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Northern lights over The Tromsø Bridge Tromsø_1
Northern lights over The Tromsø Bridge.
Photo: Gaute Bruvik - Visitnorway.com
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The kingdom of light

Northern Norway is by far the largest and most sparsely populated part of mainland Norway, and covers more than a third of the country. It stretches from the idyllic Helgeland region in the south, to mainland Europe’s northernmost point, near the North Cape.

Northern Norway has been settled for thousands of years, due to its relatively warm climate, ice-free harbours and excellent fishing. For centuries, the fishing was the very basis of existence in this area, and even today you can find several characteristic, old fishing villages with their coloured, wooden houses, that used to house fishermen and traders.

In the old days, large parts of Northern Norway was inaccessible, but today there is an extensive network of both roads and small airports with regular flights between many of the small towns and villages. Hurtigruten, the coastal steamer, calls at ports all along the coast at least once per day, both northbound and southbound.

But the region is not only one of wild and untouched nature and quaint old villages. Tromsø, for instance, is Northern Norway's largest city and lies far north of the Arctic Circle. A vibrant university town, it has a lively student scene with concerts and shows, and sports an international film festival as well as a multi-cultural community of more than 100 different nationalities. Read more about Tromsø.

The Sami are the northernmost indigenous people of Europe, and the attractions on the Norwegian tundra in Finnmark all reflect Sami history, heritage and life today. Preserving both the region’s nature and its culture and tradition is a priority.

Light will play an essential role in your experience in the north. Summer nights are long and bright, and in high summer north of the Arctic Circle, the sun doesn’t dip below the horizon at all. Winter nights, on the other hand, are long and cold, but far from as dark as you might think. The northern lights will play across the skies, displaying bands and tendrils of red, purple, blue and green light. Learn more about the Northern lights.

And by the way: The long and bright summer nights makes for juicy and tasty vegetables and fruit, like nowhere else on Earth. The local strawberries, especially, are to die for.

Top destinations
Far above the Arctic Circle, the North Cape offers arctic adventures like dog-sledding in the winter and months of never-ending sunlight in… Read more
The North Cape
Lofoten is known for excellent fishing, spectacular nature attractions such as the northern lights and the midnight sun, and small villages off the… Read more
The Lofoten Islands
Tromsø is ideal for seeing the northern lights and has a modern mix of outdoor activities, a vibrant nightlife, and places to eat… Read more
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
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
The archipelago of Vesterålen is a place characterized by contrasts, from white beaches and idyllic farmlands, to craggy mountain peaks rising… Read more
Bring your walking boots and experience Harstad's cultural attractions and nearby nature on foot. Read more
Teeming bird rocks in Hornøya, a snow hotel, dramatic war stories and a witch monument in Vardø are among the attractions awaiting… Read more
Kirkenes and Eastern Finnmark
It’s wild, it’s dramatic – and it’s most certainly unique. Narvik is perfect for nature experiences or an active holiday. Read more
The Vega archipelago, situated off the Helgeland coast, is named one of the world’s top undiscovered island gems. You should also pay a visit to… Read more
The Svalbard Islands are located in the Arctic Ocean, halfway between Norway and the North Pole. Here, you will find untouched arctic wilderness and… Read more
The Svalbard Islands
What to do
Duration: 2-4 hours. Point of departure: Andenes. Discounts for families, children and groups. Price includes entrance to the museum, guiding in the… Read more
Whale safari in Andenes
Northern Lights Safari 5 nights individual Northern Lights package, with stays in Tromso, adventurous Northern Lights trips, Dog sledge & Arctic… Read more
Northern Lights Safari
Stay up as long as you like and sleep in a warm sleeping bag on a reindeer hide. A light meal consisting of reindeer meat and vegetable soup is served… Read more
Northern Lights Stay in a Lavvu - Tromsø Friluftsenter
We do all we can to crown your Northern Lights Trip with a sight to remember forever. The trip includes warm clothes, energy-rich expedition food and,… Read more
The Ultimate Northern Lights Chase – Arctic Explorers
90 minute trip to the seabird colony on the island of Bleiksøya, one of Norway’s most famous bird cliffs. Amoung others 80,000 pairs of puffins. Other… Read more
Puffin safari
Our guides and instructors have been diving in Saltstraumen for years and possess the know-how we believe necessary to ensure that you, the customer,… Read more
Saltstraumen Divers’ Camp
Scheduled trips from Svolvær town square to the Trollfjord during the summer and nature safari during the winter. Events can be arranged all year… Read more
Lofoten Charterboat/Trollfjordcruise
Food and drink
Umami means tasty and delicious in Japanese, and that is precisely what we want our food to be. It should taste wonderful, as well as being a delight… Read more
The restaurant "The Blue Fish" & Henningsvær Bryggehotell is situated at the quayside of the largest fishing village in Lofoten. Enjoy a truly great… Read more
Restaurant The Blue Fish
This store specialises in offering top quality food products from local, small-scale producers, and also offers lunch dishes and homemade… Read more
Culture and history together with traditional food inspired by the continental kitchen. The farm is run by the 10th generation, with more than 335… Read more
Røkenes Manor and Guesthous - diners
We wish you welcome to our kitchen and lavvu, where you can enjoy our farmhouse cuisine. With us you will always find the game of both fish and meat.… Read more
Andøy Friluftssenter
At Aunegården it has been cooked food for over 130 years, and today serving the food they themselves call the taste of Northern Norway. They also… Read more
Aunegården AS
Every day we serve lunch. The menu is what we have available. Fish soup, bacalao, mussels, halibut and more, and the shelves are full of goodies. Our… Read more
Art & culture
1000 years of plowing, cross and sword Set in historical surroundings on the Trondenes peninsula, 3km outside Harstad center, located Trondenes… Read more
Trondenes Historical Centre
In Salangen is the huge body of the old Salangsverket. In walls also sits memories of a "Klondyke" with its chaotic rush and catastrophic depletion.… Read more
Here you can walk on pathways arranged around the rock carving area. Fantastic view over the Alta Fjord. The 2000 to 6200 years old rock carvings show… Read more
Alta Museum - World heritage Rock art centre
The musum houses exhibitions revolving around the poet-priest Petter Dass. The strikingly modern museum building was designed by renowned Snøhetta… Read more
Petter Dass-museum
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    The fairytale of Nordland

    Check out this cool visualisation of the strange coastline region of Nordland in Northern Norway. The mountains in this area are known for their mystical shapes, allowing a story of drama, passion and jealousy amongst trolls to develop. Each has an individual description, but together a larger fairytale is played out in the rugged Norwegian landscape.

    Things to do

    Opportunities abound in Northern Norway, whether you want action or relaxation, fun in the snow or lounging under the midnight sun, seeing the sights or doing the deeds, kayaking or skiing, hiking or fishing. The choice is yours.

    Even though Northern Norway hosts the prestigious World Championship in cod fishing, the pace is quite laid back most of the time. Here, you can relax with a round of golf at the world’s northernmost golf course, watch the whales cavort in the sea, or hike the mountains or fish the sea at your own pace.

    If you travel to the coast of Nordland, you have the options of diving in the world’s strongest tidal current, Saltstraumen, or exploring the Lofoten and Vega islands with their unique nature. When winter sets in, so does the skiing season. Leisurely cross-country skiing is just as common as adrenaline-raising alpine and off-piste.

    Among the cultural offers are the museum dedicated to the poet-priest Petter Dass. The main attraction may be the museum building itself though, designed by renowned Snøhetta, and blending in with the surrounding nature. The trading centre at Kjerringøy is one of the most important building memorials from 18th century Norway, and the area served as an inspiration for many of Nobel laureate Knut Hamsun’s stories.

    In terms of art, food and clothes, the Sami way of life is an important part of Northern Norway. At The Sápmi Culture Park you can experience the Sami way of life. Here you can try Sami cuisine by the open fire, hear the traditional songs (the «joik», one of Europe’s oldest surviving music traditions), and meet Sami people in colourful local costumes

    Northern Norway is also the place to go to find dishes and ingredients you may not have tried before. Seawolf, halibut, rose fish and king crab are commonly enjoyed, as are other forms of seafood such as sea urchins, clams and mussels.

    The more common types of fish such as cod, coalfish, herring and saithe, are also eaten here, traditionally prepared salted, dried or steamed. Reindeer are farmed throughout the region as well, an industry that form a cornerstone of Sami culture.

    Top 6 activities

    These are some of the top ranked activities in Northern Norway, according to TripAdvisor:

    All destinations in Northern Norway

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