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The legendary kiosk Raketten Bar & Pølse in Tromsø in Northern Norway
The legendary kiosk Raketten Bar & Pølse in Tromsø in Northern Norway
Raketten Bar & Pølse in Tromsø.
Photo: Christian Roth Christensen / Visitnorway.com
Raketten Bar & Pølse in Tromsø.
Photo: Christian Roth Christensen / Visitnorway.com

Soulful eateries in Norway’s cities

From legendary hot dog stands to royal watering holes and restaurants – these urban institutions are attractions in themselves.

Some places are more steeped in history and legend than others. Echoes of history resound in the very foundations of these buildings, and new generations keep the atmosphere of the past alive.

One of these Norwegian landmarks was even highlighted by The Guardian. The British newspaper paid a visit to Syverkiosken in Oslo – one of the capital's last hot dog kiosks. It's been operating independently from the major store chains since 1979.

“I'm lost in a moment of hot dog heaven.” That's how The Guardian’s foodie traveller David Atkinson described the wiener sausages Erlend Dahlbo served him from the family-owned kiosk by Alexander Kiellands plass.

Syverkiosken hot dog kiosk Oslo Eastern Norway
Syverkiosken in Oslo.
Photo: Didrick Stenersen

In the footsteps of a royal affair

There are, however, several other places in Norway abundant with personality, history and soul – single-handedly justifying a trip to the cities where they are located.

One of them is found in the historical area Vågen in Bergen. Dyvekes Vinkjeller (“Dyveke’s wine cellar”) is named after the Dutch beauty Dyveke Sigbrittsdatter, the mistress of King Christian II of Norway and Denmark, who died under mysterious circumstances in September 1517.

Dyveke lived in Hollendergaten 10, which was rebuilt in its present form after the city fire in 1702. The authentic wine cellar named after her is located across the street. The award-winning restoration work was a collaboration between the City of Bergen and the Department for Cultural Heritage Management.

In the same area, you'll find Enhjørningen FiskerestaurantBergen’s oldest fish restaurant. Its history dates back to the Hanseatic League on the 14th century. The name Enhjørningen – meaning “unicorn” in Norwegian – was mentioned as far back as in 1304, and traditions are preserved with diligence at this popular eatery.

The UNESCO world heritage site Bryggen in Bergen, Fjord Norway
Bryggen in Bergen.
Photo: Florian Olbrechts

And let's not forget Bergen's famous hot dogs. The kiosk Trekroneren in the city centre has attracted hungry tourists and resident regulars since 1948, with an extensive selection of sausages on the menu – including Europe's biggest, weighing 250 grams.

Cosy times in Trondheim's old town

In Mid-Norway's major city Trondheim, there's no shortage of places with historical gravitas and contemporary charm.

The café Baklandet Skydsstation has been declared as "maybe the cosiest place in Scandinavia" by none other than National Geographic. Overlooking the mighty cathedral Nidarosdomen, the café’s host, Gurli Riis Holmen, serves homemade food and delicious cocoa.

Restaurant Baklandet Skydsstation in Trondheim in Trøndelag
Baklandet Skydsstation in Trondheim.
Photo: Martin Håndlykken / Visitnorway.com

The building has historical roots from the 1700s.

A 15-minute bus ride outside of the city centre, Skistua offers a stunning view, 436 meters above sea level. This ski lodge opened in 1896, but after a particularly festive New Year's Eve, the cabin burned to the ground on 1 January 1947.

After several years of decay during in 80s and the 90s, the cabin was restored in the new millennium. Today, many combine skiing with a meal in these calm and beautiful surroundings. Venison stew, tomato soup and pancakes are among the simple, but tasty dishes on the menu.

Hot dogs and rockets

We can’t let go of the hot dogs just yet. In Tromsø, a legendary, rocket-shaped landmark is located in the city’s main square Stortorget. Steeped in history, Raketten Bar & Pølse has been there for more than 100 years.

“Løkkekiosken”, as it was originally called, was founded by 18-year-old Margit Løkke in 1911. The kiosk has been listed as protected by the Department for Cultural Heritage. Still, an extensive selection of beers and sausages provides an even flow of new and regular customers.

The mere description of the small venue – “Norway's smallest bar since 2014 and Tromsø's meeting place since 1911” – should be reason enough to visit it. The square is also the place for the annual music festival Rakettnatt – Tromsø's hottest summer party.

The legendary kiosk Raketten Bar & Pølse in Tromsø in Northern Norway
Raketten Bar & Pølse in Tromsø.
Photo: Christian Roth Christensen / Visitnorway.com

Food for body and soul

In Stavanger, one of the most popular and traditional landmarks is a bakery. As the city’s oldest bakery and confectionery store, Fredriks has fed hungry residents since 1899, when Alfred Delin Fredriksen opened the bakery in the area Storhaug. That's where it's still located – owned by younger generations of the Fredriksen family.

According to the locals, Fredriks’ speciality is horn rolls with cheese and ham, but the store also provides elaborate and delicious cakes for any occasion.

Another, even older institution in the western part of the city, is butcher A. Idsøe. The famous meat shop is, in fact, the city's oldest shop, established in 1828.

For thirsty adults, the bars Cardinal and Cementen are good options. The former takes pride in offering 600 brands of beer, while the latter has been one of the most vital live scenes of the region for decades.

Munch, Ibsen and Madonna

Back to Oslo – the capital obviously has a lot more places steeped in history than just Syverkiosken. We’ll scratch the tip of the iceberg and pick two of them.

Artists, politicians, actors and other guests eat, drink, argue and make up at Lorry, an iconic and unique restaurant located where Oslo's city centre meets the westside. The venue's history dates back to the 1870s, and the same family has been running the place for the last 60 years.

The restaurant Lorry in Oslo, Eastern Norway
Lorry restaurant in Oslo.
Photo: Visit Oslo / Tord Baklund

If a good night’s sleep in historic surroundings appeals to you, Grand Hotel in the capital’s main street is recommended. Edvard Munch, Henrik Ibsen and the (in)famous bohemians of old Oslo used to hang out here back in the day, in the hotel’s Grand Café. In more recent years, stars such as Madonna, Bruce Springsteen and Barack Obama have been spotted here.

City break the Norwegian way

Get insider tips from locals for an exciting long weekend in Norway’s main cities.

Find your favourite city

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Find your favourite city in Norway
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
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
The vibrant city of Trondheim is home to some of Trøndelag’s most popular attractions, cosy shopping streets and a myriad of restaurants… Read more
Trondheim
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
Stavanger
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 Nordland is also just a boat ride away from the old… Read more
Bodø
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
Ålesund
Fredrikstad is a cosy city with deep historical roots and it’s home to one of the best-preserved fortress towns in Scandinavia. Just west… Read more
Fredrikstad
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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
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
An old pirate town, thousands of birds, miles of beaches, and a little piece of America – discover Farsund and Lista. Read more
Farsund and Lista
Street art, the Dutch Quarter, rail biking, and idyllic nature await in Flekkefjord, the westernmost city in Southern Norway. Read more
Flekkefjord
Fredrikstad is a cosy city with deep historical roots and it’s home to one of the best-preserved fortress towns in Scandinavia. Just west… Read more
Fredrikstad
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
Halden is an idyllic small town nestled down by the Iddefjord, just on the border of Sweden. Above the town looms the mighty Fredriksten Fortress. Read more
Halden
An urban surprise along a barren, mostly uninhabited coast, Hammerfest is an arctic town full of life and outdoor adventurous. Read more
Hammerfest
Go hiking in the mountains, explore the archipelago in a kayak or RIB, and join exciting cultural events. Harstad is the perfect base for a holiday in… Read more
Harstad
A charming city, lush nature, old Viking thrones, and festivals await in Haugesund and Haugalandet. Read more
Haugesund
Horten boasts a rich heritage dating back to our Viking history. In Åsgårdstrand, you can visit legendary artist Edvard Munch's house. Read more
Horten
The charming little coastal town of Kragerø is set in beautiful surroundings with a fabulous cluster of islands just waiting for you… Read more
Kragerø
Get to know Kristiansund, a city on four islands famous for clipfish, opera, and The Atlantic Road. Read more
Kristiansund
Looking for sun, summer and festivals? But also history and scenic surroundings? Then Larvik and Stavern is the place for you! You are guaranteed to… Read more
Larvik and Stavern
The idyllic Blindleia archipelago, a Historic Hotel, and traditional Southern Norway charm await in Lillesand. Read more
Lillesand
From hiking in the mountains and having fun at the beach to fishing and Viking history – get ready for an outdoor adventure in Lyngdal. Read more
Lyngdal
Molde has some of Fjord Norway’s most famous attractions. Experience the world-famous Molde international jazz festival, enjoy spectacular views… Read more
Molde
Choose between 50 different beaches or try the city's new pride: the diving tower! Discover historical Refsnes Gods or Gallery F 15, one of… Read more
Moss
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 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
Rjukan is a UNESCO World Heritage Site located close to the Hardangervidda National Park. The area is known for Gaustatoppen mountain peak and the… Read more
Rjukan
Sandefjord boasts miles of coastline, as well as a rich historical heritage. Vikings have left their mark here, as has the whaling industry. Read more
Sandefjord
Sarpsborg was founded 1,000 years ago by Saint Olaf II of Norway, and is situated beside the Sarpsfossen waterfall, which has one of the highest flow… Read more
Sarpsborg
Enjoy the good life in the countryside! Toten, Søndre Land, Ringsaker and Gjøvik offer wonderful local food, a rich cultural life, and… Read more
The Gjøvik region and Ringsaker
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Hamar
Lillehammer is located in the lush Gudbrandsdalen valley in Eastern Norway and offers a mix of culture, family fun, and outdoor activities. Read more
Lillehammer
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Tvedestrand
From the Vikings to the tourists of today, people have always flocked to Tønsberg, Norway's oldest city. Located about an hour's… Read more
Tønsberg and Færder
Discover Åndalsnes, famed for the Romsdalseggen ridge, Trollstigen, and the Rauma Line, Europe’s most beautiful train journey. Read more
Åndalsnes
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