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20 Of The Best Things To Do In Norway In 2020!

Written By:
Bradley Williams
/
Last Updated:
January 17, 2020
Travel stories
After driving for more than 3,000 kilometres all the way through this incredible country, here's what I believe to be the 20 best things to do in Norway!
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things to do in Norway
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Ever since I was a child, I have been obsessed with wanting to visit Norway one day.

In particular, to see one site … the breathtaking Norwegian fjords.

Well, when we began planning our epic 3 month journey through Scandinavia, it was only then that I realized just how big and diverse Norway is!

As a relatively thin country above Trondheim, the country stretches hundreds of miles north bordering both Sweden and the Norwegian Sea before wrapping up and around Finland as well!

We spent a total of more than 3 weeks driving through this country and along the way enjoyed many of the best things to do in Norway.

We drove almost the whole way through Norway, except for a small chunk in the middle, so truly got to experience the unique beauty it offers.

So, if you are planning on visiting, here’s my guide on what I believe to be 20 of the best experiences you can expect to have in Norway. 

First up ...

1. Road trip … almost anywhere!

Okay, so I wanted to start with what I 100% believe to be the best thing you can do in Norway, which is to road trip it.

In norway, you’ll find dozens of towns, cities, villages, islands and beaches to visit, but the best way to see them is in your own vehicle.

This gives you the chance to find all of those “in-between” places that you so easily miss as a part of an organised tour.

Plus, at all times of the year, Norway really is a spectacularly gorgeous country to visit.

In particular, the far north, where you find very few other campers, and you spend endless hours driving through snowy fjords and breathtaking mountain sides.

We had the great fortune to complete our trip in our Tinggly Blogger Van; but if you need to hire your own vehicle, then I recommend Rentalcars.com as the best place to begin your search.

2. Wild camp in breathtaking locations

If road tripping is the best thing to do, then wild camping is the second best thing to do in Norway!

Norway, Sweden and Finland all have the Right to Roam written into their constitution, which makes wild camping in breathtaking locations very easy to do, at least compared to other European countries.

Of course, there are key practices you need to follow, including not parking on private land without permission and being at least 150 metres from people’s homes.

However, you can always find a really nice spot to spend the night.

My two favourite locations that we spent the night were near to the North Cape, and another night spent in Hamningberg (more details on these spots below).

Another great bonus is that, if you road trip Norway in a campervan, then they have waste disposal points all over the country, which allows you to empty and clean your camper’s toilet free of charge.

Some of these camper points even offer spots to charge your camper for free.

3. Go hunting for the Northern Lights

One of the main reasons we were so excited to visit this part of the world was to see the Northern Lights.

Up until our visit to Norway, I had only seen them once in Finland, and even then they weren’t at their strongest.

Well, after spending a week touring the northernmost parts of Norway, it’s fair to say I have well and truly seen the Northern Lights!

On our nights spent in the North Cape and Hamningberg, we were greeted by hour long displays of the Aurora Borealis in their full force!

Because you are so far north, literally as far as you can go in mainland Europe, your chances of seeing the Northern Lights are at their best!

And on a good day, when the lights are out with a strong KP Index, you almost can’t beat them!

To find our more on spotting them yourself, check out Cazzy’s guide on finding the Northern Lights in Norway.

4. Ride on the Flåm Railway

Nestled amidst the pristine fjords in southwest Norway, you have the small, gorgeous village of Flam.

Though it’s small, it’s actually one of the most popular places to visit in Norway!

Why?

Mainly, the Flåm Railway.

The journey takes around one hour each way, with the train taking you deep into the Norwegian mountainside, finishing up at a stop called Myrdal.

Along the way, you’ll see views of the canyons, mountains and even have a stop at a waterfall!

The Flam Railway is very historic; built in the early 1900s, it was once a highly important railway for transporting raw materials across Norway.

Nowadays, it’s mostly a tourist route, but you can even take the railway all the way from Flam to Bergen and Oslo!

5. Visit the northernmost point in mainland Europe

If you are looking to visit one of Norway’s most rugged and awe inspiring spots, then you should 100% head to Nordkapp (the North Cape).

This is actually located on a small island, now connected to the rest of Norway by winding bridges and tunnels.

The drive here is truly unforgettable, and one of my favorite road trips in Norway.

At the northernmost point is a large globe statue, as well as a visitor centre and restaurant.

We actually spent the night wild camping at a spot just 5 minutes from the northernmost point.

This ended up being one of the most awe inspiring, yet terrifying nights of my life!

The spot we found is a large open car park, with next to no surrounding mountains, meaning it’s very open and exposed to the elements.

On this night we had the best Northern Lights display of our entire trip, and it’s a popular spot for tour buses to stop off at.

However, that night, the weather really picked up with gale force winds whipping all around us.

Stupidly, we hadn’t taken this into consideration, and we spend all night, from 3am onwards, sat awake in fear that the van would topple over, and send us down the nearby slopes.

Looking back, we learned some important lessons that night, and if you are road tripping Norway yourself, then take this as a word of warning!

Only spend the nights in places with good windbreaks, as all along Norway’s coast the winds can get extremely powerful and with very little notice.

6. Venture to the remote town of Hamningberg

As mentioned earlier, Hamingberg was another spot where we were greeted by a dramatic display from the Northern Lights, as we spent the night camped here in the middle of nowhere!

This small town is actually a fishing village that has been occupied for more than a hundred years.

However, it is also one of Norway’s most isolated spots, with only one long, winding road in, it is virtually trapped off from civilisation; making this one of the most adventurous things to do in Norway.

When we arrived in early November, almost all of the town’s inhabitants had already left for the winter, and wouldn’t return for a few months.

In fact, during the harsh winter months, they no longer even clear the long road into Hamningberg so it’s impossible to visit.

However, if it is open then I really recommend you visit, so long as your car has good grip and ideally 4 wheel drive; just in case you do get stuck.

We actually had a really strange and disturbing end to our visit here …

On heading out, we spotted a large brown lump on the pebbled beach, just outside of the main part of the village.

Curious, I walked over the big rocks to reach the beach, and about 20 metres away I could already smell the putrid stench of what turned out to be a Beluga whale corpse!

You certainly wouldn’t see that in England!

7. Explore the world’s northernmost stone fortress

In order to reach Hamningberg, you’ll need to head past another one of Norway’s nicest town, called Vardo.

It’s actually the eastern most town in Norway, which is why I initially bookmarked it as a place to visit.

Only when we were there, did I discover just how incredible a place this is!

The drive along the fjord to get there is spectacularly scenic, and in the town you’ll find Vardøhus Fortress, the northernmost stone fortress in the world.

From above, it looks really cool, with that star like design; and it’s been very well maintained over the years.

It was even used during WW2, and I imagine winters out there can get very rugged!

There was about 2 feet of snow covering it when we visited, but the buildings were all still open to visit, and you can even walk along the walls of the fortress, enjoying views all around.

8. Hike to the Lyngenfjord Bridge

When passing through Northern Norway, it’s a great idea to try and get off the main roads, and discover small trails and hikes.

Well the walk to Lyngenfjord Bridge is really nice and, if you do the full route, it can take maybe 3 or 4 hours to complete.

We went to the closest car park to the walk and, just a word of warning, the road is very steep and very winding, so you’ll need a good car with good tyres, winter ones if there’s snow on the ground.

Either way, the walk is more than worth it!

Crossing a deep canyon, the views from the bridge are awesome and terrifying!

I’m a bit freaked out by heights and on the day we visited, it was very windy which certainly didn’t help.

However what made up for my fear was the incredible views of the frozen waterfall next to the bridge!

It’s only visible from the bridge, and I imagine seeing it is one of the best things to do in Norway in summer, when it’s actually flowing!

If you are feeling particularly daring, you can actually do a bungee jump from the bridge!

9. Discover the beauty of the Lofoten islands

It turns out that the Lofoten islands are one of the most popular regions to visit in Norway, and it’s not hard to see why.

Connected by a dozen or more awesome bridges, the drive all the way to Å, at the very end is breathtaking.

It was easily one of my favourite individual road trips in Norway, and well located at the southern end of northern Norway; so well worth a visit if you are starting and ending your visit in Oslo.

Many people actually choose to get a ferry to Reine, which is easily one of the nicest places to visit in the Lofoten Islands.

For more information on why you should visit, check out Cazzy’s complete guide to the Lofoten Islands.

10. Roam the streets of Trondheim

Though it’s the third largest city in Norway, Trondheim actually isn’t even that big, meaning you can easily visit all of the best sites in a day.

It’s filled with unique charm and is a very historic city, with many original buildings, shops and streets all in tact today.

One of the best things to do in Trondheim is to head to one of the many cute little coffee shops in the old part of the city.

Afterwards, walk on up to Kristiansten Festning, a 330 year old fortress overlooking the city.

11. Cross the fjords by ferry

Going on a fjord cruise is one of the most famous things to do in Norway, but something we didn’t get chance to do ourselves.

However, if you are road tripping Norway, then there are lots of opportunities to take ferry crossings over the Fjords.

We completed a number of these on our way through southern Norway, and on most of them you can get out of your car and enjoy the views from the top of the ferry.

They each only usually last about 10 to 15 minutes, costing around 140NOK each.

They also cut out a lot of time spent driving inland in order to get past each fjord.

12. Be amazed by incredible waterfalls

It’s hard to name just a few, as there are a number of incredible waterfalls to see all across Norway.

They are very remarkable, particularly in the winter time when they become frozen over!

I’ve already mentioned the falls at Lyngenfjord Bridge, which were certainly some of the best, as well as those you see on the Flam Railway.

But if you have your own car, you will see many waterfalls at the side of the road, as they flow down through Fjords all across the country.

13. Complete the Atlantic Ocean Road

The Atlantic Ocean Road is a relatively short drive, located in the southern part of Norway, not far from Kristiansund.

Officially, the Ocean Road is only 8 kilometres long, however the whole drive from Kristiansund to Bud is famously scenic.

It is made up of winding bridges, connecting tiny parcels of land out in the ocean.

As you drive along, it’s tempting to pull in every couple of minutes to take pictures, and it is certainly one of the nicest stretches of bridges anywhere in Norway, perhaps second only to those found in the Lofoten Islands.

14. Take in the views from Pulpit Rock

Pulpit Rock (or Preikestolen Rock) is one of the sites we were most excited to visit in Norway.

It is a large slab of cliff that sticks out over the fjords, offering you the chance to capture some really epic photos.

We were actually really lucky visiting when we visited, as there were only a couple of other people there when we finally made it there after the 2 hour walk.

However, if you visit in the summer months, then the route attracts hundreds of people every day, and you can apparently queue for more than an hour at the Pulpit Rock in order to get your picture taken.

So if you get the chance to visit in the off season, then you should!

Just be warned, if there's snow on the ground then it can be a bit treacherous and you might need to hire snowshoes from the main visitor centre.

For more information, check out Cazzy’s guide on visiting Pulpit Rock.

15. Wander the Christmas markets in Oslo

Perhaps the best thing to do in Oslo in Winter is to head to the city’s Christmas markets.

These turned out to be one of my favourite Christmas markets I’ve ever been to in Europe (and trust me, we have been to a LOT!).

Oslo itself is nice to visit, though certainly one of the least exciting cities in Norway and Europe as a whole.

With so many other incredible things to see in Norway, I would actually recommend you to get out of a city like Oslo and instead spend your time enjoying smaller towns and villages.

But the Christmas markets, for me, made our visit to Oslo more than worthwhile!

16. Hike through their gorgeous national parks

Hiking in Norway is a big hobby, perhaps because the country is covered in wonderful trails and national parks.

Once again, it’s hard to recommend any one national park, as we were only able to visit a few.

Which is great because, no matter where you are visiting in Norway, you shouldn’t be too far from great spot.

I’ve already spoken about Pulpit Rock above, which was definitely one of my favorite hikes, and I talk about another one of my favourites below.

One park we would definitely like to return to visit is Jotunheimen National Park, home to Galdhøpiggen (Norway’s highest peak), which was unfortunately closed due to bad (snowy and icy) weather during our visit.

17. Practice your photography skills

We seem to slowly be getting better with our photography, and Norway proved to be the perfect place to practice our newfound skills (and lens).

I mentioned earlier about how simply driving in Norway in winter or summer is one of the best experiences you can have, as there are scenic photo points seemingly everywhere!

I would venture to say that it's pretty darn hard to take a bad photo of Norway, as it is that photogenic!

So if you are into your photography skills (and growing your Instagram following) then I would say Norway is one of the best countries to do it.

It’s also great for flying your drone, which we did … A LOT!

18. Explore the historic city of Fredrikstad

Though not very big, the city of Fredrikstad should firmly be on anyone’s Norway bucket list.

It was officially founded back in the mid 1500s, and many of the original buildings and other structures have been remarkably well maintained over the years.

Once again, like Vardo in the north, it looks really cool from above as it was constructed in a star like design.

Nowadays, it only takes a few hours to visit most of Fredrikstad, and the original buildings are open to the public; with an assortment of cafes, museums and art galleries also open.

19. Try freshly caught and smoked salmon

There are a few local Norwegian dishes that are worth trying, but by far my favourite was freshly caught and smoked salmon.

When you visit small Norwegian towns and villages along the coast, you will soon realise that many of them are still very true to their roots.

They still catch their fish and dry and smoke them there and then on the banks of the fjords.

During our visit to the Lofoten Islands in early November, the fishing communities and all battened down the hatches for the winter, but you can still see all of the boats moored up and large drying structures all ready for use next summer.

Apparently, if you visit in the summer months then these small villages often stink of freshly caught fish!

Which, if you’re a fan, would make this the best time to visit Norway so you can try the local catch!

20. Climb Rampestreken

Located in the town of Andalsnes, you can climb up to the Rampestreken viewpoint which offers dramatic views out over the small town and the fjords.

We completed the walk when the ground was covered in thick layers of snow and ice, which made for pretty hard going at parts.

But when you reach the top, the views more than make up for the effort, and there is a big steel platform that sticks out from the side of the mountain.

I think it took us about 3 hours round trip, though if the weather’s better and you are in better shape than us, you can do it in closer to 2.

Though we did soooo much more than this during our time here, I think these are easily the 20 best things we did in Norway!

I have nothing but fond memories from our time there, especially because it didn’t end up costing is quite as much as we first thought!

What I also love is that there is even more for us to see, and the next time we visit we intend to do so in the spring or summer, when the ground is clear of snow and we can venture to even more places we couldn’t before.

In fact, here are just a few other things to do in Norway that we didn’t get a chance to try, but would definitely love to next time:

  • King crab fishing in Kirkenes
  • Dining underwater at Under
  • A cruise of the fjords
  • Hiking to Galdhøpiggen
  • Visit Svalbard during Norway’s winter darkness

Are there any places you've visited in Norway that weren’t on this list?

If so, let me know in the comments below as I would love to add them to our list for next time!

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