Norway

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Stretching over 1,000 miles from south to north, Norway is a big country, so don’t expect to see everything on your first trip. The West Coast and the fjords will be top of your agenda, but the sunny southern coast, the rugged mountains in the center, and the tundra-covered north are attractive destinations in their own right.

Norway Cities and Regions

Oslo

With just over 500,000 inhabitants, the Norwegian capital is a small but vibrant city. The Viking Ship, Folklore, and Munch museums, where the original Scream painting is on display, are among the best. Other highlights include Vigeland Park, with its 212 statues, the Akershus Fortress guarding the entrance to the harbor, and the trendy Aker Brygge area. See our Oslo Travel Guide

Bergen

The city of Bergen, Norway’s first capital, is also known as “The Gateway to the Fjords.” Take a stroll on the historic wooden wharf-side buildings of Bryggen, where the Hanseatic merchants of yore had their headquarters (now a UNESCO World Heritage Site), and check out the famous fish market before taking the funicular up Mount Floyen, for an impressive panoramic view of the city.

Stavanger

Much is going on in Stavanger, the center of the Norwegian oil industry. The city’s “old town” is one of the most picturesque in Norway, while the oil and the canning museums are both worth visiting. In nearby Lysefjord you’ll also find Preikestolen (pulpit rock), a huge block of granite jutting out from the cliff face and dropping nearly 2,000 feet into the water below.

Trondheim and Trøndelag

Nidarosdomen in Trondheim is Norway’s largest cathedral – and the resting place of St. Olav, the king who brought Christianity to Norway. Located 62 miles southeast of Trondheim, Røros is a picturesque mountain town and former copper mining center, with traditional wooden buildings with turf roofs. Meanwhile, in the north, the River Namsen is the place to catch Norwegian salmon (laks).

Oslo Fjord

Don’t miss the quaint old wooden houses and narrow cobbled streets of Fredrikstad’s Gamlebyen, Norway’s best-preserved fortified town, dating back to 1567. From there, hop on a boat to the Hvaler archipelago for a spot of boating and beach life. Hankø, a royal seaside resort, and the road from Tønsberg to Verdens Ende via Tjøme on the other side of the fjord, make popular day trips.

The East

This is a great region for outdoors and sports enthusiasts, with top ski resorts (Geilo, Trysil, and Lillehammer), two famous national parks, huge forests along the Swedish border, and the country’s biggest lake, Mjøsa.

The South

The “Norwegian Riviera,” with its sheltered harbors, white, wooden houses, colorful lighthouses, and mild climate, is a holiday paradise. Inland you’ll find the picturesque Telemark Canal, with its 18 locks (the most impressive of all, at Vrangfoss, is 75 feet high) and the Hardangervidda, Europe’s biggest mountain plateau, where herds of wild reindeer still roam freely.

The West

The fjords have inspired artists the world over, but you must see them in person to truly understand their appeal. Take a boat trip for a better view of the tall mountains dropping steeply into the water below, and prepare to be awed. Hardangerfjord, Sognefjord, and Geirangerfjord are some of the most popular, so make sure they feature on your itinerary.

The North

Travel north of the Artic Circle to see the midnight sun in the summer and the northern lights in the winter. You’ll encounter Sami people (indigenous people of northern Scandanavia) selling their wares along the road to the North Cape, colonies of sea birds on the steep cliffs along the coast, and fishermen drying cod on the stunning Lofoten Islands. Tromsø, the “Paris of the north,” is the main urban center, with many worthwhile attractions, among them Nordlysplanetariet and Polaria.

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