15 Best Things to do in Norway
If you are wondering whether it is safe to travel to Norway, then know that it is one of the countries that has been hit by the Coronavirus epidemic. 25 cases have been detected in Norway till this date. While the authorities in Norway are taking all the steps to contain the spread of COVID-19, it is recommended to take precautionary measures while visiting Norway. Also, we suggest that you check flight operations to and from Norway as they might be affected amidst the virus outbreak.
Note: The Coronavirus statistics mentioned in this article are based on the updated reports available on March 03, 2020. These figures will be updated depending on how the outbreak unfolds.
Norway is a land of otherworldly landscapes! Officially called the Kingdom of Norway, the country has evolved through many ages, the Viking Age being the most prominent one. The northernmost of the Nordic countries, Norway occupies the western and northern part of the Scandinavian Peninsula; bordering the North Sea, the North Atlantic Ocean (also called the Norwegian Sea), and the Barents Sea. Another interesting fact about this country is that Norway is the fourth-highest per capita income in the world.
On the climatic front, the country is fully exposed to the Atlantic storms which keeps Norway cool (really cool) all year long. Environmentally, Norway witnesses two of the nature’s most beautiful phenomenon: The Aurora Borealis and the Midnight Sun. And when it comes to tourism, Norway is one of the most beautiful countries that you can visit. Some of the top Norway attractions include Lyngen Alps, Akershus Castle & Fortress, and the Arctic Cathedral. And of course, there are town like Oslo, Bodo, Alesund, and Bergen that are worth exploring too!
There are so many great places to visit in Norway that it would take you months to cover it all. But if time is a constraint, here is the list of top things to do in Norway.
1. Watch the Northern Lights
Many claim that the northern Norway is the best place to watch the Northern Lights. This phenomenon, which is also termed Aurora Borealis, can be seen at high latitudes on dark nights and closer to the earth’s magnetic poles. When the electrically charged particles released by the sun try to enter the earth’s atmosphere, they put up quite a show! The auroras set the sky bright with some unbelievable colours of red, yellow, green, blue, and violet. Best observed from September to March, here are some of the best places in Norway to see the Northern Lights:
- The Lofoten Islands
2. Tour the Lofoten Islands
Lofoten is an archipelago in Norway and a site for excellent fishing opportunities. Apart from that, you can watch the northern lights, paddle in its golden waters, surf in the extreme Arctic, visit its frozen beaches, check out the squawking seabird colonies, photograph the white-tailed eagles, go kayaking along its wilder coastline, cycle through the colourful fishing villages, and soak in the island’s unparalleled natural beauty. The Haukland Beach, Henningsvær, Fiskehjeller, Unstad Beach, and Svolværgeita are some of the top Lofoten attractions that must not be missed!
3. Drive along the coastal route of Kystriksveien
The Kystriksveien (The Coastal Route) was voted one of the world’s most scenic routes by National Geographic. This route along the Nordland Coastline cover a total distance of 650 kilometres from Steinkjer to Bodø. A drive along this route will allow you to experience the wondrous landscapes and landmarks such as Torghatten, De Syv Søstre, Svartisen glacier and Saltstraumen. You can also make a few detours and visit the nearby islands along the way. These islands are spread along this coastline and can be reached by ferry.
4. Take a train ride on the Bergen Line
This 371-kilometre long scenic standard gauge railway line connects the towns of Bergen and Hønefoss and is an excellent way to explore Norway. This 7-hour train journey will take you across some of the Europe’s highest mountain plateaus and some spectacular scenery. At the town of Myrdal, you can even take an optional detour along the famous Flåm Railway.
5. Visit the top sights of Norway
Norway is a land of many wonders. From beautiful cathedrals to museums, and from picturesque waterfronts to preserved hiking trails; this place has it all. Here is a list of some of the top attractions in Norway.
- Atlantic Ocean Road – This is one of the most scenic drives in the world! Connecting the island of Averøy with mainland Norway, this iconic Norwegian Road is known for its dramatic scenery and stunning engineering.
- Urnes Stave Church – This 12th-century stave church at Ornes stands tall and proud amidst the natural setting of Sogn og Fjordane. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is also Norway’s oldest stave churches.
- Nordkapp - Nordkapp, or North Cape is a must visit for those want to experience the Midnight Sun. Here the sun never sets between May 14 and July 29. Pretty exciting, eh?
- Viking Ship Museum – Located in Oslo, this museum features the world's best-preserved Viking ships - Gokstad, Oseberg and Tune. Additionally, there are many small boats, sledges, carts, tools, and textiles from the Vikings period.
6. Go husky-sledding
Dogsledding is a fun activity where you fasten yourselves on a sled which is pulled over ice by a group of dogs. The Huskies are born to run! These strong and friendly dogs are dog breed commonly found across the Norwegian wilderness. Not only does this activity help strengthen the bond of man with his four-legged friends, but also offers you a unique perspective of viewing the nature. Depending on your tour type, you will travel through the mountains or forests, or both!
7. Step into the past at the Viking village in Gudvangen
Gudvangen is a lovely village in the Sogn og Fjordane county, Norway. A perfect place to spend a day with your family, this village will offer you an exciting and incredible journey that will take you back a thousand years. Here at the Viking Village, learn all about the Vikings and where they came from, experience for yourself the Viking way of living, their techniques, and travels. Through the village’s unique setting, feel the real history and culture of the Viking age being brought to life. The best time to visit Gudvangen is between May and September.
8. Go beer-tasting
Norway is an upcoming microbrewery sensation! The craft beer business in Norway has skyrocketed in the recent years with an aim to move past the lagers that dominate the Norwegian market. Norway’s mikrobryggeri have a common goal - making use of the world’s finest malts and hops to bottle-ferment a beer to give its customers an unfiltered and unpasteurized beer experience. Nøgne Ø, Haand Bryggeriet, and Ægir Brewery and Pub are three of the top microbreweries in Norway that are known for its complex, smooth, and aromatic craft beer! It’s an experience not to be missed.
9. Ski the slopes of Lyngen Alps
Skiing across the Lyngen Alps is one of the most exciting things to do in Norway. Tafeltinden, which rises 1,395 metres from the Arctic Sea, sees people coming in from around the globe to ski along its untouched snow. Located at 70˚N, Lyngen offers one of the longest ski seasons in the area. The snow starts setting in October, but it is only in February that the skiing starts. There are a range of basic to luxury accommodation available within a short driving distance from the Lyngen.
10. Click a picture at Kjeragbolten
The Kjeragbolten is a small boulder that is wedged between the mountain crevasse of the Kjerag mountain in Lysefjord, near Stavanger. This five-cubic-meter large block of stone is one of the most famous sights in Norway, having featured in a few music videos. Suspended 984 meters above the land, people hike up the challenging mountain just for the thrill of posing atop this boulder. Visitors must note that this hike is not recommended for non-experienced hikers.
11. Take a multi-day cruise along the Kirkenes – Bergen route
The Kirkenes – Bergen route is one of the most popular cruise routes while touring the coast of Norway. This cruise runs North-South and offers it patrons some of the most spectacular views. Board the cruise from the town of Kirkenes and along the way get a chance to see/experience the enchanting Vardshus Fortress, excursion to the North Cape, Vesteralen Islands, Seven Sisters Mountain Range, the town of Trondheim, and the island kingdom of Oygarden before ending your trip at Bergen.
12. Explore the villages/towns of Norway
There are many colourful towns sprawled across Norway. Here are some of our top picks:
- Lillehammer – Host to the 1994 Winter Olympics, the beautiful town of Lillehammer in Oppland in south-central Norway has a ton of fun activities like skiing, hiking, and horseback riding apart from appreciating its natural beauty.
- Alesund - A port town on the west coast of Norway, Ålesund is charming and beautiful. The town is stretched over seven islands and the many brightly coloured houses here are set against the backdrop of sea and soaring mountains.
- Geiranger – Unspoiled and authentic, Geiranger is one of the most beautiful towns of Norway. This town will impress you with its charming traditional houses, timber churches, and awe-inspiring backdrops.
- Undredal – This tranquil and quaint village is located in Fjordane County of Norway. Tucked between enormous mountains, this village is well-known for its goat cheese.
13. Visit the Arctic capital of Tromsø
Set in a majestic landscape of the Troms County of Norway, Tromsø is a gateway to the Arctic! Located at 69˚N, this is one of the largest cities north of the Arctic Circle. Tromsø offers a wide range of touristy activities like chasing the Northern Lights, sledding in the North Norwegian Wilderness, meeting the indigenous Sami people and the reindeers, Fjord excursions, experiencing a glowing Midnight Sun, and shopping for local knitwear. Unmissable Tromsø attractions include the Arctic Cathedral, Fjellheisen Cable Car, Fløyfjellet Mountain, and the world’s northernmost Botanical Garden.
14. Experience the Midnight Sun
Norway is often called the land of Midnight Sun. It is during the long summers of Norway, that the sun does not set for months giving rise to a phenomenon that lights up the exceptional beauty of the Arctic scenery during its never-ending nights. To experience the Midnight Sun, you will have to travel to areas above the Arctic Circle in Norway. Midnight golfing, cycling, river paddling, and sea kayaking are some of the popular activities among those who can brave it's chilly summer nights.
15. Go searching for whales, seals and walruses on an arctic boat safari
Comfortably sized ships and friendly marine biologist guides will take you on a wildlife viewing experience like never before! Trips last 10-12 hrs long and take you right into the heart of Norway’s marine ecosystems. These trip focus on spotting North Norwegian marine life like the white-tailed sea-eagle, killer whales, humpback whales, fin whales, walruses, and seals among many others. On your way back, enjoy locally made hot fish soup.
Norway is stunning, absolutely anywhere you go!
Do you plan on visiting Norway anytime soon? Do let us know, we would love to see Norway through your eyes :)