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Three people standing on a viewing platform at Mount Aksla in Ålesund, Fjord Norway, one the top 10 places in Norway
Aksla viewpoint in Ålesund.
Photo: Toke Mathias Riskjær / Visitnorway.com
Three people standing on a viewing platform at Mount Aksla in Ålesund, Fjord Norway, one the top 10 places in Norway
Aksla viewpoint in Ålesund.
Photo: Toke Mathias Riskjær / Visitnorway.com

Top 10 places in Norway

From hip urban cities to glittering fjords, northern lights, and remote villages above the Arctic Circle – Norway is a veeery long country, packed with things to see and do. So, where do you start? To get the most out of your holiday, we recommend that you choose one or two regions to explore. Here are some of the highlights!

  1. 1. The Oslo region

    A lot of things are cooking in the Norwegian capital, which was named European Green Capital 2019. A cutting-edge food scene, new and funky neighbourhoods, a fully-packed event calendar, and several brand-new museums and attractions are just a few teasers of what you can expect. Surrounded by the Oslofjord and dense forests, you can easily combine urban city life with nature-based fun like cycling, skiing, and island hopping. In the nearby regions of Østfold and Vestfold, charming towns such as Fredrikstad and Tønsberg are dotted along the coast. About an hour’s drive from Oslo lies Norway’s new art destination Hadeland where you can visit the Kistefos-Museet with the spectacular exhibition building The Twist.

  2. 2. Tromsø and the land of the northern lights

    The capital of the Arctic, Tromsø, is located right in the middle of Northern Norway. If your bucket list includes northern lights, whale watching, midnight sun, and epic nature adventures, this is where you want to go. Enjoy superb conditions for ski touring and hiking in the Lyngenfjord region, experience the Sami culture in towns like Karasjok and Alta, and enter the northernmost point of Europe at the North Cape. In the eastern part of this vast region, you’ll find the Varanger peninsula, which is a bird watcher’s paradise. Go king crab fishing and dog sledging in Kirkenes, where you also can spend a night at an ice hotel. In the areas surrounding Tromsø, several islands are waiting to be explored, including Senja, Kvaløya, and Sommarøy.

  3. 3. Lofoten and Nordland

    Staggering peaks, glittering fjords, authentic fishing villages, and picture-perfect beaches. Not to mention northern lights and midnight sun! You have probably seen jaw-dropping images of Lofoten and Vesterålen on Instagram (there are many of them!). A hot tip is to visit these places outside of the summer season when the crowds are gone. Next-level outdoor adventures also await in the skiing and hiking paradise Narvik, and a lesser-known gem is Helgeland a little further south. Here, you can drive The Coastal Route between Trøndelag and Bodø, voted one of the world’s most scenic drives. The lively coastal town of Bodø is the largest city in the county of Nordland and offers plenty of outdoor fun as well as a booming cultural scene. In fact, Bodø will be the European Capital of Culture in 2024.

  4. 4. Bergen and the western fjords

    Historical World Heritage sites meet innovative fashion, trendy restaurants, and a progressive music scene in Norway’s second-largest city, Bergen. Visit some of the country’s top museums like KODE art museums and composer homes, get lost in squiggly cobblestone streets, and experience the city from above at one of the seven surrounding mountain tops. Bergen is the gateway to some of Norway’s most famous fjords, including the Hardangerfjord in the south and the Sognefjord, Norway’s longest and deepest fjord, in the north. Many of the fjords have sidearms that are at least as beautiful, but far less busy. Travel to the fjord village Flåm with the Flåm Line, voted one of the world’s most beautiful train journeys. For outdoor fun in epic surroundings, visit Voss and Nordfjord.

  5. 5. The Geirangerfjord and the Northwest

    The Seven Sisters and numerous other waterfalls run down steep mountainsides that end in the clear, blue water of the UNESCO site the Geirangerfjord, Norway’s most famous fjord. The picturesque art nouveau town Ålesund is an ideal starting point for a fjord adventure. The Northwest is situated in the northern part of Fjord Norway and attracts avowed outdoor buffs all year round. The mountaineering capital of Åndalsnes is an ideal base here, as it is surrounded by staggering peaks and situated only a short distance from world-famous attractions like the Trollstigen mountain road and The Atlantic Road. Åndalsnes is the endpoint of the Rauma Line, voted one of the world’s most beautiful train journeys. Northwest’s is also home to the jazz town Molde and the “clipfish capital” Kristiansund.

  6. Seasons and climate in Norway

    Due to the temperate waters of the Gulf Stream, Norway has a much milder climate than other parts of the world at the same latitude. The coldest areas in the winter are often inland or far to the north.

    In general, the coastal areas usually have relatively mild winters while the inland parts have cold winters with plenty of snow, and hot and relatively dry summers, especially in the eastern parts of the country.

    Seasons and climate in Norway

    Sustainable destinations

    Many places follow sustainable principles, but being certified as a sustainable destination is an honour few qualify for.

    It takes years of work demonstrating their lasting commitment to providing the best possible experiences for their guests while keeping the negative impact of tourism to a minimum.

    In addition, the destination must work to continually improve its business practices and relations with the local community, following principles of sustainability.

    Norway’s greener destinations

  7. 6. The Stavanger region

    What do you get if you combine Michelin restaurants with old wooden houses, world-class street art, and a great multicultural vibe? Travel to Stavanger to get the answer. Stavanger is the largest city in the southwestern part of the country, and an ideal starting point if you want to tick off famous nature attractions such as the Lysefjord and Preikestolen (The Pulpit Rock). The coastal area of Jæren is a beach bum’s paradise, home to some of Norway’s widest and whitest beaches. Surfing and kiting enthusiasts will also be in for a treat. Follow the North Sea road towards Egersund and discover how charming towns and villages, like the picturesque Sogndalstrand, lie one by one like a string of pearls along the coast.

  8. 7. Trondheim and Trøndelag

    The Trøndelag region, situated right in the middle of Norway, attracts hardcore history buffs, devoted foodies, and active nature explores alike. Go fishing, cycling, or skiing, or hike one of the nine pilgrim paths the St. Olav Ways, which all lead to the stunning Nidaros Cathedral in Trondheim. The lively student town of Trondheim is the region’s capital, known as the Home of Nordic flavours. Indulge in gastronomical experiences ranging from fancy Michelin restaurants to hip food bars and cosy coffee shops. Follow the smell of fresh local produce on the scenic detour The Golden Road in Innherred, and travel back in time in the UNESCO listed mining town of Røros. In the Dovrefjell mountains, you can catch a glimpse of a beautiful beast – the musk oxen.

  9. 8. Kristiansand and Southern Norway

    Southern Norway is the Norwegians’ own summer paradise, with lovely beaches, thousands of islands, and more hours of sun per year than most other parts of the country. Stroll through narrow streets between white wooden houses in charming coastal towns like Risør, Arendal, Grimstad, Mandal, and Flekkefjord, or get to know the cradle of the Norwegian folk traditions in the Setesdal valley. The largest city in Southern Norway is Kristiansand, where you can roam through the Posebyen old town, indulge in fresh seafood, enjoy lazy days on the city beach, and attend several fun festivals. Dyreparken zoo and amusement park is a sure winner among the little ones. A short drive from Kristiansand lies Lindesnes lighthouse, mainland Norway’s southernmost point. Lindesnes is also where you’ll find the outstanding Michelin-starred restaurant Under, the world’s largest underwater restaurant.

  10. 9. The mountains and valleys of Eastern Norway

    The dense forests, deep valleys, and massive mountain plateaus of Eastern Norway are all excellent starting points for various nature adventures. This is where you find some of Norway’s largest ski resorts, like Geilo, Trysil, and Hemsedal. And they all guarantee all-year-fun, as they turn into world-class cycling destinations as soon as the snow disappears. Valdres, Hallingdal, Lillehammer, and the Gudbrandsdalen valley are popular family destinations that offer everything from theme parks to charming farms and great hikes. The same goes for Telemark, where you can go cruising at the Telemark canal and witness one of Eastern Norway’s most impressive views from Mount Gaustatoppen. The national parks of Dovrefjell, Jotunheimen, and Rondane provide excellent opportunities for nature-based activities like hiking, cycling, rafting, and climbing.

  11. 10. The Svalbard Islands

    Ready to take wildlife to the next level? The Svalbard Islands lie in the middle of the Arctic Ocean, halfway between Norway and the North Pole. Here, you can participate in exotic nature-based activities all year round in a landscape that is both rugged and fragile. Try your hand at dog sledging, go ice caving, join a snowmobile safari, or hunt for the northern lights. In addition to a few thousand polar bears, the islands are home to almost 3,000 humans. The main city of Longyearbyen is a colourful mini metropole that offers a wide range of cultural activities and high-quality places to eat and drink that you usually would expect to find only in big cities.

  12. Seasons and climate in Norway

    Due to the temperate waters of the Gulf Stream, Norway has a much milder climate than other parts of the world at the same latitude. The coldest areas in the winter are often inland or far to the north.

    In general, the coastal areas usually have relatively mild winters while the inland parts have cold winters with plenty of snow, and hot and relatively dry summers, especially in the eastern parts of the country.

    Seasons and climate in Norway

    Sustainable destinations

    Many places follow sustainable principles, but being certified as a sustainable destination is an honour few qualify for.

    It takes years of work demonstrating their lasting commitment to providing the best possible experiences for their guests while keeping the negative impact of tourism to a minimum.

    In addition, the destination must work to continually improve its business practices and relations with the local community, following principles of sustainability.

    Norway’s greener destinations

See the places on the map

All ten regions listed below are ideal starting points for your holiday in Norway.

The Oslo region
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
Between Oslo and the Swedish border you find Østfold, a county that is rich on history – and a popular summer destination. Read more
Østfold
Vestfold’s coastline has an extensive cultural history. The region by the Oslofjord has played a central role in Norwegian history as a hub for… Read more
Vestfold
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
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
Experience dot queen Yayoi Kusama and the sensational new exhibition space The Twist at the Kistefos-Museet, as well as the fabulous glass products at… Read more
Hadeland – Norway’s new art destination
Tromsø and the land of the northern lights
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
The Lyngenfjord and the Lyngsalpene mountain range form an Arctic area of exotic and family-friendly outdoor activities based on pure fun… Read more
The Lyngenfjord region
Join a dogsled expedition, learn to throw a lasso, and experience the Sami culture first hand in Karasjok and Kautokeino. Read more
Land of the Sami
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
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
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
Go kayaking and hiking in the midnight sun, or skiing and dog sledding under the northern lights. Or simply kick back and enjoy some of the most… Read more
Senja and Central Troms
Lofoten and Nordland
Lofoten is known for excellent fishing, nature attractions such as the northern lights and the midnight sun, and small villages off the beaten track.… Read more
The Lofoten Islands
The archipelago of Vesterålen is a place characterized by contrasts, from white beaches and idyllic farmlands to craggy mountain peaks rising… Read more
Vesterålen
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 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
Helgeland
Kystriksveien is one of the most scenic drives in the world. Along the road you can climb the mountains Torghatten and De syv søstre,… Read more
Kystriksveien – the coastal route
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
Bergen and the western fjords
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 Trolltunga and the Folgefonna glacier to the Vøringfossen waterfall – the Hardangerfjord region offers some of the best experiences… Read more
The Hardangerfjord region
The Sognefjord is Norway’s longest and deepest fjord, and it’s famous arm the Nærøyfjord has World Heritage status. The… Read more
The Sognefjord area
Each year, several hundred thousand visitors arrive in Flåm to ride the Flåmsbana Railway, cycle Rallarvegen, or go hiking in the dramatic… Read more
Flåm
If you are craving thrilling adventures, extreme surroundings and Norwegian food specialities, Voss will not let you down. Read more
Voss
In Nordfjord you are greeted by a beautiful stretch of coastline, towering mountains and the biggest glacier on mainland Europe, Jostedalsbreen. Read more
Nordfjord
The Geirangerfjord and the Northwest
The deep blue UNESCO-protected Geirangerfjord is surrounded by majestic, snow- covered mountain peaks, wild waterfalls and lush, green vegetation. Read more
The Geirangerfjord area
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
Experience some of Fjord Norway’s most stunning nature attractions, such as the Atlantic Road, the Romsdalseggen ridge, and the Innerdalen… Read more
Northwest
Discover Åndalsnes, famed for the Romsdalseggen ridge, Trollstigen, and the Rauma Line, Europe’s most beautiful train journey. Read more
Åndalsnes
Trollstigen, the road 63, is a part of the Norwegian Scenic Route; Geiranger - Trollstigen. Driving Trollstigen is a dramatic and exciting experience.… Read more
National Tourist Route Trollstigen
A unique stretch of road which takes you right out to the ocean's edge. In 2005, the road was voted Norway's «Engineering Feat of the Century», and is… Read more
National Tourist Route Atlanterhavsvegen
Molde has some of Fjord Norway’s most famous attractions. Experience the world-famous Molde international jazz festival, enjoy spectacular views… Read more
Molde
Get to know Kristiansund, a city on four islands famous for clipfish, opera, and The Atlantic Road. Read more
Kristiansund
The Stavanger region
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
Step on world famous mountain plateaus like Preikestolen and Kjerag, and then challenge yourself on the 4444 steps of the wooden staircase of… Read more
The Lysefjord area
Looking out over the Lysefjord from Preikestolen is an experience of a lifetime. Combine the hike with a fjord cruise or join a guided tour at night… Read more
Hiking to the Pulpit Rock
Trondheim and Trøndelag
Trøndelag offers an irresistible mix of urban, historical sights like Røros and Stiklestad and the 2.0 version of a remote rural fishing… Read more
Trøndelag
The vibrant city of Trondheims is home to some of Trøndelag’s most popular attractions, cosy shopping streets and a myriad of restaurants… Read more
Trondheim
The Golden Road is a surprise of many colours – easily accessible in the middle of Norway. This fun detour landscape gives you great… Read more
The Golden Road
Innherred was an important area in Norway during the middle ages, and the locals are proud of their heritage, the tasty locally produced food, and the… Read more
Innherred
The traditional town of Røros, which is known as one of Norway’s sustainable destinations, is a modern community in which people live and… Read more
Røros
Step into the kingdom of the mythical musk oxen. Go hiking, biking, and horseback riding or visit the award-winning Viewpoint Snøhetta. Read more
The Dovrefjell mountains
Kristiansand and Southern Norway
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
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
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
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
Street art, the Dutch Quarter, rail biking, and idyllic nature await in Flekkefjord, the westernmost city in Southern Norway. Read more
Flekkefjord
From close encounters with the weather and long forest walks, to the underwater restaurant “Under” and charming white-painted wooden… Read more
Lindesnes and Mandal
Visit the cradle of Norwegian folk traditions! Stop in charming villages, enjoy fun activities, and travel with a steamboat on the Byglandsfjord. Read more
Setesdal
The mountains and valleys of Eastern Norway
Geilo is one of the first alpine resorts in Norway and offers fantastic winter outdoor adventures, from alpine and cross-country skiing to… Read more
Geilo
Family-friendly Trysil is Norway’s largest ski destination. Surrounded by unspoilt nature, Trysil was one of the first holiday spots in Europe… Read more
Trysil
In the small village of Hemsedal you are greeted by alpine mountain surroundings and some of Norway’s best skiing and fly-fishing. Read more
Hemsedal
According to National Geographic, the Besseggen ridge is one of the top 20 hikes in the world. Not surprisingly, it’s located in Valdres - the… Read more
Valdres
A cornucopia of outdoor activities, close encounters with wild animals, and traditional local food. Come to Hallingdal for an active holiday! Read more
Hallingdal
Lillehammer is located in the lush Gudbrandsdalen valley in Eastern Norway and offers a mix of culture, family fun, and outdoor activities. Read more
The Lillehammer region
Gudbrandsdalen is known for its lush nature, local food and fun family activities. The area boasts three national parks and offers great opportunities… Read more
The Gudbrandsdalen valley
From one of Norway’s most charming coastal towns to tall mountains and highlands, the county of Telemark is as diverse as it is beautiful. Go on… Read more
Telemark
The hike to Gaustatoppen is an absolute must for anyone in search of a hiking experience with a sensational view. From the top, almost half of the… Read more
Gaustatoppen – the most dazzling viewpoint in Eastern Norway
Step into the kingdom of the mythical musk oxen. Go hiking, biking, and horseback riding or visit the award-winning Viewpoint Snøhetta. Read more
The Dovrefjell mountains
Jotunheimen is a massive mountain area in Eastern Norway, home to Norway’s two highest mountains, Galdhøpiggen and Glittertind. Other… Read more
The Jotunheimen mountains
At once tranquil and sublime, Rondane national park is an ideal place to experience the mountains and highlands of Eastern Norway. Read more
The Rondane mountains
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… Read more
The Svalbard Islands
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