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Discover the Most Beautiful Cities in Norway

Travelers Today       By    Patrick Jones

Updated: Jun 30, 2021 10:06 AM EDT

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Discover the Most Beautiful Cities in Norway

(Photo: Unsplash)

Encompassing forested mountain ranges, deep fjords, otherworldly ice fields, pristine glaciers and an interesting maritime heritage, Norway is one of the most beautiful Scandinavian countries. Travelers looking for inspiring and engaging outdoor life, can find plenty of fishing, hiking and skiing opportunities whether they're visiting Norway in summer, winter, spring or fall. With a bit of luck and the right weather conditions it's possible to catch the Aurora Borealis in many parts of Norway or see the mesmerizing Midnight Sun. 

Paired with incredible museums that offer insightful perspectives of Norway's rich cultural and social history and charming cosmopolitan cities, this country in Northern Europe should definitely be on your bucket list.

You might be deceived to discover that Norway is not a small country at all. Distances between cities can be large especially if you plan to cover different regions so make sure you have at least 2 or 3 weeks to explore the country as you wish and avoid just hopping from place to place. Despite Norway's impressive public transport system, travelling by car gives you the freedom to go at your own pace and it's generally not that difficult.     

However, winding mountain roads are not for the faint of heart and if you'll be heading to the far north or driving during the winter months then you definitely need to be prepared. Renting a car in Norway is easy; prices can be steep so you're advised to look around for discounts. You'll need an international driving permit if you're not from the EU and you should definitely consider investing in a thorough insurance policy for your rental to enjoy a safe trip. As a general advice, remember that winter tires are required in the colder winter months, headlights must be on at all times, all passengers are required to wear a seatbelt at all times and avoid speeding as fines can be really hefty.

Visit Oslo, Norway's Capital City

Lying next to the sea and surrounded by mountains, Oslo is one of the greenest cities in the world thanks to its forward-thinking eco-friendly policies.It sits in the country's southern coast at the end of the Oslofjord and it's one of the most beautiful places to visit in Norway.  It's a charming city to walk around, with a fantastic food scene and  excellent museums to see and explore, not to mention a lively nightlife. It's Norway's biggest city and offers the most things to do. With a plethora of parks, museums, cafés and restaurants, boredom is not an option!

Take your time to visit some of the many museums in Oslo, especially if you'd like to learn more about the interesting history of the country. Many of them are on the Bygdoy Peninsula, such as the waterside Norwegian Maritime Museum and the Viking Ship Museum, where you can admire Viking ships from the IX century. Other cultural highlights are: Norway's Parliament building, the Wartime Resistance Museum, the Fran Museum devoted to Polar exploration and the Munch Museum where you can view the artist's famous painting "The Scream". Admiring the paintings at the National Gallery is also a must-do!

Locals are proud of the Holmenkollen ski jump, a freestanding structure that gives the illusion of floating in the air when viewed at a distance. We dare you to climb to the top of this famous ski jumping tower, from where you can observe the entire city and try some ski jumps as well!

Talking about skiing, if you're visiting Oslo during winter, indulge in as many winter activities as you can! From cross-country skiing to sledding or ice-skating, there's plenty you can do without going too far away from town. 

If adrenaline-driven activities are not for you, let's visit the Royal Palace where you can learn about the history of one of Europe's most famous royal families. Architecture fans will enjoy the grandiose structure of the building. You may also like visiting Akershus Castle and the Cathedral.

Bergen, Norway's Second Largest City

Once the capital of Norway, Bergen is located on a spectacular location on the southwestern part of the country and it stretches from the inlet and harbour of Vagen in the north to Puddle Bay on the south. offers a plethora of sights to admire. It's surrounded by seven hills and seven fjords and its brightly-colored buildings tumble down the slopes until they reach the Bryggen, fantastic wooden houses at the city centre.

Being Norway's second largest city, there's plenty to see and do in Bergen and it's also a great place to admire some of the country's most dramatic landscapes. Probably, what makes it so attractive is that it was somehow able to keep the charm and atmosphere of a small town despite its big size.

There's an interesting cluster of excellent art museums that offer a delightful refuge when the chilly rainy weather sets in. Besides, its large student population ensures that Bergen has a buzzy bar scene and nightlife!

One of the must-do experiences in Bergen is taking the Floibanen Funicular from the city centre to the top of the Floyen Mountain. From here, you can enjoy fantastic panoramic views of the city, the mountains, the fjords and the sea. The walk down is lovely as you cross through forested paths. The UNESCO World Heritage Site of the Bryggen wharf is another tourist highlight. Home to buildings that date back to the 1700s, it's really a must-see! And if you step off the wharf and into the alleys behind the wooden facade you'll have an excellent snapshot of what life must have been like at the time Bergen was founded. You'll definitely fall in love with the houses of every colour that adorn the waterfront!

Other interesting places to  visit especially if you are a history buff are the Bergen Fortress and Troldhaugen Edvard Grieg Museum. Did you know that in Viking times Bergen was an important commercial hub between Norway and the rest of Europe?

Rainy and beautiful at the same time, Bergen is probably the inspiration behind Disney's animation Frozen. While you're there, don't miss the chance to explore Sognefjord, Norway's largest fjord. In the south, you can see Hardangerfjord, where you'll find the famous mountain plateau Trolltunga. If you've ever dreamt about cruising the Norwegian fjords, Bergen is the best place to do so!

Explore Fabulous Flam

While you're in Bergen, don't miss out on experiencing a day trip to Flam, a small village with splendid surroundings and the Flam Railway, one of the most incredible scenic train journeys in the world.

Located at the innermost bank of the Aurlandsfjord, Flam is a popular jumping off point for hiking trips in the mountains nearby. It's an impressively beautiful village. Home to museums that showcase and highlight the history of the city, it's a must visit place in Norway. 

Flam is the definition of a picturesque Norwegian village and it's definitely a favourite amongst tourists: it receives over 450 thousand visitors each year!

The Stegastein viewpoint, located about 90 minutes form the city, is an important point to make. Although a trek, the location is unbeatable and offers viewers some of the best panoramic views of the fjords in the area. You can also hike to the nearby Brekkkefossen waterfall!

Within Flam itself, don't miss the Flam Railway Museum and the Flam Church (a stave church built in 1670).

The Flam Railway is probably the best excuse to spend some time in this charming city. This scenic train ride takes you deep into the mountains and about an hour later you reach the village of Myrdal. Along the way, you'll learn about the history of the train and the railway and you'll be able to spot waterfalls and long forgotten tracks. You'll also stop off at Kjosfossen Falls along the way!

Visit Trondheim

Trondheim is one of the most picturesque cities in the whole country and a pleasure to walk around. It was once the capital of Norway and it has an amazing medieval cathedral. You'd definitely want to spend a couple of days here and take your time to discover its fine museums, great food scene and rich cultural heritage.

While in Trondheim, you can't miss the fortress Kristiansen, built in the early 1860s and preserved to the present days in excellent condition. From there you can admire some of the most beautiful panoramic views of the city. Another highlight is the Gamle Bybrua, a colorful bridge built even earlier that is one of the symbols of the city.

Walking around the city is an absolute pleasure. With its forests, hills and water  channels surrounded by colorful buildings and beautiful old harbour gives visitors an amazing experience. History buffs should spend some time at Nidaros Cathedral, which serves as a national shrine and a critical coronation place for the king. It's an imposing building surrounded by a well-arranged graveyard and a spectacular park. Nidaros Cathedral is the largest medieval building in Scandinavia and a wander amongst its grand stone archways and stunning stained glass is really worthy. 

The city is located in the heart of Norway on the river Nidelven and it was founded by King Olaf I before the X century. It became an important pilgrimage center and then it became a prominent  trade and shipping centre in Norway. It's an important industrial city as well.

During your stay in Trondheim you'd like to check out the Archbishop's Palace or the Ringve Museum, which is the Norwegian national museum of music and instruments. The Rockheim museum is a great place to go if you love Norwegian rock and pop! There are also exciting exhibits at the National Museum of Decorative Arts.

Tourists interested in outdoor activities can go fishing for salmon or trout in the Nivelden, where you can also enjoy a nice dip! If cycling is your thing, there are plenty of cycling and hiking paths to discover. In summer months you can chill at Sjobadet beach!

Tromso

Located in the far north of Norway, Tromso is set on an island amidst lovely blue fjords and spectacular snow-capped mountains. It's one of the northernmost cities you can visit in Europe as it lies around 350-kilometres north of the Arctic Circle! That said, it's definitely  the best place to be if you want to see the Northern Lights. Besides, with its plenty of pubs, lively nightlife and rich cultural scene, Tromso is also a funny town to visit!

It's not difficult at all to reach Tromso. It is well connected by roads to other cities in Norway and there's even an airport and a busy cruise port! It's a great starting point for those tourists going on a Norwegian road trip that are interested in exploring the northern area of the country.

Tromso is one of those cities where you can fully enjoy nature. Apart from watching the Northern Lights, you can also join whale watching tours or go dog sledding. And right from the city's main street you can see the deep fjords and steep mountains that surround it! Warmly nicknamed Paris of the North and Gateway to the Arctic, it's a must-see addition to any Norwegian travel bucket-list.

Despite being located close to the Arctic Circle, it enjoys a mild climate all year round. The city is also famous for its lively inhabitants, a world-class university and its calendar that offers a plethora of cultural activities. 

One of the best ways of admiring the most panoramic views of Tromso is by taking the cable car which climbs to the top of Mount Storsteinen: the Fjellheisen. It will take you from Solliveien in Tromsdalen up to the Storsteinen mountain ledge.

The centre of the beautiful and historic city is marked out by wooden houses that are a hundred years old. Another remarkable highlight is the Arctic Cathedral, which dates back to 1965. It has got a distinctive peaked roof and stunning stained glass windows are wonderful to behold. There's a plethora of interesting museums here as well that are definitely worth a visit such as Polaria that includes an aquarium and a 3D cinema and the Polar Museum, where you can learn more about the different polar expeditions that took place in the 1800s..

Tromso is a paradise for those who love outdoor activities. Apart from trying to view the Northern Lights and hiking the surrounding forests, you can also visit a Husky home, go on a tour on the fjords, visit the Ice Domes or go on the Arctic Panorama Cable Car. Another interesting tourist attraction is the Tromso Arctic-Alpine Botanic Garden, which is home to a plethora of flowering plants including hardy rhododendron and the gigantic Tibetan blue poppy as well as the area dedicated to the region's traditional medicinal plants.

From May to July it's possible to see the Midnight Sun. From November to January the sun disappears below the horizon and there are Polar Nights. Between August and May it's the best time of the year to try to see the Northern Lights, especially if the sky is dark and clear. There are many tourist companies that offer tours to see the Northern Lights from a mountain top but sometimes it is possible to see them right from the city centre.

Stavanger

Stavanger is Norway's top  coastal city and Pulpit Rock or Preikestolen is the most important and famous place to visit here and it offers splendid views of the fjords down below. It's also a foodie's paradise with many unusual restaurants awarded with the Micheline Star! Amongst the most popular attractions are the Norwegian Petroleum Museum that was built in the shape of an oil platform, the Museum of Fine Arts and the Museum of Canning. Near the old town there's a complex of almost 170 wooden houses which were preserved in excellent condition.

Stavanger is a university city with a beautiful old quarter. The surroundings are stunning with beautiful fjords, long white beaches and mountains. Located in the southwestern part of Norway, it serves as a major seaport. It became popular after the building of the cathedral of St Swithun.

Tourists are seduced with its vibrant nightlife, amazing food and classical architecture. As a university city and important research centre, there's plenty to do here. Natural buffs, Lysefjord is beautiful and a great place for a boat tour. Apart from the magnificent Pulpit Rock, another interesting hike is the Kjeragbolten hike. This trail climbs the highest mountain in the area and features an epic photo opportunity on top of a boulder that is straddled between the mountain crevice.

See Now: The U.S. had the highest number of Most Wanted properties, dominating the Hotels.com Loved By Guests Awards 2018

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