Are you planning a trip to Norway and looking for tips to make the most out of your stay? In this article, you can read about the best places to visit in Norway and get some advice on how you should act while there to both save money and ingratiate yourself to the locals.
But we should start with this – have you considered the size of Norway? The country is about half the size of Texas and it stretches a long way north to south. That’s to say that you likely won’t be able to see everything you want in one go unless you plan to spend most of your trip in transit, so maybe you should focus on a specific region or two.
And Norway is divided into 5 regions: Northern Norway, Trøndelag (Central Norway), Western Norway, Eastern Norway, and Southern Norway, and that’s how the locations will be categorized here. In any case, it’s your call how you’ll spend your trip, so let’s get to the best places to visit in Norway.
Trømso is located north of the Arctic Circle and provides exactly what you imagine when you think of a trip to the far, far north. Northern lights? Check. Whale watching? Check. Midnight sun? Check. Skiing? Naturally. But if you’re thinking Trømso is just some small village up north, think again.
It is the 12th most populous municipality in Norway and the third largest north of the Arctic Circle in the entire world. The city center stands on the eponymous island of Tromsøya, but the urban area also encompasses part of the island Kvaløya and the mainland. Fortunately, Trømso is not too cold, due to the effects of the west winds and the North Atlantic drift.
However, it is of key importance when you visit Trømso. Between March 27 and September 27, there is effectively no nighttime. The midnight sun is present from around May 21 to July 21, and polar nights last from about November 26 to January 15.
And you can’t see the northern lights from late April to mid-August. When it comes to whale watching, the best time to visit Trømso is from November to February. In total, Trømso is truly one of the best places to visit in Northern Norway but pick your time carefully.
If you really want to get to know the Arctic, consider a trip to Longyearbyen in the Svalbard Archipelago. It is the northernmost settlement with over 1,000 inhabitants in the world. You will experience a polar tundra climate, but tempered by the same North Atlantic stream that warms Trømso.
Svalbard Airport at Longyear operates year-round and has daily routes to the mainland and even some international ones. Once you arrive in Longyearbyen, you’ll see a true winter wonderland as soon as you start exploring the wilderness of Svalbard.
Approximately 60% of Svalbard is covered by glaciers and there are innumerable fjords. The nature and scenery are breathtaking, but that’s not all. A sixth of the world’s polar bears call Svalbard home and you can take one of the many guided tours to observe them. So, if you want to watch Arctic wildlife in its natural habitat, Longyearbyen in Svalbard is the place to go.
Trondheim is the largest city in Central Norway and the third-biggest in the country. The city dates back to 997 and was even the capital in the following centuries. Thus, Trondheim is a city filled to the brim with history and you can take one of the many guided tours to explore it.
From the statue of Olav Tryggvason to the Nidaros Cathedral, the historian in you will be delighted. In case outdoor activities are more your speed, the area around Trondheim is famous for its hiking and skiing trails. The Granasen Ski Centre regularly holds ski jumping competitions, so that can be your starting point.
The village of Røros is a UNESCO World Heritage site and one of the most popular tourist destinations in Central Norway. Many of the buildings are wooden cabins from the 17th and 18th centuries, so you will feel like going back in time when you come to Røros.
But it’s not just about the village itself. Røros was one of the two towns designated as a “mining town” (the other one is Kongsberg) and the old copper mine still stands. If you want to try some exotic food, you can get dishes with reindeer meat and fermented fish, alongside other traditional food, in many of the village’s restaurants.
Why visit Norway if you aren’t going to enjoy the majestic scenery that the country offers? And one of the best places to visit in Norway (if not the best) for sightseeing is the Geirangerfjord area. The Geirangerfjord is Norway's most famous fjord and there are innumerable hiking trails and many waterfalls (the most famous are the Seven Sisters and the Suitor) for you to experience.
This area is also a UNESCO-designed sight. You can start from the town of Alesund, which sits at the mouth of the fjord and explore the area from there. You can also take the Trollstigen mountain road (the Troll road) from Andalsnes to Valldal and stop in between if you’re looking for a mountaineering experience like nowhere else in the world.
In case you get tired from exploring the Geirangerfjord region, you can pay a visit to Stavanger. It is the largest city in this part of Norway and provides all of the amenities a popular tourist destination can – from Michelin start restaurants to modern street art. Similar to Røros, Stavanger still has many old wooden buildings dating as back as the 18th century.
But that’s not all. There are multiple ski and snowboarding centers near Stavanger that are open all through winter. On the other hand, the southern coast has many beaches where you can enjoy surfing or kiting. The Lysefjord is also located some 16 miles east of Stavanger, so this could be your pick if you are looking for natural attractions.
While Eastern Norway is by far the most populous region in Norway, that doesn’t mean that it lacks natural attractions. There are so many national parks that it’s hard to keep track. You can truly take your pick, but we’d recommend you don’t miss out on visiting Jotunheimen National Park if you are into hiking, biking, mountaineering, or skiing.
What can be said about the Oslo region that hasn’t been said already? One of the best cities to visit in Norway is definitely its capital, Oslo. A bustling nightlife, modern art installations, many museums, and cultural sites is something that’s easily found in Oslo.
You can also go the other direction and leave the urban area for the dense forests and fjords that surround the capital and enjoy untouched nature. Or you can visit the coastal towns of Tønsberg and Fredrikstad if you are looking for some seaside time. In short, you can’t make a mistake regardless of what you visit in the Oslo region.
Southern Norway has the mildest climate, which makes it one of the best places to visit in Norway if you’re done with the cold. Deep-sea fishing and fishing in the lakes and rivers is a popular activity in Southern Norway, and you can stay in a specific fishing resort or find an inland cabin if you are looking for some privacy.
You can start off from Kristiansand, the main city in the area, and explore from there. The southern coast is dotted with many small islands that can be reached by boat or even by car, so island hopping is a must. Norwegians love Southern Norway in the summer, but it’s still not well-known worldwide. In general, if you are visiting Norway during the summer, the southern region is definitely something you should consider.
The currency of Norway is the krone. Norway does not use the euro. You may be able to pay in euros or dollars in the most popular tourist destinations, but that’s not common practice. Your best bet is to have krone in cash on you at all times when you are visiting Norway.
That being said, online banking and cash apps are widespread in Norway, so you should have no issue paying if you can use one while there. And be careful how much money you bring with you on the trip – you can bring up to 25,000 kroner in cash (or another currency of equal value) without declaring it at customs before traveling. All larger amounts need to be declared.
As was said, you should have some krone in cash on you. And the easiest way is to buy krone online. You can exchange your money at US First Exchange in 3 easy steps and we will deliver your package within 24 – 48 hours of your order. Give yourself time to prepare for the trip and exchange your money the easy way.
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