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Most beautiful places to visit in Norway
With a land area of over 320,000 square kilometres and just over 5 million inhabitants, Norway is a country full of untouched landscapes. From the jaw-dropping fjords along the west coast to captivating islands teeming with wildlife, this Scandinavian country houses numerous natural gems. But the country also packs some beguiling towns that often have colourful wooden houses, a long history, and contemporary museums. Although Norway is home to dozens of stunning locations, we have selected 10 of the absolute must-sees in the country. Keep scrolling below to see the best and most beautiful places to go in Norway. The second happiest country in the world (according to the United Nation’s World Happiness Report), seems to be having a moment. The Scandinavian country’s reputation for pristine, untouched landscapes are drawing discerning travellers from all over the globe and the popularity of the Disney movie Frozen are motivating fans to visit the country that inspired the animated movie setting (apparently bookings increased around 40%). From our team’s various visits, this our collective choice for the best and most beautiful places to visit in Norway.
1. The Fjords
This is what Norway is becoming most famous for. The UNESCO listed Fjords are now appearing on many traveller’s bucket list and with good reason – they are one of the most naturally beautiful and dramatic landscapes in Europe and are one of the top attractions in the Scandinavian country. The glacial valleys are eerily silent and are surrounded by high mountains and waterfalls that give the area and other-worldly beauty. Sognefjord is the longest, deepest, and most celebrated of the country’s waterways closely followed by Hardangerfjord. Also include a visit to the Jostedalsbreen glacier (the largest ice sheet in Europe), Nordfjord, and Geirangerfjord, perhaps the most scenically impressive of all the fjords. Easily one of the best places to visit in Norway and somewhere that shouldn’t be missed if you visit here!
Trolltunga – or Trolls’ tongue (see above) – is an incredible sight to behold on the western edge of Hardangervidda National Park. This natural viewing platform is a rocky outcrop from a mountain, in the shape of an enormous tongue. Trolltunga rises 1180 metres above sea level, and from this astonishing location, you can overlook the scenic Ringedalsvatnet Lake and surrounding mountain peaks. To get to one of Norway’s most striking wonders, one has to tackle a 20 or 28-kilometre return hike. Start at Mågelitopp for the shortest route, and make sure to start the trek early to be able to return before darkness falls. This route is only open from June to September if you’re hiking alone. In other times, you’ll need a guide to complete this enchanting tramp.
3. Lofoten Islands
The Lofoten Islands are undoubtedly some of the most photographed locations in this northern European nation. Once you’ve arrived, you can’t really blame the photo fanatics: charming fishing communities, pointy peaks covered in snow, and abundant bird populations have transformed the Lofoten Islands from a sleepy archipelago to one of Norway’s major outdoor destinations. This group of islands has stunning natural features, including the Trollfjord with its spellbinding lake and towering peaks, and the picturesque Kvalvika Beach. To capture the beauty of the archipelago, it’s recommended to follow the Ryten hiking trail. This easy 3.5-kilometre tramp provides you with excellent views of the fjords, Kvalvika Beach, and the mountains that rise up straight from the bottom of the ocean. Another way to see some of the best photo spots is through a photography tour.
Scattered over a row of islands on the western coast of Norway, Ålesund is a thriving fishing town that – following a huge fire in 1904 – was rebuilt in a beautifully colourful Art Nouveau style. It’s easily one of the most beautiful places to visit in Noway and boasting a vibrant culture, excellent shopping opportunities, and views over the area from Mount Aksla. Soak up the town’s unique atmosphere before heading out on a guided tour of the fjords. Don’t miss the breathtaking Geirangerfjord, for gorgeous photo opportunities.
The rainy but beautiful city of Bergen was apparently the inspiration for the fictional in the hit Disney animation, Frozen. The picturesque city is one of the prettiest and best cities to visit in Norway and is peppered with medieval buildings, Norwegian churches, and colourful timber houses. It’s a laid-back place with a selection of good museums, quirky independent stores, and al fresco cafes but its biggest draw is its status as being the gateway to the famous fjords.
Preikestolen (Pulpit Rock) is one of Norway’s most beloved landmarks. Similar to Trolltunga, the Pulpit Rock is a natural panoramic platform hanging above a deep fjord. From the tip of the Preikestolen, you look down on Lysefjorden, 604 metres below. The surface of the flat rock measures about 25 by 25 metres, which gives you the freedom to stroll around and find unique perspectives for your photos. Hiking up to the scenic spot takes a couple of hours from the parking space at the Preikestolen Mountain Lodge, and requires reasonable fitness. Preikestolen is only a short drive away from the city of Stavanger on the country’s southwest coast.
7. Jotunheimen National Park
Jotunheimen National Park or the ‘Home to the Giants’ measures 1150 square kilometres and is home to Norway’s highest summits. Jotunheimen is a playground for outdoor-minded travellers, as it has 250 mountains, biking routes, hiking trails, and fantastic skiing areas in winter. The Besseggen mountain ridge is one of the finest locations to tie your hiking shoes, as this area gives visitors 360-degree views of alpine lakes and snowy peaks. If you’re into mountain biking, the Mjølkevegen route with a length of 250 kilometres makes for a phenomenal biking experience through the enchanting landscapes of Jotunheimen National Park. To see the region from a different perspective by joining a white water rafting adventure on the Sjoa river, or explore the wondrous caves near Lom.
Norway is known for its legendary landscapes, from the imposing fjords to mountain massifs and waterfalls. Whether you wish to dream away under the Northern Lights on the Lofoten Islands or to say ‘hi’ to seabirds on Runde Island, Norway won’t easily bore you. However, some of the country’s cities also wouldn’t look odd on your travel itineraries, as they pack heaps of exciting architectural wonders and museums.
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