Summer Holidays in Norway: Top 15 Places to Visit in the Land of Vikings
Spending summer holidays in Norway is always a good idea since this fantastic country with deep fjords, tumultuous yet beautiful waterfalls, and imposing mountains have always captivated the visitors of the Land of Vikings. In this article, I will talk about the perfectly suitable places for a great summer trip. Be confident that including at least a few attractions from this list in your travel plans would be brilliant.
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Summer Holidays in Norway: Spend Time in Idyllic Geiranger
Lonely Planet, the world’s leading publisher of guidebooks, named Geiranger, a tiny Norwegian tourist village in the region of Sunnmøre, as the top travel destination in the entire Scandinavia. And the reason for that lies in the single fact that this remote village is located at the end of the majestic Geirangerfjord, a branch of Sunnylvsfjorden. Considering that the village is encircled by gorgeous, snow-topped mountains, you can expect to relish fabulous scenes here.
An interesting fact about this village is that the Geiranger – From Fjord to Summit event takes place here every summer. Around 500 participants participate in this competition every year in June since it was first started in 1994. This event consists of four components: the Dalsnibba Minithon, the Geiranger March, the Dalsnibba Cycle Race, and the Geiranger Half Marathon. Almost all the participants – except those who take part in the Dalsnibba Minithon – start at sea level and finish on the top of Dalsnibba, a mountain with an altitude of 1,476 meters.
The village is populated by no more than 250 locals, yet Geiranger’s cruise ship port turns out to be the third-largest in the country! Every year, it receives around 300,000 tourists that come to this remote settlement on cruise ships. And obviously, we recommend visiting this idyllic place during your summer holidays in Norway.
Try The World’s Most Scenic Ride
The Flåm Railway Line was opened back in 1940 with the purpose of connecting the Sogn district with Bergen and Oslo, yet lately, it has become one of the most popular tourist attractions. And this is not merely a marketing pitch but a proven fact, considering that this line also appears to be Norway’s third-busiest.
Such astonishing popularity among tourists from both within and outside the country is understandable: just an hour-long ride offers fantastic landscapes and scenery that it’s difficult to find elsewhere. So if you are going to visit Bergen during your summer holidays in Norway, don’t rule out taking a short yet absolutely memorable train ride in this region.
Get a Fantastic View of Bergen from Fløyen
Bergen, Norway’s second-largest city, is also one of the most beautiful cities in the country. Colorful Bryggen, a set of houses that date back to the times of the Hanseatic League, attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors every year. But in addition to a sightseeing walk in Bergen’s historic center, you should also include a ride to the top of Mount Fløyen and enjoy spectacular vistas over the city. Actually, the name of the city “Bergen” actually means “mountain,” so you shouldn’t be surprised to see the city encircled by mountains and a fjord.
The funicular railway was opened back in 1918, and it carries at least 1 million passengers per year. The funicular has 5 stops, and the last stop leaves passengers at an altitude of 320 meters above sea level, offering marvelous views of the city and the mountains surrounding it. If you would like to rejoice at hiking, no problem – there are enough walking trails for tourists. Enjoying a marvelous view is also possible in numerous cafés and restaurants located over there. To sum it up, including a visit to Bergen in your summer holidays in Norway is a brilliant idea.
Hike to Pulpit Rock
Pulpit Rock is one of the most popular – and even hyped – attractions in the country. Every year, over 200,000 tourists hike to this impressive cliff hanging over Lysefjord. Pulpit Rock is one of the easiest hikes in Norway, and the stream of visitors doesn’t stop even at night during the peak season. Trained hikers can hike to Preikestolen even within an hour.
It’s easy to see why many people include going to Pulpit Rock in their plans for summer holidays in Norway: a view of the narrow fjord, which appears to flow far below you and looks like being jammed between mountains, is absolutely unforgettable. Though don’t forget about the safety rules when you are at the top.
Visit Fabulous Waterfalls during Your Summer Holidays in Norway
When it comes to waterfalls, Iceland is the only country in the world that can rival Norway. And it’s always a great idea to enrich your summer holidays in Norway by visiting at least a couple of the country’s famous waterfalls.
Steinsdalsfossen, located not far from Bergen, is one of the out-and-outer waterfalls. You can walk behind this waterfall and get a fantastic view of this natural phenomenon “from the inside.”
Vøringfossen is another popular waterfall in Norway. Located in Hordaland, this waterfall lies not far from the highway that connects Bergen with Oslo. However, its popularity is long-lasting and dates back to the 18th century, when tourists came to this place and climbed more than 1,500 stairs in order to view this beauty from the top.
If we have to list the country’s impressive waterfalls, the list is likely to turn into a separate article (and we might create one in the future). However, be sure to make a thought-out plan for your trip, and you can be sure that there will be at least a couple of roaring waterfalls you will have a chance to visit.
Explore Norway’s Charming Capital
Visiting Oslo must definitely be among the things to do on your summer trip to Norway. Walk down Karl Johans gate and see the city’s most prominent architectural and cultural attractions. Or walk along the shore of Oslofjord and visit the city’s genuine symbols: the Oslo Opera House, Akershus Fortress, and Oslo City Hall.
Art connoisseurs will undoubtedly fall in love with this city. Visit the newly opened National Museum, which currently displays the biggest art collection in Scandinavia. Or don’t miss your chance to enter MUNCH, a cultural institution dedicated to Norway’s most prominent artist. Vigeland Sculpture Park is the city’s other unique point of interest, which, by the way, is absolutely free.
On top of that, the city’s peninsula of Bygdøy houses some of the most inspiring museums, and all thrill-seekers will love them. The Fram and Kon-Tiki museums tell the stories of dramatic nautical expeditions led by Norway’s prominent explorers. Take a fjord cruise to reach this peninsula on a sunny summer day in Oslo.
From classic and contemporary art to modern architecture and fancy restaurants, Oslo is a perfect city to explore. To learn about other awesome things to do in the Norwegian capital, read our article about the top 10 reasons to visit Oslo and check out our guide to traveling to Oslo on a budget in our blog!
Visit Ålesund, Norway’s Most Beautiful City
Ålesund is a perfect city to visit during your summer holidays in Norway. This picturesque port town is scattered across 7 islands and surrounded by the fjord, which makes it one of the most scenic, beautiful cities in the country. Marvel at the city’s Art Nouveau architecture – the city was built almost entirely from scratch after a devastating fire in 1904.
Today, there are plenty of things to do in Ålesund. You can explore the city’s city center or learn more about its dramatic history at Jugendstilsenteret, a local history museum. In addition to several other high-profile museums, there are other activities you can undertake: go hiking Mount Aksla or try kayaking in the local rivers. Overall, Ålesund is a perfect choice for a fabulous weekend break in Norway.
Embark on a Fabulous Cruise through Nærøyfjord
One can easily see why Nærøyfjord, one of the world’s narrowest fjords (hence the name), is on the UNESCO World Heritage list. It is one of the most spectacular, picturesque places in Norway, and you are guaranteed to have an unforgettable experience in the summer.
You can book this fjord cruise as a part of a “Norway in a Nutshell” trip or as a separate cruise. A relatively short cruise that lasts just a couple of hours will take you from Gudvangen to the mountain village of Flåm.
On your way, you will have a chance to marvel at the dramatic landscapes of immense mountains that, at times, will be no further than 10 meters away from the ship. Contemplate the tumultuous waterfalls running down these giant rocks and catch sight of secluded farms on tiny green plots of land. This fjord cruise is so captivating that it will be over sooner than you notice!
Take Astounding Photos at Trolltunga
Trolltunga has become one of Norway’s most popular tourist attractions during the last decade. It takes around 10-12 hours to reach this cliff jut and return to Odda, yet more and more tourists dare this strenuous hike every year.
Indeed, it is absolutely worthwhile to hike Trolltunga – not only for the sake of taking cool photos, but also to appreciate the local landscapes and visit the town of Odda (Netflix’s Ragnarok show was filmed precisely here). After all, getting to Trolltunga is a perfect way to spend the summer holidays in Norway!
Unlike hiking to Preikestolen, however, this trek might be too arduous for people who don’t regularly work out, so we recommend all visitors improve their physical form before attempting this hike. You can read our blog if you wish to learn about how to prepare for hiking Trolltunga.
Embrace the Norwegian Nature in Lofoten
The Lofoten Islands are a perfect destination during any season. Despite being located at a high latitude, this archipelago is relatively warm all year-round thanks to the Gulf Stream. Stunning dramatic landscapes, rich local traditions, seemingly boundless beaches, and countless opportunities for various activities make Lofoten the traveler’s choice for a trip.
As soon as you reach the islands, you should try fishing here – the locals are genuinely proud of their long fishing traditions. Find accommodation in one of the picturesque rorbuer, or fishermen’s huts.
If you are looking for exciting things to do in Lofoten during your summer holidays in Norway, the choice is genuinely ample. There are many scenic trekking routes, which is why Lofoten attracts so many hikers. If you are into surfing, the warm (thank you, Gulf Stream) yet wild waters make this archipelago one of the prime surfing spots in Europe. On top of that, getting around the island on a bike is a perfect way to enjoy Lofoten’s nature, too.
All in all, traveling to Lofoten on your summer trip is well worth a shot. You can read more about planning a trip to the Lofoten Islands in our blog.
Relish Norway’s Nature During a Scenic Road Trip
Norway has 18 panoramic drives – labeled “Norwegian Scenic Routes” – that will take you to some of the country’s most inspiring and spectacular places. From intimidating mountains and lush green valleys to scenic coastal landscapes and mind-blowing architecture – these routes show you the best of Norway! Don’t forget that each route has numerous viewpoints suitable for taking a lunch break in an extremely scenic place.
Considering that there are 18 scenic roads, choosing one may be tricky. We recommend you look for a route that is not far from your destination. The Atlantic Ocean Road (pictured above), for example, lies close to Ålesund, the town we have already mentioned above. Overall, embarking on such a road trip is a fabulous experience.
View Norway from the Summit of Gaustatoppen
If you are looking to spend your summer holidays in Norway somewhere in the country’s south, there are plenty of activities you can try there. One of them is getting to the top of Gaustatoppen – an impressive, 1,883-meter high mountain in Telemark, close to Oslo.
Getting to the top of this mountain is relatively easy – the return trip takes 3 to 4 hours. Those people who do not want or who cannot get to the top on their own are able to use the cable car. Besides, you can get a fantastic view of the country from the top of this giant – you can observe up to 1/6 of Norway’s territory from here on a sunny day.
By the way, you can check this hike (as well as other popular trekking routes in Norway) in our article about the best hikes and peaks in Norway.
Set Out on a Hiking Adventure on the Picturesque Island of Senja
Senja, Norway’s second-largest island, is located in the country’s north. This part of the country has also been blessed with spectacular landscapes, making it a genuine paradise for outdoor recreation. Lately, more and more travelers tend to make a summer trip to this (relatively) remote island.
The sheer number of activities you can undertake in Senja is impressive: hiking, fishing, cycling, or even experiencing the fantastic midnight sun phenomenon! Regarding the hiking routes, there are no fewer scenic routes than in Lofoten. Visit to Senja is also an excellent opportunity to explore the local wildlife – drop in the world’s northernmost zoo!
Make a Trip to Jotunheimen National Park
Summertime is ideal for a trip to one of Norway’s impressive national parks. Jotunheimen, or “the Home of the Giants,” is one of the prime locations for hiking in the country. Galdhøpiggen, Northern Europe’s highest peak, is located precisely here, in this national park.
Suppose you prefer to refrain from attempting to scale this intimidating mountain. In that case, you can trek to Bessegen Ridge (pictured above), arguably one of Norway’s most scenic hikes. Among other things, you can visit the Norwegian mountain center, hike the country’s largest glacier, or relish captivating vistas from numerous viewpoints.
In our blog, you can learn more about the top 4 national parks in Norway and things to do there.
Explore the World’s Richest Variety of Arctic Flora and Fauna in Hardangervidda
The Hardangervidda National Park offers one of the most impressive open spaces in Europe, with an area of over 10,000 square kilometers. This mountainous plateau is actually the place where visitors can find the richest variety of arctic flora and fauna in the world! There are small yet cozy huts all over the national park, where you can simply rest and freely observe the wildlife.
Dozens of well-trotted trails make this national park a popular destination among hikers and travelers. However, don’t expect to see here such dramatic landscapes as in Jotunheimen. If your entry point is Eidfjord, don’t hesitate to visit the roaring Vøringsfossen waterfall – yes, the one we have already mentioned above. To find out more about Hardangervidda, read our article about the national parks (see Jotunheimen above).
Do you want to do some of the activities mentioned in this article? Make a trip of your dreams to Norway! Contact us so that we can plan and organize a tour of Norway customized for you.
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