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City break the Norwegian way

Get insider tips from locals for an exciting long weekend in Norway’s main cities, where urban vibes meet small-town charm.

Go on a city break to Norway! Aksla viewpoint in Ålesund .
Photo: Samuel Taipale / Visitnorway.com
Go on a city break to Norway! Aksla viewpoint in Ålesund .
Photo: Samuel Taipale / Visitnorway.com

Kick off the weekend with a cultural Friday. Visit the best museums, galleries, and attractions …

The Munch Museum, Bjørvika in Oslo .
Photo: Estudio Herreros / Kultur- og idrettsbygg
The Munch Museum, Bjørvika in Oslo .
Photo: Estudio Herreros / Kultur- og idrettsbygg

… then spend the Saturday exploring the locals’ favourite places: Charming cafés, speciality shops, saunas – and of course top-notch restaurants with local treats.

Go on a city break | Saturday in Bodø .
Photo: SL Media
Go on a city break | Saturday in Bodø .
Photo: SL Media

Save the last day for a Sunday walk. Whether you opt for a long urban stroll or set off towards a nearby mountain top, be prepared to cover ground on foot.

Ulriken in Bergen .
Photo: Bergen Reiselivslag / Espen Haagensen / visitBergen.com
Ulriken in Bergen .
Photo: Bergen Reiselivslag / Espen Haagensen / visitBergen.com

One of the best things about Norway’s largest cities is that they are actually fairly small. Which means that you can experience many of the highlights during a long weekend. Explore top attractions like the Nidaros Cathedral in Trondheim, the Bryggen wharf in Bergen, the Arctic Cathedral in Tromsø, and Oslo’s new landmarks – and still have plenty of time for secluded alleys, exciting eateries, cafés, and concerts.

As all Norwegian cities are close to magnificent nature, you can easily combine city life with outdoor experiences. Forest or mountains? Adrenaline or relaxation? Whatever takes your fancy, you will find it within easy reach – from paddling, rafting, and fishing to hiking and climbing.

We asked a bunch of locals in Oslo, Bergen, TromsøTrondheim, Stavanger, Ålesund, Bodø and Kristiansand for their best tips for a long weekend. Check out their recommendations below and let the hunt for your new favourite city begin!

Insider tips for your Norwegian city break

Check out the locals’ favourite pastimes for a cultural Friday, a Saturday with the locals and a long Sunday walk.

Find your favourite city in Norway
Between the Oslofjord and the forests lies Norway’s capital and largest city, with its vibrant social scene and special combination of nature… Read more
Oslo
Even though Bergen is the second-largest city in Norway, it has the vibe of a small town, packed with charm and urban character. Read more
Bergen
The vibrant city of Trondheim is home to some of Trøndelag’s most popular attractions, cosy shopping streets and a myriad of restaurants… Read more
Trondheim
From local food and mountains soaring above deep blue fjords to the midnight sun and the northern lights – discover the Arctic capital,… Read more
Tromsø
Breathtaking surroundings with fjords, mountains and long, white beaches. Stavanger and Sandnes also boasts an impressive assortment of museums and… Read more
Stavanger
Explore urban beach life in Norway’s southernmost city! Kristiansand also has a vibrant cultural scene and exciting activity parks and museums. Read more
Kristiansand
Bodø is home to the world’s strongest maelstrom Saltstraumen. The largest city in the county of Nordland is also just a boat ride away… Read more
Bodø
You could go hiking or skiing, admire Ålesund's unique Art Nouveau architecture, explore the fjords – or just kick back and enjoy the… Read more
Ålesund
Other cities worth a visit
In the city of Alta you can experience Sami culture up close, see UNESCO protected rock carvings, sleep in a ice hotel or hunt for the northern light. Read more
Alta
From underwater safari and modern camping to art and a science centre – discover the coastal town famed for its buzzing city centre and idyllic… Read more
Arendal
An old pirate town, thousands of birds, miles of beaches, and a little piece of America – discover Farsund and Lista. Read more
Farsund and Lista
Street art, the Dutch Quarter, rail biking, and idyllic nature await in Flekkefjord, the westernmost city in Southern Norway. Read more
Flekkefjord
Fredrikstad is a cosy city with deep historical roots and it’s home to one of the best-preserved fortress towns in Scandinavia. Just west… Read more
Fredrikstad
Traces of olympic glory, a rich culinary heritage, and kilometres upon kilometres of cross-country skiing tracks. The roots go deep in the… Read more
Gjøvik, Hadeland and Ringerike
Get lost in narrow cobblestone streets, find your private island, and let your mind wander as you walk along the seafront. In Grimstad, the atmosphere… Read more
Grimstad
Halden is an idyllic small town nestled down by the Iddefjord, just on the border to Sweden. Above the town looms the mighty Fredriksten Fortress. Read more
Halden
An urban surprise along a barren, mostly uninhabited coast, Hammerfest is an arctic town full of life and outdoor adventurous. Read more
Hammerfest
Bring your hiking boots and experience the tall mountain peaks close to Harstad. Enjoy culinary brilliance and find out why Harstad is known as the… Read more
Harstad
A charming city, lush nature, old Viking thrones, and festivals await in Haugesund and Haugalandet. Read more
Haugesund
Horten boasts a rich heritage dating back to our Viking history. In Åsgårdstrand, you can visit legendary artist Edvard Munch's house. Read more
Horten
The charming little coastal town of Kragerø is set in beautiful surroundings with a fabulous cluster of islands just waiting for you… Read more
Kragerø
Get to know Kristiansund, a city on four islands famous for clipfish, opera, and The Atlantic Road. Read more
Kristiansund
Water has always been important in Larvik, from the time when the Vikings sailed in to build Norway’s first town at Kaupang and Colin Archer… Read more
Larvik
The idyllic Blindleia archipelago, a Historic Hotel, and traditional Southern Norway charm await in Lillesand. Read more
Lillesand
From hiking in the mountains and having fun at the beach to fishing and Viking history – get ready for an outdoor adventure in Lyngdal. Read more
Lyngdal
Molde has some of Fjord Norway’s most famous attractions. Experience the world-famous Molde international jazz festival, enjoy spectacular views… Read more
Molde
The town of Moss and its surrounding areas have a rich industrial heritage, a flourishing art scene, and the most beaches in the whole of… Read more
Moss
Discover Narvik, a town above the Arctic Circle where nature is your playground. Go hiking, skiing or climbing and experience the midnight sun in… Read more
Narvik
The seaside town of Risør is famed for its white-painted wooden houses, fun events like the wooden boat festival Trebåtfestivalen and the… Read more
Risør
Rjukan is a UNESCO World Heritage Site located close to the Hardangervidda National Park. The area is known for Gaustatoppen mountain peak and the… Read more
Rjukan
Sandefjord boasts miles of coastline, as well as a rich historical heritage. Vikings have left their mark here, as has the whaling industry. Read more
Sandefjord
Centered on Europe’s largest waterfall, the town of Sarpsborg was founded a thousands years ago by Norway’s patron saint and most… Read more
Sarpsborg
A few decades ago Drammen had a reputation for being a somewhat grey industrial town. Today, however, you are greeted by fashionable surroundings and… Read more
Drammen
Get to know this charming, medium-sized city on the banks of Mjøsa, Norway’s largest lake. Experience a rich cultural life and one of the… Read more
Hamar
Lillehammer is located in the lush Gudbrandsdalen valley in Eastern Norway and offers a mix of culture, family fun, and outdoor activities. Read more
Lillehammer
Cobblestone streets, an idyllic archipelago, and Norway’s version of the Flatiron building await in Tvedestrand, the book town by the… Read more
Tvedestrand
From the Vikings of old times to the tourists of today, people have always flocked to Tønsberg. Just outside of the city, you can enjoy… Read more
Tønsberg and Færder
Discover Åndalsnes, famed for the Romsdalseggen ridge, Trollstigen, and the Rauma Line, Europe’s most beautiful train journey. Read more
Åndalsnes
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