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A couple padling in the fjord outside of Ålesund
Kayaking in Ålesund.
Photo: Fred Jonny Hammerø / Møre og Romsdal fylke

Top 10 coastal cities in Norway

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Experience the northern lights in Tromsø, go island hopping in Haugesund, or eat your way through Bergen. Take a look at the most popular coastal cities on Visitnorway.com.

  1. Bergen

  2. A large city on a Norwegian scale, the coastal city of Bergen is still known for its small-town charm and atmosphere. Take part in the Bergen lifestyle, and go for a scenic walk on the famous Bryggen (the wharf). Here, you will smell the fresh seaside scent blended with local food from some of the many top-class restaurants along the waterfront.

    But Bergen offers more than just food and sea. Norway’s second largest city is known for the seven mountains surrounding the city centre, their many cultural events, and the world-famous popstars Kygo and Alan Walker.

    Explore the coast outside of Bergen

  3. Tromsø

  4. Whether you want to experience the northern lights, go whale spotting, or have an Arctic seafood experience, Tromsø is the place to travel to. This scenic coastal city is located 350 kilometres north of the Arctic Circle and is the largest city in Northern Norway.

    Tromsø is an adventurous destination which offers many opportunities for activities such as fishing, hiking, dog sledding, and kayaking. From late May to late July, you can do all of these activities around the clock, thanks to the midnight sun.

    Things to do along the coast of Tromsø

  5. Stavanger

  6. More than 170 wooden houses, long, white beaches, and breathtaking fjords – Stavanger is an excellent destination whether you’re going on a trip with your family, a partner, or friends. This low-key city located in Fjord Norway is one of the largest cities in Norway. Despite the fact that many people live in Stavanger, the city centre is rather compact. There are few things that beat a relaxing walk in the city centre along the narrow streets that curve elegantly between the wooden houses. 

    Take a lunch break or stop for a photoshoot in Øvre Holmegate street, where you’ll find several candy-coloured houses. And if you feel adventurous, put on a pair of sturdy boots and go for a hike to the world famous Preikestolen (“the Pulpit Rock”). Travel time from Stavanger to Preikestolen is around one hour and 30 minutes by car.

    Highlights along the coast of Stavanger

  7. Ålesund

  8. Ålesund is a city where the mountains and fjords meet the ocean. Do you want to know what that looks like? Climb the 418 steps up to the Aksla Viewpoint and be awarded with a panoramic view that will make your jaw drop (or just look at the picture below).

    It’s probably no coincidence that Ålesund and the surrounding areas are amongst the most visited sites for tourists in Norway. The “art nouveau town” is beautifully set across several islands stretching into the Atlantic Ocean, and is an excellent starting point for your active holiday in the region.

    Water adventures in Ålesund

  9. Kristiansand

  10. This idyllic city draws visitors who loves summer vibes and child-friendly activities, from every part of Norway. Kristiansand is a family destination that offers exciting attractions such as Dyreparken, a gigantic zoo and amusement park.

    The highly walkable city features white wooden houses, culinary experiences and cosy shops. During summer time, you can take a dip from one of the many beaches and piers along the coastal line in the Kristiansand region.

    Discover Kristiansand on water

  11. Bodø

  12. The largest city in the county of Nordland is situated on a peninsula surrounded by rough sea, majestic mountains and the world’s strongest maelstrom Saltstraumen. In the summer, you can experience the midnight sun from Rønvikfjellet mountain just outside the city centre. Bodø also has the densest population of white-tailed sea eagles in the world.

    In other words, this area offers a wide range of fun activities both on water and hundreds of metres above sea level. Bodø is also just a boat ride away from both Moskenes in Lofoten and the old trading post at Kjerringøy. And if you are lucky, the northern lights will guide you all the way across the sea to the Lofoten Islands.

    Find water activities in Bodø

  13. Fredrikstad

  14. This cosy coastal city close to Oslo is one of the best places to experience the Norwegian summer vibe. Join the inhabitants on the wharf in Fredrikstad and enjoy a cold “utepils” (literally “outdoor beer”). It’s easy to mingle with the locals in Fredrikstad, as they are known for being both friendly, open, and humorous.

    In addition to the wharf, the Old town in Fredrikstad is a popular sight for visitors. Take a walk amongst historic buildings inspired by Dutch architecture, and visit some of the many museums located here.

    Things to do in Fredrikstad

  15. Kirkenes

  16. The small town of Kirkenes is located in th north-eastern end of Northern Norway, close to the Russian border. As one of the country’s coastal jewels, it is a haven for adventurous travellers. The ocean outside of Kirkenes is an excellent spot for deep-sea fishing. Here, you can get the catch of your dreams, such as cod, halibut, catfish, and king crabs.

    One of the most popular attractions is the Kirkenes Snowhotel, a hotel which is built from scratch every year and is open between December and April. It’s a bit colder than a standard hotel, but it’s an experience you’ll never forget.

    Things to do in Kirkenes

  17. Haugesund

  18. If you want an authentic Viking experience, the coastal city of Haugesund is a great choice. For thousands of years, the Haugaland region was the home of several Norwegian Viking kings. One of the best sites to experience the Viking roots is Avaldsnes at the Karmøy island, where you can travel 1,000 years back in time and visit a farm that was re-constructed using original techniques.

    Karmøy is only one of many idyllic islands located outside of Haugesund. During spring and summer, many tourists go island hopping in this region to experience the small, idyllic communities in the area. Film or jazz lovers should check out respectively the Norwegian International Film Festival and the Sildajazz festival, both in August.

    Discover Haugesund & Haugalandet from the sea

  19. Arendal

  20. Set close to the southern tip of Norway, Arendal has all the classic ingredients of a typical Norwegian “sørlandsby”: A photogenic archipelago, white wooden houses, hot summer days, and the small-town charm we all love. One visit to this scenic town will make you want to join the many Norwegians who spend their summer here.

    Take the ferry to popular Merdø island or the sightseeing boat around the island of Hisøy, and see how the locals live along the shoreline. In Arendal, you’ll also find several white beaches and small bays suitable for swimming and fishing. Can you ask for more?

    Explore Arendal’s island kingdom

Find your coastal city

Top 10 coastal cities in Norway
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
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
The Stavanger region
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
The Ålesund and Sunnmøre area
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
Fredrikstad is a cosy city with deep historical roots. And it’s home to one of the best-preserved fortress towns in Scandinavia. Read more
Fredrikstad
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
A charming city, lush nature, old Viking thrones, and festivals await in Haugesund and Haugalandet. Read more
Haugesund and Haugalandet
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
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    Statens Kartverk, Geovekst og kommuner - Geodata AS

    The fjords explained

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