Your Ultimate Guide to the Top 10 Places to Visit in Norway

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Known for its stunning scenic views and vibrant cities, Norway is a year-round destination that offers travellers a wealth of experiences in both winter and summer. Whether you are looking to chase the Northern Lights or bask in the midnight sun, this country has something for everyone. In this article, we will take a closer look at the top 10 places to visit in Norway that can make your winter and summer trips unforgettable.

Top 10 Places To Visit In Norway

From the snow-covered peaks of the Norwegian fjords to the bustling streets of Oslo, Norway is steeped in history, culture, and natural wonder. The country offers the ideal winter and summer getaways, with options for skiing, hiking in national parks, or enjoying picturesque views.

Here’s a sneak peek into the best places to visit in Norway in winter and summer -

Best Destinations For Summer Best Destinations For Winter
Lofoten Islands Tromsø
Bergen Flåm
Ålesund Voss
Stavanger Lillehammer
Oslo Røros

Summer-Time Destinations

Norway comes alive in the summer as the ‘Land of the Midnight Sun; when you can explore the fjords, sip Norwegian coffee, and discover ancient Viking territories. Off-the-beaten-path destinations abound in small cities and untouched wilderness, offering endless opportunities for exploration and adventure.

A diverse selection of destinations is available to choose from, meaning that you get ample opportunities whether you are seeking an adventurous getaway or a laid-back vacation.

1. Lofoten Islands

The Lofoten Islands offer rugged beauty with picturesque fishing villages, majestic mountains, and crystal-clear waters. This archipelago is a popular spot for outdoor activities like hiking, fishing, and kayaking. The islands also boast a vibrant art and culture scene, showcasing the region's rich history and heritage making the Lofoten Islands a must-visit destination in Norway.

Here’s what you can explore in the Lofoten Islands -

  • Reine - This village in Norway's Lofoten archipelago has an exquisite presence of red and white fishermen's huts along the shoreline, with the view being augmented by the surrounding granite peaks that emerge from the Reinefjorden. It is certainly among Norway’s best places to visit for catching picturesque views.
  • Henningsvær - It’s a fishing village in Lofoten that offers numerous outdoor and cultural activities, including fishing trips, sea eagle safaris, guided kayak trips, hiking, and art galleries. It’s also a must-visit place for football fans, with the iconic football stadium surrounded by mountains and sea present here.
  • Uttakleiv Beach - Photographers from around the world are drawn to Uttakleiv Beach in Lofoten for its beautiful scenery of creamy white sand, green grass, emerald-hued water, and polished silver stones on the rocky shore. The beach is easily accessible by car from Leknes, with convenient parking available. This place is ideal for summer camping, where you can even use boulders as picnic tables for a unique experience.
  • Nusfjord - The village is a popular destination in Lofoten and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Staying here for a night or two is suggested to experience its charm with fewer tourists in the quieter evening and early morning hours. You can stroll around and enjoy cafes, art galleries, and more.

2. Bergen

Another one on the list of the top 10 places to visit in Norway, the natural surroundings of Bergen become irresistible in the summer. While enjoying a livelier scene, you can partake in the city's summer festivals, indulging in delicious cuisine, refreshing drinks, and lively crowds.

Here are some of the destinations worth exploring in Bergen -

  • Høyt & Lavt Bergen - The climbing park, located just south of Bergen city center, is an activity hub that features numerous climbing trails and ziplines catering to all skill levels. If you are enthusiastic about donning a climbing harness and soaring among the treetops, this climbing park is definitely worth your consideration.
  • Bergen Fjords - Sightseeing the fjords in Bergen is an ideal way to explore the region. A boat trip from Fisketorget in the city centre can take you to Mostraumen in the Osterfjord, allowing you to relax and appreciate the stunning Norwegian scenery. It's a three-hour ride with views including steep mountains, cascading waterfalls, and charming communities nestled among the verdant hills and mountains.
  • Jubilee Trail - Local hiking can certainly be enjoyable, but why should you limit yourself to that? Bergen offers you an even more challenging experience with the Jubilee Trail, which was established to mark the city's 950th anniversary. It offers a cross-country hiking route spanning over 50 kilometres from Fana to Åsane.
  • RIB Safari - A RIB safari is an exhilarating way to experience Bergen's fjords. Equipped with powerful engines, the inflatable boats are markedly different from traditional fjord cruises in terms of speed. Typically, the excursion begins with a leisurely cruise around the central areas of the city fjord before heading out into the open fjords for a more exhilarating adventure. For a summer-time trip, this could certainly make it to your list of Norway’s best places to visit.

3. Ålesund

The city boasts a delightful waterfront, stunning Art Nouveau architecture, and breathtaking mountain and fjord views. It also hosts several festivals and events during this time, including the Ålesund Live music festival and the Norwegian Food Festival. With its lively ambiance and charming atmosphere, Ålesund is a must-visit destination in the summer months.

Discussed below are a few places that you could check out in Ålesund during the summer -

  • Slogen Hike - For those seeking a challenging yet rewarding hiking experience with stunning mountain vistas in the vicinity of Ålesund, Slogen makes for an ideal choice among Norway’s places to visit. While the hike is not easy, the reward of breathtaking views of the Sunnmøre Alps and dramatic coastal drops surely make it worthwhile. The view from the finest summit in the Sunnmøre Alps, is undoubtedly remarkable. With a triangular pyramid-like feature rising straight up from the fjord, you can have awe-inspiring sights throughout your hike.
  • Alnes Lighthouse - The Alnes Lighthouse, located in the fishing community of Alnes on the island of Godøy, is a well-preserved historical monument dating back to 1876. Showcasing Norway's rich coastal culture, the site offers visitors fascinating exhibits and local handicrafts, while a climb to the top offers an exquisite view of the ocean and coastline.
  • Atlanterhavsparken - Atlanta Sea Park (Atlanterhavsparken), situated at Tueneset on the western coast of Ålesund, is a uniquely-designed aquarium set within the stunning coastal terrain. Renowned as one of Europe's most distinctive aquatic exhibits, the park boasts a remarkable outdoor section that overlooks the majestic Atlantic Ocean.
  • Art Nouveau Walking Tour - Frequently cited as Norway's most picturesque port town. Ålesund's distinctive architectural style gives the town an undeniable charm and makes it one of Norway's best places to visit. Embarking on a leisurely stroll through the city centre, which spans approximately 5 kilometres, you can find ample opportunities to experience the architectural influences that are woven throughout the area.

4. Stavanger

Among the largest cities of Norway, Stavanger boasts a rich history dating back to the Middle Ages. It is popular for its coastal location, which makes for a perfect place to catch the authentic sea experience, complete with seagulls and salty sea spray, old wooden houses, festivals, and breathtaking scenery. The city, also known as the Oil City, is a must-visit destination in the summer with an abundance of sightseeing and exploration opportunities.

Let’s explore a few places that you can visit in Stavanger:

  • Fargegaten - Located just up the hill from the downtown harbor area, the ‘color street’, locally known as Fargegaten, is a popular destination for both visitors and locals seeking a cup of coffee or a drink. The street's unique feature, as its name suggests, is the colorful array of shops that line its path, creating a stunning rainbow of buildings that is sure to captivate and delight all who visit. It’s a wonderful sight and can be considered among Norway’s places to visit that shouldn’t be missed.
  • Pulpit Rock Hike - Pulpit Rock is an incredible mountain plateau renowned as one of Norway's most iconic vistas. The route, almost 8 km long, takes you through traversing wetlands, serene forest trails, arduous mountain slopes, and verdant woodlands, with the ultimate destination making the entire trek worthwhile.
  • Flor & Fjære - It is a vibrant and unique botanical garden located on Sør-Hidle Island, and is just a 20-minute boat ride away from Stavanger. Originally created as a side project by a local gardener with a holiday home on the island, it is now a stunning park that can be reached in just 30 minutes by boat from Stavanger. The picturesque family estate welcomes guests to a lush, tropical park adorned with colorful flowers and plants.
  • Gladmatfestivalen - Annually hosted in the heart of the city center along Vågen, the food festival boasts a lineup of over 100 exhibitors committed to delivering an exceptional dining experience. In addition to delectable cuisine, you can enjoy a variety of entertainment, workshops, demonstrations, and concerts. The festival also serves as a platform for presenting the Food Culture Prize, a beloved tradition.

5. Oslo

The capital of Norway, Oslo is a city with a rich tapestry of offerings, catering to a diverse range of interests. While summer may be a popular time to visit, the city's allure endures throughout the year. As one of the best sites in the top 10 places to visit in Norway, Oslo has everything ranging from must-see Viking attractions and museums to intriguing neighborhoods.

  • Royal Palace - Built in the early 19th century, the Royal Palace houses the reigning monarchs and features numerous lavishly furnished rooms. It is open to the public during the summer months, and allows visitors to explore the Council Chamber, Banqueting Hall, and elegantly appointed guest rooms.
  • Botanical Gardens - For over a century, the Botanical Gardens have been a prominent attraction on the east coast. While every season holds its own appeal, summer is the prime time to visit when the lush trees and shrubs are in full bloom. During the extended daylight hours, you can enjoy leisurely romantic strolls along the paths, making it one of Oslo's top summer experiences.
  • Oslofjord - Located in southeastern Norway, the Oslofjord spans from the imaginary line connecting the Torbjørnskjær and Færder lighthouses to Langesund in the south and Oslo in the north. It is replete with islands that offer an array of thrilling summer activities. Exploring the islands by boat, which are mostly open to the public, is a memorable and classic maritime experience in Oslo.
  • Huk & Paradisbukta Beaches - Located on the Bygdøy peninsula, Oslo boasts these two small, sandy beaches that are popular among locals but lesser known to tourists. You can enjoy various activities including sunbathing, beach volleyball, surfing, kayaking, and swimming in the refreshing waters.

Winter Escapades

Moving on to the colder part, Norway is an ideal winter destination for tourists, with its stunning landscapes offering spectacular natural scenery and a host of unique experiences. You can indulge in various activities such as skiing, northern lights hunting, thrilling winter sports, and more.

Here are the best places to visit in Norway in winter -

1. Tromsø

The largest city in Arctic Norway, this city is widely considered one of the best places to visit in Norway in winter. Although this place has numerous attractions, it is primarily known for being one of the world’s top locations to view the Northern Lights during the winter months.

  • Northern Lights - A must-do activity in Tromsø during winter is witnessing the spectacular Aurora Borealis, also known as the Northern Lights, which attracts visitors from all over the world. Although the occurrence of this phenomenon is unpredictable, Tromsø’s high northern latitude and favourable conditions make it an excellent destination to increase the likelihood of experiencing this magical natural phenomenon.
  • Dog Sledding Tour - When in Tromsø, you can experience the traditional mode of transportation in arctic climates through dog sledding on a husky safari tour. In a dog sled tour, you can manoeuvre a sled pulled by a team of up to six dogs through the snowy terrain, and revel in the unparalleled experience of steering your own sled.
  • Ice Domes - The Ice Domes, located in the stunning Tamok Valley amid towering mountains, make for one of the best ways to truly experience the magic of the Arctic wilderness. Built annually during the winter season, the Tromso Ice Domes are generally open to visitors from December 10th to March 31st, offering the chance for an unforgettable overnight stay in a frozen wonderland. If you are visiting the country in the given period, you should consider Ice Domes among the unmissable places to visit in Norway in winter.
  • Winter Sea Kayaking - You should also indulge in the pleasure of kayaking in the picturesque Fjords with a guided winter sea kayaking tour, where you can observe magnificent sea eagles, playful seals, and even whales (if fortunate). 

2. Flåm

Discover the winter wonderland of Flåm's fjords, where you can experience the best of both worlds - the stunning fjords and majestic mountains. Besides a variety of activities to suit everyone's interests, this place also has snow-capped peaks and icy waterfalls that make Flåm an important place to visit in Norway in winter.

Listed below are the other key places in Flåm -

  • Stegastein Viewpoint - A visit to Stegastein is an essential part of experiencing Flåm during winter. At the Stegastein Viewpoint, positioned 650 metres above Aurland, the viewpoint extends 30 metres from the mountainside, creating a sensation of being suspended in the air. For an unforgettable view, you should count it among the best of Norway’s places to visit.
  • Njardarheimr - Situated in the Viking Valley, Gudvangen, this town invites visitors to immerse themselves in the authentic Viking experience set against the backdrop of Norwegian fjords. You can explore the town, interact with the international community of Viking enthusiasts, and learn about Viking culture, work, and influence.
  • Scenic Flåm Railway - The iconic railway journey is among the primary draws for international visitors to Flåm. The famous train traverses around 20 tunnels and passes through picturesque green fields and mountains adorned with traditional wooden houses. You can also catch a view of the Kjosfossen waterfall, as a stop is made there before the train reaches Flåm at sea level.
  • Fjord Sauna - Located in a serene spot on Aurlandsfjord, FjordSauna in Flåm is a floating sauna that offers a soothing hot sauna experience, powered by electricity while docked and by burning wood during fjord cruising. A short walk from the Flåm Railway station, it's one of Norway’s best places to visit to unwind amidst stunning landscapes, especially during winter.

3. Voss

A renowned hub of adventure tourism in Norway, Voss has plenty of facilities for winter sports, extreme sports, and sightseeing, not to forget a vibrant food culture. Voss remains among the top places to visit in Norway in winter and allows visitors to safely experience thrilling activities of all levels, including skydiving, wind tunnel flying, mountain biking, rafting, and kayaking amidst its extreme sports environment.

Here’s what you can expect in Voss -

  • Myrkdalen Skiing - During winter, Voss transforms into a magical winter wonderland with two distinct ski resorts and a vast network of cross-country trails. Among the prime skiing destinations in the region is Myrkdalen, which is also counted as one of the best skiing sites in Europe. You can enjoy nearly long stretches of alpine trails, cross-country paths, and more.
  • Hanguren Hike - The hike to Hanguren is certainly a challenging one, with the mountain being 660 metres above sea level. The trail, however, is well-marked and easily accessible from downtown Voss. Moreover, the reward of reaching the top is worth it, as you can enjoy stunning views of the Vangsvatnet lake and the surrounding mountains or even witness paragliders taking off.
  • Bordalsgjelet Gorge - Just a short walk away from the town centre, the magnificent Bordalsgjelet is a must-see natural wonder. The potholes in the gorge were formed over thousands of years due to the combined forces of the ice and the river, resulting in an exquisite display.
  • Tvindefossen Waterfall - The stunning Tvindefossen waterfall in Voss cascades gracefully in strands, reaching an impressive height of 152 metres. The ideal time to view the waterfall is during winter, when it becomes even more incredible, with its size increasing and its spray spreading across the valley. Owing to its magnificence, it is among the best places to visit in Norway in winter. 

4. Lillehammer

Situated in the heart of the country, it is among Norway’s best places to visit for a perfect getaway for those seeking outdoor adventure. While skiing is a popular activity here, non-skiers can also enjoy the excitement of the slopes by taking a lift to the top of the Lysgårdsbakken Olympic ski jump site, in addition to the fascinating landscapes in the surroundings.

  • Hunderfossen Winter Park - This winter park offers a delightful escapade into a world of ice and snow. You can relax in the southernmost snow hotel in Scandinavia, check out the ice cathedral, the captivating Troll Forest with animated witches, sleigh rides, tobogganing, and a plethora of charming activities and entertainment for all ages.
  • Maihaugen - If you are looking for a calm snow experience, you should certainly consider visiting Maihaugen for an enriching experience. You can explore indoor exhibitions and stroll through the splendid cultural landscape. During the winter holidays, Maihaugen hosts exciting activities for all ages including sledding, horseback riding, and engaging exhibitions.
  • Helvete Nature Park - Containing Northern Europe's largest potholes, this is among the top places to visit in Norway in winter. Discover the vast Helvete gorge which interestingly translates to ‘Hell’, formed during the last ice age when melting ice caused water and rocks to rotate within the mountain, carving and shaping the bedrock.
  • Horseback Riding - You can also embark on a spectacular nature experience and discover the Lillehammer mountain scenery on horseback. It’s worth noting that you can find options for riders of all ages and skill levels, including gentle rides with a leader for the young, full-day and one-hour trips, riding holidays and weekends, or introductory lessons to learn basic techniques.

5. Røros

Located in one of the coldest parts of Norway, this is a picturesque town with a rich history. Notably, it boasts a UNESCO World Heritage status as one of the few mining towns on the list. Its old wooden houses and unique atmosphere offer a special experience and make it one of the top 10 places to visit in Norway.

Let’s have a look at the sites and activities worth trying here -

  • Winter Chamber Music Festival - A true delight for music enthusiasts! Every Norwegian winter, chamber musicians and avid audiences from far and wide gather for four days of concerts in the world heritage site of Røros. The Winter Festival, rooted in long-standing traditions, offers an enchanting atmosphere with the scent of tulips and the sound of chamber music.
  • Røros Winter Fair - Also known as Rørosmartnan, this traditional winter market dates back to 1854. It transforms Røros into a bustling marketplace for five days starting every year on the second last Tuesday in February. You can participate in the merriment by engaging in the trading activities at the various stalls, warming up with a cup of hot coffee around a bonfire, and enjoying lively folk music and captivating storytelling. The town's several dance halls, cafes, inns, and restaurants provide a perfect opportunity to mingle and immerse in the lively ambience, making it one of the top places to visit in Norway in winter.
  • Hummelfjell Alpine Centre - It offers popular alpine facilities with trails catering to both experienced skiers and beginners, snowboarding, and off-piste. The region's cold and snow-rich climate offers many memorable days of powder snow. Moreover, Storwartz, which is Røros' surrounding area, is highly sought-after for snow kiting due to its level ground, ample snow, and favourable wind conditions.
  • Sami Experience - Located near the country’s border with Sweden, this region is worth visiting to experience the rich South Sami culture that has thrived in the region for centuries. You can also immerse in ancient traditions, including joik (a unique recitation-like song), duedtie (handcrafts), and reindeer husbandry, all of which are practised by the Sami people. Overall, this is among the best places to visit in Norway in winter if you want to gain insight into the customs, beliefs, and history of this indigenous culture while enjoying the snow as well.

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