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Northern Norway Northern Norway
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Northern Norway.
Photo: Jørn Allan Pedersen
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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.

Fishermans' cabin in Lofoten
Top destinations
Top destinations
The North Cape
Far inside the Arctic Circle, the North Cape offers arctic adventures like dog-sledding in winter and months of never-ending sunlight in the summer. more
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The Lofoten islands
Lofoten is known for excellent fishing and nature attractions, and small villages off the beaten track. Kayak between the islands, go fishing for the… more
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Tromsø
This Arctic city is not only packed with culture and history, it’s also one of the best places to see the northern lights. more
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Alta
Alta is the largest town in Norway’s northernmost county, and an area with a relatively mild climate in the otherwise cold north. Here you can… more
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Bodø
Few Norwegian towns and cities are so close to the wilderness as Bodø. Here activities under the northern lights are right on your doorstep. more
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Vesterålen
The archipelago of Vesterålen is a place characterized by contrasts, from white beaches and idyllic farmlands, to craggy mountain peaks rising… more
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Harstad
Bring your walking boots and experience Harstad's cultural attractions and nearby nature on foot. more
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Kirkenes and Eastern Finnmark
Teeming bird rocks in Hornøya, a snow hotel, dramatic war stories and a witch monument in Vardø are among the attractions awaiting… more
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Narvik
It’s wild, it’s dramatic – and it’s most certainly unique. If you are searching for genuine nature experiences or an active… more
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Helgeland
The Vega archipelago, situated off the Helgeland coast, is named one of the world’s top undiscovered island gems. If you’re looking for… more
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The Svalbard Islands
The Svalbard Islands are located in the Arctic Ocean, halfway between Norway and the North Pole. Here, you will find untouched arctic wilderness and… more
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Tromsø
What to do
What to do
Whale safari in Andenes
Duration: 2-4 hours. Point of departure: Andenes. Discounts for families, children and groups. Price includes entrance to the museum, guiding in the… more
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Northern Lights Safari
Northern Lights Safari 5 nights individual Northern Lights package, with stays in Tromso, adventurous Northern Lights trips, Dog sledge & Arctic… more
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Northern Lights Stay in a Lavvu - Tromsø Friluftsenter
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… more
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The Ultimate Northern Lights Chase – Arctic Explorers
The trip includes warm clothes, energy-rich expedition food and, not least, the most dedicated guides you can imagine. Never trust the Northern Lights… more
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Puffin safari
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… more
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Saltstraumen Divers’ Camp
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,… more
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Boat trips from Nes on Vega to Lånan
During the summer season, there are regularly scheduled boat trips out to Lånan. On Lånan you will be greeted by the bird wardens who take you along… more
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Lofoten Charterboat/Trollfjordcruise
Scheduled trips from Svolvær town square to the Trollfjord during the summer and nature safari during the winter. Events can be arranged all year… more
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Kingcrab from Finnmark
Food and drink
Food and drink
Umami
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… more
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Restaurant The Blue Fish
The restaurant "The Blue Fish" & Henningsvær Bryggehotell is situated at the quayside of the largest fishing village in Lofoten. Enjoy a truly great… more
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Vega havhotell
Vega havhotell is a small hotel in beautiful surroundings with the ocean close by. Vega Havhotell is located at the north-west part of Vega, at… more
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Lokalmatbutikken
This store specialises in offering top quality food products from local, small-scale producers, and also offers lunch dishes and homemade… more
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Hildurs urtearium
Hildurs Urterarium has been a focal point for people ever since the Viking era, and people still gather from far and wide to enjoy the breathtaking… more
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Røkenes Manor and Guesthous - diners
Culture and history together with traditional food inspired by the continental kitchen. The farm is run by the 10th generation, with more than 335… more
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Andøy Friluftssenter
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.… more
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Aunegården AS
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… more
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Lofotmat
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… more
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Rock carvings in Alta
Art & culture
Art & culture
Trondenes Historical Centre
1000 years of plowing, cross and sword Set in historical surroundings on the Trondenes peninsula, 3km outside Harstad center, located Trondenes… more
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Norwegian Aviation Museum
The Norwegian Aviation Museum is Norway’s national aviation museum. The museum conveys an intimate experience of aviation and its fascinating history,… more
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Salangsverket
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.… more
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Alta Museum - World heritage Rock art centre
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… more
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Petter Dass-museum
The musum houses exhibitions revolving around the poet-priest Petter Dass. The strikingly modern museum building was designed by renowned Snøhetta… more
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Kjerringøy, Old Coastal Trading Post
The trading centre at Kjerringøy is located idyllic and stands forth as one of Norway’s most important building memorials from the 18-th century. It… more
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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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