25 Best Things to Do in Norway

Written by Veronique Raes
Updated on
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Norway is a place where the old and the new blend seamlessly, and where you can find natural attractions jostling for space next to cutting-edge cultural venues. The capital city of Oslo is as vibrant as they come, but if you prefer you can take a trip to snowy mountains and stunning gorges. This is known for being the Land of the Midnight Sun, where the days never end and the sun is permanently in the sky during some parts of the year, and it is also one of the places in the world where you can spot the northern lights, one of the most spectacular natural light shows on earth.

Norway is one of the most affluent countries in Europe, so you can expect high quality facilities if you travel here such as a good range of public transport options. Norway is also known for being incredibly safe, so it’s a good option for solo female travelers who can travel around the country with ease. Blessed with a fascinating history, you certainly won’t be short of activities here, from museums to other attractions such as glaciers. You can learn all about the interesting Viking culture here, while also checking out the modern sides of Norway that abound at every turn.

Here are the best things to do in Norway

1. Take a train journey

Bergen RailwaySource: shutterstock
Bergen Railway

Norway has some great rail routes which are comprehensive and easy to use, so one of the best ways to enjoy the country is by train.

There are over 2,000 miles of tracks here and the scenic journeys mean that you get to take in Norway from an entirely different perspective.

Some of the highlights include the Bergen Railway which whisks you past the Hardangervidda plateau as well as the Dovre Railway that runs from Oslo to Trondheim.

2. Explore Mount Floyen

Mount FloyenSource: shutterstock
Mount Floyen

If you want to get the best vistas across Bergen then you need to come to Mount Floyen which is a 399 meter summit that overlooks the city.

If you are feeling lazy you can easily take the funicular railway to the top which takes 8 minutes and affords you views over Bergen and its notable fjords.

Close to the summit there is a lookout area, and if you don’t fancy the funicular then you can always hike to the summit and mountain bike on the neighboring trails.

Another big draw here is the Floyen Folk Restaurant which has traditional music recitals and local food.

3. Visit Oslo Cathedral

Oslo CathedralSource: shutterstock
Oslo Cathedral

Oslo Cathedral is one of the main draws in the city and would have been built in its original form in the 11th century.

The style of the church is baroque and it was the first church to have ever been established in Norway.

As you would expect, the church has seen a procession of iconic events such as those of the royal family, and now you can see all the history for yourself on a trip here.

Things to look out for include the large organ as well as the ornate pulpit and the colorful murals that cover the ceiling.

4. Take a ferry

Hurtigruten FerrySource: HildaWeges Photography / Shutterstock.com
Hurtigruten Ferry

Another great way to check out the country is to take a trip on the Hurtigruten ferry which will take you to some of the less explored parts of Norway.

The name for the ferries are coastal steamers and you can catch one in Bergen and travel to Kirkenes which will take an epic 12 days.

Along the way however you can hop on and off at some of the scenic ports for which Norway is famous.

5. Explore the Geirangerfjord region

GeirangerfjordSource: shutterstock

Geirangerfjord is part of the massive Fjord Norway Network and is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

It stretches across many miles but some of the highlights include Alesund in the north which is known for its icy Norwegian scenery.

Other good spots include Sunnylvsfjord which has some of the prettiest vistas over the countryside.

If you want to scale one of the peaks here then go for the Dalsnibba summit which stands at 4,905 feet.

One of the best ways to take in the splendor here is to book a tour which will take you to all the nicest spots in the region so that you don’t miss anything.

6. Marvel at the Arctic Cathedral

Arctic CathedralSource: vichie81 / Shutterstock.com
Arctic Cathedral

The Arctic Cathedral is the work of a Norwegian architect called Jan Inge Hovig and dates from 1965. As a result this is one of the newer cathedrals in the country and is built in a dramatic style.

The structure is meant to look like large blocks of ice and you will find sparkling mosaics inside as well as the iconic façade which is made of glass and marked with a large crucifix.

During the winter time the cathedral is lit up from the outside making it appear even more spectacular.

7. Tour Akershus Castle

Akershus CastleSource: shutterstock
Akershus Castle

Akershus Castle was built during the medieval period in 1299 and was meant to protect Oslo from an enemy invasion.

Over the years it has taken on many uses including operating as a renaissance castle and a prison in more modern times.

Now it is used by the Norwegian Ministry of Defense and you can visit and take in some of pretties rooms here such as the banquet rooms and the chapel.

There are also antique collections here that take you on a journey through the history of the castle so if you want to learn about Norway in the days of old then this is not to be missed.

8. Visit the Arctic Circle

Northern LightsSource: shutterstock
Northern Lights

Many people don’t realize that much of Norway is located in the Arctic Circle and this means that it is the best place to look for the Midnight Sun.

This natural phenomenon happens every year around the summer solstice when the sun never sets and it is permanently day time.

Another key feature of the Arctic Circle is the presence of the famous Northern Lights which are made by particles from the sun entering the earth’s atmosphere.

9. Travel along the Atlantic Ocean Road

Atlantic Ocean RoadSource: shutterstock
Atlantic Ocean Road

A trip along the Atlantic Ocean Road in Norway is not to be missed.

The route spans 5 miles of rugged yet spectacular coastline and will take you past charming fishing villages as well as picturesque sights like ancient churches.

There is a set route you can follow as this is now one of the top attractions in Norway and one of the main points of interest is the iconic Troll’s Church Cave.

10. Go skiing in the Lyngen Alps

Lyngen AlpsSource: shutterstock
Lyngen Alps

The stunning Lyngen Alps are located in the Arctic Circle and encompass a mountain range that stretches for 90 kilometers to the border with Sweden.

The area is covered in fjords, glaciers, and rivers and you will find soaring peaks as well as scenic gorges.

Popular pastimes in the Alps include dog sledding or signing up for a snow safari, and there is also a high chance of seeing the northern lights here.

Skiing and rock climbing are also top activities in the Lyngen Alps and the highest peak named Jiekkevarre sits at 1,833 meters.

11. Visit the Kon-Tiki Museum

Kon-Tiki MuseumSource: Telia / Shutterstock.com
Kon-Tiki Museum

The Kon-Tiki Museum in Oslo is home to a collection of memorabilia from Thor Heyerdahl, a famous Norwegian explorer.

There are a range of galleries dedicated to different explorations that Heyerdahl undertook, as well as a cave tour that is 30 meters long.

If you are interested in the topography and geology of Norway then this is a good pick, and you can even check out an underwater exhibit that features a whale shark.

The museum restaurant here is also famous for serving up traditional Norwegian specialties like the Kon-Tiki Fish Casserole.

12. Marvel at the Vigeland Sculpture Park

Vigeland Sculpture ParkSource: shutterstock
Vigeland Sculpture Park

The Vigeland Sculpture Park is dedicated to the work of Gustav Vigeland, a famous Norwegian sculptor.

Here you will find over 200 pieces made from bronze and granite and this is also the biggest sculpture park of its kind that shows off the work of an individual artist.

There are several sections to the park including the Main Gate, the Children’s Playground, the Wheel Life, and the Bridge.

Much of Gustav’s work showcases complex human emotions and you can spot eerie sculptures such as skeletons nestled in tree branches.

13. Admire the paintings at the Munch Museum

Munch MuseumSource: Evikka / Shutterstock.com
Munch Museum

One of the most famous Norwegians of all time is Edvard Munch who is known for his symbolist style.

The museum has been in operation since 1963 and you will 1,200 paintings here as well as 4,500 drawings and an impressive collection of 18,000 prints.

There are some sculptural pieces and lithographic stones, as well as memorabilia dedicated to the life of Munch such as letters and books.

14. Visit the Viking Ship Museum

Viking Ship MuseumSource: Popova Valeriya / Shutterstock.com
Viking Ship Museum

The Viking Ship Museum is one of the best-loved museums in Norway and showcases a range of artifacts from the Viking period.

This includes items found in local graves as well as Viking ships in all their glory.

Three of the longboats here date from the ninth century and are amazingly well intact having been partially preserved in peat lands.

The most famous of these is the Oseberg Boat which was said to have been used in ancient times as a burial vessel for Viking nobility.

15. Enjoy the Norwegian Museum of Cultural History

Norwegian Museum Of Cultural HistorySource: JHVEPhoto / Shutterstock.com
Norwegian Museum Of Cultural History

Located on Oslo Fjord is the Norwegian Museum of Cultural History.

Here you can find out all about the rich culture of this country dating back from 1500 until modern times.

The museum features pieces from all over the country and you can find signature items such as a wooden stave from the 13th century.

Other sections are dedicated to reconstructions of traditional Norwegian homes as well as clothes that would have belonged to the Sami people.

Anyone with an interest in Norwegian folklore and art also shouldn’t give the museum a miss and there are toys, photographs, and folk dancing showcases performed here throughout the year.

16. Visit the village of Geiranger

Village Of GeirangerSource: shutterstock
Village Of Geiranger

The village of Geiranger is set against craggy, dramatic cliffs and is encircled by forests and waterways.

Located on the coast, Geiranger is picture-postcard pretty and is known for its colorful houses painted in different hues.

There is also a delightful fishing harbor where you can watch locals pull in their catch and the landscapes here are said to have inspired the film Frozen.

17. Tour Oslo City Hall

Oslo City HallSource: shutterstock
Oslo City Hall

Many people don’t think of Oslo as a cultural city but this is incorrect and the Oslo City Hall shows off the politics and culture of Norway.

The building itself is one of the most famous in the country and was built in 1915, and you will now find a range of galleries inside such as the Festival Gallery and a range of pretty frescoes from the 20th century.

Make sure not to miss other iconic artifacts such as the mural of St.

Hallvard who is the patron saint of Oslo.

18. Explore the Tromso Fjords

Tromso FjordsSource: shutterstock
Tromso Fjords

The Tromso Fjords sit among pretty inlets and islands which back on to icy summits and eventually empty out into the Norwegian Sea.

The waterways are made up of long networks that would have occurred during the Ice Age.

One of the best ways to take in the majesty of the fjords is to take a tour here which often includes a fishing trip as the waters here that teem with cod, salmon, and halibut.

In the warmer months you can go kayaking or canoeing here and if you plan a trip between December and February then there is a good chance of seeing the northern lights.

19. Visit the Ibsen Museum

Ibsen MuseumSource: Alisa24 / Shutterstock.com
Ibsen Museum

One of Norway’s most famous residents was Hendrik Ibsen who is known the world over for his dramas.

The museum is set in Ibsen’s former home and there are two sections of the museum.

The first of these is dedicated to his work and you will find family memorabilia as well as some of his writing materials.

The other section is based in Ibsen’s actual apartment which has been restored and looks much as it would have done when he lived there with his wife Suzanne.

20. Enjoy Ersfjordbotn village

Ersfjordbotn VillageSource: shutterstock
Ersfjordbotn Village

Sitting at the bottom of Ersfjord is the village of Ersfjordbotn has the claim to fame of being one of the premier spots in Norway if you are hoping to get a glimpse of the northern lights.

The village sits surrounded by snowy mountains and you can go skiing here as well as dog sledding or snow-shoeing.

If you happen to come here in the summer then you can also enjoy a range of outdoor pursuits such as rock climbing and hiking along the mountain trails that fan out from the center of the village.

21. Ride the Fjellheisen Cable Car

Fjellheisen Cable CarSource: Dmitry Chulov / Shutterstock.com
Fjellheisen Cable Car

The Fjellheisen Cable Car sits at the base of Mount Storsteinen and will take you up to its peak of 420 meters in as little as 4 minutes.

From the top of the mountain you can enjoy gorgeous vistas over the neighboring countryside and this is also a popular place to come if you want to try some outdoor sports like cycling, paragliding, or skiing in the winter months.

22. Explore the Arctic-Alpine Botanical Garden

Arctic-Alpine Botanical GardenSource: shutterstock
Arctic-Alpine Botanical Garden

Known in Norwegian as Botaniske Hage, the botanical garden sits some 350 kilometers inside the Arctic Circle and spans almost 2 hectares.

Here you will find thousands of species of plants from all over the world although most of these are of the alpine or arctic variety and are hardy in the freezing weather found here.

Some of the highlights are Arctic poppies as well as Siberian lilies and a range of mosses and herbs that grow between the rocks in the garden.

As well as flora and fauna you can also find ponds, waterfalls, and meandering pathways that let you explore each of the geographical sections of the garden at your leisure.

23. Travel to Lillehammer

Malhaugen ParkSource: shutterstock
Malhaugen Park

Lillehammer sits close to the scenic Lake Mjosa and is a top tourist destination for both domestic and international travelers.

Some of the main attractions here include Malhaugen Park which takes the form of an open-air museum which has 100 ancient buildings that give you a glimpse of life in Norway in the days of old, including churches, farmhouses, and workshops from the 18th century.

You will also find the famous Peer Gynt Cottage here which is said to have been the inspiration for Ibsen’s play.

If you like winter sports then you also won’t be disappointed here as you can try skiing, skating, and curling, or hike along some of the wonderful Nordic trails that bisect the area.

24. Marvel at the Polar Museum

Polar MuseumSource: Dmitry Chulov / Shutterstock.com
Polar Museum

Located in Tromso and sitting inside a former warehouse that dates from 1837 is the Polar Museum.

The building is dedicated to telling the story of arctic expeditions from Norway as well as looking at the sealing industry in the country.

There are permanent galleries here that tell the story of the Sami people in the days of old and you can learn how they would have hunted for animals such as polar bears, whales, walruses, and seals.

25. Tour the Royal Palace

Royal PalaceSource: shutterstock
Royal Palace

The Royal Palace of Oslo was constructed at the beginning of the 19th century and was meant to be the residence of King Charles III who died before the work finished.

Nowadays this is the home of King Harald V and Queen Sonja and in the summer months you can visit and tour some of the rooms here.

Some of these include the Bird Room which has over 40 species of birds on display as well as the impressive Mirror Hall and the Great Hall which is resplendent with crystal chandeliers.

There is a Changing of the Guard ceremony held every day here at 1.30 pm that features the King’s Guards atop ceremonial horses.

25 Best Things to Do in Norway:

  • Take a train journey
  • Explore Mount Floyen
  • Visit Oslo Cathedral
  • Take a ferry
  • Explore the Geirangerfjord region
  • Marvel at the Arctic Cathedral
  • Tour Akershus Castle
  • Visit the Arctic Circle
  • Travel along the Atlantic Ocean Road
  • Go skiing in the Lyngen Alps
  • Visit the Kon-Tiki Museum
  • Marvel at the Vigeland Sculpture Park
  • Admire the paintings at the Munch Museum
  • Visit the Viking Ship Museum
  • Enjoy the Norwegian Museum of Cultural History
  • Visit the village of Geiranger
  • Tour Oslo City Hall
  • Explore the Tromso Fjords
  • Visit the Ibsen Museum
  • Enjoy Ersfjordbotn village
  • Ride the Fjellheisen Cable Car
  • Explore the Arctic-Alpine Botanical Garden
  • Travel to Lillehammer
  • Marvel at the Polar Museum
  • Tour the Royal Palace