Advertisement

Discover Norway For Members

Five unmissable tourist attractions in Norway you have to visit

Robin-Ivan Capar
Robin-Ivan Capar - [email protected]
Five unmissable tourist attractions in Norway you have to visit
Photo by Thomas Langnes on Unsplash

While it's tough to pick out just a handful of attractions visitors to Norway must see (there are dozens of amazing sights throughout the country!), we've compiled a list of our five personal favourites.

Advertisement

With its famous Viking past, incredible natural attractions, and rare phenomena such as the Northern Lights and the Midnight Sun, Norway has much to offer to tourists – and tens of thousands of people visit the country yearly.

Regardless of whether you're more of a travel aficionado or an avid culture and history buff, this Scandinavian country will not leave you disappointed!

If you're travelling budget allows for it, we warmly recommend visiting the following attractions – they're truly unique.

Advertisement

Borgund stave church

The Borgund Stave Church, located in Borgund in Lærdal Municipality, Vestland, Norway. Photo by Stephen Roth on Unsplash

The fascinating stave churches

Norwegian stave churches are considered some of the most beautiful examples of medieval wooden architecture. They are also the oldest wooden churches in Christianity that survive to this day.

The stave churches get their name from the corner posts, i.e., staves, and their characteristic timber framework.

With intricate carvings and fantastical motifs, their style is usually described as "pre-Christian" and more closely associated with Viking culture and Old Norse religion. Furthermore, they were all built using a special construction technique.

In the Middle Ages, between 1,300 and 2,000 such churches stood in Norway. Today, only 28 remain.

While you'll likely enjoy seeing any of the 28 churches, tourists usually opt for the UNESCO-listed Urnes Stave Church – the oldest and most famous one. It's located in Luster Municipality in Vestland County.

Lofoten Islands

The Lofoten Islands are home to numerous picturesque fishing villages. Photo by Dmitri Zotov on Unsplash

The breathtaking Lofoten Islands

Even if you're not aware of it, you've probably seen several photos of the fantastic Lofoten Islands archipelago.

Some of the most beautiful travel photographs in the world have been taken there. From picturesque red and white fishing villages to dramatic mountain scenery and the Northern Lights - these islands seem to have it all.

However, they're situated in northern Norway, and the trip is likely to cost you (you can expect to pay around 4000 kroner for a return ticket to Svolvær from, for example, Bergen – then there's accommodation, renting a car, and other expenses…).

This is pricy even by Norwegian standards. I've met a few Norwegians who told me they set aside a lot of time to find good deals, book everything in advance, and travel to the islands outside peak season.

However, once you arrive there, all the effort and money spent will likely become just an afterthought – you'll probably be too busy going on whale and sea eagle safaris, fishing trips, visiting local museums (such as the Lofotr Viking Museum), the aquarium, hiking stunning trails, and much more!

Advertisement

Bryggen

The colourful wooden buildings of the historic district of Bryggen, located in Bergen, Norway. Photo by Lachlan Gowen on Unsplash

Bergen’s UNESCO-listed Bryggen wharf

The iconic Bryggen front in Bergen's historic harbour district is one of Norway's most visited sites.

The old wharf has been put on UNESCO's World Heritage List, as it comprises Hanseatic buildings and a highly preserved medieval urban area.

Spring increases your odds of enjoying Bryggen in sunny weather – which is no small feat considering that Bergen is known as Norway's "Rain Capital," mostly due to its wet microclimate.

There is a number of souvenir and tourist shops in the area, and the continuous influx of tourists has also led to numerous restaurants being set up along Bryggen's front facades and in their vicinity.

Some of them, such as Bryggeloftet & Stuene, are really good (the traditional Bergen Fish Soup - Bergensk fiskesuppe – there is exquisite), although most tend to be on the expensive side – which should come as no surprise when you consider the location.

Psst! There's still a lot of Hanseatic-era charm that can be seen in the back alleys – so make sure to explore the area in the back.

Advertisement

Northern Lights

The Northern Lights in the skies above the Lofoten Islands. Photo by Wolfgang Hasselmann on Unsplash

Chasing the Northern Lights

If you have seeing the Northern Lights on your bucket list, then visiting Norway is a no-brainer – after all, it is one of the best places in the world to see the phenomenon.

The best time to see the Northern Lights, also known as Aurora Borealis, is from September to the end of March. If you ask people where to go to improve your chances of seeing the magical lights dance in the sky, you'll likely be pointed in the direction of Tromsø, the Lofoten Islands, or Svalbard.

However, that doesn't mean that you won't be able to see them from other parts of Norway. It's just that the Aurora is often a more uncommon and paler occurrence if you're not in the northern parts of the country.

Regardless of your destination of choice, booking a guided Northern Lights tour is a good idea, as experienced guides will help you find the best area to spot the Aurora – this is especially important if you run into bad weather.

While there are no guarantees, and while the success rate changes from season to season, many guided tours have an excellent track record (some claim they have found the Northern Lights on more than 80 percent of the trips).

Advertisement

Jotunheimen National Park

The Jotunheimen National Park is home to some of the highest mountains in Norway. Photo by Lukas Zischke on Unsplash

Hiking in the Jotunheimen National Park

Located between the country's largest cities - Oslo, Bergen, and Trondheim - the Jotunheimen (which translates into the "Home of the Giants") National Park is Norway's largest national park.

It is a favourite of outdoors-loving tourists keen on hiking, skiing, cycling, and mountaineering, and it's famous for its wild landscapes, with numerous glaciers, high-altitude lakes, and more than 250 mountains.

This national park is also pretty popular with campers. You can choose whether to camp out in the wilderness or stay in one of Jotunheimen's numerous cabins, wooden huts, and lodges. There's even a boutique hotel (Herangtunet) that you can book if you're looking for comfort.

If you're looking for an active vacation, you'll be able to enjoy amazing hiking trails and summit hikes such as the Besseggen, Svartdalen, and Galdhøpiggen ones. Trails are available for hikers of all levels, so don't be intimidated if you're a beginner.

There is a number of tours to choose from in the area, and you can find an updated list on the national park's website, here.

More

Comments

Join the conversation in our comments section below. Share your own views and experience and if you have a question or suggestion for our journalists then email us at [email protected].
Please keep comments civil, constructive and on topic – and make sure to read our terms of use before getting involved.

Please log in to leave a comment.

See Also