, such as the Folgefonna National Park, which contains Norway’s third largest glacier; the Vøringsfossen waterfall, which drops 182 meters into a canyon; and the Barony Rosendal, which is a historic manor house with a rose garden.
A Scenic Train Ride Flåm Railway is one of the most spectacular and popular train rides in Norway and Europe. It runs for 20 kilometers between the mountain station of Myrdal and the village of Flåm by the Aurlandsfjord, a branch of Sognefjord. The train descends 865 meters along a steep gradient, passing through 20 tunnels, over bridges and along waterfalls and ravines. You can enjoy the stunning views of the Norwegian countryside from the large windows or from the open platforms. The train stops at some points of interest, such as the Kjosfossen waterfall, where you can see a performance by local dancers dressed as mythical creatures.
A Cross-Country Journey Oslo-Bergen Railway is another scenic train ride that takes you across Norway from east to west. It covers 496 kilometers between Oslo and Bergen, crossing some of Norway’s most diverse landscapes, such as forests, lakes, mountains, plateaus and fjords. The train reaches its highest point at Finse, which is 1,222 meters above sea level and near the Hardangerjøkulen glacier. The train also passes through 182 tunnels and over 300 bridges along its route. You can admire the changing scenery from your seat or from the panoramic windows in some of the carriages. The train takes about seven hours to complete its journey.
The End of the World North Cape is a cape on the island of Magerøya in northern Norway that marks the northernmost point of mainland Europe. It is often referred to as the end of the world or the top of Europe, as it lies at 71 degrees north latitude and offers a dramatic view of the Arctic Ocean. You can visit North Cape by car or by bus from Honningsvåg, the nearest town on the island. You can also visit some of North Cape’s attractions, such as the North Cape Hall, which is a visitor center with exhibits, a cinema and a souvenir shop; the Globe Monument, which is a metal globe that symbolizes North Cape’s location; and the Children of the World Monument