Iconic architecture and Michelin restaurants, historic hotels, exciting street art, sculpture parks, and lush gardens. Check out our top tips for everyone who wants rich cultural experiences and fine dining on their holiday in Norway.
In Norway's sculpture parks, nature and culture come together to form a higher state, and many are worth more than a quick glance. A few must-sees include the Vigeland Park and Ekeberg Park in Oslo, the Midtåsen sculpture pavilion in Sandefjord, and the Kistefos Museum in Hadeland. The latter received a lot of international attention in 2019, with the opening of the spectacular museum building The Twist.
On a small island just outside the city of Stavanger, the unique flower park Flor and Fjære is like stepping into another world with white beaches, palm trees, waterfalls, bonsai trees and more than 50,000 flowers. In Sunnhordaland you will find the stately country house Baroniet Rosendal, which was built in 1665. Surrounded by a magnificent rose garden, it is easy to get lost in the maze of roses. The kids will love it too!
In the last few years, several places in Norway have turned into exciting outdoor galleries that won’t cost you a penny. Did you know that street art enthusiasts from all over the world pilgrimage to Bergen and Stavanger? And if you go to Haugesund, look out for the wall painting by the Norwegian pop artist Pushwagner.
This urban art form is not reserved for the big cities. There are great examples of artwork all over the place, from abandoned buildings in Lofoten up north to the white wooden house walls in Flekkefjord in the south.
Eight Norwegian places have earned a place on UNESCO's World Heritage List. The list contains cultural and natural sites that are considered of great importance for humanity, and it is varied, to say the least. It includes everything from stave churches and old manor houses to small fishing villages and the fjords. Bryggen, the medieval wharf in Bergen, was the first to enter the list in 1979. The latest addition is the Rjukan–Notodden Industrial Heritage Site in 2015.
Apart from the UNESCO sites, there are many other well-preserved cultural landmarks that deserve a deep dive. If you plan a holiday in Telemark, you can pay a visit to the church in Sauherad, famous for its demon paintings. On the island of Leka, known as the “red island” because of its unusual geology, there are mysterious cave paintings to explore. Leka is situated in Trøndelag in central Norway.
To get the most out of your visit, you can always book a guided tour.
A trip to the countryside is the best medicine for busy city dwellers. Turn your holiday into a truly remarkable experience in one of Norway’s many manor houses and converted farmhouses. These beautiful lodgings offer local food (often self-produced) and unique accommodation options, whether you want something rustic and down-to-earth or plan to treat yourself to a stylish boutique hotel.
Make Norway’s food culture part of your holiday experience. Thanks to many new local food producers all over the country, it has never tasted so good to travel around Norway! Munch your way through award-winning cheeses and mouth-watering cured meat, hot smoked seafood, bubbly cider, sweet or sour apple juice, and craft beer – all in the middle of a beautiful cultural landscape. On route, look out for road signs about fresh fruit, apple juice, and other yummy products for sale in the farm shops.
It is no exaggeration to say that Norway’s restaurant scene has gone through a food revolution recently. Norwegian chefs have won more medals than any other country in the Bocuse d'Or, and there are now Michelin-starred restaurants in Stavanger, Bergen, Trondheim, Oslo, and Lindesnes. Remember to book a table well in advance for an evening you will never forget.
Hungry for something intellectual and arty? A good museum is like a vitamin pill for the brain. Throughout Norway, there is no shortage of exciting exhibitions and museum collections that offer new insights and perspectives. Check out a few of many great art and history museums, either indoors or at one of several open-air museums, which the whole family can enjoy.
For an extra special holiday, choose an accommodation option out of the ordinary. Travel back in time in a historic hotel and spend the night in rooms where kings and queens used to stay. Your hosts will make every effort to ensure that your holiday will be one to remember, and the architecture, the food, and the surroundings are bound to leave long-lasting memories too.
For many people, “Viking” is one of the first words that spring to mind when they think about Norway. But how much do you know about them? Thanks to museums, adventure centres and even Viking villages, it is easy to learn more about these legendary savages when you travel through Norway. With everything from Viking ships and reconstructed houses to historical collections, you are transported more than 1,000 years back in time.
At the Viking Planet, a 1,600 square metre state-of-the-art interactive entertainment centre in Oslo, you can immerse yourself in Viking culture through ground-breaking virtual technology, high-end film productions, and a 270-degree cinema.
Many Norwegian buildings have attracted admiration abroad in the last few years. Some of the most well-known examples are the Opera house and the new Munch Museum in Oslo, The Twist in Hadeland, and the library in Vennesla.
Thanks to the Norwegian Scenic Routes, you can easily plan a road trip around exciting architectural destinations. The 18 Scenic Routes are lined with spectacular viewpoints and extraordinary rest areas, among them the most stunning toilets in the world.
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