Norway, together with Sweden, Finland and Denmark, forms Scandinavia and is a country in northern Europe characterized by wide open spaces and unspoiled nature. The main cities are located in the south, while in the north, small villages and settlements prevail. Keep in mind that throughout Norway winter is very harsh and cold, with temperatures that go well below 0, but you can witness the wonderful phenomenon of the Aurora Borealis, while summer has milder temperatures and different cities are held events and demonstrations!
Depending on the season you go to, you can see and do different things, but you will never be disappointed.
Here are the places not to be missed, the 10 most important and beautiful cities in Norway!
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1 - Oslo
Nestled between the mountains and the sea and surrounded by woods, lakes and hills, the Norwegian capital Oslo, with a population of over 650.000, is a colorful, fun and curated city.
Among the quietest European cities in the world, 3 days will be enough to get to know it as the main attractions are located in the historic center. Then you can dedicate us to explore its beautiful surroundings, between fjords and nature reserves. The must is definitely the cruise through the fjords.
It is a city for every type of traveler: especially suitable for those who love nightlife and sophisticated clubs, ideal for art and architecture lovers, it is also perfect for those with children.
- Best time: from April to May the city is in bloom and on May 17th the Constitution Day is celebrated, with parades and celebrations. In June, the days are very long and various events take place in the city. December is ideal for lovers of Christmas markets and for those who love ice and snow
- Main attractions: Fjords, Viking Ship Museum, Vigeland Park, National Gallery, Framm Museum, Munch Museum, Den Norske Opera & Ballet (the Opera House), Akershus fortress
2 - Bergen
Considered one of the most beautiful port cities in Norway, inhabited by about 279.000 people, Bergen is surrounded by 7 hills and 7 fjords that make it fascinating and bewitching.
Characterized by fairytale wooden houses, a medieval Hanseatic harbor and 60 historic buildings, it has been included in the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
Ideal for families with children looking for a place surrounded by nature, but also for those who love fresh fish, museums and galleries and those who want some nightlife, Bergen is a must see.
Here, too, among the must-sees is a cruise on the Osterfjord, along the Mostraumen strait, considered one of the most beautiful and scenic fjords in Norway. Among the recommended excursions, certainly that to the Hardangerfjord and the Troll's Tongue, a sheer offshoot of rock 700 meters above Lake Ringedalsvatnet, about 40 minutes from Bergen.
- Best time: May to admire the flowering of the orchards, to attend the Festspillene, a cultural festival, and to participate in the Nattjazz, jazz festival. The International Festival takes place in June while in September there is the Beer Festival and the Matfest, dedicated to gastronomy
- Main attractions: Old Town, Bryggen, Mount Fløyen, Museet Lysoen, Kode Art Museum, Osterfjord, Hardangerfjord and the Troll's Tongue
3 - Tromso
Located on the Tromshalvoya peninsula, 400 km from the Arctic Circle, Tromso, inhabited by around 72.000 people, is the largest city in northern Norway, full of suggestions.
Surrounded by fjords and snow capped mountains for most of the year, it was once an important center for fishing, seal hunting and was the starting point for polar expeditions.
And the perfect destination both in summer and in winterIn fact, most of the Northern Lights Tours depart from here, tours to admire the Aurora Borealis and the Northern Lights. Other recommended experiences are the sledding expeditions led by huskies or reindeers and those forwhale watching in the arctic seas.
- Best time: Film festival and Northern Lights festival takes place in January, Sami week with sled championship takes place in February, and January to March are the best times for Northern Lights and snow activities. In June we witness the midnight sun and the Midnight Sun Marathon is organized
- Main attractions: Arctic Cathedral, Fjellheisen cable car, the Polarmuseet (polar museum), Polaria (museum and aquarium)
4 - Andenes
More than a city, Andenes is a village of 2.178 people on the Andoya Peninsula, characterized by a cluster of scattered houses,famous mainly for fishing and for the various excursions that can be done.
This location is the departure point for various excursions wonderful: for whale-watching (whale watching), for winter trekking on the frozen lake of Bleik, for the sighting of the auroras and for summer kayaking trips.
The village is characterized by a small harbor, a lighthouse from which to admire the magnificent panorama, a few shops and a museum.
- Best time: February and March for aurora sightings and excursions on the snow, summer for trekking and whale watching.
- Main attractions: Spaceship Aurora (the space center), Andenes Lighthouse, whale watching excursion, kayak excursion
5 - Bodo
Bodo is a town at the northern end of the beautiful Kystriksveien Coastline, along the Arctic road and represents the entrance to the north part of the country.
The town, which has 50.000 inhabitants, is not particularly attractive in itself but the its charm is represented by the nature that surrounds it, such as rugged mountains and numerous surrounding islands inhabited by the largest colony of sea eagles. It offers the possibility of doing many fun activities both on the water and a few meters above the sea level.
- Best time: February and March to be able to spot the Northern Lights. In summer you can see the midnight sun, go on various excursions and in August attend the Music Festival and the Parken Festival
- Main attractions: Aviation Museum, Bodo Church, sea eagles excursion
6 - Alesund
In the central southern part of Norway, located on a peninsula in the shape of a hook, is the port town of Alesund which has about 48.000 inhabitants.
Renowned for art-nouveau, it is also the place where mountains and fjords meet the ocean, and these characteristics make it one of the most visited Norwegian destinations.
The historic center has several museums and attractions and the surroundings are ideal for nature excursions, walks and trekking.
- Best time: June, July and August are the best months both in terms of climate and because various events take place. Midtsommerjazz in June, Sommerfesten (music event) and Boat Festival in July, Den Norske Matfestivalen (gastronomic event) in August
- Main attractions: Art Nouveau Museum, Kniven viewpoint, Godoy (the farthest island from the Alesund coast)
7 - Stavanger
An ideal location for families, young people and couples, the city of Stavanger located in Fjord Norway is one of the largest in the country, inhabited by about 123.000 people.
Characterized by wooden houses, long white beaches and breathtaking coves, it has a small center with narrow streets framed by pastel colored houses.
Usually this locality acts as starting point for day trips, like the one on foot to Preikestolen, via an incredible path to the Pulpit Rock overlooking the Lysefjorden.
- Best timeIn addition to being the ideal time for flowering, April is also the month in which Vinfest takes place, in May there is the JAzz festival, while in September there are NuArt (dedicated to street to music)
- Main attractions: Gamle Stavanger district, Norsk Hermetikkmuseum (museum of the canning industry), Sjofarts-museet (naval museum)
8 - Longyearbyen
Gateway to discover the magical world of Svalbard, Longyearbyen is the only inhabited center in this region, albeit with a population of no more than 2.100.
This town, despite being dominated by two important glaciers, doesn't have much to see, but it represents the point of support to explore the surrounding nature and the unspoiled nature that reigns in this area.
After visiting the main museums of the city and the brewery, we suggest you take part in birdwatching excursions, trips on icebreakers, sightings of polar bears and walruses and tours on snowmobiles.
Be warned though, this is not the place for everyone but it is alone for those who love adventure and is not afraid of anything.
- Best time: January and February to experience the long polar night and witness the Northern Lights as well as Polar Jezz. In March for the atmosphere of the Festa del Sole and from June to August to experience the endless days and make many excursions
- Main attractions: Photo Gallery, Svalbard museum, dog sledding, icebreaker excursions to spot bears and walruses
9 - Trondheim
Considered one of the most photographed towns in Norway, in the south center of the country, Trondheim is located on the fjord of the same name and is the third largest city with 190.400 inhabitants.
Characterized by a pedestrian center full of cafes and restaurants, it also has a very busy port, beautiful museums to visit and ideal surroundings for excursions and trips in the wild. Furthermore, from late September to late March you can admire the beautiful Northern Lights.
Ideal for a holiday alone, as a couple or with the family, various events take place here throughout the year to enliven the atmosphere.
- Best time: spring, nature awakens and the days get longer, the Film Festival and the Blues music festival are also held. Summer is perfect for hiking and the unmissable Olavsfestdagene takes place between July and August, with medieval markets and concerts
- Main attractions: Nidaros Cathedral, Trondheim Fjord, Kristiansen Fortress, Old Town and Harbor Area
10 - Svolvaer
Port town that serves as an access for those who want to discover the Lofoten islands, Svolvaer which has 4.590 inhabitants, is one of the major islands of the archipelago and the only lively center in this area.
Surrounded by high mountains and overlooking the sea, its center is however characterized by tall buildings that spoil the atmosphere a bit.
However this resort is one of the oldest in Europe and represents the starting point for visiting the surroundings such as the long and beautiful beach of Haukland beach, the small harbor of Henningsvaer and for excursions to spot sea eagles.
One of the major attractions of the area are certainly the Lofoten Islands, an archipelago where nature is the mistress, where you can discover the small characteristic villages and reach the different islands by kayak!
- Best time: February and March to spot the auroras and discover the snow-covered Lofoten, in March there is also the world championship of cod fishing. Summer is the right time to go on excursions and activities such as climbing and walking
- Main attractions: War Museum, Ice Bar, sea eagle hike, Trollfjord cruise