While Norway is known for its beautiful fjords, it has a lot more to offer than just that. With museums, 17th century houses, wharves and stone-paved streets, it's worth exploring every nook and cranny of Norway.
Whether you’re most excited to taste test the local food or check out the best hotels, it’s worth exploring every nook and cranny of Norway, which, of course, includes the major attractions. Though Norway may be known for its beautiful fjords, it has a lot more to offer than just that.
Check out the top 10 attractions in Norway.
[Editor’s note: Tourists might want to visit Norway in the summer when the weather is warmer, but late autumn to early spring is the best time to catch sight of the northern lights. PMD’s travel columnists, the Andersons, did that in 2012 in their Hunting the Aurora Borealis series. All 11 articles can be accessed at the bottom of the first.]
The Hanseatic Wharf (bryggen is Norwegian for “wharf”) in Bergen is one of the city's iconic sights; the colorful row of 17th century wooden merchant houses is emblazoned on the cover of many a tourist brochure. And it is deservedly famous; though some of the houses were reconstructed after being burned down, a handful do date back to the 17th century, and wandering the narrow streets between them (today dotted with cafes and souvenir shops) feels like stepping back in time.
Oyster's pick for where to stay: Clarion Collection Hotel Havnekontoret
The fjords are unquestionably Norway's most famous attraction. There are numerous boat tours that shuttle visitors through these beautiful inlets, carved by glaciers thousands of years ago and today framed by steep green cliffs. Snow melt creates hundreds of waterfalls that flow into the channels.
Oyster's pick for where to stay: Fretheim Hotel, Norway
Viking Ship Museum, Oslo
The fierce Viking warriors that ruled this country during medieval times left behind numerous artifacts that are on display in Norway's museums today. By far the most notable are the full-size ships discovered in Viking burial mounds, which provided historians with important insight into the shipbuilding methods and customs of this seafaring society.
Oyster's pick for where to stay: Carlton Oslo Hotel Guldsmeden
Old Town Bridge and Wharves, Trondheim
Trondheim's Old Town Bridge was first constructed in 1681, and today is popular with tourists for its picturesque view of the brightly painted rows of 18th century wharves that line the Nidelva River.
Oyster's pick for where to stay: Clarion Collection Hotel Grand Olav
Vigeland Sculpture Park, Oslo
The sculptor Gustav Vigeland was one of Norway's most revered artists, and today visitors flock to the Vigeland Sculpture Arrangement in Frogner Park. This lovely area includes a grand boulevard lined with statues; a large fountain with sculptural reliefs representing aging, death, and rebirth; and giant Monolith of carved human figures. The lush greenery, pond, and picnic areas make it particularly pleasant in nice weather.
Oyster's pick for where to stay: Saga Hotel Oslo
Like all Norwegian cities, Stavanger has been ravaged by fire many times over the years, but this adorable little pocket of 18th century houses has survived, and gives visitors a glimpse into an earlier era. The white wooden buildings with flowering gardens line cobblestone streets, and are the subject of many a tourist photo.
Oyster's pick for where to stay: Comfort Hotel Square
Edvard Munch Museum, Oslo
Even those who know nothing about Norway have almost certainly heard of Norwegian artist Edvard Munch's painting The Scream. Munch is, to date, one of the world's best-known Norwegians, and Norway is understandably proud of his accomplishments. The Edvard Munch Museum is a must-see for anyone who appreciates Post-Impressionism and wishes to see an impressive selection of the artist's works (including his most famous).
Oyster's pick for where to stay: Radisson Blu Plaza Hotel, Oslo
Bakklandet, a thoroughfare on the eastern bank of the Nidelva River that's home to revitalized historic workers' houses, is Trondheim's most charming area. An assortment of cute cafés, book stores and shops can be found here. It's worth visiting just to wander along the stone-paved street.
Oyster's pick for where to stay: Britannia Hotel
Homenkollbakken Ski Jump, Oslo
Annual ski jumping competitions are held at the Holmenkollbakken Ski Jump, but tourists come year-round to ride the elevator to the top of the jump and take in the panoramic city views. There is also an interesting museum on-site about the history of skiing in Norway.
Oyster's pick for where to stay: Comfort Hotel Grand Central
Aker Brygge Wharf, Oslo
The post-industrial Aker Byrgge waterfront is a popular area to explore. In nice weather, locals and tourists alike can be found strolling up and down the Stranden, lining up at the ice cream and hot dog stands, sitting on the benches to watch the boats, and dining at the outdoor restaurant tables along the street.
Oyster's pick for where to stay: Hotel Continental