Famed for its dramatically deep fjords and awe-inspiring glaciers, Norway is one of the most beautiful countries in the world. It is a year-round paradise for outdoor activities. World-class hiking and cycling can be enjoyed during the summer, while winter brings the opportunity to go snowshoeing, dog-sledding, and skiing. Visitors can marvel at the Northern Lights in Tromsø, take a tour of Oslo's best local restaurants, or step back in time at the Viking Ship Museum.
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Easily one of the most famous fjords in Norway, the Geirangerfjord has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2005. Dramatic 5,500-foot mountains tower over the 850-foot-deep fjord, and deserted fjord farms can be seen clinging to the steep cliffs. Some of the farms are open to visitors, but it's also worth coming here to admire the powerful waterfalls that cascade down the mountainsides, particularly the famous Seven Sisters waterfall. Plenty of sightseeing trips are available, but visitors can also admire the stunning view while kayaking on the fjord or enjoying a meal at one of the charming small-scale eateries.
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Construction of the Akershus Fortress is believed to have begun in the late 1290s, but the building as it can be seen today wasn't completed until the early 17th century. Although it was originally built to protect the city of Oslo, the structure has also served as a prison and a royal residence. Today, it is one of the most popular recreation areas in the city. The fortress is still a military area, but it is open to the public until 9:00pm all throughout the year. There is no admission fee, and guided tours are offered during the summer months.
0150 Oslo, Norway, Phone: 47-23-09-39-17
3.Astrup Fearnley Museum of Modern Art
© Astrup Fearnley Museum of Modern Art
Open to the public since 1993, the Astrup Fearnley Museum of Modern Art is one of the most significant contemporary art museums in Northern Europe. Designed to resemble a sailboat, the museum building consists of three pavilions and was designed by the renowned Italian architect Renzo Piano. The collection dates back to the 1960s and includes major works by artists from all over the globe, particularly the United States, Brazil, Japan, China, India, and many parts of Europe. In addition to the permanent exhibits, the museum offers six or seven temporary exhibits each year, which typically focus on the works of individual contemporary artists.
Strandpromenaden 2, 0252 Oslo, Phone: 47-22-93-60-60
4.Atlantic Ocean Road
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Believed by many to be the most beautiful drive in the world, the Atlantic Ocean Road was declared Norway's "Engineering Feat of the Century" in 2005. The road is 5.2 miles long, and it connects the island of Averøy to the mainland via a series of small islands linked together by eight bridges. With its many twists and turns, the road is reminiscent of a roller coaster and should only be driven under good weather conditions. There are no tolls, and there are plenty of designated stopping areas that allow visitors to stretch their legs and enjoy the magnificent scenery.
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Part of the city of Bergen, Bryggen is a historic harbor district that was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1979. The city has been an important center of trade since the 12th century, but it has been repeatedly destroyed by fire over the years. The 62 beautiful wooden buildings at Bryggen were built after a large fire in 1702, and today they are the oldest surviving part of the city. The buildings themselves offer an excellent glimpse at what life was like here during the 18th century, but there are also two museums for anyone particularly interested in the area's history.
Bryggen, 5003 Bergen, Phone: 47-55-55-20-80
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Running between the villages of Myrdal and Flåm, the Flåm Line is a 12.6-mile-long railway that whisks travelers through stunning mountain scenery, past rushing waterfalls, over a bridge, and through 20tunnels. Roughly 80% of the railway is at a gradient of 5.5%, meaning that the line holds the honor of being one of the world's steepest railways. The final stop is the Myrdal mountain station, which sits at 2,845 meters above sea level and has connections to trains that run between Bergen and Oslo. The trip lasts approximately 1hour, and the train runs throughout the year.
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Loen Skylift is a unique new tramway experience in Stryn, Norway, set within the heart of Nordfjord and offering spectacular views of the region's surrounding mountain and fjord landscape. The attraction, which opened to the public in May of 2017 as the country's first new tramway since the installation of Hangursbanen in 1963, is overseen by Loen SkyliftAS and services nearly 100,000 visitors a year, climbing 1,011 meters to the top of Mount Hoven. As one of the world's steepest aerial tramways, the skylift reaches gradient maximums of 60°, climbing at a maximum ride speed of seven meters per second. Rides embark from the Spa and Conference Hotel Alexandra and showcase spectacular views of area attractions such as Mount Skåla, Lake Lovatnet, and Jostedalsbreen Glacier. At the top of the mountain, guests can utilizing skiing and hiking trails or enjoy upscale meals at the Hoven Restaurant, Grill, Bar, and Cafe.
6789 Loen, Norway
8.Holmenkollen Ski Museum
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Sitting at the base of the Holmenkollen ski jump, the Holmenkollen Ski Museum was founded in 1923 and is the oldest skiing museum in the world. Exhibits cover the history of skiing over the last 4,000 years, beginning with rock carvings that were created in the Stone Age and ending with displays about modern skiing and snowboarding. Visitors can climb to the top of the ski tower to enjoy panoramic views of the city, hop in the ski simulator, or relax in the on-site cafe. Hours vary according to the season, but the museum is open every day of the year.
Kongeveien 5, 0787 Oslo, Phone: 47-91-67-19-47
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The Kon-Tiki Museum was built to house and display the Kon-Tiki raft, which the famous Norwegian explorer Thor Heyerdahl used to sail across the ocean from Peru to Polynesia in 1947. Today, visitors can admire the pre-Columbian balsa wood raft as well as several of the explorer's original vessels. Exhibits cover everything from the details of Heyerdahl's journeys to Tiki pop culture, and the museum also offers an exciting tour of a 100-foot cave. An Oscar-winning documentary about Heyerdahl's journey was produced in 1950, and it can be viewed every day at noon in the museum's theater.
Bygdøynesveien 36, 0286 Oslo, Phone: 47-23-08-67-67
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Known for its striking mountain scenery, Lofoten is an untamed archipelago that sprawls across the Norwegian Sea inside the Arctic Circle. The northern lights can be seen here between September and mid-April, and anyone who visits between late May and mid-July will get to experience the majesty of the midnight sun. Plenty of small fishing villages dot the islands, providing visitors with food, accommodation, and the chance to learn about traditional Nordic culture. The archipelago is one of the best places in Norway to surf, but it's also very popular with people who want to hike, ski, SCUBA dive, and fish.
11. Mount Floyen and the Funicular
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Towering high above Bergen, Mount Floyen offers truly stunning views of the city and the surrounding fjords. The top of the mountain is easily accessible thanks to the funicular, which whisks visitors up the side of the mountain in approximately 6 minutes. The base of the funicular can be found in the city center, making it easy to incorporate a trip up the mountain into your visit. There are plenty of amenities at the top, including a restaurant, a souvenir shop, and a children's play area, and the funicular is easily able to accommodate wheelchairs and strollers.
Vetrlidsallmenningen 21, 5014 Bergen, Phone: 47-55-33-68-00
12. Museum of Cultural History, Oslo
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Part of the University of Oslo, Norway, the Museum of Cultural History, Oslo is one of the largest cultural history museums in the country. The museum is composed of four floors, which are home to everything from Egyptian mummies to items salvaged from Arctic expeditions to a collection of some of the world's oldest coins. Temporary displays covering famous Norwegians or interesting aspects of modern culture can be found as well. As an added bonus, your admission ticket to the museum will also grant you free entry to the Viking Ship Museum if you visit both within the span of 48 hours.
Frederiks Gate 2, 0164 Oslo, Phone: 47-22-85-19-00
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The most important church in Norway, Nidaros Cathedral has been a famous pilgrimage destination since it was founded in 1066. The cathedral has undergone many expansions and renovations over the years, and the oldest parts still in existence date back to the middle of the 12th century. In addition to being the largest medieval building in Scandinavia, Nidaros Cathedral also holds the honor of being the world's northernmost medieval cathedral. The building sits on the burial site of St. Olav, an 11th-century Norwegian king, and it is the traditional location for the consecration of the country's kings.
Bispegata 11, 7012 Trondheim
14.Norwegian Museum of Cultural History
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Also called the Norwegian Folk Museum, the Norwegian Museum of Cultural History is one of the largest open-air museums in the world. It boasts a collection of 155 traditional buildings that were relocated from towns all over Norway, including a stave church that was first built in 1200. There are also a number of exhibits indoors, which display traditional folk costumes, various handicrafts, ancient weapons, and various other historical artifacts. The museum is open all throughout the year, but summer visitors will get to enjoy horse and carriage rides, handicraft demonstrations, and freshly baked Norwegian flatbread.
Museumsveien 10, 0287 Oslo, Phone: 47-22-12-37-00
15. Oscarsborg Fortress
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Draped across a pair of islands in the Drobak Straight, the Oscarsborg Fortress is best known for playing an important role in protecting Norway from the German invasion of 1940. The fortress has since been converted into a fascinating museum, which can be reached by a 10-minute ferry ride from Drobak. During the summer, the fortress hosts courtyard opera performances, art galleries, and various other cultural events. Visitors can also explore the tunnels under the building, dine at one of the on-site restaurants, or go crab fishing. Guided tours of the site are available, but must be arranged in advance.
Husvikveien, 1443 Oscarsborg, Phone: 47-64-90-41-61
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Approximately 60 miles long, the Oslofjord connects the capital city of Oslo to the open waters of the sea. Dotted with hundreds of islands, the fjord has plenty for visitors to see and do, particularly in the summer. Some of the area's main highlights are the Middle Age monastery ruins on the island of Hovedøya, the Viking burial mounds in the Borre National Park, and the amazingly well-preserved 16th-century fortress in the town of Fredrikstad. If you feel like you've spent enough time on dry land, you can also get out on the water to kayak, canoe, fish, or sail.
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Known in English as Pulpit Rock or Preacher's Pulpit, the spectacular Preikestolen is easily the most popular tourist attraction in Ryfylke. Overlooking the beautiful Lysefjord, the steep cliff rises 1,982 feet above the water and has a distinctive flat top of roughly 82 feet by 82 feet. The plateau is only accessible via a 2.4-mile hike, which has an elevation gain of 1,150 meters and typically takes hikers around 4 hours. Visitors are advised to avoid the hike when there is snow on the trail, so the best time to visit is between April and October.
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Located only 12 miles away from Oslo, TusenFryd is the country's largest amusement park. The 55-acre park boasts more than 30 attractions, including a skydiving simulator, several exhilarating roller coasters, and a giant spinning swing. There's no shortage of attractions for young children either; highlights include a mini Ferris wheel, a junior bumper car track, and an 85-foot steel coaster advertised as the world's smallest roller coaster. There is also a water park for visitors to enjoy in the summer, which is included in the price of admission and features a pool, a lazy river, and a large water slide.
Fryds Vei 25, 1407 Vinterbro, Phone: 47-64-97-64-97
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Standing more than 2,100 feet above sea level, Ulriken is the highest of the Seven Mountains that surround the city of Bergen. The top of the mountain offers stunning views of the city and the sea, and it can be reached by foot or by the Ulriken643 cable car. The city bus system can be used to access the hiking trails, and a special double decker bus is available to take visitors from the city center up to the cable car station. Plenty of tourist amenities can be found on the mountain top, including a souvenir store, a zipline, and a restaurant.
20. Vigeland Museum
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The Vigeland Museum is located inside the former studio and home of sculptor Gustav Vigeland, and it is widely considered to be one of Norway's best examples of neo-classical architecture. The first two floors of the building have been converted into a museum displaying everything from the sculptor's early works to his personal letters and photographs, while Vigeland's former living quarters are found on the third floor of the building. The interior of the space was designed by Vigeland himself, and almost all of the original furnishings remain. The museum is open all yearround, but the living quarters can only be toured by appointment.
Nobels Gate 32, 0268 Oslo, Phone: 47-23-49-37-00
21. Viking Ship Museum
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As a branch of the Museum of Cultural History of the University of Oslo, the Viking Ship Museum can be entered for free if you have already purchased a ticket to the Historical Museum. The museum is home to the best-preserved Viking ships in the world: the Oseberg ship, the Gokstad ship, and the Tune ship. There is also a collection of smaller boats as well asa Viking Age display that features sledges, a horse cart, various household furnishings, and artifacts found in Viking tombs around the Oslofjord. The museum is open all yearround, and guided tours are available by appointment.
Huk Aveny 35, 0287 Oslo, Phone: 47-22-13-52-80
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Norway is one of the best places on Earth to see the Northern Lights, and Chasing Lights is a tour company with plenty of experience in introducing visitors to the magic of this natural light show. The company is based out of Tromsø, which is located right in the middle of the aurora belt, and they offer bus tours, overnight accommodation in the city center, dog-sledding trips, and snowmobiling excursions. All tours include winter clothing, a warm meal and hot drinks, tripods for anyone who wants to take photos, and transportation to and from any hotel in Tromsø.
Storgata 64, 9008 Tromsø, Phone: 47-45-51-75-51
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A trip to Norway wouldn't be complete without exploring the beautiful fjords, and there are few better ways to do so than the guided boat tours offered by FjordSafari. Based out of Flam, the tour company has a small fleet of open RIB boats that are well-equipped with modern safety equipment and can hold up to 12 guests. There are several different tour options to choose from, and the company also offers packages that include special Viking dinners and hiking or snowshoeing trips. Tours take place throughout the year and take between 90 minutes and 3 hours depending on the option chosen.
Inner Harbour Flåm center, 5742 Flåm, Phone: 47-99-09-08-60
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If you want to experience Norwegian food at its finest, there's no better way to do it than with FoodTours.eu Oslo. The company brings guests to off-the-beaten path restaurants where they can experience authentic Nordic cuisine and learn about the country's fascinating culture and history. Two different tours are available: a 2-hour beer tour that takes guests for tastings at three of the city's best microbreweries, and the Culinary City Walk, which is approximately 4 hours long and includes various tasting stops at local restaurants. Vegetarian options are available upon request, and tours are offered in both English and Norwegian.
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The Norwegian fjords are one of the most impressive natural wonders in the world, and a trip to Norway wouldn't be complete without experiencing their majestic beauty up close. Based out of Gudvangen at the Nærøyfjord, Nordic Ventures offers the opportunity to explore the fjords by canoe or kayak. Guided tours are suitable for all ages and range in length from half a day to 10 days; most tours include meals, and camping accommodation is included in all multi-day tours. Customizable private tours are available upon request, and tours run from the end of April until the beginning of October.
Sea Kayak Centre Gudvangen, 5747 Gudvangen, Phone: 47-56-51-00-17
25 Best Things to Do in Norway
- Geirangerfjord, Photo: Courtesy of mmuenzl - Fotolia.com
- Akershus Fortress, Photo: Courtesy of jobipro - Fotolia.com
- Astrup Fearnley Museum of Modern Art, Photo: Astrup Fearnley Museum of Modern Art
- Atlantic Ocean Road, Photo: Courtesy of alexanderkonsta - Fotolia.com
- Bryggen, Photo: Courtesy of Bastian Linder - Fotolia.com
- Flam Line, Photo: Courtesy of imageoptimist - Fotolia.com
- Loen Skylift, Photo: Svein Otto Jacobsen/stock.adobe.com
- Holmenkollen Ski Museum, Photo: Courtesy of genlock1 - Fotolia.com
- Kon-Tiki Museum, Photo: Courtesy of izzog - Fotolia.com
- Lofoten, Photo: Courtesy of Maresol - Fotolia.com
- Mount Floyen and the Funicular, Photo: Courtesy of samott - Fotolia.com
- Museum of Cultural History, Oslo, Photo: Courtesy of demerzel21 - Fotolia.com
- Nidaros Cathedral, Photo: Courtesy of Circumnavigation - Fotolia.com
- Norwegian Museum of Cultural History, Photo: Courtesy of valeriyap - Fotolia.com
- Oscarsborg Fortress, Photo: Courtesy of John Sandoy - Fotolia.com
- Oslofjord, Photo: Courtesy of Leonid Andronov - Fotolia.com
- Preikestolen, Photo: Courtesy of Supreecha - Fotolia.com
- Tusenfryd, Photo: Courtesy of delkro - Fotolia.com
- Ulriken, Photo: Courtesy of Morten Almeland - Fotolia.com
- Vigeland Museum, Photo: Courtesy of Tupungato - Fotolia.com
- Viking Ship Museum, Photo: Courtesy of franco lucato - Fotolia.com
- Chasing Lights, Photo: Courtesy of swen_stroop - Fotolia.com
- FjordSafari, Photo: Courtesy of maylat - Fotolia.com
- FoodTours.eu Oslo, Photo: Courtesy of Curioso Photography - Fotolia.com
- Nordic Ventures, Photo: Courtesy of Annie - Fotolia.com
- Cover Photo: Courtesy of federicocappon - Fotolia.com
Opened in 1926, the Fram Museum was created to share the story of Norwegian polar exploration. The centerpiece of the museum is the wooden ship Fram, which was built in 1891 but still holds the records for sailing farthest north and farthest south. The original interior of the ship has remained intact, and the cabins, lounges, cargo hold, and engine room are open to the public. Other attractions include a carefully restored ship called the Gjøa, various exhibits that have been translated into 10 languages, and a polar simulator that allows visitors to experience the excitement of a polar expedition.
Bygdøynesveien 39, 0286 Oslo, Phone: 47-23-28-29-50