Norway may not have the hot weather of other destinations, but it makes up for it with its natural wonders, scenic towns and rich history. Here are just a few incredible attractions and experiences that make Norway worth visiting (many of which are suitable for all the family!)
1. Paddle on the Geirangerfjord
The Geirangerfjord is one of Norway’s most beautiful sights – this water inlet carves its way through a huge valley passing mountains, lush woodland and waterfalls. There are lots of ways to explore the Geirangerfjord from hiking the hills to cruising on the water. Kayaking is one of the more unique ways to do it and could be a fun family activity. There are a number of kayak tour operators along the river, some of which can even take you past the impressive Seven Sisters waterfall (one of the most visited waterfalls in Norway).
2. Take a cycle trip through the Lofoten Islands
The Lofoten Islands are an archipelago consisting of jagged rocky peaks, sleepy fishing villages and breathtaking sea views. It’s a hotspot for cyclists largely because, despite the undulating terrain, most of the actual roads are fairly flat. You can book a cycle tour, some of which even involve camping out along the way. There are also more leisurely and family-friendly cycle tours which could be a great way of exploring these islands with the kids.
3. Catch the Northern Lights in Norway
One of the most popular attractions across Scandinavia is the Northern lights (aka the Aurora Borealis). If you’re wondering what is the chance of seeing the Northern Lights, it depends largely on when you go and where you go. October to March is generally the best time to plan your visit if you want to see this magical light phonemenon. You can also increase your chances by heading as far north as possible – Tromso, Lofoten and Svalbard are popular destinations for the lights.
4. Drive the Atlantic Ocean Road
The Atlantic Ocean road is one of the most scenic drives in Europe. This narrow stretch of road connects Eide and Averoy and offers breathtaking views of the surrounding landscape. It’s worth hiring a car while you’re there just so that you can experience it. You should, however, check the weather forecast beforehand – this road can be very dangerous in high winds when the sea is rough.
5. Take in the views from Preikestolen
This is the most famous tourist attraction in Ryfylke. Translated as ‘Pulpit Rock’, this flat cliff towers 604 metres above the fjord. It gives a true feeling of being on the edge of the world. A 6km hike is required to get to this cliff, but it’s worth it for the otherworldly views. Whilst fairly long, the hike itself isn’t particularly challenging and possible for families with kids. Just make sure to pack for all weather, bring water/snacks and wear suitable footwear!
6. Hike up to Trolltunga
Trolltunga is another famous cliff with stunning views located in the municipality of Odda. It’s even higher than Preikestolen, although a lot more difficult to get to, making it less suitable for families with kids. The hike itself usually takes 8 to 10 hours and can be tricky in harsh weather. However, if you’re up for a physical challenge with a rewarding sight at the top, Trolltunga is definitely worth it.
7. Take the funicular up Mount Floyen
Mount Floyen is another popular tourist hotspot renowned for its impressive views. It overlooks the multicoloured city of Bergen, which is nestled between the mountains. Unlike the last two locations on this list, you don’t have to hike up Mount Floyen to take in the views – a train called the ‘funicular’ takes you right to the top. This makes it a great attraction for families with kids.
8. Go dining in Bryggen
Whilst in Bergen, you cannot miss the opportunity to head to Bryggen. The wharf dates back to the middle ages – much of the buildings were rebuilt in the 1700s following a fire, but they have kept their olde-world charm. There are artisan shops here, galleries and an authentic fish market. It’s also a picturesque place to grab a bite to eat – here you can try fresh fish caught that day.
9. Visit Norway museums in Oslo
A list of Norway attractions couldn’t be complete without mentioning the capital Oslo. The city is largely known for its parks and museums in which there is a seamlessly endless number to explore. Some of its most popular and impressive museums include the Viking Ship Museum (featuring the world’s most well-preserved collection of Viking ships), as well as Vigeland Sculpture Park (a collection of 212 wacky sculptures). Oslo is notoriously expensive, but there are some free museums and galleries here for those on a budget including the Museum of Oslo and the Museum of Contemporary Art. Many of the city’s botanical gardens are also free to enter.
10. Ride Norway’s Hurtigruten coastal ferry
The Hurtigruten coastal ferry could allow you to see a number of Norwegian sites in one trip from Bergen to the Northern Lights. It’s a popular way to explore the Norwegian coast and you can hop off and on it at your leisure. There are Hurtigruten ferry packages that you can buy including flights and excursions, but you should be wary that these extras can add up costs – it can be cheaper to book these extras separately. The ship has cabins for sleeping and restaurants that you can use, making it much like a floating hotel.
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