15 Top Things to Do in Norway

If I am ever asked about a place I desperately want to visit once in a lifetime that has to be Norway for sure. The reason being, this place has something in it that blends the old and new with absolute grace. This vibrant place is just perfect and is one of the most beautiful places in the world to visit.

Explore a lot of new things to see and do in Norway and even indulge in a number of adventure activities. If you want to know more about what is there to do in Norway or any travel guide or culture of any country, then go through our blog. Norway is indeed underrated. Anyways Norway is the Westernmost, Northernmost and Easternmost (yeah take that, geography) of the Scandinavian countries.

It is one of the wealthiest and most modern countries in the world that scores highly on satisfaction and happiness. Many people think of just Oslo when going to Norway but that would be a tragic waste, as Norway’s beauty lies in it’s wilderness.

It is the land of Vikings and has fantastic pagan historical sights as well as early Christian and even neolithic historical sites, preserved by its lack of destruction caused by the encroach of large cities. Basically though, you don’t leave Norway without a profound appreciation for nature. The best part about visiting Norway is that you won't get bored with the place really fast.

Of course, the opposite is true in winter as Norway is one of the best places to visit in January. Norway offers tours, exciting museums, zoos playful and cool festivals. A holiday in Norway can really offer variety.

As a solo traveler you will find the locals to be friendly while traveling Norway and most fluently speak English. The Land of the Midnight Sun is one of the safest places to travel in Europe alone. In fact, the place is completely safe, full of fascinating history, beautiful museums, and much more.

Give yourself time and visit multiple places. Norway is long and the roads winding. The attractions are spaced out over a country as long as the distance from Copenhagen to Rome. The geography also varies. Try to find a route that’ll cover high mountain plateaus, cities — by Norwegian standard, though you may think of them as large towns — the valleys and woods of eastern, inland Norway, the fjords of the west coast, and the ragged, dramatic scenery and midnight sun of northern Norway.

Top Things to Do in Norway

There is a lot to learn about its Viking culture, and these are the top things to do in Norway.

1. Ring a bell in Oslo


Arrive in Oslo by plane. Most planes land at Gardermoen. You can take the train downtown, it takes about half an hour and you end up in Oslo S, the central railway-station of Oslo.Right next to the station is the Royal Opera & Ballett, even if you're not planning on seeing any show of theirs, the building as such is worth a visit.

It's built in such a manner that you can walk on the roof of the building, and it offers a nice view over the Oslo-fjord and interesting architecture.

The capital Oslo is lovely – if expensive. Here comes one of the best things to do in Oslo. In fact, the main church in the city and its real form would have been built in the 11th century. The church is built in baroque style and since you know the time period of its establishment, you can expect that the place would have certainly seen a procession of iconic events, for example, the royal family.

Now, this is sure that you will be going to explore a lot about the history here. Besides this, you can visit a few other things like the large organ, ornate pulpit, and the eye-catching colorful murals that cover the ceiling.

Check out the Vigeland Sculpture Park. It is the largest sculpture park in the world. It features hundreds of pieces which were created between 1907 and 1943 by artist Gustav Vigeland. Visit the Vigelandspark, a sculpture-park with a ton of statues by Gustav Vigeland, all dealing with emotions and human relations. The most famous one may be "Sinnataggen".

Also within walking-distance you find the town-hall, near Akershus fortress which can be visited, and from where you can take a boat across to Bygdøy. On Bygdøy you can visit the viking-ship museum; and have a look at Kon-tiki and Fram from the time-period of the great Norwegian explorers.

Also worth considering is taking the subway (that becomes a not-sub-way outside town) up to Holmenkollen ski-jump area. It's located on a hill above town, and there is a platform at the top that you can visit if you like; it offers the best views over Oslo and the surroundings.

Have a walk up Karl Johans street, the "main" street in Oslo and you come across both the National Gallery, (includes some well-known works such as the Scream by Edvard Munch) the Storting and the all the way up to the Royal castle, all of which are pretty modest structures by international standards.

2. Hike to the Pulpit Rock in Lysefjord


The lysefjord is located close to Stavanger, so the trips here can conveniently be done as day-trips starting and ending in Stavanger. To a certain degree, in the Lysefjord you get what you pay for. But you pay in sweat. If you insist on no sweating at all, you can take the tourist-boat in to the bottom of the fjord and back to Stavanger.

It's a 3 hour boat-trip, offered by several operators, and the boats normally have a sun-deck with seating so you can sit outdoors and enjoy the view. That's nice. But really, if you're willing to sweat a bit, you can upgrade from "nice" to "spectacular" while saving money in the process.

Instead of taking the boat and seeing it all from the sea; you make a hike to the Pulpit Rock, the most famous landmark in the area; crowned among the top 10 views in the world by Lonely Planet.

There's a drawback to Pulpit rock. The first is precisely that it is so spectacular. In the main season, especially in weekends in June-August it's pretty crowded. There'll be a lot of other people also visiting. If you're seeking solitude then this isn't the hike for you. And of course there's the sweating.

It's not a difficult hike. The distance is less than 4km in each direction, and it's on a good and well-marked path. But it is a hike; you should wear reasonable shoes (no high heels!), you should expect to spend about 4 hours for the hike, and it's smart to bring a water-bottle and some kind of lunch. Also: recharge the batteries in your camera.

If you've still not had enough you can consider also hiking to Kjerag; that hike is about twice as hard as the pulpit rock one, but still doable for anyone above 8 years who is in normal physical shape.

3. Walking through Stavanger


Bergen and Stavanger ain't very far apart, about 250 km or something like that, you're in western Norway now though, so there's numerous fjords on the way, and thus travelling between them takes about 5 hours because of 2 ferries. (there's more fjord-crossings than this, but the remaining ones happen by way of bridges and a series of undersea-tunnels)

You can travel by bus, or by catamaran. The boat has better views and is worth it, especially in good weather, but the buses are cheaper and more convenient. You should pre-order a ticket a few days in advance for the boat, but the buses have a guarantee: you simply show up and they've always got place for you. (if not, they'll find an additional bus, on highly popular days there's sometimes 3 buses driving the route normally done by one bus).

The buses run once an hour, but pay attention to the fact that every second bus takes a (40 minute) detour to Haugesund, so unless you want to visit Haugesund you're better of taking one of those buses that don't make the detour.

Located in the heart of the Norwegian fjords, trip to Stavanger is synonymous with spectacular natural landscapes. Thus, it is not surprising that the main attraction of tourism in Stavanger is outside the city, in the rock mass of Preikestolen, also known as Pulpit Rock. The massif looks out over the Lyse fjord, which you can walk or bike through beautiful hiking trails or frequent cruises departing from the city.

As in the rest of Norway, spring and summer are the best times to visit Stavanger. If you travel at the end of July you can also enjoy the Gladmat, the largest gastronomic festival in the country. The city is home to the Norwegian Gastronomic Institute, where the most prestigious chefs in the country are trained, and hosts some of the best restaurants in Norway.

There is nothing better than walking through the old town (Gamle Stavanger). Its wooden houses painted white and brick roofs are one of the visual icons of the city. Come to the Domkirkeplassen square, to the Stavanger tourist information office, and do not miss any of the monuments and places of interest in Stavanger.

The offers to travel to Stavanger are also marked by the wonderful beaches of Jæren and Mount Kjerag, one of the must- sees in the area thanks to the famous Kjerabolten, a huge stone trapped between two mountains.

Stavanger is known as the oil-capital of Norway. But it's also conveniently close to the Lysefjord and to Jæren. The former has some of the most spectacular landscapes of Norway, including a variety of hiking-trips depending on your physical shape and how active you're feeling while Jæren is wide, flat and open and have the best beaches by far in Norway.

The city-centre of Stavanger is by itself worth a visit; in summer it has large cruise-ships in harbour, and a lot of nice streets with a good atmosphere.

While there, it may be worth it to set aside a couple of hourse for visiting the petroleum museum. It tells the tale of this part of Norwegian industry, and has quite a lot of amazing models and explanations for how it all works; turns out it's a lot more complicated than just drilling a hole and pumping the oil up; a modern oil-rig is a wonder of engineering. The museum itself is built with a architecture meant to remind you of a oil-rig.

20 minutes by car (or bus) south of Stavanger and you're on the beaches of Jæren. The Sola beach is the largest and the most crowded in mid-summer. Spend 5 minutes extra and get to Vigdel which is a smaller more secluded beach where there's usually not a crowd.

4. Trekking in Odda


Lay a route across to the west coast and then work your way north. Do you like hard hikes or even climbing? You want to see things like Trolltunga and Hermannsdalstinden. Norway does have a lot of mountain-ranges that are easily-accessible for hikers. You've got the right to go wherever you want in mountains and forests and such areas make up more than 70% of the area of Norway, so there's plenty to choose from.

After doing the treks to Kjerag and Preikestolen, finally go to Odda to trek to Trolltunga, one of the main things to see in Norway. Trolltunga is perhaps the most famous trek or hike in all of Norway, a natural rock formation located in the region of Hordaland. Therefore it is touristy and you are going to meet quite a lot of people during the whole trip.

For many Trolltunga is a dream, for others the most spectacular hiking route in Norway. Trolltunga is undoubtedly an icon, a place that defies the laws of nature that challenges the vacuum at 700 m above Lake Ringedalsvatnet. Travel by bus from the town of Oslo to Odda. If you arrive in Bergen, the next step is to reach the Odda. If you are in Kinsarvik or Lofthus you can go by public bus to and from Odda.

The town where you can start trekking towards Trolltunga, and specifically from Skjeggedal, 10 km east of the villages Tyssedal and Sørfjorden. Skjeggedal is the starting point of the trekking. The only way to get there is by hitchhiking or by the shuttle buses. In the tourist information center, apart from obtaining maps and removing all doubts, they can rent suitable equipment for hiking.

It is not necessary to return to the same place to return the clothes since at the beginning of the trek there is a place where you can leave everything at any time of the day. The most beautiful and interesting option to discover the Trolltunga is camping. The sunrise over Lake Ringedalsvatnet is spectacular. Free camping is forbidden in Odda, and perhaps the only option would be to go to the glacier area.

The recommended season for hiking in Trolltunga is from June to September. The summit of Trolltunga is 1250 m above sea level. In some parts see a small blue lagoon, which is typical of glaciers, and in others, see a pink spot, which is caused by the dust of the Sahara desert and is very common in the European Alps.

The best location for photos on that hike is a rocky ledge called Trolls Tongue. Being on top of Trolltunga is something very difficult to put into words.

5. Hiking in Eidfjord


Other than the Vøringfossen waterfall itself, the immediate area has a parking-lot for tourists, a restaurant and a few souvenir-shops that sell the usual plus postcards and the like with pictures of the waterfall. Other than this, and of course options for hiking in the surrounding area; the immediate area has nothing to do or see.

If you are there by car, there are however several other things to see and do that are within a pretty small distance. If you're an outdoors kind of person have a look at the Via Ferrata to Trolltunga which is less than an hour away by car.

6. Fjord tours in Bergen


Do you prefer more urban and comfortable vacations? In that case, visit some of the cities — Bergen, Stavanger, Kristiansand, Ålesund, Bodø, and Tromsø, for instance — and use AirBnB.

The whole of Scandinavia is underrated as a holiday destination and Norway has some gorgeous cities to get stuck into! Bergen is one of those places. Found on Norway's southwestern coast, Bergen is surrounded by mountains and fjords, including Sognefjord, the country’s longest and deepest. Bergen is a gorgeous city right on the Fjords and Norweigians are some of the chillest and most tolerant people on Earth.

Bergen, like Oslo is quite compact, being squeezed in between the fjord and the mountains. Most of the things here are reachable on foot from the city-centre. Have a stroll across the fish-market and the UNESCO-heritage site Bryggen.

Bryggen, also known as Tyskebryggen, is one of the cities most photographed areas and famous for it's colourful wooden houses on the old wharf. These Hanseatic heritage commercial buildings have been on the UNESCO list for World Cultural Heritage sites since 1979.

Right behind it you find the funicular "Fløyen" which takes you up over the city in about 5 minutes. Buy only a one-way ticket unless your legs are very tired! You can walk back down comfortably, there's a good and well-marked pedestrian-street leading down. The Fløibanen Funicular will take you up Fløyen Mountain for the panoramic views you see in the pictures.

Do this on your first day in Bergen. The views you get from the top will help you get a feel from the city, including seeing where most other attractions are located. There's a nice area on top with forests and lakes and a network of trails and paths, if you're feeling for getting away for the city for a bit for a strollin the forest, you could do worse than bringing a bit of picnic and finding a quiet spot up here.

There's a restaurant on the top, but it's quite touristy so price/performance ain't stellar. Have lunch at the restaurant there or have a glass of wine whilst you take it all in. If you like fish and other creatures of the sea then Bergen Aquarium, located at Nordnes about a mile from the city-centre is worth a visit.

With the right timing, you might have opportunity to go listen to a classical concert held at a small intimate concert-hall built discreetly in the hillside next to the home of Edvard Grieg; but even if there's no concert that suits your tastes at the time you're there. He was popular in his own time and correspondingly had a very nice home in a wonderful plot that is open to the general public today.

If you're feeling like more mountains and more spectacular views visit either Ulriken, or Løvstakken, which are two of the taller ones of the seven mountains that surround Bergen. Ulriken has a cable-car so you can get up there without breaking a sweat; but you'll feel more accomplished walking to Løvstakken. There's a pretty good trail but it may sometimes be wet in some spots, so do wear shoes that will survive getting a spot of mud on them for this trip.

7. Train Trip to Flam


This trip is known as "Norway in a Nutshell", and you can book it as such. It is however cheaper to simply buy the needed tickets for the various parts of the trip yourself since it's all public transportation anyway. The trip goes like this. Train from Oslo at 08:05 to Myrdal where it arrives 12:59. Train from Myrdal down the spectacular Flåm valley. Departs 13:10, arrives in Flåm 14:00.

Boat from Flåm 15:10, arrives in Gudvangen 17:20, this takes you in the Nærøyfjord, one of the nicer fjords in this part of west-norway. Bus from Gudvangen 17:25, arrives in Voss 18:20, also a trip with pretty neat landscapes. Train from Voss 18:40, arrives in Bergen at 19:57.

The Flåm train is considered one of the tourist attractions of Norway and it is not for nothing considering the spectacular nature of its route, between the mountains of the interior and one of the most beautiful fjords in the world, as a final culmination.

The Flåm Train has been chosen several times, by journals specialized in travel, as one of the most beautiful train journeys in the world, running from the end of Aurlandsfjord, a tributary of Sognefjord, to the high mountains, where the Myrdal station.

This trip takes travelers from the small town of Flåm, located at sea level next to the Aurlandsfjord fjord, to the top of the Myrdal mountain station, 867 meters above sea level, and for 20 kilometers of travel it is possible to feel the wild force of nature, to see rivers that cross deep ravines, waterfalls that precipitate from steep mountains.

The town of Myrdal is also one of the stops on the railway line of Bergen, the second largest city in Norway, which allows the connection between the train of Flåm and other trains of the country of the fjords. In the small town of Flam, the final point of arrival of the Norwegian train, a breathtaking view opens before the eyes of the travelers.

The train journey can be done both in winter and in summer, although in Norway the temperature is considerably low compared to southern Europe. The route of the Flam train is a branch of the also spectacular Bergen Railway line that connects Oslo with Bergen through the Norwegian mountains.

Stop to admire the impressive landscape of the fjords in Gudvangen, stopping first to see the Tindefossen waterfall. Pass through Voss and continue to Granvin where the Skjervefossen waterfall is over 150 meters high. All this impressive landscape continues to Bergen. Leave the Granvin waterfall to head to Bergen. Leave behind the village of Øystese and finally arrive in Bergen.

8. Hiking Jotunheimen


Say hello to one of the prime summer getaway spots in Europe that is just perfect for those who love hiking by heart. Though you may find a number of national parks that are too greatly maintained by hiking trails, but when it comes to Jotunheimen National Park, also called the Home of the Giants, nothing can beat the place.

With 60 glaciers, you will also be exploring 275 summits over 200 m that makes Jotunheimen fantastically beautiful, which is also the home to some very famous trails like Hurrungane, Besseggen, and not to forget about Galdhopiggen, highest peak in Norway. Take the Skagastolsbu route, and reach the foot of a lake and a glacier with snow-capped summits around it.

9. Glacier walk in Jostedalsbreen


The Jostedalsbreen, or Jostedal Glacier, is the largest in continental Europe. The Nigardsbreen is one of the most spectacular parts ​​of the Jostedalsbreen. Go to another part of the glacier, that of Bersetsbreen.

10. Cruise to Geirangerfjord


You can go from Oslo to Bergen by car or train, crossing the Hardangervidda plateau. Bergen is a destination in itself, and you can get on fjord cruises to the majestic Geiranger fjord from there.

A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Geirangerfjord is a part of the largest Fjord Network in Norway that is stretched across many miles. So, without wasting any other second, let's get into some of the best highlights of Geirangerfjord region.

Whereas, one can even head towards Sunnylvsfjorden, that offers you with some mesmerizing views over the countryside. If you are the one who loves the height, you can go to one of the peaks, Dalsnibba Summit that is at an altitude of 4,905 feet. Go up to see the Storsetefossen waterfall.

11. Drive to Alesund


If you have a car, you can drive the Trollstigen road, end up in Ålesund, home to the world’s largest bonfire, and from there drive the Atlantic Road north via Kristiansund. Alesund in the North is famous for its icy Norwegian scenery.

12. Whale watching in Lofoten


You can take trains as far as Bodø — the line goes through Hell — where you can take the ferry to Moskenes in Lofoten. However, to get around up there, e.g. if you want to see Senja, Andøya, and Tromsø, you will either rely on regional buses, which could get complicated and time-consuming, or a car, in which case you can see whatever you want.

Just be aware that roads are windy and narrow, and may include ferries, which means you should never judge distances by looking at the map. Drives will take longer than you think, and you should give yourself time to stop at scenic points along the way.

If you are one of those who loves being amidst the pleasing flora and fauna, don't miss visiting the most intriguing wildlife in Norway. You will get a chance to explore more about Arctic foxes, Polar Bears, and different other species. Also, you must try the safaris out there in the Norwegian interior where you may stumble upon musk ox and elk (moose).

Wait, that's not all. You can also witness bird life in Norway along the coast, which is absolutely amazing. Also, whale watching outing is one of the best things about Norway, especially around Lofoten and Vesteralen. Keep going another couple of days, and you’ll end up at the northern tip of Europe, at Nordkapp.

Do you want to fish? The west and northern coasts are teeming with fish, but you’ll want to make your way out to the outer islands to the extent possible if you want to go for large catches like halibut and big cod.

13. Explore the hidden coastal Senja


Ar couple of days drive will take you across Saltfjellet and the Arctic Circle to end up in ridiculously scenic places like Lofoten and Senja.

She’s feral, jagged, and largely untamed. Massive granite walls dwarf the scattered towns and farms carved out along the fjords. She’s also lush and teeming with life. The greenery is more lush and dense than it has any right to be, this far north. Ferns and mosses, wildflowers, birches, grasses, and, higher up, heather thrive.

The seas around Senja are thick with cod, coalfish, halibut, and ling. Get out on a boat and you’re likely to see seals pop up to look you over and harbor porpoises breaking the surface around you. In the winter, orca and humpback whales follow schools of herring into the fjords. There are white, secluded beaches surrounded by azure water, clear enough to see the pristine bottom in crisp detail below you.

From that bottom, no more then 2–5 meters deep, you can harvest entire meals’ worth of mussels, whelks, and, if you have the patience to spoon out the roe, sea urchins. Senja’s mostly uninhabited interior offers days’ worth of hiking in everything from lowland forest, lakes, streams, wetlands, and marshes to unforgiving Arctic mountain plateaus, all contained in an area smaller than Houston city limits.

Many of the mountain peaks are impossibly ragged. Okshornan (the Ox’s Horns), also called the Devil’s Jawbone, reach for the clouds so steeply and so hard even the tough and resourceful nordlendinger, the north Norwegians, have not been able to scratch out roads or settlements below them. And that’s saying something. If you look very closely, on every strip of coastline that’s not approaching vertical, there are farms and homes.

It’s the Norwegian way. You take the land you get. Even if it’s a few bouldery skerries jutting out into the open Atlantic, with nothing between you and Spitsbergen but ice and ocean swells. Kråkeslottet, the Crow’s Castle, is a former fiskemottak, receiving and processing the catch from the local fisheries. Now that fisheries are mostly industrialized, it’s been bought and renovated by a group of artists, who run it as a studio space and gallery.

There’s an art festival every year, Artijuli. It sits, by the way, next to a cool beach at the literal end of the road, about 20 minutes north-west of Skaland. In the summer, the sun doesn’t set. Senja even has its own gilded outhouse, known locally as Gulldassen, the Golden Crapper. Oh, and of course it’s surrounded by steep mountains on three sides and a beach on the fourth.

The weather can be rough. This changes day to day. You don’t go north of the Arctic Circle to get a tan; tough weather just adds to the drama of the landscape and is part of the experience. Bring layers and a good rain shell. The clouds just serve to remind you how tall these crags are and put things in perspective.

Speaking of tunnels, there are a lot. At either end, there’s a box containing reflective vests. They’re for cyclists and hikers to don at one end and deposit at the other, on the honor system. Why? Because the tunnels are narrow and somewhat dark; building, maintaining, and lighting all these tunnels on a sparsely populated and geographically uncooperative island is expensive, so you’re not going to get two full lanes bathed in light.

If you’re on foot or a bike, it’s wise to make yourself as visible as possible. You get to Senja from Bardufoss (hour and half) or Tromsø airport (two and a half hours). Rent a car, unless you’re hard core and load up a bike. People can and do this. Camping is cheap or free, if you follow the basic rules of Norway’s right to roam. For example, you can pitch your tent right on Ersfjord beach, where Gulldassen sits.

The entire outer road is declared a National Scenic Road. There is not a dull spot anywhere. Senja even has its own micro-brewery, for that quiet moment at midnight, when the sun’s still up and you’re not ready to sleep. Senja is every bit as majestic, rugged, and beautiful as its more famous cousins, the Lofoten islands, but it’s far less overrun with other tourists.

Senja’s most photographed peak, Segla, on Senja island is also popular, but more of a local and insider’s secret. Senja doesn’t have the name recognition and tourist traffic of its sisters, the Lofoten islands. And yes, people hike all the way up Segla. The path to the top follows the less aggressive slope on the opposite side.

If you want to experience an Arctic landscape that boils north Norway down to its essentials, and you don’t want to rub elbows with an armada of tour buses, give Senja a shot instead; it’ll stay with you forever.

14. Experience Northern Lights in Tromsø


Make sure you have added want to experience the Northern Lights in your bucket list because there is no better natural phenomenon than the Northern Lights or Aurora Borealis on this Earth. The Northern Lights can be seen all through the night of the Arctic Winter during the months from October to March and is one of the best things to do in Norway.

This is definitely one of the must see things in Norway to experience in your life. When these lights start to dance in either green or white curtains of light due to shifting in intensity, they start forming different shapes. Remember, it is not necessary that the Northern Lights will appear at the given time, it is all on your luck.

15. Ferry to Kirkenes


Northern Norway is a trip all by itself. Another fantastic way to explore the country is a cruise on the Hurtigruten ferry that will not just take you around fjords but let you experience one of the best coastal journeys on this planet. The Fjords (sea valleys) that cut into the coast of the country are stunning and the North contains the great stretch of arctic tundra as well as the famous midnight sun.

Every summer in the northernmost part of the country days last 24 hours, making it the place where the midnight sun lasts the longest. You can check out for coastal streamers, popular name for the ferry from Bergen and travel to Kirkenes that will take you to some of the hardly explore parts of Norway.

The whole process needs 6 days or more to get completed that would take months of land. Also, you can hop on and off at any of the spectacular coasts you want to learn about or want to explore more. Go through the wonderful Naerofjorden and Sognefjord. The Naerofjorden fjord, the narrow fjord, is the narrowest of all the Sognefjord. It is a World Heritage Site.

In the north, it has enclaves of Sami people (a northern Inuit like culture, distinct from other Scandinavians and Finns).

There are a lot more scenic routes, things to see, and things to do. Decide what it is you want out of this. Is it a range of natural scenery? All in all, the ideal way to make most of this trip is to book a tour in order to witness all the great spots in the region.
Kalyan Panja