NORWAY What to See and Do

NORWAY What to See and Do – Guide 2024

Things to see in Norway offer incredible places to visit and things to do in this wonderful Scandinavian country . Popular for its fjords , magnificent postcard landscapes, glaciers, cities rich in history and museums, as well as the Northern Lights, midnight sun and whales. From Bergen and its colorful houses, the capital Oslo , with green areas and the legacies of the Viking past, arriving at the spectacle of the Sognefjord fjord . But Norway is much more… Let’s discover in our guide the best things to do and see in the country, thus discovering it during a wonderful trip to Norway!

Norway, Why Visit It

Visiting Norway, a wonderful Scandinavian country, also means taking a journey through its history and unique nature. The Kingdom of Norway is a parliamentary monarchic state in Northern Europe. Located in the Scandinavian peninsula , reaching the Svalbard islands and the island of Jan Mayen. The capital is Oslo and, today, it is one of the richest countries in the world, at the top for social progress and development. Furthermore, there are many UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Norway. Among the things to absolutely visit in Norway, and the reason that brings numerous travelers here every year, in addition to culture we find above all its incredible nature, such as the North Cape and the Western Fjords .

Between mountains overlooking the sea, glaciers and trips among its natural coves, among the things to do here we also find incredible events, such as the Northern Lights and the Midnight Sun. Don’t miss out on whale watching excursions or a trip north aboard the incredible icebreakers. Oslo is a city full of museums and green areas, while the gateway to the fjords is Bergen, with its fish market where you can enjoy some fantastic salmon , arriving at the capital of the Arctic: Tromsø . Furthermore, among the things to do in Norway, Lofoten and the engravings of Alta are absolutely worth visiting , discovering the Art Nuveau of Ålesund .

Between culture, history and breathtaking landscapes, let’s find out what to see and do in Norway!

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What to See Norway – 10 Things to See

After the introductions, let’s go and see together what to see in Norway during our trip. This wonderful Scandinavian country, in fact, offers many things to see and do.

Here, you will find the map of Norway, with the most significant places highlighted, thus discovering what to see during your trip. Subsequently, we will analyze them in detail in our guide on What to Visit in Norway .

1. Oslo

Our journey through things to see and places to visit in Norway can only start from the capital , Oslo. Located on the southern coast , at the bottom of the Oslofjord fjord , it is popular above all for its museums and green areas. It preserves Norwegian traditions, but has an eye on the future. As we can see from its skyline. Furthermore, in its surroundings there is wonderful nature, allowing excursions out of town. Here there are impeccable structures and luxurious restaurants, as well as night life, becoming over the years a global reference and one of the best cities in the world. Among the things to see in the capital of Norway, don’t miss the Karl Johans Gate shopping street , which will lead you to the main attractions.

Such as the cathedral , the royal palace and the Slottsparken park . South of the center ends the Oslofjord, navigable with a ferry excursion departing from Aker Brygge. Area full of restaurants where you can taste local specialties and outdoor bars in summer, as well as where the Town Hall is located. Among the unmissable museums of the city we find the one dedicated to the painter Edvard Munch , which preserves works such as The Scream , the Viking Ships museum and that of the Norwegian people : ideal for discovering Scandinavian history. Finally, at Vigeland park we will find an open-air museum dedicated to the Norwegian sculptor.

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The Oslo Skyline

2. Geirangerfjord

A UNESCO World Heritage Site among the things to absolutely visit in Norway, the Geirangerfjord area will leave you breathless. Among the most beautiful places in the country, surrounded by waterfalls and mountains creating a fairy-tale place. Characterized by an S shape , the Geirangerfjord is located among the western fjords, 100 km from Ålesund , offering travelers who arrive here a unique spectacle, including waterfalls of over 250 m and peaks such as De syv søstrene, the Seven Sisters and the Bridal Veil. Between walls overlooking the waters approximately 300 m deep, we find traditional houses and ancient farms. Furthermore, the villages of Geiranger and Hellesylt are located at the ends .

This place also has numerous paths loved by hikers and with different difficulties, such as the Strada delle Aquile, or the Strada Montana Trollstigen which crosses rock faces and waterfalls. Among the main places of interest to see in this fjord in Norway we find the Gudbrandsjuvet gorge , where the waters rush in, the viewpoint at the Norddal village Flydalsjuvet and the farms overlooking the sea of ​​Herdalssetra and Herdalen . Finally, near the Geirangerfjord, we also find the Troll road: Trollstigen . Road 63 Geiranger is considered one of the most beautiful roads in all of Europe, open from May to October, has 11 hairpin bends and allows us to admire unique views for 106 km!

vista fjord Geirangerfjord da Geiranger
vista sul Geirangerfjord da Geiranger

3. Bergen

In the Vestlandet region , among the things to see in Norway we arrive in Bergen. Coastal city and second most populous in the country, it partly overlooks the Byfjorden , while the rest is embraced by the peaks, giving it the name of the city of the seven mountains and was the capital until 1300 . To this day, it is still one of the main trade centers and a picturesque place, thanks to its traditional wooden houses . From the port, among the things to do in Norway, ships leave to reach Soniefiorden and Hargandenfiorden . Lively active cultural center, thanks to its renowned universities . Its Hanseatic centre , Bryggen, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and in 2000 the city was the European Capital of Culture.

In addition to the colorful houses, among the things to visit and do here in Norway, visit its port , famous during the Hanseatic League for dried cod , and the medieval fortress , a set of places in the Royal Castle: such as the Rosenkrantz tower. Another attraction is its fish market , where you can taste the freshest fish products. To observe the city from above, take the funicular to the top of Fløyen hill , at 320 m. Furthermore, here too we find important museums, such as the KODE , among the most famous of art, music and design. Finally, in the Old Town, Gamle Bergen , you will find ancient wooden buildings, historical reconstructions and a park between paths that reach the sea.

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Traditional houses in the Bryggen neighborhood

4. Lofoten

Magical destination to see during your trip to Norway if you are here chasing the Northern Lights, or the midnight sun in summer. But not only that, in fact a trip to Lofoten is poetry at any time of the year thanks to its incredible landscape among the fjords and unique fauna. Among the main islands that make up Lofoten we find Moskenesøy, Flakstadøy and Austvågøy. These are connected to each other by bridges and tunnels , separated from land by the Vestfjorden . Among the things to do here in Norway, you can also choose to move around the islands by kayak , fully experiencing the places that surround you. Furthermore, thanks to the Gulf Stream that reaches here, there is a mild microclimate and the summer is perfect for cycling, stopping in the fishermen’s rorbu to taste fish specialities.

Furthermore, many of these red huts are now converted into accommodation. Among the things to see here in Norway, don’t miss the capital of Lofoten, Svolvær , the village of Henningsvær , on the island of Austvågøy, considered the most beautiful. Among the islands we also find the famous Lofotr Vikingmuseum , on Vestvågøy, built in an ancient Viking camp, and the statue of King Øystein , behind the former prison of Storvågen. Stop to admire the glassblowers of Vikten and Ramberg Beach on Flakstadøy Island and the village of Å on Moskenesøy Island.

Reine porto città Moskenes, isole Lofoten isola di Moskenesøya
The port of Reine in Moskenes, on the island of Moskenesøya in Lofoten

5. High

We continue our journey in Norway in the county of Finnmark , arriving in the city of Alta, a must visit. Developed on the coast and surrounded by a wonderful landscape, this place has always been popular for the extraction and processing of slate . Despite being small in size, there are many things to see and do here in Norway. At the Alta Museum Altaveien , in Hjemmeluft, there is a museum that preserves ancient rock carvings from the Stone Age, found on the nearby cliffs and now a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The Cathedral of the Northern Lights is an icon of the city and the entire north, thanks to its unique architecture. Furthermore, to get to Alta it is also possible to travel through one of the most impressive canyons in Europe, the Sautso-Alta Canyon . A 400 m deep gorge which is also part of a hydroelectric project involving the Altaeva River, as well as with lush nature. Among the activities to do if you are here in March, don’t miss the dog sledding races along the longest route in Europe: the Finnmarksløpet , during the Borealis Alta, a cultural and music festival. A quiet city, but one that reserves numerous surprises!

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The Cathedral of the Northern Lights in Alta

6. Narvik

Among the things to see in Norway, in the county of Nordland , we find the city of Narvik, in the north of the country. It covers a very large area in the sea, reaching the Swedish border on a peninsula about 200 km from the Arctic Circle Article. Founded at the end of the 19th century , Narvik develops in the inlet of a fjord, between the cold waters of the Norwegian Sea, between the coast of the Rombaksfjord and the Rombaken massif . Since the 1900s the city established itself for its commercial exchanges, also thanks to the nearby mines . Furthermore, during World War II , the city was the scene of many defeats in 1940 and defeats of the Germans, as well as naval battles. Today, Narvik is a central tourist resort, above all for its snow-covered landscapes and its uncontaminated nature in the north.

One of the must-see places is its historic center, which represents the typical port center of Norway. The Kongensgate , its main street, develops into a network of streets, arriving at the Torgsvingen square and its Peace Monument . Furthermore, here you must try the Solboller , a cream donut. Also not to be missed is the War Museum , the most important in the city. Narvik also has a vibrant Opera House with a busy calendar. To find the best catch in the area, however, go to the Fiskenhallen fish market and visit the Museum of the North to discover Sami Sami culture with vintage photographs.

The city of Narvik

7. Tromsø

During your trip to Norway, among the things to see we find the city of Tromsø. Famous place for polar hunts and expeditions among magnificent landscapes, as well as having played a fundamental role in World War II. Called the gateway to the Arctic , it is located 400 km from the Arctic Circle, presenting us with wonderful polar landscapes full of beauty, crowned by mountains and nestled in fjords. Tromsø is located on the island of Tromsøya and is connected to the mainland by bridge. Furthermore, this city is an ideal destination for observing the Northern Lights and the midnight sun.

Here we also find important wooden churches, such as Domkirke , and other buildings from the 19th century. The icon of the city, a must-see in Norway, is the Arctic Cathedral Ishavskatedralen . Also, don’t miss Polaria , the Arctic aquarium in a stunning ice-inspired building. To get the best view of the city, go to the Panorama on Mount Storsteinen , at 421 m, a popular destination for hikers. Among the museums to see here in Norway, visit the Polarmuseet , dedicated to the expeditions to the North Pole and the exploits of Amundsen and Nansen, and the Forsvarsmuseum , where we can see German cannons and a bunker.

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The Tromsø Marina

8. North Cape

We arrive at the northernmost point of the European continent at the North Cape, on the island of Magerøya , in Norwegian Lapland . This point falls sheer, 307 m above the Norwegian Sea, meeting the Barents Sea. Here, at the 71st parallel , we are surrounded by an arctic landscape and it is a must-see destination in Norway, visited by many travellers. In summer the landscape here is characterized by grazing reindeer and the camps of the indigenous Sami people . From May 14th to July 31st you can witness the midnight sun and in winter the Northern Lights , making magnificent hikes on snow-capped cliffs and walking in the mountains.

In the visitor center on the North Cape you will find restaurants, shops where you can buy your souvenirs, as well as a cinema! Also located on the slope is the North Cape Horn rock formation . Among the things to do here in Norway, spend a night in the hotel carved into the ice of the Sorrisniva Igloo. Gjesværstappan is a popular destination for birdwatching, while in Lakselv we find the northernmost golf course in the world, and we can go on beautiful sleigh rides with huskies .

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The Globe on the North Cape promontory

9. Stavanger

The city of Oil , Stavanger, thanks to its wonderful ancient buildings and innovative museums. A must see in Norway during your trip. Furthermore, this city is the ideal point to discover Lysefjord and we also find beautiful urban beaches here . One of the must-see places in this city is Gamle , the old town, the largest wooden one in the country which became famous thanks to the sardine trade. Also worth seeing in the city is the Domkirke , the cathedral built in 1100 and is the oldest Norwegian cathedral.

The Oil Museum is also worth a visit, for its architecture and importance in the city and the North Sea, and the Jernaldergården farm , ideal for discovering Norwegian life during the Iron Age. At the Stavanger Museum we observe works of art from the 18th century to today and the sculpture garden. Among the things to visit in Norway we find the Ledaal , the 1800s Empire-style building; today a royal summer residence full of antiques. This is the perfect spot to visit the Preikestolen panorama point or to go to urban beaches to relax on the soft sand, such as Sola, Bybergsanden and Hellestø.

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La falesia di Preikestolen, sul Lysefjord

10. Svalbard Islands

Finally, among the things to see in Norway, an unmissable destination to see the Northern Lights, are the Svalbard Islands, the kingdom of the polar bears . Postcard landscapes in the Arctic, among snow-capped glaciers, icebergs floating in the waters in a remote, fairy-tale place. With winters with endless nights and summer days with the midnight sun, considering its proximity to the pole . Throughout the country’s history, this was a destination for important polar expeditions and is the best place to discover the spirit of the North . In fact, many names of the islands are linked to the Dutch navigator Willem Barents , who arrived in 1596. Furthermore, these islands in the past were a center of coal mining and whaling.

Svalbard is a Russian settlement , but under Norwegian sovereignty since 1920 thanks to a treaty between the nations. Longyearbyen is the gateway to Svalbard, with Nordenskjöldbreen, where almost all excursions depart from. One of the world’s most northerly settlements is Ny-Ålesund and the main Russian settlements are Pyramiden and Barentsburg , between the glaciers. A place that seems stuck in the former Soviet Union at the edge of the Earth. Among Cyrillic signs , a bust of Lenin and pyramidal architecture. Here, we also find ancient settlements and ghost towns, an incredible contrast to see compared to the enchanted landscape of Norway. On the opposite side of the fjord, however, we find the spectacular Nordenskjöldbreen glacier .

svalbard polar bears - norway what to see and do to visit
Svalbard, the kingdom of polar bears

What to do in Norway, the 5 experiences not to be missed

During your stay in Norway, in addition to visiting the main attractions and places described previously in our guide, we also want to point out the activities to do in the country, thus making your trip unique. Between culture, adventure, tradition, history and local food, an experience in Norway will be able to unite the desires of all travellers.

So let’s not waste time and discover together the 5 experiences to have in Norway !

1. Whale Watching

Among the things to do in Norway, absolutely unmissable for nature and animal lovers, we find whale watching . A unique experience to have here, spotting these incredible creatures on board boats far from the port. During these nature safaris it is always important to remember that the animals decide when and whether to show themselves, so spotting them will make us feel truly lucky. Furthermore, in Northern Norway there are many opportunities to spot these cetaceans.

The ideal season for whale watching is during the winter, from January to April, when we can see the greatest number of cetaceans, being the time when herring migrate. The downside is definitely the climate . However, in summer, with the mild climate, the downside is that the experience will certainly be crowded and the number of cetaceans will be smaller. The best cities from which to go whale watching are Andenes, Opplevelser, Skjervøy, Svalbard and Tromsø. The best point from a geographical point of view is Andenes , in the Vesterålen islands: the world capital for Whale Watching

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Cetacean observation in Norway

2. Witness the Northern Lights

Among the best places in the world to see the Northern Lights, and among the most popular activities to do in Norway, we certainly find witnessing the Northern Lights. Wonderful colors cross the arctic night sky and few places in the world are like Norway to admire the starry vault that fills with magic. The best time to attend the event is between the end of September and March . At this time, in fact, it gets dark early and the sun rises late, thus giving more opportunities to hunt for the Northern Lights. Furthermore, the north of the country, thanks to the presence of deep fjords, islands and mountains, is certainly one of the most picturesque places to have this experience, far from light pollution .

Being a phenomenon related to solar activity , seeing the Northern Lights is never a certainty. The Trøndelag region and the islands to the south can also be an excellent observation point for this celestial dance of colours. The best time, according to statistics, is from 11pm to 2am , from March to April in spring and from September to October in autumn . You’ll just have to sit under the starry vault and wait: who knows, it might just be your lucky evening!

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The unique spectacle of the Northern Lights in Norway

3. Sailing on an icebreaker

If you want to live a unique experience among the things to do in Norway to explore the waters of the Arctic , get on board an icebreaker! This is a unique boat, with a special, reinforced hull capable of resisting ice, cutting its way through frozen channels and navigating even the coldest waters. Today, these ships are also used to bring supplies to oil platforms in the Arctic. While sailing on the icebreaker, you can immediately admire the ship starting to break ice blocks as soon as it leaves the dock.

In addition to being able to visit the ship and discover its functioning and secrets, it will also be possible to stop and swim – mainly floating – in the polar waters with special survival suits that keep you afloat; therefore it will not even be necessary to know how to swim. This one-of-a-kind cruise has a variable duration, starting from the Svalbard Islands . An incredible opportunity to admire unique arctic scenery in the kingdom of polar bears!

icebreaker cruise ship
Excursion on an icebreaker in Svalbard

4. Try the salmon at the Bergen Fishmarket

Popular around the world for its flavor and quality, tasting Norwegian salmon is among the must-do things during your trip to Norway. And why not do it in a unique place like the historic fishmarket of Bergen? For lovers of sushi, but also of fish products of all types, this is an incredible experience in the taste and discovery of traditional Norwegian cuisine, which has its roots in fishing. Furthermore, Norwegian salmon is truly special, as it can be consumed raw without the need to kill it, as the quality standard of this fish in the country guarantees that the species does not carry parasites or other dangerous agents for those who consume it.

Furthermore, the famous Fisketorget in Bergen is certainly not a cheap place, but it is a unique place present in any city guide. Here, in addition to purchasing very fresh fish , you can enjoy smoked salmon, fish soups, scampi, cod, sushi, prawns and many delicacies for a tasty break in a unique context.

Bergen fish market
Fish specialties at Fisketorget in Bergen

5. Admire the Midnight Sun

Finally, if you are in Norway in the summer, among the things to do you cannot miss admiring the unique spectacle of the midnight sun. A special phenomenon , which we can observe in the northern areas of the country, towards the Arctic Circle. In summer, in fact, the days here are so long that the sun never sets. To admire this event, the best place in the world is the Svalbard Islands from 20 April to 22 August , during the white nights. This natural effect is due to the fact that the Earth rotates at an angle to the sun.

So, in summer, the North Pole is perpetually exposed to the sun’s rays. Having 24 hours of sunshine during the day is a unique beauty, as well as being a great time for outdoor activities, but there are cons too. Indeed, the body will need to get used to the lack of darkness to sleep and during the winter these places are under constant night. Besides Svalbard, other perfect places to observe this phenomenon are Helgeland , from 12 June to 1 July, Bodø from 4 June to 8 July and also Lofoten , from 28 May to 14 July. Finally, the midnight sun is also a special opportunity to take photos with one-of-a-kind light.

midnight sun north cape - norway what to see and do to visit
The midnight sun at the North Cape

So, after seeing what to see, visit and do in Norway, you are ready to pack your bags and leave !

Therefore, let’s discover the itineraries together based on your needs. Here’s what to visit in Norway!

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