Although all of Scandinavia is amazing, Norway was a real highlight for me.
The landscapes are so drastic and like nothing I have seen in the rest of the world.
Being from Australia, I love being outdoors and Norway is the perfect place to be for hikers, runners, mountain bikers or just people who enjoy magnificent views. So basically everyone.
Norway is known for nature attractions like the fjords, mountains and the midnight sun. Most of my time there the sun didn’t set until after 1am. It’s actually crazy if you’re not used to it.
Although I didn’t get to explore the whole country or make it for the infamous Northern Lights (mostly visible in the winter), I’ve put together a list of my top 9 places to visit when travelling in the southern to mid area of Norway. We had about a week and managed to do these places rather easily.
I will warn you though, Norway is expensive. Like craaaazy expensive. I’ve been told this in the past and always thought, “How expensive can it be really?”. But just to give you an idea, a small glass of house wine hovers around AUD$15 and a beer at around AUD$14. There are large taxes on alcohol but I found everything else to be equally as expensive. So if you’re on a budget like us, stock up on food and drinks before you arrive and try to organise accommodation where you can cook your own food.
Or better yet, travel in a camper van 🙂
For more information on travelling Norway, check out the Visit Norway website.
Don’t forget to hashtag #travelwiththemacadames on your travel pictures – We’d love to see where you’re exploring!
No visit to Oslo is complete without a visit to Oslo. It has a special combination of city life and easy access to the great outdoors, not to mention the most beautiful architecture. I loved simply wandering the streets and admiring the beautiful buildings.
I love Visit Oslo’s list of 10 Suggestions For… they cover lists for rainy days, sunny days, architecture buffs & more.
I also visited The Fram Museum, which was amazing. Norway is an Arctic nation with more than 40 % of its territory lying north of the Arctic Circle. In addition Norway claims approximately 2 million square kilometers of the Antarctic continent in the south. It is therefore natural that Norway has participated on many important expeditions to both the Arctic and the Antarctic and were the first to reach both poles.
The Fram Museum contains exhibitions of the most famous voyages of polar exploration and the centerpiece of the museum is the world´s strongest wooden ship, the polar ship – Fram. You even get to go on board and take a look around in her cabins, lounges, cargo hold and engine room, which I thought was pretty cool.
For more information on what to do in Oslo, check out the Visit Oslo website.
2. Scenic drive via Kristiansand
This is probably one of my favourite parts of the trip. We drove from Oslo to Priekstolen (to climb Pulpit Rock) via the scenic drive through Kristiansand.
Although as you can see Kristiansand is pretty, the drive is like a holiday in itself. You drive through miles and miles of coastal roads, across bridges and through fjord after fjord. It is quicker to go via the inland route, but it’s 100% worth it to take the extra time.
3. Preikestolen (Pulpit Rock)
Priekstolen (or Pulpit rock) is a rock formed like a huge pulpit towering over the Lysefjord in Rogaland Fjord Norway.
There is a well prepared track from Preikestolen Mountain Lodge to the top of the 604-metre-high mountain plateau. Although Visit Norway says you’ll spend four-five hours hiking from the lodge to the top and back down, it took us 3.5 hours return including a 45 minute stop at the top. Definitely take your lunch to enjoy once you’re up there. The views are simply amazing.
This was by my favourite hike in Norway, maybe even in Europe.
There is more information on Preikestolen on the Visit Norway website.
Stavanger is a quaint sea side town a short drive from Pulpit Rock. We spent an afternoon here and just wandered around town and along the water checking out the local stores and cafes.
Here you’ll also find Old Stavanger, which is a collection of 173 wooden buildings from the turn of the 18th century, most of them small and white cottages. Stavanger has actually received several awards for its efforts to preserve Old Stavanger and it’s well worth a visit.
Although I didn’t get to go, I would have loved to have visited the Norwegian Petroleum Museum, which exhibits & explains how oil and gas are created, discovered and produced, and what they are used for. The museum also provides information about technological advances and the way petroleum influences Norwegian society.
For more information, check out the Stavanger Region website.
Bergen has been hailed “The Gateway to the Fjords of Norway” and is a well-established cruise port.
An international city packed with history and tradition, Bergen is a big city with small-town charm and atmosphere.
Bergen is great to explore on foot. We strolled around the old streets and alleyways is much like a fairy-tale. You will find small wooden houses, cobbled streets with stone steps in the steepest parts and flowers everywhere.
There are loads of things to do, but if nothing else, I’d definitely suggest stopping for lunch at the Fish Market or taking your lunch and eating it on the water’s edge.
For more information, check out the Visit Bergen website.
6. The Nordfjord
The Nordfjord is one of the famous fjords on the west coast of Norway, and offer great adventures all year round. From drastic fjord landscapes, towering mountains, blue glaciers and crystal clear waters, it’s all there for you to explore.
For more information, check out the Nordfjord website.
7. Jostedalsbreen National Park
Almost half of the Jostedalsbreen National Park is covered by the Jostedalsbreen glacier, which is the largest glacier in mainland Europe. The national park is famous for its wide variety of natural environments all within a short distance of each other, ranging from valleys with lush vegetation to bare mountain and glacier landscapes. It’s said that a short hike in this area is like hiking from one season to another.
We took a midnight hike to Briksdalsbreen Glacier, where people come from all over the world come to visit this famous glacier arm set perfectly between roaring waterfalls and high peaks. They do offer adventure paddling in rafting boats on the lake facing the glacier, between pieces of ice that has fallen off from the glacier – but sadly not at midnight.
There is more information on Jostedalsbreen National Park on the Visit Norway website.
8. The Geirangerfjords
Geiranger is said to be the jewel in the crown of the Norwegian fjords. It is a fairytale landscape with its majestic, snow-covered mountain tops, wild and beautiful waterfalls, lush green vegetation and the deep, blue fjord. It’s no surprise it’s made it to the list of UNESCO’s World Heritage Sites.
I’d definatley recommend taking the ferry from Hellesylt to Geirangerfjorden, which takes you right through the fjord where you can enjoy it from the water. You go past countless beautiful waterfalls including the Seven Sisters.
The journey starts in Hellesylt.
And goes right through the Geirangerfjords.
This here’s the Seven Sisters waterfall.
I’d suggest going to Flydalsjuvet Looking Point. From here you can see the impressive view and it’s an excellent point for photography, with a view over Geiranger and Geirangerfjorden with the many cruise boats floating miles below.
We also did a short walk up to a little hut, which was beautiful. There were loads of animals on the way, and the farmer even let me feed one of the goats.
This was my favourite view, I love the way the water’s edge looks from up here.
For more information, check out the Visit Geirangerfjord website.
Lom is famous for its extensive history, for having one of the few remaining stave churches in Norway, and for lying in the midst of the highest mountains in Northern Europe.
We drove here after visiting the Geirangerfords and on our way to Sweden. The drive is most magnificent, going through the most beautiful lakes and rocky landscapes.
Although Lom is small, I’d definitely visit the Lom Stave Church. This type of church is amongst the oldest of remaining Stave Churches.
There is more information on Lom on the Visit Norway website.
I hope you enjoy your trip to Norway and please feel free to ask me any questions!
Anisa – The Macadames. xx