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Norway travel guide: Explore the best of Scandinavia

Norway is a treasure trove of remarkable experiences waiting to be discovered.

Welcome to Norway, one of the most beautiful countries in the world! From steep fjords to charming towns, and breathtaking natural wonders to vibrant cities, this Scandinavian gem has something for everyone. In this travel guide, we’ll cover all the essential information you need to plan your perfect trip to Norway.

Getting to Norway
The easiest way to get to Norway is by air, with several international airports located throughout the country. The major airports are Oslo Airport (OSL), Bergen Airport (BGO), and Trondheim Airport (TRD). From here, you can easily travel to other parts of the country by train, bus or ferry.

If you prefer traveling by sea, there are many cruise options available for exploring the stunning Norwegian coastline. These cruises offer a unique experience to see Norway’s picturesque landscapes from the comfort of your ship, and some even take you to remote areas like Svalbard, located in the Arctic Circle.

When to visit
The best time to visit Norway is during the summer months (June-August), when temperatures are mild and the days are long. This is also peak tourist season, so expect higher prices and larger crowds. For a quieter experience, consider visiting during the shoulder seasons (May and September) when the weather is still pleasant but there are fewer tourists.

If you’re looking to see the Northern Lights, plan your trip between late September to early April for the best chance of catching this spectacular natural phenomenon.

Resources for planning your trip

Places to visit

  1. Oslo – As the capital of Norway, Oslo is a bustling city with a charming mix of modern and historic architecture. Must-see attractions include the Viking Ship Museum, Akershus Fortress, and Vigeland Sculpture Park.
  2. Bergen – Located on the southwestern coast of Norway, Bergen is known for its colorful wooden houses, UNESCO-listed Bryggen Wharf, and the funicular ride to the top of Mount Floyen for stunning views.
  3. Tromso – Located in Northern Norway, this vibrant city is known as one of the best places to see the Northern Lights. It also offers a variety of outdoor activities such as dog sledding and snowmobiling.
  4. Svalbard – For a truly unique experience, visit the remote archipelago of Svalbard, located in the Arctic Circle. Here you can go on wildlife tours to see polar bears, reindeer, and arctic foxes.
  5. Lofoten Islands – The Lofoten Islands are famous for their dramatic landscapes with towering mountains, crystal clear waters, and charming fishing villages. It’s a popular spot for hiking, surfing, and kayaking.
  6. Geirangerfjord – This UNESCO-listed fjord is known for its stunning beauty with steep mountainsides, cascading waterfalls, and picturesque villages. Take a scenic boat tour to fully appreciate the breathtaking views.

Outdoor activities

  • Hiking – With over 30 national parks and countless trails, Norway is a paradise for hikers. Some popular routes include Trolltunga, Preikestolen, and Besseggen Ridge.
  • Skiing – Norway is home to some of the best ski resorts in Europe, with options for both alpine and cross-country skiing. Try popular destinations like Hemsedal, Geilo, and Trysil.
  • Dog Sledding – Experience the magic of traveling through snowy landscapes pulled by a team of enthusiastic huskies. This is a popular activity in Northern Norway and Svalbard.
  • Fishing – Norway has some of the best fishing spots in the world, with an abundance of salmon, trout, and arctic char. Popular destinations include the Lofoten Islands, Voss, and Hardangervidda.
  • Snowmobiling – For an adrenaline-filled adventure, try snowmobiling through Norway’s snowy terrain. You can find guided tours in popular winter destinations such as Tromsø and Geilo.
  • Kayaking – With its rugged coastline and crystal-clear waters, Norway is a prime destination for kayaking. Explore the fjords, lakes, and archipelagos while getting up close to nature.
  • Cycling – With its stunning natural landscapes and well-maintained roads, Norway is a cyclist’s dream. Popular routes include the Rallarvegen and the Atlantic Road.
  • Wildlife Viewing – Norway is home to a diverse range of wildlife, including moose, reindeer, arctic foxes, and even polar bears. Take a guided tour for the best chances of spotting these beautiful creatures.
  • Rock Climbing – The steep mountainsides and rugged terrain make Norway a popular destination for rock climbing enthusiasts. Try famous spots like Kjerag and Romsdalshornet.
  • Northern Lights – For a magical experience, head to Northern Norway between September and March to witness the breathtaking display of the Aurora Borealis. Popular viewing spots include Tromsø and Svalbard.
  • Sami Culture – The indigenous Sami people have a rich culture that includes traditional reindeer herding, handicrafts, and music. Visit their settlements in Northern Norway to learn more about their way of life.
  • National Parks – Norway is home to 47 national parks, each with its own unique landscapes and wildlife. Some popular ones include Jotunheimen, Hardangervidda, and Rondane.
  • Midnight Sun – During the summer months, parts of Norway experience the midnight sun phenomenon where the sun stays above the horizon 24 hours a day. This creates a unique and surreal experience for visitors.
  • UNESCO World Heritage Sites – Norway has eight UNESCO World Heritage Sites, including the stunning Geirangerfjord and Nærøyfjord, known for their dramatic landscapes and cultural significance.
  • Culinary Delights – Norway’s cuisine is heavily influenced by its coastal location, with seafood being a staple. Try traditional dishes like lutefisk (dried cod) and fårikål (stewed lamb). And don’t forget to sample some delicious Norwegian chocolate!
  • Adventure Sports – From skiing to dog sledding to river rafting, Norway has plenty of options for adrenaline junkies. With its stunning natural landscapes, it’s the perfect destination for outdoor enthusiasts.
  • Viking Heritage – Norway has a rich history of Viking culture, with many museums and historical sites dedicated to this fascinating era. Visit them to learn more about the country’s past.
  • Fjord Cruises – One of the best ways to experience Norway’s famous fjords is by taking a cruise through these stunning natural wonders. Sit back and relax as you take in the breathtaking scenery.
  • Northern Lights – Norway’s northern location makes it one of the best places in the world to witness the mesmerizing Northern Lights. Head to Tromsø or Lofoten for a chance to see this natural phenomenon.
  • Sustainable Travel – Norway is committed to sustainable tourism, with many eco-friendly initiatives in place. As a visitor, you can help by choosing eco-friendly accommodations and activities, and being mindful of your environmental impact while exploring this beautiful country.
  • Outdoor Activities – With its vast wilderness and varied landscapes, Norway offers endless opportunities for outdoor adventures. From hiking to kayaking to glacier walks, there’s something for every type of outdoor enthusiast.
  • Sami Culture – The indigenous Sami people have a rich culture and way of life that’s been passed down for centuries. Learn about their traditions, language, and crafts by visiting one of the many Sami cultural centers.
  • Skiing – Norway is home to some of the best ski resorts in Europe, with over 50 ski areas to choose from. Whether you’re a beginner or an expert, there’s a slope for you to enjoy.
  • Coastal Cities – Norway’s coastal cities offer a unique blend of modern architecture, rich history, and stunning views of the sea. Visit cities like Bergen, Ålesund, and Trondheim to experience this dynamic mix.
  • Wildlife Encounters – Norway is home to diverse wildlife including reindeer, musk oxen, polar bears, and whales. Take a wildlife safari or join a guided tour to get up close and personal with these majestic creatures.
  • Fjords – No trip to Norway is complete without visiting its famous fjords. Cruise through the narrow waterways surrounded by towering cliffs and cascading waterfalls for an unforgettable experience.
  • Midnight Sun – During the summer months, parts of Norway experience the phenomenon known as the midnight sun. This means the sun never fully sets and you can experience 24 hours of daylight.
  • Northern Lights – On the flip side, during winter months, you can witness nature’s dazzling light show – the northern lights. Head to places like Tromsø or Svalbard for your best chance of catching this breathtaking display.
  • Dog Sledding – For a unique and thrilling experience, hop on a dog sled and mush through the arctic wilderness like the traditional Sami people have done for centuries.
  • Winter Sports – Besides skiing, Norway offers a variety of winter sports including ice skating, snowshoeing, and even ice fishing. Bundle up and try your hand at these exciting activities.
  • Road Trips – Norway’s scenic roads are perfect for a road trip adventure. Drive through the stunning countryside, stopping in quaint villages along the way for a true taste of Norwegian culture.
  • Local Cuisine – No trip is complete without trying the local cuisine, and Norway has plenty to offer. From seafood delicacies to hearty stews and traditional flatbread, there is something for every palate.
  • Viking History – Learn about Norway’s rich history by visiting sites such as the Viking Ship Museum in Oslo or the Lofotr Viking Museum in the Lofoten Islands. Explore ancient ruins and artifacts and gain a deeper understanding of this fascinating culture.
  • Outdoor Adventures – With its diverse landscape, Norway is the perfect destination for outdoor enthusiasts. Hike through lush forests, kayak along stunning fjords, and climb towering glaciers for an unforgettable adventure.
  • Fjord Cruises – The best way to see Norway’s famous fjords is by boat. Cruise through these breathtaking natural wonders and take in the stunning scenery from a different perspective.
  • Wildlife Watching – Norway is home to a variety of wildlife including polar bears, reindeer, and puffins. Take a guided tour or venture out on your own for the chance to spot these majestic creatures in their natural habitat.
  • Northern Lights – One of the most spectacular displays nature has to offer is the northern lights, also known as the aurora borealis. Head to northern Norway in the winter for your best chance at spotting this breathtaking phenomenon.
  • Winter Sports – For those who love the snow, Norway offers endless opportunities for skiing, snowboarding, and other winter activities. With top-notch resorts and pristine slopes, it’s a paradise for winter sports lovers.
  • Music Festivals – Norway is known for its vibrant music scene, with festivals happening throughout the year. From jazz and blues to electronic music, there’s something for every music lover.
  • Sami Culture – Learn about the indigenous people of Norway, the Sami, by visiting their settlements and experiencing their traditional way of life. Don’t miss out on trying some reindeer meat while you’re there!
  • Northern Coastal Towns – Visit charming coastal towns like Ålesund and Tromsø for a taste of traditional Norwegian culture and stunning views of the ocean. Don’t forget to try some fresh seafood while you’re there.
  • Road Trips – Rent a car and embark on an epic road trip through Norway’s scenic landscapes. Stop in small villages, explore hidden gems, and take in the beauty of this country at your own pace. Don’t forget to pack a camera!
  • Viking History – Norway has a rich history of Vikings, and you can learn all about it by visiting historic sites like the Viking Ship Museum in Oslo and the Lofotr Viking Museum on the Lofoten Islands.
  • Fjord Cruises – No trip to Norway is complete without cruising through the stunning fjords. Take a boat tour or hop on a ferry for an unforgettable experience.
  • Arctic Wildlife – Norway is home to diverse and unique wildlife, including polar bears, reindeer, and arctic foxes. Take a wildlife tour to see these magnificent creatures in their natural habitat.
  • Outdoor Adventures – With its vast forests, mountains, and lakes, Norway is a paradise for outdoor enthusiasts. Ski, hike, fish, and kayak your way through this breathtaking landscape.
  • Aurora Borealis – Norway’s northern location makes it an ideal place to witness the mesmerizing Northern Lights. Head to Tromsø or Svalbard for the best chance of seeing this natural phenomenon.
  • Winter Sports – Embrace the cold and hit the slopes in one of Norway’s many ski resorts. From cross-country skiing to downhill runs, there’s something for everyone.
  • Sami Culture – Learn about the indigenous Sami people by visiting Sami villages and experiencing their traditional way of life through activities like reindeer sledding and joik singing.
  • National Parks – Norway is home to over 40 national parks, each with its own unique landscape and wildlife. Explore these natural wonders for an unforgettable outdoor adventure.
  • Coastal Towns – Norway’s coastline is dotted with picturesque towns and villages, perfect for a relaxing vacation by the sea. Visit charming towns like Alesund and Bergen for a taste of coastal life.
  • Midnight Sun – In the summer months, Norway experiences the phenomenon of the Midnight Sun where the sun never sets. This is a unique experience that shouldn’t be missed.
  • Christmas Markets – Experience the magic of Christmas in Norway by visiting one of its charming Christmas markets. Enjoy traditional treats, handmade crafts, and festive activities.
  • Viking History – Immerse yourself in Norway’s rich Viking history by visiting historical sites and museums dedicated to this fascinating culture.
  • Fjord Adventures – Norway’s dramatic fjords are a must-see for any nature lover. Take a scenic boat tour or hike along the cliffs to fully appreciate their beauty.
  • Local Cuisine – Sample traditional Norwegian dishes like smoked salmon, reindeer stew, and lefse while exploring the country. Don’t forget to try a piece of delicious brown cheese!
  • Northern Lights – Witness the breathtaking natural phenomenon of the Northern Lights in Norway’s Arctic regions during the winter months. It’s a truly magical experience.
  • Outdoor Activities – With its stunning landscapes, Norway is the perfect destination for outdoor enthusiasts. From hiking and biking to skiing and snowshoeing, there’s something for everyone.
  • Sami Culture – Visit the indigenous Sami people in Northern Norway and learn about their unique way of life and traditions. You can even go on a reindeer sleigh ride with them!
  • Quaint Villages – Take a trip off the beaten path and discover small, quaint villages tucked away in Norway’s countryside.

Experience traditional Norwegian
In conclusion, Norway is a treasure trove of remarkable experiences waiting to be discovered. Its unique blend of awe-inspiring natural wonders, rich history, diverse culinary offerings, and the warm, welcoming nature of its people make it an unparalleled destination for any traveler. Whether you’re basking in the ethereal glow of the Northern Lights, tracing the footsteps of the mighty Vikings, or simply enjoying the tranquility of a hidden village, Norway promises a memorable journey that is both culturally enlightening and visually stunning. So pack your bags and prepare to embark on an unforgettable adventure in the land of the Midnight Sun.

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