In my opinion, Norway is one of the most beautiful countries in the world. It is filled with gorgeous towns and villages, beautiful old cities, rolling farmlands, mountains and glaciers, and a downright fabulous coastline.
Honestly though, not many coastlines elsewhere in the world can compete with Norway’s when it comes to sheer majesty. Of course, there are fjords in other places on the planet as well, but Norway has an enormous concentration of them.
Norway is also the country of the Vikings and is home to numerous fascinating historic sites, buildings and landmarks.
Based on my own trip along the entire length of Norway, I would recommend the following ten things to do in Norway.
Top 10 Things to Do in Norway
Stroll Along the Waterfront in Bergen
The Hanseatic City of Bergen is arguably Norway’s most beautiful city—although there are many that compete for that title. It is spread out across seven hills and perched on the shores of a beautiful fjord. Formerly one of the main offices of the Hanseatic League, Bergen is major port city in Norway. Its waterfront is absolutely stunning, lined with extraordinary warehouses that have been transformed into bars and restaurants and home to a fun fish market.
Go Hiking, Camping or Fishing in Finnmark
Finnmark is the northernmost province in the country. Finnmark is a place of overwhelming natural beauty, home to herds of reindeer, the Sami people and the midnight sun. In summer, it is a bright and active region, while in winter, this is where you should come to see the northern lights in 24-hour darkness. In summer, it’s a marvelous place to go hiking, camping and/or fishing.
Be Awe-Struck at the Sight of the Nidaros Cathedral, Trondheim
Trondheim used to be known as Nidaros in the Middle Ages, which explains the name of this majestic cathedral. The church is built over the grave of St. Olav, the 11th-century king of Norway who later became the country’s patron saint. Built between 1070 and 1300, the massive Nidaros Cathedral is still the place where Norwegian kings are coronated. The northernmost medieval cathedral on earth, it has been a popular pilgrim’s destination for centuries.
Cycle Across the Spectacular Lofoten Islands
The Lofoten Islands feature some of the most breathtaking landscapes in all Norway—and that says something. Rising up steeply out of the ocean, this archipelago has some of the highest temperatures relative to its latitude on the planet. Although the Lofoten Islands are located a few hundred kilometers north of the Arctic Circle, the climate has surprisingly mild winters. This is thanks to the warm Gulf Stream. All islands are connected by scenic bridges, making it possible to cycle the entire length of the archipelago.
See a Couple of Stave Churches
Wooden medieval churches, stave churches used to be common Christian buildings in northwestern Europe. Now, however, most of the surviving stave churches are found in Norway. The country is dotted with them and it is definitely worth seeing at least a couple for they are an essential part of the country’s history and culture.
With a coastline that is longer than 25,000 kilometers, Norway is unsurprisingly a country with a fish-based diet. The seafood is truly delicious—make sure to try wild salmon, cod, crab and shrimp. If you’re up for it, you can also legally eat whale in Norway.
Drive Up the Troll’s Ladder
The Troll’s Ladder, Trollstigen in Norwegian, is a spectacular road up a mountainside in the southwest of the country. It winds its way steeply to a mountain pass via eleven hairpin bends. The beauty of this road is that there is a constantly spectacular view of the valley below.
Gaze Out Over the Arctic Ocean at the North Cape
The North Cape, the northernmost point in Europe that is reachable by car, is a major tourist destination in Arctic Norway. From the cape, which essentially is a huge rock jutting out into the Arctic Ocean, there is a magnificent view of the ocean to the north. At midnight in summer, the midnight sun shines down on the ocean from the north, creating a unique sight.
Visit the Norwegian Fjords
The Norwegian fjords don’t really need an introduction. They are among the largest, most spectacular and most visited in the whole world. Some fjords that should never be skipped when staying in Norway are the Geirangerfjord, the Sognefjord, the Nærøyfjord and the Lysefjord.
Explore the Coastline on Hurtigruten
The Hurtigruten ships commute along the west and north coast of the country on a daily basis, traveling from Bergen in the south to Kirkenes in the far northeast and back. The ships stop in several ports along the way, including the Geirangerfjord, Bergen and the Lofoten Islands. A roundtrip takes eleven days and has been referred to as ‘the most beautiful sea voyage in the world’.