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Aerial view of Atlanterhavsvegen in Northwest, Fjord Norway
Aerial view of The Atlantic Road in Northwest, Fjord Norway
The Atlantic Road in Northwest.
Photo: Terje Rakke / Nordic Life
The Atlantic Road in Northwest.
Photo: Terje Rakke / Nordic Life

Top 10 nature experiences in Norway

Make the most of your summer holiday in Norway with these ten suggestions for top nature experiences and must-see attractions. Explore lush hiking trails, scenic routes, fjords and white beaches, and enjoy the midnight sun or join a wildlife safari.

1. Take an epic road trip

Sometimes, the journey itself is just as important as the goal. Along the Norwegian Scenic Routes, you'll find some of the country's finest art, design, and architecture blended in with the magnificent surroundings. The roads are scattered all over the country, from Jæren in the south to Varanger in the north, and are known for their spectacular viewpoints and resting places with some of the world's best toilets. Measuring a total of 2,151 kilometres, the 18 roads wind their way across mountains, through valleys, along the coast, past waterfalls, through lush cultural landscapes, and to quaint fishing villages.

2. Experience the midnight sun

The magic of the midnight sun is hard to do justice in words. Painting the landscape in deep, golden colours, it can trigger a deeply emotional experience. The long, bright evenings and nights in the northern part of Norway definitely do something to you. You can go for walks in the mountains, swim in the sea, hike along white beaches or go fishing or whale watching in the middle of the night. And the good news is: the quest to see the midnight sun is much easier than hunting for the northern lights. The further north you travel, the longer is the period with midnight sun. If Svalbard is your chosen destination, you can experience the extraordinary light from around 20 April to 22 August.

3. Explore the hiking opportunities

With more than 20,000 kilometres of marked trails, Norway is a true trekking paradise. Decide if you want longer expeditions over several days or micro hikes in the cities and start exploring your options. Do you prefer steep mountains, rolling hills, deep forests, flowing waterfalls or evergreen valleys? Check out our hiking map for hundreds of tips on short and long trips across the country, and last but not least, remember to bring your camera!

4. Get the best views

Why are we so fascinated by views? Is it the feeling of being in control? Or is it that we get a new perspective? In several parts of the country, you can escape civilization by taking a gondola or cable car to a mountain or other viewpoint. At the top, you can enjoy the panoramic views, go for a stroll, and maybe get a bite to eat.

A few of many notable examples are Krossobanen in Rjukan, Loen Skylift, Fjellheisen in Tromsø, and Ulriksbanen in Bergen. Krossobanen was the first of its kind in Europe, and Loen Skylift is one of the steepest gondolas in the world – it takes you from the fjord to the top of Mount Hoven (1,011 meters above sea level) in five minutes.

5. Go on a glacier hike

A glacier hike is a powerful encounter with nature and an experience out of the ordinary. There are around 1,600 glaciers in Norway. In the summer, several local mountaineering companies and the Norwegian Trekking Association (DNT) offer safe, guided glacier hikes and tours. Cross massive ice blocks with cracks and icefalls or climb up ice walls! Some glaciers also offer summer skiing.

Jostedalsbreen in Fjord Norway is the largest glacier in mainland Europe. It has more than 50 glacier arms, including Briksdalsbreen and Nigardsbreen. The latter is the most accessible glacier in the country.

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6. Norway on two wheels

On a cycling holiday, you can get a fresh perspective on natural highlights like the fjord landscape in Fjord Norway, the Trollstigen mountain road, and the Kystriksveien coastal road. Varied terrain, marked trails, and a growing number of bike parks make Norway a dream destination for all kinds of cyclists. Several places offer guided tours and bicycle packages that include accommodation and bicycle hire. Another fun adventure for active families is to go island hopping by bike, for example along the coast in Helgeland or Trøndelag.

7. Find the perfect beach

White and wide, small and sheltered – Norway is probably not the first country that springs to mind for a beach holiday, but you may be surprised! With the world's second-longest coastline, it goes without saying that the possibilities are endless. Every beach has its charm, whether you prefer a lively city beach or a secluded bay. 17 Norwegian beaches have the Blue Flag certification, which is awarded based on the quality of the amenities, the environment, and the cleanliness. Many Norwegian beaches are also a great starting point for water-based challenges like surfing. Or how about surprising your travel partner with a diving course?

8. Pick your paddling paradise

Go with the flow on a fjord, a lake, a river or along the coast. Experience the archipelago of Southern Norway with thousands of islands and islets, or paddle from beach to beach in between idyllic fishing villages in Northern Norway. In either case, we dare to guarantee that you get a VIP-worthy nature experience. Canoe and kayak rentals are available all over the country, and you will also find a wide selection of paddling courses and group excursions for various skill levels. Norway is also a sought-after destination for thrilling river activities, such as rafting and canyoning.

9. Try a wildlife safari

Safaris are not just about zebras and savannas. There are plenty of fascinating creatures up north, too, and on a guided safari, you can see them at a close but safe distance. Experience whales and giant king crabs in Northern Norway, musk oxen in Dovrefjell, and moose and beavers in Eastern Norway. Norway is a popular destination for birdwatching too, with famous seabird colonies, Arctic bird species, and Europe's largest white-tailed eagles population. You can also experience rare animals – as well as wild and wonderful nature – on a guided tour in Norway's national parks.

10. Discover the fjords

Egypt has the pyramids. The United States has the Grand Canyon. Peru has Machu Picchu, and Norway has the fjords. If you haven't experienced the Norwegian fjord landscape yet, you have something very special to look forward to.

There are more than 1,000 fjords in the country – some world-famous, others completely unknown. With all due respect to the most iconic fjords, like the Hardangerfjord, the Sognefjord and the UNESCO World Heritage fjords the Geirangerfjord and the Nærøyfjord, it can be worth remembering that the urban Oslofjord and the fjords in Northern Norway offer mesmerising experiences, too.

Book a tailor-made journey with Up Norway and find your favourite among our most unique accommodation options. Curious about how to enjoy the Norwegian nature in winter? Check out the locals' 11 favourite winter activities.

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Download the Visit Norway app

Get expert tips on thousands of places to stay, restaurants, activities, and attractions all over Norway.

iPhone: Visit Norway for iOS
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