Norway as a country is best known for its magnificent scenery and stunning fjords. But that's not all this Scandinavian state has to offer. Norway is a very modern, forward thinking country, with a rich culture and are extremely proud of their heritage. They welcome tourists to come and visit their fjords, while at the same time preserving the stunning landscape is a top priority for them.
It is also said, the best way to discover Norway is by cruise. Taking a Norwegian fjords cruise really gives you a great taste of what this country is really about.
Below we have highlighted some of the best destination to visit in Norway. These destinations have been highlighted to showcase what really makes Norway such a wonderful country, covering art, history, culture and of course nature.
Bergen is Norway's second largest city and known as 'the gateway to the fjords'. On a Norwegian scale, Bergen is a large city but one with a small town charm and atmosphere. Around 10% of the city's population are students, which adds a fresh and youthful mood to the city's vibe. Alongside its offerings of museums, art galleries, cultural events and dining opportunities, as well as the possibilities offered by its accessible sea and mountains, this contributes to making it a lively and vibrant city.
Bergen is famous for the seven mountains surrounding the city centre, the Hanseatic Wharf, the fish market and the 'Fløibanen' and the railway that climbs the side of the mountain, Fløyen. When arriving at the top, passengers have breathtaking views across the whole of Bergen.
Trondheim has many names. It's a city of students, technology, culture, cycling and food. The Norwegian University of Science and Technology has left its mark on the city, contributing a high level of innovation and vibrant culture. Annual food and beer festivals, a food hall, Norway’s most popular Farmers’ Market, several local breweries and many excellent restaurants focusing on local food means that Trondheim is perfect for foodies.
Trondheim, formerly called Nidaros, was Norway's capital from 1030 to 1217. The city has played a key role in Norway’s history, and the Nidaros Cathedral has been a popular pilgrimage site for nearly 1000 years.
At the innermost bank of the Aurlandsfjord, surrounded by steep mountains, thundering waterfalls and narrow valleys, you’ll find the small village of Flåm. In the spring and summer months you will see large cruise ships gliding in the Sognefjord with their course set for Flåm harbour.
Flåm is also home to 'the world’s most incredible train journey'. The Flåmsbana takes you from Flåm by the fjord to the top of the mountains, and during the 20-kilometre train ride you can see rivers cutting through deep ravines, waterfalls cascading down the sides of steep, snow-capped mountains and mountain farms clinging to steep hillsides.
Several restaurants serve local and traditional foods such as cured ham, game, lamb, salmon, goat cheese, fruit, and berries. The local brewery is called Ægir and is one of the most successful handcraft breweries in Norway.
4. The Lofoten Islands
If you are seeking unforgettable nature experiences on your Norwegian fjords cruise then Lofoten will definitely not let you down. The Lofoten Islands are draped across the turbulent waters of the Norwegian Sea, far above the Arctic Circle. This rare wilderness outpost offers an untrammelled landscape of majestic mountains, deep fjords, squawking seabird colonies and long, surf-swept beaches.
In this modern city in the Arctic, nature and culture go hand in hand. Tromsø has many activities on offer, from an aquarium and several quality museums, the world’s northernmost botanical garden and the famous Arctic Cathedral. The city is also a popular place to observe the majestic phenomenon of the northern lights.
The city is known for its lively night scene and a range of restaurants specialising in the fresh ingredients of the Arctic. Tromsø’s multi-cultural community, featuring more than 100 nationalities, does its very best to whet local palates, and there is no shortage of new eateries based on local food.
The Stavanger region of Norway is known for its scenic attractions including Lysefjord, Sola beach and the world famous Preikestolen (the Pulpit Rock). Preikestolen is located 604 metres above sea level and is the most visited attraction in the county of Rogaland. Lonely Planet named it the number one most breath-taking viewing platform in the world.
Stavanger is a university city and home to a number of institutions of higher education and research. This is reflected in the city’s urban and lively atmosphere, and in the varied assortment of shopping and dining opportunities. The city is also the oil and energy capital of Europe and the main source of income for the locals comes from working in the petroleum sector. This industry attracts different nationalities to the region, making it a highly international destination.
The UNESCO protected Geirangerfjord is arguably one of the most beautiful fjords to be found in Norway. You would have to be exceptionally blasé if you failed to be impressed by this astounding creation of Mother Nature. Impressive waterfalls cascade down almost vertical mountain sides. The waterfalls De syv søstrene ('the Seven Sisters') and Friaren ('the Suitor') can be found in the Geirangerfjord. The legend of the seven sisters is that they dance playfully down the mountain. Meanwhile, across the fjord, the suitor flirts playfully with them from afar.
The healthy look of the inhabitants of Geiranger comes not only from the fresh air – local food made with fresh ingredients plays a vital part. Restaurants and eateries take pride in creating food with a local twist and the taste match the scenic view from your window table. The food lovers of Geirangerfjord will give you a fresh view on nature right on your plate.
The small town of Kirkenes is located in Northern Norway, close to the Russian border, it is known as the capital of the Barents Region and the gateway to the east.
One of the most famous attractions is the Kirkenes Snowhotel, a hotel built from scratch every year, which is open between December and April. Among the most popular summer activities are boat trips, hiking, diving, fishing, hunting, climbing - and bird watching. In Varanger you can spot a variety of rare bird species, while Hornøya island is one of Norway’s largest nesting sites, with 150,000 birds, including puffins, guillemots, sea eagles and many more.
Ålesund and the surrounding areas are among the most visited sites for tourists in Norway. The town of Ålesund has a beautiful setting across several islands stretching out into the Atlantic Ocean, and is known for its architecture in Art Nouveau style, since it was rebuilt in 1904 after a devastating fire.
Today the city is the cultural centre of the region, and boasts several festivals – including the Ålesund Theatre Festival and the Norwegian Food Festival. “Ålesund could be the backdrop for a Nordic fairy tale – with a modern plot twist”, according to National Geographic.
As a country, Norway is perfect for those who love the great outdoors and wonderful natural landscapes, fine-dining foodies looking to expand their pallet and culture vultures hungry for stunning architecture. We are sure that you will fall in love with the country on your Norwegian fjord cruise holiday.