Julie Norway 6 Comments

Norway is the land of fjords, quaint fishing villages, Vikings, trolls, the northern lights, the midnight sun, scenic drives, and some of the best hikes in the world. If you are planning a visit to this amazing country, here are 20 of the best things to do in Norway.

Best Things to do in Norway

In no particular order, here is our list of the best things to do in Norway. At the end of this post, you can see them all on a map.

Explore the Fjord Region

Exploring the fjords is one of the best things to do in Norway. There are several ways to do this…by cruise, by car, by hiking trail, or by ferry.

Hardangerfjord best things to do in Norway

Hardangerfjord

If you are planning a road trip through southern Norway, you will drive along many of these fjords. Southern Norway is laced with fjords and waterways and most likely, you will also cross these fjords by car ferry while driving through this part of the country.

On some of the hikes on this list, you will get a bird’s eye view out over the fjords. Pulpit Rock and Kjeragbolten both offer amazing views of Lysefjord.

Finally, Hurtigruten offers various cruises through the Norwegian fjords.

For an epic road trip through the southern fjords, check out our 10 Day Norway Itinerary: The Ultimate Road Trip through the Fjord Region


Norway in a Nutshell

Norway in a Nutshell is a packaged tour that combines a ferry ride on Naeroyfjord (one of the narrowest and most scenic fjords in Norway) with one of the world’s most scenic train rides, the Flåm railway.

Fjord Cruise best things to do in Norway

Naeroyfjord

If you have limited time in Norway, this is a great excursion to do. You can start and end this tour at several of Norway’s most popular cities, with all transportation included. This excursion has a big price tag, but for travelers with limited time, it is a very easy and convenient way to experience this part of Norway. Learn more about the official Norway in a Nutshell tour here.

If you are planning a road trip and will have a rental car, you can piece together your own Norway in a Nutshell tour, and save some money in the process.

For more information on how to piece together your own Norway in a Nutshell tour, read our article How to do Norway in a Nutshell on Your Own.


Pose for Photos on Trolltunga

Trolltunga is one of Norway’s most popular hikes. It is an incredibly scenic hike, ending at the Troll’s tongue, a thin sliver of rock that is perfect for creative photographs.

Trolltunga best things to do in Norway

It is a long, strenuous hike to get to Trolltunga…28 km (17.4 miles) round trip. This hike will take a full day of your time, but it’s worth it. Not only will you come home with a memory card full of unique photographs, but you will also get to spend the day hiking through a beautiful part of Norway.


Visit Historic Bryggen

Bryggen is a historic harbor district in the coastal town of Bergen. This is the location of the colorful red, orange, and white Hanseatic Houses, commercial buildings that were used from 14th to 16th centuries for the trading of stockfish. Bryggen is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and many of these buildings date back to 1702.

While in Bergen, explore Bryggen, visit the fish market, and ride the Fløyen funicular for a bird’s eye view over the town.

Bryggen best things to do in Norway

Bergen


Road Trip through the Lofoten Islands

The Lofoten Islands are a wonderland of jagged mountains, rocky coastlines, and white sandy beaches. This is a spectacular part of Norway to explore, especially for those who love scenic drives, hiking, and being outdoors.

Best things to do in Norway

Lofoten Road Trip best things to do in Norway

Rorbuer

If you plan to road trip through the Lofoten Islands, set aside a minimum of four days in order to have the best experience. This area might look small on a map, but it is packed with beaches, hiking trails, and scenic detours that can easily fill several days of your time.


Explore Oslo

Oslo is the capital of Norway and the largest city in the country. Most likely, you will spend a little bit of time here, either when you arrive and/or depart Norway.

Viking Museum

Top sights in Oslo include the Viking Ship Museum, the Kon-Tiki Museum, the Holmenkollen ski jump, Akershus Fortress, and the Oslo Opera House.


Drive the Atlantic Road

The Atlantic Road has been called the world’s most beautiful drive and has been voted as the “Norwegian construction of the century.”

This coastal road connects the island of Averøy with the mainland. It is just 8.3 km (5 miles long), and hops from island to island along a series of bridges. The Atlantic Road is located between Trondheim and Ålesund.


Go Hiking in Vesterålen

Vesterålen is a quieter, less touristy version of the Lofoten Islands. This archipelago sits just north of the Lofoten Islands in northern Norway.

Vesteralen best things to do in Norway

Vesteralen Hike best things to do in Norway

For jaw-dropping views of the coastline, hike the easy trail to Måtinden. This hike takes just 3 to 4 hours of your time and it is filled with spectacular coastal views.


Visit Tromsø

Located at 69° North in the Arctic Circle, this small northern city offers a lot to do. During the summer months, you get to witness the midnight sun. In the winter, the northern lights shimmer and dance over the town. Take in the view from Fløya, go shopping, visit the Arctic Cathedral, or use Tromsø as a home base for exploring the fjords and mountains in the area.

Tromso


Hike to Pulpit Rock

Pulpit Rock, also called Preikestolen, is a uniquely shaped rock that towers 604 meters over Lysefjord. It has been featured in Mission: Impossible – Fallout, not to mention thousands of photos on Facebook and Instagram.

Pulpit Rock

Pulpit Rock Hike

With its great views, relatively easy hiking trail, and convenient accessibility from the town of Stavanger, this is another very popular hike in Norway.


Drive Trollstigen

Trollstigen, aka “The Troll’s Road,” twists and turns as it climbs up from the Romsdal Valley. This short stretch of road features 11 hairpin turns, several viewpoints, and views of the Stigfossen waterfall. It is part of the National Tourist Route that connects Geirangerfjord with Åndalsnes.

Trollstigen


Journey to Svalbard

If you look at Svalbard on a globe, it looks like it is just a hop, skip, and jump away from the North Pole. Longyearbyen, at 78° North, is the world’s northernmost community.

In Svalbard, many adventures await. Go hiking, kayak past glaciers, explore the snowy landscapes by snowmobile, or go on a multi-day sled dog expedition. If you have lots of time (and money), take a one-week cruise around Svalbard in search of polar bears.

Kayaking in Svalbard

Visit Svalbard

Svalbard feels like an adventure. New landscapes, new experiences…a trip here is one of the coolest things to do in Norway (pun intended).


Climb Svolvaergeita

Here is another adventure for your Norway bucket list. Svolvaergeita, also called “The Goat,” is a pinnacle of rock that is a popular rock climbing spot in the Lofoten Islands.

Svolvaergeita Best Things to do in Norway

This was our favorite experience in the Lofoten Islands. The view from the top of Svolvaergeita is incredible! And if you are a beginner rock climber, you can do this.


Enjoy the View over Ålesund

Ålesund is a beautiful coastal town in southern Norway. This Art Nouveau town is scattered across several islands along the Atlantic Ocean. A highlight of a visit to Ålesund is the view from Fjellstua.

Alesund


Relax in Sommarøy

Sommarøy is a hidden treasure in northern Norway. I like to think of it as Norwegian paradise. Hiking trails, amazing views, tiny islands with white sandy beaches, and picture-perfect red cabins dotting the water’s edge…can it get any better than this?

Ornfloya Hike

Sommaroy

Drone photo of Sommarøy

It’s easy to day trip here from Tromsø, but for a quieter, more relaxing experience, spend the night at the lovely Sommarøy Arctic Hotel. For the best view over Sommarøy, it’s a short, easy hike up to Ørnfløya.


Explore the Lovely Island of Senja

Not far from Tromsø and Sommarøy is the lovely island of Senja. This is another great spot to add to your northern Norway road trip.

Drive the Norwegian Scenic Route from Bothhamn to Gryllefjord, visiting Tungeneset, Bergsbotn, and the Senja Troll on the way.

Segla Drone Photo

Drone photo of Segla

There are also several great hikes to do on the island. We hiked the short but challenging trail up Segla for unbeatable views over the island.


Visit Geirangerfjord

Geirangerfjord is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a fjord known for being one of the most beautiful in Norway.

For an amazing view of the fjord, you have several options. Go to the Dalsnibba viewpoint for the highest view of the valley and fjord (best on a clear day). The Flydalsjuvet rock is an outcropping of rock where you can get iconic photos of Geirangerfjord. The Ørnesvingen viewpoint on the Eagle Road is also another great spot to visit.

For a unique experience, you can kayak in Geirangerfjord. When we did this, we saw dolpins!

Geirangerfjord


Stand on Kjeragbolten…Do You Dare?

Hiking to Kjeragbolten is one of the best things to do in Norway. Not only do you get the chance to do something absolutely crazy, stepping out onto the boulder, but this hike is just downright fun. From climbing sheer granite faces with the aids of chains, to descending down into valleys inhabited by sheep and their clanging bells, to views out over some of the most spectacular scenery in Norway, this hike is a pure joy.

Tim Rivenbark

Kjeragbolten Hike


Get the Postcard View of Hamnøy

Hamnøy, with its collection of red fishing cabins on the water, is one of the most picturesque spots on the Lofoten Islands.

Hamnoy

The exact spot to get this photograph is labeled on Google Maps as Hamnøy Bridge Photospot Viewpoint.


Visit Trondheim

Trondheim is the third largest city in Norway. University students make up a sizable portion of the population. This colorful city is filled with museums, the world’s northernmost tram, boutique shops, and an excellent food and nightlife scene. Learn more here. 


Best Thing to do in Norway: On a Map

Norway Itinerary

Learn how to put all of these together with our Norway itineraries:

10 Day Lofoten Islands and Northern Norway Itinerary

10 Day Norway Itinerary: The Ultimate Road Trip through the Fjord Region

10 Days in Norway: The Fjords and the Lofoten Islands


Comment below if you have any questions or if you want to share your experience.

Read all of our articles about Norway in our Norway Travel Guide.

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Comments 6

  1. Hi Julie, I was in Island of Senja just before this corona-thing took place. I stayed in Hotel in city Finnsnes. That place is beyond beautiful. If you are there I would recommend you visit Ånderdalen National Park also. It is one of most eye-catching places on earth!

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      Author

      Thanks for the recommendations…we would love to go back and explore more of Senja and northern Norway. Stay safe and happy travels! Cheers, Julie

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      Author
  2. Beautiful places! Is it possible to see even half of this in one trip? Especially Lofoten, Preikestolen, Trolltunga, Atlantic Road, Kjeragbolten, Trolstigen and some fjords? That is my dream 🙂 What do you think?

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      Author

      Hello Paulina. It depends on how much time you have. We have been to Norway twice, for a total of 20 days, and have not been to 2 places on this list: the Atlantic Road (but we were so close, just 2 hours away) and Trondheim. At the end of this article we have links to 3 different itineraries, each of them 10 days long. Ideally, I recommend two visits to Norway: one to northern Norway and one to southern Norway. We have a 10 day itinerary where you will visit both, but you won’t get to everything on your list. However, this itinerary would be a good starting point for planning your trip, you just might need to add more time. Cheers, Julie

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