Even though Norway is mostly known for its unimaginable beauty of nature, the cities don’t have to be any less awe-inspiring. With a mixture of old and new, modern or traditional, including trolls or Vikings, an abundance of activities and attractions are ready for you to enjoy. Below you will find a list of most popular cities in Norway that are waiting to be explored by you.
The Opera House in Oslo, right by the water. Photo: Unsplash/Arvid Malde.
With no real skyscrapers, clean as a whistle, and nature at your doorstep, Oslo is probably the most non-metropolitan capital city in the world. Located alongside Oslo fjord, in the middle of mountainous areas, and as the base of one of the greenest cities to date Oslo is your well-travelled capital of Norway.
The contemporary architecture and parks blended nicely with interesting museums and galleries will take you back and forth in time. Bolstering the modern feel, Oslo has now also become one of the world’s best startup hubs. These forward-thinking processes can be experienced both on a business as well as on various other levels.
Whether it is through eco-friendly policies, modern gastronomic delicatessen, or continuing to find ways to renew themselves and become less dependant on oil.
The city of Bergen from above. Photo: Unsplahs/Lachlan Gowen.
What would you say, if I told you that there is a place, located along the Norwegian west coast where it rains approximately 300 days a year? Bergen, Norway’s second largest city, originates from the times of being part of the Hanseatic league.
As a part of the German import and export business even nowadays Bryggen in Bergen will take you right back as to how it was back in the day. Colorful overhanging cosy wooden houses will make you lose your way in no time and yet without the feeling of being lost. When you do get lucky to pick out a good weather day to visit Bergen you’ll get rewarded in no time.
Located right in between seven mountains and seven fjords Bergen is absolutely fabulous. From boat rides, to hiking in the mountains, or simply taking Fløibanen up to the top of Fløyen, one those seven mountains, you’ll get to experience all of what is unique about Bergen in no time. When visiting Norway, Bergen is the best city to point out the Norwegian saying: “There is no such thing as bad weather, there is only bad clothing”.
The Olympic flame is still present in Lillehammer. Photo: Pixabay.
Have you seen the TV series “Lilyhammer” before? Or do you remember where the Winter Olympics in 1993 took place? Exactly, they both took place in Lillehammer! These events, amongst other things, really put this southern Norwegian city on the map!
Even though there are museums, picturesque galleries, and traditional restaurants all year round, it is during winter time that the city blossoms entirely! Located right at lake Mjosa, surrounded by hills and forests Lillehammer’s unique winter setting will get you straight back into Olympic spheres.
With no less than 1250 miles (2000 km) of prepared cross-country ski trails and five alpine ski centers you will be able to experience the ultimate winter holiday in Lillehammer and the Gudbrandsdalen region.
The Venice of the North, Alesund. Photo: Unsplash/Nicolai Berntsen.
Also known as the Venice of the North. Even though Alesund has a rich history that goes way back, the most important point in time for the development of contemporary architecture was in 1904, when the Alesund fire broke out. Word has it that a cow bumping over a torch lead to 850 houses being burned to the ground overnight, leaving over 10,000 people homeless.
However, a completely ruined city can be seen as the architect’s dream. In no more than three years almost the entire city was built up from its ashes in a completely new and unique style, Art Nouveau, which was the architectural style of that period. While wandering through the streets of Norway’s “adventure capital” of the fjords you’ll quickly realize that Alesund actually consists of seven islands that are all connected either by a bridge or a tunnel.
Being Norway’s biggest exporter of the famous “klippfisk”, better known as bacalá, it is most definitely recommended to grab a bite in the city.
Walk along the contrasts of old and new in Trondheim. Photo: Unsplash/Simon Williams.
As one of the oldest cities in the country, Norway’s first capital was founded more than a 1000 years ago. Therefore, Trondheim is the ideal place to discover medieval Norway. A good place to start exploring is the Nidaros Cathedral dating back to the 11th century, the old town bridge or the river Nidelven that characterizes the old city of Trondheim.
Different perspectives can be obtained from the island of Munkholmen just outside of the city, or the 360° revolving restaurant tower of Egon showing you Trondheim from 250 feet (75m) a.s.l. No matter what perspective, Trondheim should be high up on your travel objective.
Gorgeous everlasting sunset colors in Tromso. Photo: Unsplash/Jorn Eriksen.
If you’re looking for a city that offers a plethora of activities and attractions, Tromso is one of your best bets. As a gateway to the Arctic, it used to be home to many explorers back in the day and many new nowadays. Modern explorers will find two of Mother Nature’s finest phenomena at your doorstep: the northern lights and the midnight sun.
However, don’t let that be the only reason to visit this gem of the North. With its location of 218 miles (350km) above the Arctic Circle, Tromso’s winter days are characterized by few hours of daylight while the summers are mostly rid of darkness. You don’t have to worry: The vibrant nightlife scene will brighten up your dark winter nights and during the summers, you will feel amazingly energized due to the relentless daylight.
As Northern Norway’s largest city it is still only a stone’s throw away from untouched nature with magnificent landscapes and wildlife, allowing you to escape the busyness of the city and take refuge in the silent nature.
The best travel recommendations come from locals. Check out these Wanderguides from Norway by locals sharing their travel tips and hidden gems.