Awe-inspiring fjords, breathtaking scenic roads, spectacular glaciers, and untouched nature parks, the adventurous traveler is tempted by a scala of unique places in Norway.
But Norway is not only a fantastic outdoor playground. The country features as well many historic towns and charming fishing villages where you can discover an interesting piece of tradition and local foods.
Here is our list of the 10 Unique Places to Visit in Norway. There are for sure some that you want to put on your bucket list!
1. King Sognefjord and UNESCO Naeroyfjord
Sognefjord is the longest one of Norway, no less than 205 km long, from the ocean stretching out into fascinating landscapes with untamed nature and rich heritage. It offers unique experiences for every visitor! Explore the deep blue waters of the fjord by kayak, bike the Rallarvegen, go fishing, or make a stop in the charming towns Balestrand and Lærdal.
The narrow and spectacular Nærøyfjord is one of the best-known arms of the Sognefjord. The fjord is only 17 km long and 250 m wide on its narrowest point. A cruise through this fjord is absolutely breathtaking. Surrounded by steep mountains dotted with picturesque hamlets, waterfalls, and green valleys, this fjord is an extraordinary natural attraction, for which UNESCO has included it in its World Heritage List.
The Sognefjord is as well famous for the Flåmsbana railway, which takes you from the lively village of Flåm up to the mountains. Don't forget to try some of its local foods. Its fruit and berries are delicious so is the goat cheese!
2. The picturesque coastal villages of the South
Norway's south coast is friendly and charming, and it boasts villages that score many points on 'kos" (a Norwegian word for cozy and having a good time). One of these villages is Skudeneshavn (not far from Stavanger), known for its well-preserved old white wooden houses (many dating from the 19th-century).
On the other side (the southeast), you find Brekkestø with its cozy wooden houses and harbour.
An hour up north is the laid-back coastal town of Risør. It is famous for its white houses and its traditional handicrafts, boat building, and music. It hosts every June a music festival with some of the best musicians. So, Staring over the calm sea while listening to some beautiful tunes, is there a better way to spend your holidays?
3. Beach and surf paradise Hoddevik
Hidden between the mountains, Hoddevik is nestled on the Stadlandet peninsula on the west coast. The road to the fishing town is already spectacular. It goes over a mountain pass and descends with hairpin-bends down to the village and the Atlantic Ocean.
Hoddevik is a paradise for surfers - The Guardian even rated as one of the ten best surf locations in the world - and boasts the magnificent white one km-long Hoddevikstranda beach. Even in summer, you won't find crowds here. If you opt to go surfing, be sure to use wetsuits because the waters of the western coast are pretty cold! Also, the nearby island Vågsøy has a stunning beach that you cannot miss; Refviksanden beach has gorgeous silver sand and is ideal for swimming! Besides, Vågsøy is home to three lighthouses (Kråkenes, Skongenes, and Hendanes lighthouses). Those attracted by lighthouses (just like me) can combine a day on the beach with a visit to 'land's end’.
4. Historic Røros
The old mining town of Røros - a UNESCO Heritage Site - is a historical village that, despite its small size, is home to many attractions and sights. Dating from the 1600s, its small streets are like a maze where you'll feel that time has stood still. The town's highlights are the "wooden houses" that are one of the oldest in Europe. Next, there is Røros' church! It is one of the largest churches in Norway and can accommodate up to 1,500 people.
Røros is as well known for its local food, such as fermented fish (rakfisk), reindeer meat, and the "pjalt" cake, which is usually accompanied by "brunost," a slightly sweet brown cheese that can also be eaten on sandwiches. If you're not a fan of cheese, try the 'brunost" ice cream…
In winter, Røros is one of the coldest places in Norway. Yet, if you can defy the cold, you should experience it at Christmas time. You can rent a kicksled to slide through the streets filled with snow. Also, don't miss the annual Christmas market with delicious local foods and crafts.
5. Untouched Jostedalsbreen National Park
Jostedalsbreen National Park was founded in 1991. The National Park is mainly known for the largest glacier in mainland Europe that many local and international tourists visit every year. But that's not all; the park features a varied landscape from lush green valleys, turquoise rivers and lakes, and snow-capped mountains. The park museums and visitor centers invite guests to learn - in a natural way - about climate, geology, and vegetation. Adventurous visitors can even make a glacier walk to see the extraordinary beauty of this park from up close!
6. Charming food town Bergen
Besides food, Bergen also offers many outdoor activities, head for that to Mount Fløyen (a funicular brings you from the city in less than 10 minutes to the top). Here you can explore the hiking trails, enjoy the sweeping view or tour the idyllic Lake Skomakerdiket by canoe. Children will find lots of adventure in the climbing playground and zipline park. And, of course, you can't leave Bergen before you've tried the local cinnamon-bun "Skillingsboller." Delicious!
7. The impressive peaks of Jotunheimen National Park
Jotunheimen means "The Home of Giants" in Norwegian and gets its name from the more than 200 peaks of 2000-meters high that stand proudly in this area in Eastern Norway. The park features cliffs, glaciers, waterfalls, rivers, and last but not least, Norway's highest mountain, the Galdhoeppigen (2,469 m a.s.l). But the park is not all about 'giants'; there are plenty of marked routes for every level of hiker, from short family walks to multi-day tours. So it is no surprise that Jotunheimen is one of Norway's most famous national parks, attracting many visitors. Still, the magnificent nature is so breathtaking that you won't bother the crowds.
8. Preikestolen and Trolltunga - Famous Hikes with Matchless Views
A hiking trip to the Pulpit Rock (Preikestolen) or the tip of Trolltunga (the Troll's Tongue) are Norway's most popular walking adventures, for the best views from the top! Hanging 600 meters over the clear waters of the Lysefjord, the Pulpit Rock - Voted in 2015 by Loney Planet as the world's "Most Breathtaking Viewing Platform' - is one of the most magnificent viewpoints of Norway. Of course, when the weather is good, you won't be alone on the 25x25-meter rock, but sharing it with others doesn't make this ultimate experience less impressive. You can reach Pulpit Rock via a well-marked trail; the hike itself (return) is around 4 hours.
Trolltunga (meaning the Tongue of the Troll) is another spectacular scenic cliff in Norway. The clearly marked route (with a length of 20 kilometers) starts in Skjeggedal and is pretty demanding and will take about 10-12 hours. But at the top - 700 meters above Lake Ringedalsvatnet - you're rewarded with some of the most stunning panoramas. The hiking season goes from June to September.
9. Explore The Geirangerfjord
Another popular but unique destination on our list is the 15-km long Geirangerfjord. Many postcards feature pictures of this fjord, and with good reason, in whichever way you explore this fjord, it will amaze you. Jump in a kayak and get close to unspoiled nature, drive up to the highest viewpoint at Dalsnibba, take a cruise to the Knivsflåfoss waterfalls (Seven Sisters Waterfalls), or take a hike to the farms on the steep hillsides, such as Skageflå. The walk itself does not take very long, about forty minutes, but it is very steep and unsuitable for people who are afraid of heights or small children. In summer, the farmhouses are often open to the public. For a more relaxed afternoon walk, head to the waterfall Storseterfossen. The trail even goes behind the waterfall! After all these adventures, you will admit that this fjord a unique place!
10. The stunning Trollstigen Drive
It might be the most well-known road in Norway, but the stunning Trollstigen drive - between the villages of Åndalsnes and Valldal - is one of a kind. This winding mountain pass (with 11 hairpin bends) is undoubtedly impressive and meanders through lush valleys and mighty mountains. On your way, you will find spectacular viewing platforms such as Gudbrandsjuvet and Ørnesvingen that offer extraordinary views down to the Geirangerfjord as well as the impressive Stigfossen waterfall. Allow plenty of time for the trip to enjoy the scenery fully. Unfortunately, the road is closed during the winter months. However, for real adventurists, there is the old pack trail to experience Trollstigen on foot!