Norway is the Land of the Midnight Sun, an extraordinarily beautiful country of fjords and glaciers, pretty villages and vibrant cities. Dive into soul-stirring beauty and Scandinavian warmth as we introduce you to the places to see and things to with this Norway travel guide.
January and February, with its endless nights, is the perfect time to see the Northern Lights. June, July and August tend to be the warmest months which means sunny days and cool evenings. This is the best time to visit Norway for sightseeing and avoiding the bitter cold that engulfs the country the rest of the year.
Norway, unsurprisingly, stays cold throughout the year. With the northern part of the country lying within the Arctic Circle, be prepared for dark winters and gale through the summer. Southern Norway has warmer summers and winters that are not as cold as the north but expect heavier snowfall than other parts of the world.
Norway travel planning always begins with Oslo. The capital of Norway and its biggest city, Oslo is the cultural heart of the country. It traces its history to the 11th century and while not much may have survived from that time, you will certainly have a lot to see in Oslo. Some of the best attractions in the city are the Opera House, Royal Palace, Oslo Cathedral and Akershus Festning, a medieval castle fortress that offers great views of the fjords. Do include a guided tour of the Norwegian parliament in your Norway travel planning to learn more about the nation’s history.
Tromsø is as north as you can get in Norway. You would expect a city this close to the north pole to be more rustic, but Tromsø is as sophisticated and lively as any European city. The city has vibrant nightlife with bars and cafes lining every street and also several museum and galleries. The best things to see in Tromsø are the Arctic Cathedral with its massive stained-glass windows, the Lutheran Cathedral which is built entirely of wood, the Tromsø Museum, the Polar Museum and the Tromsø War Museum that is built inside a German bunker from World War II. However, the biggest attraction in Tromsø is the sky. Tourists descend to the city from across the world the witness the Northern Lights. Make sure your Norway travel planning takes you to Tromsø between the months of March and September
A group of pint-sized islands, Lofoten is known for its picturesque fishing villages, craggy peaks and rugged coast line. Some of the most popular things to do in Lofoten are hiking, fishing, whale watching, and chasing the Northern lights. Like in every Norway travel guide, we suggest spending the night in a traditional Norwegian cabin called a rorbu for a taste of rural Norway. The biggest attraction in Lofoten, however, is the Lofotr Viking Museum. Built in a reconstructed longhouse, a visit to the museum will take you back to the time of the Vikings.
You would have read the word fjord in Norway travel guides. Formed by glaciers when they meet the sea, fjords are narrow inlets of water surrounded by high cliffs. Bergen, in northern Norway, is perhaps the best place in the world to see fjords. The city itself is the largest in Norway, after Oslo, known for the colourful buildings on the old wharf, scores of art galleries, markets, the Bergen City Museum and the Norway travel guide favourite, Fantoft Stavkirke, a 12th century church. To really enjoy the beauty of the fjords we suggest adding a trip up to Fløyen to your Norway travel planning. If hiking isn’t your thing, take the funicular up to the summit for spectacular views of Bergen.
Due its location so close to the North Pole, Norway in summer goes months without seeing night fall. While the Northern Lights draw tourists in the winter, summers are all about the Midnight Sun. Once the sun rises in the middle of May, it doesn’t set for weeks. The perpetual days means you can go hiking, swimming and walking about town any time of the day. The Midnight Sun is visible the longest around the longest Tromsø, in the north but southern Norway also experiences the phenomenon for a few weeks in the year.
Jotunheimen is the Land of the Giants. Located in eastern Norway, it is home to scenic mountains, glaciers, rivers and lakes. Enjoy a hike up the hills or have a picnic on the lake to really take in the beauty of Jotunheimen. A Jotunheimen attraction you will find in most Norway travel guides is the Besseggen Ridge. A favourite among the outdoorsy types, a hike up the legendary trail should be high on your to-do list. You could also try river rafting, summer skiing or maybe a quiet cabin retreat.
Imagine a clear night lit up with dancing rays of blue, green and red. A mesmerising phenomenon that is also called the aurora borealis, the Northern Lights are why most tourists come to Norway. The best places in Norway to see the Northern Lights are in the north of the country in the Arctic Circle. When you see them entirely depends on solar activity but the best time to see the Northern Lights is between the months of March and September.
The Viking Ship Museum is an Oslo attraction that you cannot afford to miss. Housing archaeological finds from over a thousand years ago, the museum gives you a glimpse into the Viking way of life. Learn how the Vikings lived, what they ate from and how they dressed with the most comprehensive collection of artefacts in the world. The biggest attraction in the museum is the Osberg Ship. Built in the 800s the massive ship is perfectly preserved and looks exactly how it did 1200 years ago.