Why Norway Should be at the Top of Your List of Countries to Visit

With dramatic landscapes, picturesque vistas, and over 60,000 miles of coastline, Norway should be at the top of anyone’s list of countries to visit.
Geiranger Fjord was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2005.

With dramatic landscapes, picturesque vistas, and over 60,000 miles of coastline, Norway should be at the top of anyone’s list of countries to visit.  This prosperous Scandinavian country has a population of five million and is often cited as one of the best and safest places in the world to live.  Travelers will appreciate how Norway salutes its historic heritage, while embracing its modern culture.  To experience the beautiful vibrancy of Norway, explore the cosmopolitan capital of Oslo on the southern coast, and the picture-perfect cities of Alesund and Bergen on the western coast.


Oslo’s Opera and Ballet House was built with a “pedestrian” ground-to-roof concept and received the Mies van der Rohe award for contemporary architecture in 2009.

The largest city in Norway, Oslo has a population of just over 700,000.  Oslo is the economic and government center of the country and has a thriving maritime industry.  Previously used as shipyards, Aker Brygge (wharf) is a 1980s master plan multi-use community/marina on Oslo Fjord.  The waterfront development is a blend of older industrial buildings and modern architecture.

The Norwegian Opera House is situated on the Bjorvika district seafront.  Built in 2008, it received the European Union Mies van der Rohe award for contemporary architecture.  The avant-garde design uniquely captures light from the sun reflecting off the water.  With the roof slanting to the ground, the public has true access enabling people to climb from the bottom to the top of the building.

Learn about the history of Alfred Nobel and the Peace Prize he established at the Nobel Peace Prize Center, which is located in a former train station that was originally constructed in 1872

Oslo is home to several premier museums, most notably the National Museum, which contains a significant collection of Edvard Munch paintings, including The Scream.  In 2005, the Nobel Peace Center was opened to exhibit and honor the work of Nobel Peace Prize laureates.  The building was a former railway station.  While other Nobel Prizes are awarded in Stockholm, Sweden, the Nobel Peace Prize is awarded in Oslo.

While the peninsula of Bygdoy (The Museum Island of Oslo), can be reached by bus or car, crossing the Oslo Fjord by the ferry from City Hall Pier 3 (which departs every 30 minutes) is an enjoyable ride to the Fram Museum and the Kon-Tiki Museum.  The Viking Museum is currently closed for renovation until 2026.  The Fram Museum displays the wooden ship Fram that was used for Norwegian polar exploration in the Arctic and the Antarctic from 1893 to 1912.  Explorers Fridtjof Nansen and Roald Amundsen were the ship’s famous navigators.  Nansen’s Arctic Ocean explorations included proving east-west current theory and Amundsen was the first to sail through the Northwest Passage.  Amundsen also sailed the Fram from Oslo to Antarctica, where he continued on dog sled to be the first person to arrive at the South Pole.  Visitors can go on board the Fram and experience visual surround sound effects and a simulated high seas storm.

The Kon-Tiki Museum commemorates explorer Thor Heyerdahl’s filmed 1947 journey on a balsawood raft across the Pacific Ocean from Peru to Polynesia, to hypothesize pre-Columbia era travel from South America to Polynesia.  His film won an Academy Award and he later led additional journeys across the ocean in reed boats, the Ra and Ra II.  The museum displays the original rafts.

Where to Stay

The Karl Johan Hotel (centrally located with a superb breakfast included)

Address: Karl Johans gate 33, 0162 Oslo, Norway
Email: service@karljohan.no
Phone: +47 23 16 17 00
Website: https://karljohanhotel.com/

Where to Dine

Rorbua (traditional Norwegian food) 

Address: Stranden 71, 0250 Oslo, Norway
Email: post@rorbua.as
Phone: +47 48 22 38 49
Website: https://www.rorbua.as/page-2/

Ling Ling (Cantonese dishes with Norwegian influences, Hakkasan Group)

Address: Stranden 30, 0250 Oslo, Norway
Email: reservations@linglingoslo.com
Phone: +47 24 13 38 00
Website: https://www.linglingoslo.com


Stunning views of Ålesund from the Aksla Viewpoint

Located on Norway’s west coast, Ålesund is the gateway to the Geiranger Fjord, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.  Ålesund is an archipelago with several bridges connecting to the mainland.  It is considered one of Norway’s most beautiful cities.  The easiest and quickest way to reach Ålesund is by plane.  There are daily flights from Oslo, Bergen, Copenhagen, and Amsterdam.  The airport is about a 20-minute drive from the city.

Ålesund, a port city on the Norwegian Sea, is one of Norway’s most picturesque towns and is known as the gateway to Geiranger Fjord.

Ålesund emerged as a splendid representation of Art Nouveau architecture when it was rebuilt after a fire in 1904 destroyed most of the town.  For stunning panoramic views of the seaport city, take a short drive up to Aksla Viewpoint, or walk the 418 steps from Town Park.  From this vantage point you can also see the Sunnmore Alps.

Geiranger Fjordservice’s catamaran cruises to three fjords in three hours: Storfjorden, Synnylvsfjorden, and UNESCO World Heritage Site Geiranger Fjord. Be prepared for some spectacular scenery. The fjord’s majestic grandeur and exceptional natural beauty are breathtaking.  Even professional photos of the deep blue waters and numerous magnificent waterfalls fail to do it justice.  Extraordinary cascading waterfalls abound, and folklore has given some of them names. The Seven Sisters are seven waterfalls with an impressive fall of over 800 feet and from a distance appear to look like the long, flowing hair of seven women.  Across from the Seven Sisters is a waterfall called The Suitor. After The Seven Sisters dismissed his frequent marriage proposals, he turned into the shape of a bottle.

For “crazy” fun, drive or take a tour bus on the insanely serpentine Trollstigen (Trolls Footpath) road with more impressive Norwegian waterfalls and eleven hairpin turns — not a trek for the faint-of-heart.  View the lush valley and scope of the winding road from the balcony at the summit.  According to Norse mythology, trolls are cave-dwelling creatures who are mischievous and sometimes evil.

Where to Stay

Hotel Brosundet (excellent breakfast included)

Address: Apotekergata 1-5, Ålesund, Norway
Email: post@brosundet.no
Phone: +47 70 10 33 00
Website: https://www.brosundet.no/en

Where to Dine

Sjobua (fresh seafood restaurant, that will re-open November 2023)

Address: Brunholmgata 1A, 6004 Ålesund, Norway
Email: hello@sjobua.no
Phone: +47 70 12 71 00
Website: https://www.sjobua.no/


Byparken, located in the heart of Bergen, is a lovely garden park with a music pavilion/gazebo.

Like Alesund, the easiest and quickest way to reach Bergen, Norway’s second-largest city, is by plane.  The flight from Alesund is about 45 minutes.  It takes an entire day if traveling by car or bus.  If time allows, another option is to take the seven-hour train ride from Oslo to Bergen, which travels through the beautiful landscape of western Norway.  The town of Bergen is situated on a peninsula surrounded by mountains.  There is no need to rent a car as the city has an abundance of public transportation and taxis.  The town has easy walkability from the waterfront to Byparken, the large park in the heart of the city with ponds, water features, and a music pavilion.

Bryggen is Bergen’s famous wharf and a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Bryggen, Bergen’s wharf, with its colorful wooden buildings and nearby famous fish market, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.  It was an important trading center between Norway and Europe during the 14th – 16th centuries.  Today, the buildings and alleys contain shops, art galleries, and restaurants. You can’t go wrong dining at one of the fish market stalls with its fresh-caught fish and local beer.

The Floibanen funicular from the city center travels over 1,000 feet to the top of Mount Floyen where sensational views of the Bergen peninsula below greet you. The funicular has been in service for over a century, and the trip takes a mere six minutes.  You can hike the nearby nature trails and then reward your efforts by enjoying ice cream or pastries at the Floistuen Café.

Edvard Grieg built his cozy cabin in this serene setting so he could compose his music in quiet solitude.

Troldhaugen, a 15-minute taxi ride from Bergen, was the Victorian home of Edvard Grieg (1843–1907), Norway’s most famous composer.  Today, Grieg’s villa is a museum and a concert hall.  Tickets for the daily lunchtime concert can be purchased online.  The museum, which has a café and souvenir shop, is dedicated to Grieg’s life and music.  A short walk from the main house leads to Grieg’s cabin, overlooking Nordas Lake.  Grieg built a small house away from his home so he could compose his music in seclusion.  He wrote the musical score for his friend Henrik Ibsen’s drama of Norwegian folk hero Peer Gynt in 1875.   His best-known movements from the Peer Gynt Suite are Morning Mood and In the Hall of the Mountain King.  His other recognizable works include Piano Concerto in A Minor and Wedding Day at Troldhaugen.

Where to Stay

Thon Hotel Rosenkrantz (amazing breakfast and a 24-hour espresso machine)

Address: Rosenkrantzgaten 7, 5003 Bergen
Phone: +47 55 30 14 00
Website: https://www.thonhotels.com/our-hotels/norway/bergen/thon-hotel-rosenkrantz-bergen/

Where to Dine

Fish Market (check out the fish stalls)

Address: Torget 7, 5014 Bergen, Norway
Website: https://www.visitnorway.com/listings/fish-market-in-bergen/2548/

Daily Pot (healthy and delicious)

Address: Vaskerelven 21, 5014 Bergen, Norway
Email: post@dailypot.no
Phone: +47 48911387
Website: https://www.dailypot.no/about-me

Share the Post:

Related Posts