And action! On her trip through Norway, German travel blogger Andrea David let herself be guided by films and series. From beautiful fjord landscape to architectural highlights – here are some of the locations she visited.
About Andrea David
For more than 15 years German blogger Andrea David has been travelling to film locations in about 50 countries. She shares her experiences and adventures via her travel blog Filmtourismus.de.
When Andrea tracks down the locations, she aligns printed-out film stills with the real-life destination, mixing up the silver screen with the reality in one picture. Her Instagram account @filmtourismus reaches thousands of film fans from all over the world.
You can admire these film locations on the screen at home, see them at the cinema soon or experience them in real life when you travel to Norway!
Christopher Nolan’s film “Tenet” was expected with great excitement upon its release in August 2020. Starring John David Washington, the protagonist has to fulfil quite a task: He shall save the entire world from collapse. However, the laws of time no longer seem to apply to his mission.
One of the locations in the film is Norway’s capital Oslo. More precisely, it is one of the most impressive architectural pieces in Oslo: The Opera House. In the scene in which John David Washington and Robert Pattinson in the role of Neil are talking about an aeroplane accident, they are standing on the opera roof.
The building has a futuristic architecture and a gleaming white marble facade. Apart from being the perfect film location for a Nolan film, it has served as the venue for the Norwegian National Opera & Ballet since 2008. The roof is freely accessible to visitors and offers a beautiful view of the city and the Oslofjord.
When you visit the Bjørvika area, you should also take a look at the brand-new building right next to the opera: The Deichman Library which opened in June 2020. In addition to an extensive book collection, it has both a cinema and a restaurant.
2. No Time to Die
James Bond’s latest adventure “No Time to Die” is coming to the cinemas in November and is also awaited with a lot of excitement. It will be the last time that Daniel Craig plays the role of agent 007. In this film, James Bond has already retired in Jamaica when he is suddenly given another risky mission to save a scientist.
In the film trailer, you can see a girl fleeing from a masked man on a frozen lake. This quiet lake is called Langvann and is located near Hakadal, a village in Viken county, north of Oslo. It is only a one-hour hike through a forest away from the car park behind Hakadal’s train station.
And you will discover yet another location in Norway in this film: The Atlantic Road is one of the most beautiful roads in the country. It counts seven bridges that take you from island to island – the perfect setting for a dramatic car chase!
Storseisundbrua, the largest bridge on the route, is particularly impressive and the most iconic landmark of this Norwegian Scenic Route.
In the Harry Hole crime novel series by Norwegian author Jo Nesbø, Oslo plays a major role. Many details of the stories relate to real places in the city, and parts of the film adaption of the book “Snowman”, starring Michael Fassbender as investigator Harry Hole, were of course also filmed there.
These include Restaurant Schrøder in Waldemar Thranes gate 8, the Fram Museum, the Henie Onstad art centre, the Oslo Spektrum Arena, the Holmenkollen ski jump, and the Oslo City Hall in which Oslo’s candidacy for the Winter Olympics is celebrated with a grand gala in the film.
Other film locations worth a visit include the harbour in Bergen, Mount Ulriken, the Bergen Railway, and again – The Atlantic Road.
4. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
The magical world around the famous wizard Harry Potter is located in England and Scotland, but one scene was actually filmed in Norway.
The Rauma Railway near the village Bjorli served as a backdrop for the train ride with the Hogwarts Express through the snowy landscape in “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince”, the sixth film in the series.
The scene in which Harry (Daniel Radcliffe) and Ron (Rupert Grint) are talking about the unbreakable curse of Snape was shot inside a museum train owned by the Norwegian Railway Club.
During the shooting, the crew stayed at the Bjorligard Hotel, which unfortunately has been closed down.
Anyone who doesn’t plan to travel the scenic train route with the Rauma Railway can still enjoy it by car. I recommend that you make a few stops along the Rauma river to see and hear how the wild water rustles through the beautiful Romsdalen valley.
5. Ex Machina
In the science fiction thriller “Ex Machina”, programmer Caleb (Domhnall Gleeson) wins a stay in the private refuge of the super-rich company boss Nathan (Oscar Isaac). He is supposed to evaluate the artificial intelligence of robot girl Ava (Alicia Vikander). Almost the entire plot of the film takes place on a high-tech property in the heart of Alaska. But the mysterious setting in the middle of the untouched wilderness is, in fact, the Juvet Landscape Hotel in Valldal, north of the Norddalsfjord. The hotel is embedded in a breathtaking landscape with a fantastic view from the modern and individually designed chalets.
The hotel was planned by the Norwegian architects Jensen & Skodvin. They also designed the hotel’s spa area, where most of the scenes were shot. On the small terrace in front of the spa, Caleb meets Nathan for the very first time. From the whirlpool of this very spa, guests enjoy a direct view of the river and the impressive mountain scenery.
Of course, a few scenes of “Ex Machina” were shot in the studio and in another private house. But the meadow where the helicopter drops Caleb as well as the spot at the river where Ava waits for the helicopter, are both just a short walk away from this spa in Valldal.
Depending on which direction you are travelling to from, I recommend that you drive the Norwegian Scenic Route Trollstigen either for to or from Juvet Hotel. On the steep mountain road with eleven hairpin bends, you’ll get a dramatic view of rocks and waterfalls – true film material. At the top, there is a visitor centre with several viewing platforms.
6. The Wave
The story of the Norwegian disaster film “The Wave” by Roar Uthaug takes place at the shore of the Geirangerfjord. It was inspired by a real rockfall which in 1934 resulted in a giant tidal wave and devastated a village in Tafjord. Since then and until today, a crevice in the Åkernes mountain on the Geirangerfjord is constantly monitored.
The main character in the film is an experienced geologist named Kristian, played by Kristoffer Joner. It is his last day of work at the Åkerneset monitoring station in Geiranger when the catastrophe happens: Huge boulders fall into the fjord and trigger the tsunami he has always feared. In the midst of panic, Kristian tries to take his family to a safe place.
Besides the Geirangerfjord, Havila Hotel Geiranger is also an important location for the film. Kristian’s wife Idun (Ane Dahl Torp) works there and manages to save herself in a bunker when the tidal wave approaches. In the film, the hotel entrance is on Maråkvegen, but in reality, it is at the upper main building.
The Geirangerfjord is without question one of the most beautiful fjords in all of Norway. I highly recommend a trip around the area. Here you can admire numerous steep waterfalls, including the famous Seven Sisters. You’ll get the best view from above from the viewpoints Flydalsjuvet or Ørnesvingen, which means “eagle’s curve” in Norwegian.
Tip: The sequel “The Quake” tells the story of what happens three years after the natural disaster at Geirangerfjord and plays out in Oslo.
“Dune”, based on the popular sci-fi novel of the same name and directed by Denis Villeneuve, will hit the cinemas at the end of the year. It is the story of a talented young man who has to travel to one of the most dangerous planets in the universe to secure the future of his family and his people.
In one of the first photos published of the film, we see Timothée Chalamet as the protagonist Paul Atreides walking on a beach on his home planet Caladan before he goes to Arrakis.
The beautiful beach with the green hills in the background has a touch of Hawaii, but it is actually in Norway. I found it at the west coast of the peninsula Stadlandet in the northwestern part of Nordfjord.
If you pay a visit to Stadlandet, you should plan a stop at Vestkapp, too. Although it’s not the westernmost point of Norway (that one is further south), its striking cape towers 500 metres above sea level. On a clear day, you can look far into the distance in all directions.
8. Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back
As the Star Wars universe continues to grow, the locations of the original trilogy have become iconic. This also includes the ice planet Hoth, on which the new secret base of the rebels is tracked down by the armed forces around Darth Vader in the fifth episode, “The Empire Strikes Back”.
The legendary scenes in which Han Solo (Harrison Ford) and Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) have to brave both the cold and the onslaught of the Imperial All Terrain Armored Transports were filmed in Norway. In fact, it was in and around the village Finse on the edge of the glacier Hardangerjøkulen in 1979. There are various hiking trails around Lake Finsevatnet and the glacier area.
Star Wars fans will easily recognize the mountain landscape here. In winter, however, you shouldn’t go on a hike without a guide. The train station in Finse is located 1,222 metres above sea level, and right next to it lies the hotel Finse 1222 in which the film crew stayed during the production.
Right behind the hotel, the scenes were created in which, after his rough encounter with a wampa, Luke crawls exhausted through the snow, and Obi-Wan Kenobi instructs him to go to Master Yoda’s Dagobah system. The hotel occasionally organizes fan events in February, including a film location tour with a dog sledge.
By the way, getting to Finse is a highlight. I recommend that you take the Flåm Railway from Flåm up into the high mountains at Myrdal. From there you can change to the Bergen Railway which stops at Finse. Both connections are among the most beautiful train routes in the world and will take you into a galaxy far, far away.
Ragnarök is the legend of the fall of the gods in Norse mythology. In the Netflix series of the same name, however, these gods and giants deal with conflicts of modern times.
The story takes place in Edda, where the brothers Magne (David Stakston) and Laurits (Jonas Strand Gravli) return to with their widowed mother. The small fjord town is suffering from puzzling environmental damage. The wealthy Jutul family is not amused as Magne is investigating the causes and suddenly develops supernatural powers.
Almost all the locations in the series, from the port to the school, are in Odda. The town lies by the Sørfjord, which is a branch of the Hardangerfjord. Except for the Jutul family’s estate, the locations didn’t even have to be changed much for the scenes. In the centre near Torget by the water, Netflix has placed a memorial stone in honour of the series.
Odda is also a popular base for the famous hike to Trolltunga. The impressive rock formation is located ten kilometres northeast of the city and can also be seen in “Ragnarök”.
10. Mission: Impossible – Fallout
If you want to visit the film location where secret agent Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) is hanging from a cliff, you’re better off if you have no fear of heights. The battle scene between Hunt and villain John Lark (Henry Cavill) at the end of “Mission: Impossible – Fallout” takes place on the edge of a 600-metre-high razor-sharp cliff in the Himalayan mountains in Kashmir.
In reality, the spectacular showdown was filmed on Preikestolen, the famous Pulpit Rock in Norway. On the shortest route, the hike to the plateau takes approximately two hours. The reward is a magnificent view of the Lysefjord. Alternatively, you can see Preikestolen from a boat that departs from the port of Stavanger.
Tom Cruise have obviously enjoyed Norway very much. He's back in Norway on his 7th Mission, Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning – Part One. And this time, the mission is more dangerous than ever before, featuring one of the biggest stunts in cinema history with a motorcycle jump off a cliff ending in a base jump from Helsetkopen mountain in Hellesylt at Sunnmøre. There's also an intense action scene at the Rauma Railway in Åndalsnes.
Check out Norway's spectacular Mission: Impossible locations!
More locations to discover ...
Those were the some Norwegian cinematic highlights. There are, of course, many other film productions made fully or partially in Norway, including:
* The movie "Munch" about the life of the Norwegian artist Edvard Munch (Viaplay).
* The WWII drama film "Narvik", from Narvik in Northern Norway (Netflix).
* Netflix's fantasy action film "Troll", check out all the stunning "Troll" film locations i Eastern Norway.
* The sci-fi tragic comedy “Downsizing” with Matt Damon, in Lofoten.
* The series “Vikings” , in the south-west of Norway.
* The Marvel film “Black Widow” with Scarlett Johansson, in the coastal region of Sunnmøre.
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