The 21 Most Beautiful Places in Norway

The 21 Most Beautiful Places in Norway


Introduction

Norway is a country known for its breathtaking landscapes, vibrant cities, and rich history, and for being where I live now.

Okay, maybe that last one is a bit niche, but anyway…Norway offers a plethora of stunning destinations for travellers. From the majestic fjords that have carved the country’s western coastline to the remote islands in the Arctic, Norway is a place where nature and culture intertwine seamlessly.

In this article I’m going to explore 21 of the most beautiful places in Norway, promising unforgettable experiences for every type of traveler.

21 Destinations in Norway You Must Visit

Destination Highlights Activities
The Fjords UNESCO sites, stunning views Cruises, kayaking
Rondane National Park Biodiversity, oldest park Hiking, photography
Svalbard Unique Arctic ecosystem Polar phenomena, wildlife
Preikestolen Iconic cliff, panoramic views Hiking, sightseeing
Kjerag Kjeragbolten, adventure sports Hiking, base jumping
Jotunheimen National Park High peaks, deep lakes Hiking, wildlife spotting
Hardangervidda National Park Mountain plateau, reindeer Trekking, fishing
Geirangerfjord Famous waterfalls, scenic drives Sightseeing, driving
Nærøyfjord Narrow fjord, dramatic scenery Hiking, less crowded
Dovrefjell National Park Musk oxen, unique flora Safaris, nature walks
Ålesund Art Nouveau architecture City tours, island hopping
Bergen Historic district, mountainous backdrop Cultural exploration, hiking
Trondheim Viking history, cathedral Historical tours, city walks
Stavanger Old town, oil industry Cultural visits, hiking
Flåm Railway, fjord landscapes Train rides, cruises
Tromsø Arctic Cathedral, Northern Lights Cultural events, aurora viewing
Bodø Lofoten Islands access, tidal current Island visits, nature excursions
Rjukan Industrial heritage, sun mirrors Historical sites, skiing
Røros Wooden town, mining history Cultural festivals, winter activities
Fredrikstad Fortress town, river life Historical tours, river activities
Undredal Stave church, goat cheese Village life, local cuisine

 

The Fjords

No visit to Norway is complete without experiencing the awe-inspiring beauty of its fjords. These deep, narrow inlets, flanked by towering cliffs and lush mountains, are among the country’s most iconic landscapes.

The Geirangerfjord and Nærøyfjord, both UNESCO World Heritage sites, are renowned for their stunning scenery, including cascading waterfalls and pristine waters. A fjord cruise or a kayaking trip offers a unique perspective on these natural wonders, allowing visitors to feel the immense scale and beauty of the fjords up close.

Rondane National Park

As Norway’s oldest national park, Rondane is a haven for outdoor enthusiasts and nature lovers. The park’s diverse landscape, characterized by rugged peaks, serene valleys, and vast plateaus, offers numerous trails for hiking and cross-country skiing.

Visitors might catch a glimpse of the park’s wild reindeer herds, adding a touch of magic to the already enchanting scenery. The Sohlbergplassen viewpoint provides a panoramic view of the park’s majestic mountains, making it a must-visit spot within Rondane.

Svalbard

Far north of the mainland lies Svalbard, a group of islands known for their remote beauty and unique wildlife. This Arctic paradise is a place of stark contrasts, where glaciers and frozen tundras coexist with diverse flora and fauna.

Svalbard is one of the best places on earth to witness the polar night and the midnight sun, phenomena that highlight the extreme conditions of our planet. Adventurous travelers can embark on a polar bear safari, explore the islands’ icy landscapes by snowmobile, or discover the remnants of the archipelago’s whaling history.

Preikestolen

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Preikestolen, or Pulpit Rock, is one of Norway’s most famous natural attractions. This massive cliff, towering 604 meters above the Lysefjord, offers one of the most breathtaking views in the country.

The hike to Preikestolen is relatively accessible, making it a popular destination for both seasoned hikers and casual walkers. Standing on the flat top of the cliff, visitors are rewarded with a panoramic vista of the fjord below, a sight that is both exhilarating and serene.

Kjerag

For those seeking adventure, Kjerag presents an irresistible challenge. The mountain is best known for Kjeragbolten, a large boulder wedged in a mountain crevasse, suspended above a 984-meter abyss.

The hike to Kjeragbolten is demanding but offers spectacular views of the surrounding mountains and fjords. For the brave, standing on the boulder provides an unparalleled adrenaline rush and a unique photo opportunity.

Jotunheimen National Park

Jotunheimen National Park, known as the “Home of the Giants,” is a majestic area that boasts some of Norway’s highest peaks, including Galdhøpiggen and Glittertind. The park’s varied landscape is dotted with deep blue lakes, rushing waterfalls, and expansive glaciers.

Hikers can explore the well-marked trails, while those looking for a more relaxed visit can enjoy the serene beauty of the park’s quieter corners. Jotunheimen is a paradise for outdoor enthusiasts, offering activities ranging from mountain climbing to fishing in crystal-clear mountain lakes.

Hardangervidda National Park

The vast expanse of Hardangervidda National Park is Europe’s largest mountain plateau and a nature lover’s dream. The park is a critical habitat for one of the largest herds of wild reindeer in Norway. With its flat terrain and numerous trails, Hardangervidda is an excellent destination for trekking and cross-country skiing.

The park’s numerous lakes and rivers also make it a popular spot for fishing enthusiasts. Visitors can immerse themselves in the tranquility of this arctic tundra and experience the raw beauty of Norway’s wilderness.

Geirangerfjord

Geirangerfjord is often described as the jewel in the crown of Norway’s fjord region. This UNESCO World Heritage site is famed for its deep blue waters and dramatic cliffs, as well as the iconic waterfalls such as the Seven Sisters and the Suitor.

Driving along the winding roads that overlook the fjord, visitors will find numerous viewpoints offering spectacular vistas. For a closer look, boat tours navigate the narrow fjord, providing an up-close experience of its waterfalls and abandoned mountain farms.

Nærøyfjord

Nærøyfjord, a branch of the larger Sognefjord, is one of the narrowest fjords in the world and another UNESCO World Heritage site. The fjord’s steep mountainsides and picturesque villages create a fairy-tale-like landscape that is best experienced by boat. The tranquility of Nærøyfjord makes it an ideal destination for those looking to escape the more crowded tourist spots. Kayaking along the fjord’s calm waters allows for a peaceful and intimate encounter with this stunning natural wonder.

Dovrefjell National Park

For those interested in wildlife, Dovrefjell National Park is a must-visit. It is one of the few places in the world where visitors can observe musk oxen in their natural habitat. The park’s diverse landscape ranges from alpine peaks to lush valleys, providing a habitat for a variety of Arctic flora and fauna.

Hiking trails and guided tours offer opportunities to explore the park and possibly encounter these prehistoric animals from a safe distance. Dovrefjell’s unique ecosystem and breathtaking scenery make it a standout destination in Norway’s vast wilderness.

Continuing with the exploration of Norway’s most beautiful places, let’s delve into the next five destinations that showcase the country’s urban charm and historical significance.

Ålesund

Ålesund is not just a gateway to the iconic fjords; it’s a masterpiece of Art Nouveau architecture. After a devastating fire in 1904, the city was rebuilt in this distinctive style, with ornate buildings that seem to rise majestically from the water’s edge.

A visit to the Ålesund Museum provides insights into the city’s history and architecture. For panoramic views of Ålesund and its surrounding archipelago, a climb up to Aksla Viewpoint is a must. The city also serves as a starting point for adventures into the nearby Sunnmøre Alps, making it a perfect blend of urban culture and natural beauty.

Bergen

Bergen, known as the gateway to the fjords, is a city steeped in history and natural beauty. The Bryggen Hanseatic Wharf, with its colorful wooden buildings, is a UNESCO World Heritage site and offers a glimpse into the city’s medieval past.

Bergen is surrounded by seven mountains, offering ample hiking opportunities and stunning views from atop Mount Fløyen or Ulriken. The city’s vibrant fish market and numerous museums, including the Edvard Grieg Museum, provide a deep dive into Norwegian culture and cuisine.

Trondheim

Trondheim offers a unique mix of ancient and modern attractions. The Nidaros Cathedral, dating back to the 11th century, is a national treasure and a testament to Norway’s historical significance in the Viking Age.

The city’s old town, Bakklandet, is charming with its wooden houses and cobblestone streets, perfect for a leisurely stroll or a bike ride. Trondheim also boasts innovative food scenes and vibrant student life, thanks to the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU).

Stavanger

Stavanger combines the charm of a small town with the buzz of a significant oil industry hub. The Old Stavanger area, with its well-preserved wooden houses, offers a picturesque walk back in time.

The city is also the gateway to the Lysefjord and the famous Preikestolen (Pulpit Rock), making it a favourite among hikers and nature enthusiasts. The Norwegian Petroleum Museum and the annual Gladmat food festival highlight the city’s diverse cultural offerings.

Flåm

Nestled in the heart of the fjords, Flåm is a small village with a grand presence. It’s best known for the Flåm Railway, one of the world’s most beautiful train journeys, winding through mountains and past waterfalls.

The village serves as a base for exploring the Aurlandsfjord and the Nærøyfjord, with opportunities for hiking, cycling, and fjord cruises. The Stegastein Viewpoint offers a breathtaking panorama of the fjord landscape, making Flåm a must-visit for those seeking the quintessential Norwegian fjord experience.

Tromsø

Tromsø, often referred to as the gateway to the Arctic, is a city that blends modern culture with ancient traditions. The Arctic Cathedral, with its distinctive peaked roof and stunning stained glass, is a modern marvel that reflects the city’s vibrant cultural scene.

Tromsø is also a prime location for witnessing the Northern Lights, offering numerous outdoor activities such as dog sledding, whale watching, and midnight sun hikes. The city’s lively festivals and rich Sami culture make it a unique destination where visitors can immerse themselves in the Arctic way of life.

Bodø

Situated just above the Arctic Circle, Bodø serves as the gateway to the breathtaking Lofoten Islands. The city is known for the Saltstraumen, the world’s strongest tidal current, a natural phenomenon that attracts visitors from around the globe.

Outdoor enthusiasts will find plenty to explore, from hiking and fishing to kayaking in the crystal-clear Arctic waters. Bodø’s vibrant cultural scene, including music festivals and art galleries, showcases the creative spirit of the North.

Rjukan

Rjukan is a town steeped in industrial heritage, famously known for its role in the World War II heavy water sabotage operations. The town’s sun mirrors (“Solspeil”), designed to reflect sunlight into the valley during the dark winter months, are a testament to its innovative spirit.

Visitors can explore the Vemork museum to learn about the town’s industrial history and the heroic efforts of the Norwegian resistance during the war. The surrounding landscape offers numerous outdoor activities, from ice climbing to mountain biking.

Røros

Røros is a charming UNESCO-listed wooden town known for its well-preserved 17th-century buildings and rich mining history. The town’s narrow streets and colorful houses transport visitors back in time, while the winter market (“Rørosmartnan”) offers a glimpse into local traditions and crafts.

Røros is also renowned for its local cuisine, with restaurants serving dishes made from fresh, locally sourced ingredients. The surrounding countryside provides ample opportunities for hiking, fishing, and sleigh rides.

Fredrikstad

Fredrikstad boasts one of the best-preserved fortress towns in Scandinavia, with its star-shaped fortifications and historic buildings. The town’s vibrant cultural life is evident in its museums, galleries, and live music venues.

Visitors can enjoy leisurely walks along the river or explore the town’s rich maritime history. River activities such as kayaking and boat tours offer a unique perspective on Fredrikstad’s scenic beauty and historical significance.

Undredal

Nestled in a stunning fjord setting, Undredal is a picturesque village famous for its traditional Norwegian stave church and delicious brown goat cheese.

The village’s tranquil atmosphere and traditional lifestyle offer a peaceful retreat from the hustle and bustle of modern life. Visitors can explore the scenic surroundings, sample local cheeses, and learn about the village’s history and culture.

Undredal’s charm lies in its simplicity and the warm hospitality of its residents.

Conclusion

Norway’s landscapes are as varied as they are breathtaking, from the Arctic wonders of Tromsø and Bodø to the historical richness of Rjukan and Røros.

Each destination offers a unique blend of natural beauty, cultural heritage, and adventurous activities. When exploring these beautiful places, it’s crucial to practice sustainable travel to preserve Norway’s pristine environments for future generations.

Planning a trip to Norway offers the opportunity to experience the country’s stunning landscapes and rich cultural heritage. Whether you’re chasing the Northern Lights in Tromsø, exploring the historical streets of Røros, or kayaking in the fjords, Norway promises an unforgettable adventure. ‘

Remember to respect and preserve the natural beauty and cultural traditions of this remarkable country, ensuring a sustainable and enriching experience for all.

I have a ton of content about Norway both on the blog and in the pipeline, so keep coming back for more as I will be updating on an almost daily basis. I’ve been living here so long it’s crazy that I have not had more articles about my (newish) home country, but I am working to rectify that…

 


Andy Higgs
Andy Higgs

I know what it's like to go from being a crazy backpacker without a care in the world, via being a vaguely sensible parent to being an adventurer once more. In other words, evolving into a Grown-up Traveller.

Like everyone else, I love to travel, have visited a lot of countries and all that but my big thing is Africa.

I also own and run The Grown-up Travel Company as a travel designer creating personalised African itineraries for experienced adventurers

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