So, if you are reading this, it’s because you are interested in visiting our country. whether you do it soon or in the future, this article will definitely come in handy when you finally take another step forward and get your tickets to this wonderful Scandinavian land, where the Arctic Circle passes through. There are many places and things that you can do when visiting us, and today I will share the top 10 tourist destinations in Norway, which I am sure will make you want to stay!
Let’s get this started!
There is no better place than the Lofoten Archipelago to start crossing this list off. Located in northern Norway, being part of the Arctic Circle, Lofoten encircles the following municipalities: Moskenes, Røst, Vågan, Værøy, Flakstad and Vestvågøy.
Above the Arctic Circle, these islands, surrounded by the tempestuous waters of the Norwegian Sea, will definitely enchant you with its countless tourist attractions. Some of them are:
This is a tiny fishing village formed by many small islands, it is like a mini Lofoten.
You will find many restaurants here, so it is the perfect stop to take a walk, enjoy the views, and end your day having a delightful dinner with local products.
White sand beaches
What? White sand beaches and crystal turquoise waters? Yes, I am speaking of Norway, not talking about the Caribbean. You are probably surprised to read this, but we do have very beautiful beaches in Lofoten Island, here are some you should definitely visit: Ytresand beach, Ramberg beach and Haukland beach, those are easy to reach, as you can get there by car.
Bunes and Horseid beaches are only reachable by ferry.
There is no better activity in Lofoten than hiking, the stunning views and landscapes you will be able to witness, will for sure leave you breathless.
Most of them, or at least the most popular ones, that will give you the best views, are actually hard to do, as you will probably have to climb to reach the top of the mountain peaks. But trust me, it is absolutely worth it. Just be prepared and be extremely careful if you plan to do the climbing.
After all the natural wonders that Lofoten features, some architecture will for sure give a good twist to your trip. It is undeniable that there is nothing like nature, especially in this beautiful Scandinavian country. However, Norway is not all about that, there is more to offer here, and you will be thankful to see this man’s creation. The Tromsdalen Church, or best-known as the Arctic Cathedral, will surely impact you if you visit Tromso. It’s unusual shape for a church is something that you cannot just ignore. There is a little entrance fee, but it is absolutely worth it.
Atlantic Ocean Road
Now that we did some hiking, visiting the beautiful oddly-shaped church in Tromso and just sight seeing, it is time for some driving adventure. Now this is not your usual road, it is possibly something that you have never seen before. Located in the west coast, this masterpiece is almost 8.3 Km. long (5.2 miles) which starts in the Averøy Island and ends in the mainland, passing through many tiny islands along the way.
This road will give you one of the best sceneries of all. Hence why it was declared as the world’s best road trip. But that is not the only award this road has, it it is also Norway’s best bicycle trop and the world’s best for car testing.
If you come to Norway, and do not go on a ride on this road, then you would be a sinner, I mean it.
On a side note, since it is in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, there could be some breaking waves, so make sure to drive carefully and have the windshield wipers ready to work. Fear not though, it is still a fun experience, you just have to drive carefully.
Museum of cultural History
Without a doubt, one of my favorite tourist destinations in Norway. It is a must if you visit the Capital of Norway, Oslo.
Also known as Norsk Folkemuseum, it teaches us how life was from 1500 until today, collecting pieces from all over the country, this outstanding museum will take you on a journey to the past, and will give you a glance of how people lived their days back then. It is also one of the largest open-air museums in Europe. You will be amazed by the very-well preserved buildings from centuries ago. Lovely wooden farm homes, old architecture and my absolute favorite, the Stave church from 1200, it's a must if you come here, as it is one of the most beautiful stave churches in Norway.
A stave church by the way, is a medieval church made of wood, and the best of them can be found in Norway, as they are very well preserved. Most of them are from the 12 and 13th centuries.
You can either take a guided tour, or just explore it on your own, both options would be great, it depends on your preferences.
While you are in Oslo, make sure to visit the World’s largest sculpture Park:
The Vigeland sculpture park, a wonderfully big park that features more than 200 statues and sculptures made of iron, granite and bronze. Not only the sculptures will enchant you, the sights and landscapes are just as impressive as the statues. Perfect to spend the day here, just relax, walk, and enjoy.
There are some gift shops and cafés inside, where you can make a stop to grab a bite. Best part of it? It’s free and it is open 24/7 – all year round!
Northern Norway destinations
Let’s go back up to the north. This part of the country has so much to offer, we already mentioned one of highlights of Northern Norway at the beginning of this article, Lofoten.
And although it is one of the most famous destinations, there is a lot more you can see and do:
What to see:
Most of you probably come here to see this wonderful natural phenomenon, it is by far, one of the most incredible experiences you can have and witness.
The Aurora Borealis is a gift from the skies, and you should be able to see the best ones if you come here. The north is indeed the best place to see them, Especially in Lapland, above the Arctic Circle at the very tip of north east Norway. The lack of solar activity during winter will make the perfect scenario to witness the lights show. And the best months to see them are from October to March, due to the extra hours of darkness.
The Midnight sun is something that you will only be able to see in Northern countries such as Iceland and even best seen in Norway. How great and strange it is to see how the hour passes, and the sun never sets? During summer, you can have about a month with the midnight sun. Make sure to enjoy this experience by going to a hill or mountain apart from the city, the views you will get will pay off for the hike.
If there is one piece of advice that I would share with you, is visiting Norway at least twice.
Both summer and winter have different and unique activities, experiences, and natural conditions that can only be seen during one season or the other, that is why, you should plan two visits, trust me, you will not regret!
The largest city in northern Norway, this is probably where you will stay while traveling the north, or an obligated stop when traveling with your Motorhome rental in Norway.
There are many things to do in Tromso, I already mentioned one, the Arctic cathedral, which is a very good start and introduction to this enchanting city.
But let’s start by mentioning one of the most fun activities you can do:
This is probably one of the best places to go whale watching, as this part of the world is one of the favorite places for our cetaceous friends! You will be able to see two kinds of whales, the Humpback and the killer whales. In fact, the killer whale from the movie ‘Free Willy’ lived in the Norwegian fjords.
There are many companies offering day tours, departing very early in the morning, and going back in the afternoon.
This is the perfect plan for a sunny morning or a lazy afternoon, when you just want to relax and go for a walk.
The Arctic-Alpine botanic garden is the world’s northernmost botanical garden and it holds a wide variety of plants and marvelous flowers. It is open all year long and there's no admission fee!
What I loved the most about this place, is that there are flowers that I have never seen before, with impressive hues and odd forms. There are collections from different parts of Norway and even from other parts of the world.
I recommend visiting from May through September, as Snow could appear during October.
This Archipelago, located between mainland Norway and the north pole, in the Arctic Ocean.
You have two options to reach this icy, but enchanting land: By plane from Oslo or Tromso, and by cruise ship (by the way, a very good way to explore Norway) both options are recommended, and it will depend on your budget and the time in the country which one you will suit you best.
This is one of my favorite Destinations in Norway, for a very good reason: Polar Bears.
I would say that this is a one of a kind experience, a dream for us animal lovers. It is very sad to know that this precious giant mammal, the king of the Arctic, is actually endangered but thankfully, they are a protected specie by law.
For the previously mentioned reason, the polar bears can be found anywhere in Svalbard, they are out and free in the wild, which is a very good thing, but it could also be dangerous for the visitors. That is why, my personal recommendation is to take a guided expedition with a group, never go alone. Another recommended option, with a very good chance to see them, is to take a cruise ship tour around the Svalbard archipelago, allowing you to see them from anywhere, especially in the most remote parts of it.
Norway’s west coast offers so much, from outstanding and breathtaking fjords to the most famous city, and charming villages, I assure you this side of the country will make you fall in love again.
Western Norway is packed with fjords and mountains, so if you want to see the most spectacular fjords, this is where you should be.
Let’s start by talking about Fjord Norway, trust me, this will become one of your favorites, if not your favorite Norway travel destinations, you will get a scenery like no other, hence why it is part if the UNESCO World Heritage list.
One of the best things about Fjord Norway, is the proximity between different places, and landscapes. In a few minutes you could go from a very popular city, with a very rich nightlife, to a very calm and quiet village, with incredible views.
There are countless hiking routes that you cannot miss and you’ll get to enjoy the most astonishing fjords in the world.
Art Nouveau in Ålesund
Towards the end of this post, we can conclude that Norway really has a lot to offer, from the most dramatic sceneries that nature rewarded us with, to outstanding man’s creations, and Ålesund can show us exactly what I mean by that.
Have you heard about the Art Nouveau? It is an applied art and architectural style that is actually very recent (compared to other styles that have been around for centuries). It is fresh, modern, yet decorative and artistic.
At this small west coast town, you will see that most of this place's architecture is inspired in this captivating style.
The reason why the Art Nouveau invaded Ålesund is because there was a huge fire back in 1904 destroyed a great part of this town where over 10.000 people lost their homes.
That horrible past is far behind thanks to the help of many architects and designers who revived and gave life to a new fantastic town, which is now recognized as one of the best exponents of the Art Nouveau.
To finish this list, we cannot leave them behind, National Parks. They are what defines exactly how Norway is: Wild, beautiful and diverse. That being said, no traveler should miss a national park. In fact, I have run across many travelers that shared their National Park itineraries, and it is quite touching to know that their dreams came true. The best way to cross your parks bucket list is by renting an RV in Norway, it will help you achieve your goals in a much easier and comfier way.
Top 10 Tourist Destinations in Norway
What are you waiting to start your adventure? Are you ready to be bitten by the Arctic bug?
If there is something I can assure you, is that you'll want to come back, over and over again.
The magic of this place will surely leave you speechless, from enchanting towns, to countless fjords, to many museums, and architectonic wonders that are hard to find elsewhere.
Let’s not forget about one of the most incredible things about this part of the world, the Aurora Borealis, a magical event like no other, something that could hardly ever be compared. These stunning dancing lights are ready to welcoming you.