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Preikestolen (The Pulpit Rock) above the Lysefjord is one of Norway's most popular attractions Photo: Terje Rakke/Nordic Life AS/visitnorway.com
Photo: Terje Rakke/Nordic Life AS/visitnorway.com
Photo: Terje Rakke/Nordic life/www.visitnorway.com
Photo: Istockphoto.com
Photo: Bjarne Riesto/riesto.no/www.nordnorge.com/Nordkapp
Photo: Frithjof Fure - Visitnorway.com
Photo: Bård Løken
Photo: Terje Rakke/Fjord Norway
Photo: Stephan Bauer - Guest image

Fjords and the Midnight Sun in a Week

You don't have to choose between the fjords and the midnight sun if you're only in Norway for a week. Here's how to combine both spectacles.

Experiencing both the fjords and the midnight sun in a week is possible, but may require a little planning. Where to start and when to go are both important choices that should be made in advance.

Where and when

The midnight sun is a phenomenon that only occurs during the summer, and the further north you go, the more nights of midnight sun are available to you.

The fjords can be enjoyed at any time of the year, but if you want to catch both fjords and midnight sun on the same week-long trip, it is recommended to plan for travel as close to midsummer as possible.

Experience the midnight sun:

  • At the Arctic Circle: June 12 - July 1
  • In Bodø: June 4 - July 8
  • In the Lofoten Islands: May 28 - July 14
  • In Tromsø: May 20 - July 22
  • At the North Cape: May 14 - July 29
  • In Svalbard: April 20 - August 22

You'll find more places and dates for the midnight sun at the bottom of this article.

The hike to Skagerflå in Geiranger, Fjord Norway

Highlights of Fjord Norway

Start your trip through Fjord Norway in either Stavanger or Bergen and catch as many of the following three highlights as you feel you have time for. Catching all three is possible, but doing so will take some time, so if you start in Stavanger it may be best to give Ålesund a miss, or extend your holiday by a day or three.

Learn more about what a fjord really is.

Preikestolen (Pulpit Rock) towers 600 metres above the Lysefjord, Norway

Stavanger, the Lysefjord and the Pulpit Rock
Stavanger has excellent domestic connections and direct flights to and from much of Europe, as well as a ferry connection to Denmark which will make it easy to bring your own car, should you wish to. Thus, it is relatively easy to get to and from Stavanger.

Once there, taking a daytrip to visit Preikestolen (The Pulpit Rock) is a must, towering as it is over the Lysefjord below. It will take you four or five hours to get there, but once the hike is done, you will never forget the view. If you would rather not go hiking, though, you can still experience it from below by taking a fjord cruise on the Lysefjord. From Stavanger, make your way north to Bergen.

If you have more time in the Stavanger area, a hike to Kjerag should be considered, if you are up to the challenge.

Between Stavanger and Bergen lies the Hardangerfjord Region, a scenic area known for its lush green hills and towering mountains and well worth the trip if you have the time on your way to Bergen.

Go on a cruise on the Nærøyfjord, Norway

Bergen, gateway to the fjords
Bergen has good connections both domestically and internationally, and is easy to get to in a variety of ways.

Starting in Bergen, Norway in a Nutshell is a daytrip which takes you through some of the most dramatic mountain landscape in Fjord Norway, including Flåmsbana (The Flåm Railway) and the UNESCO-listed Nærøyfjord.

Though most often done in a day, you can easily travel the route by yourself and spend more time on the way if you prefer. Several places along the way offer accommodation and meals, so feel free to extend the Norway in a Nutshell trip and bike Rallarvegen as well. The two are easily combined.

Go kayaking in the city of Ålesund, Norway

Ålesund and the Geirangerfjord
If time allows, set your course from Bergen to Ålesund, and the most relaxing way to travel from Bergen to Ålesund is without a doubt Hurtigruten. This coastal steamer serves the entire Norwegian coast north of Bergen on a daily basis. The ship leaves Bergen late in the evening and arrives Ålesund around noon the following day. There are also nonstop flights from Bergen to Ålesund.

Ålesund itself is well worth a visit on its own, but on a fjord-themed trip like this, take care not to miss the opportunity to take a daytrip to Geirangerfjorden, Norway's second fjord listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site.

Go on a cruise on Raftsundet in Northern Norway

Land of the midnight sun

Summer nights are long and bright in all of Norway, but to experience true midnight sun you must travel north of the Arctic Circle. The drive will be long and ardous, so it is recommended you fly or take Hurtigruten instead. Flying to the Lofoten Islands from Bergen or Ålesund will take you via Trondheim, but there are direct flights from Bergen to Tromsø should you decide to skip ahead and make time for experiencing the midnight sun from the North Cape instead.

A little over 24 hours after leaving Ålesund, Hurtigruten calls at Bodø and the various small ports of call in the Lofoten Islands, having crossed the Arctic Circle early that same morning. You are now well and truly in the realm of the midnight sun, and the Lofoten Islands are not to be missed.

Enjoying the view of Lofoten, Norway

The Lofoten Islands
Few places are better suited than the Lofoten Islands to experience the midnight sun: Surrounded by the sea and largely untouched natural landscape, the setting is uniquely suited for unwinding and enjoying the peace and quiet. There are also plenty of activities available under the midnight sun for visitors with energy to burn.

Learn more about the Lofoten Islands.

It can be tempting to spend more time that you actually have in a place like this, but time permitting it is recommended to at some point continue on to Tromsø, less than an hour's flight from Bodø. Hurtigruten departs Svolvær in the late evening, giving you ample opportunity to enjoy the midnight sun from its deck before arriving Tromsø in the late afternoon the following day.

Tromsø, the capital of the Arctic
A charming city of some 70.000 inhabitants, Tromsø hasn't earned the nickname "Paris of the North" for nothing. Whether you're after relaxation or action, odds are you'll find it here, including the world's nothernmost 18-hole golf course.

If you have time to spare or simply want to extend your stay, continue north from Tromsø, either flying or using Hurtigruten as the hop-on, hop-off service that it was meant to be. From Hurtigruten's turn-around port, Kirkenes, there are direct flights to Tromsø and Oslo, as well as a number of smaller towns.

Alternatively, from Tromsø there are direct flights to Svalbard, if you wish to experience a true Arctic adventure. Watch out for polar bears, and remember that this far north, the sun never sets between 20 April and 22 August.

Admire the stunning Midnight Sun at North Cape this summer, Norway

The North Cape
In the extreme north of Europe and Norway, the North Cape is one of Norway's most popular tourist destinations and can offer a wide selection of attractions and activities. It's not difficult to get to the North Cape area, but going by ship will take too long and with limited time available flying is the best alternative. Honningsvåg has direct connections to Tromsø and Kirkenes, from where you can catch connecting flights to or from Oslo or Bergen, among others.

Widerøe, SAS and Norwegian all offer domestic flights in Norway.

When will there be midnight sun where I am going?
In this table you'll find the dates for midnight sun for more places in Norway, ordered from south to north:

PlaceMidnight sunPolar nightsThe sun returns
Polar circle 12. June – 01. July  
Bodø 4. June – 8. July

Svolvær 28. May – 14. July 7. Des. 05. Jan.
Harstad 25. May – 18. July 2. Des. 10. Jan.
Bardufoss 23. May – 19. July 30. Nov. 12. Jan.
Andenes 22. May – 21. July 29. Nov. 13. Jan.
Tromsø 20. May – 22. July 27. Nov. 15. Jan.
Bossekopp 19. May – 24. July 25. Nov. 17. Jan.
Vardø 17. May – 26. July 23. Nov. 19. Jan.
Hammerfest 16. May – 27. July 22. Nov. 20. Jan.
Berlevåg 15. May – 28. July 21. Nov. 21. Jan.
Nordkapp 14. May – 29. July 20. Nov. 22. Jan.
Jan Mayen 14. May – 28. July 20. Nov. 21. Jan.
Bjørnøya 1. May – 10. Aug. 07. Nov. 04. Feb.
Hopen 25. April – 17. Aug. 31. Oct. 10. Feb.
Svea 21. April – 21. Aug. 27. Oct. 15. Feb.
Barentsburg 20. April – 21. Aug. 26. Oct. 15. Feb.
Longyearbyen 20. April – 22. Aug. 26. Oct. 16. Feb.
Pyramiden 19. April – 23. Aug. 25. Oct. 17. Feb.
Ny-Ålesund 18. April – 24. Aug. 24. Oct. 18. Feb.
Magdalenafjorden 16. April – 26. Aug. 22. Oct. 19. Feb.
Rossøya 12. April – 29. Aug. 19. Oct. 23. Feb.
North Pole 20. March – 23. Sept. 25. Sept. 18. March

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Last updated:  2014-02-20
Norway has a long coastline dominated by fjords both large and small - Photo: visitnorway.com
Norway has a long coastline dominated by fjords both large and small
Map of Stavanger - Photo: visitnorway.com
Map of Stavanger
Map of Bergen - Photo: visitnorway.com
Map of Bergen
Map of Ålesund - Photo: visitnorway.com
Map of Ålesund
Map of Northern Norway - Photo: visitnorway.com
Map of Northern Norway

Interest:  Nature attractions, Tour suggestions, Fjords & Mountains, Fjord, The midnight sun

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Preikestolen (The Pulpit Rock) above the Lysefjord is one of Norway's most popular attractions - Photo: Terje Rakke/Nordic Life AS/visitnorway.com

Fjords and the Midnight Sun in a Week

You don't have to choose between the fjords and the midnight sun if you're only in Norway for a week. Here's how to combine both spectacles.

Fjords and the Midnight Sun in a Week

Source: Visitnorway

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