There’s no denying that Norway has captured my heart. From the moment I stepped foot off the plane and breathed in its cool, crisp air I felt a rush of exhilaration run through my body.
Since my first visit, I’ve travelled to many places in Norway and I’ve left a piece of my heart in each of those places. What continually surprises me about this country is that the cities can be just as beautiful as the nature – in fact many of Norway’s cities are surrounded by swathes of nature. There’s always a fjord or a mountain nearby, so you really get the best of both worlds wherever you go.
As I’ve already tried to express, Norway is beautiful, there’s no denying it, and here are some of the most beautiful towns and cities this country has to offer.
Not only is Ålesund one of the most beautiful towns in Norway, but it’s also the prettiest and most colourful. The combination of art nouveau buildings sitting harmoniously alongside the fjord carries the grace of a stained glass window. To get a panoramic view of the town and the Sunnmøre Alps you must walk the 418 steps from the town park to viewpoint Aksla.
How to visit Ålesund – You can spend 2-nights in this fabulous art nouveau town as part of this 11-night driving holiday in Norway.
Norway’s second largest city is everything people think of when they’re asked to conjure up quintessential images of Norway. Bryggen is the name given to the old wharf and wooden-clad boat houses that go back as far as the 12th century. Today it’s a UNESCO World Heritage Site and features some of Bergen’s best-known restaurants, shops and bars. You’re no allowed to leave until you try the mussels, or any seafood of that matter.
How to visit Bergen: We have plenty of summer holidays that feature Bergen but we love how this 10-night holiday across Scandinavia finishes with a bang in Bergen!
The small town of Balestrand is surrounded by indescribable scenery. Brightly painted houses are surrounded by fjords and dwarfed by enormous mountains coated in glacial remnants. The peace you will feel being on nature’s doorstep and the view from your hotel balcony will ensure you’ll never want to leave.
How to visit Balestrand: One of our most popular holidays combines Oslo and Bergen with a 3-night stay in scenic Balestrand. It’s the perfect place to relax between Norway’s largest cities.
Stavanger mixes old and new, with traditional wooden buildings home to fashionable boutique shops. Although the city is most famous as the gateway to Pulpit Rock, there’s plenty of stuff to keep you busy in the town itself. Don’t miss the Petroleum Museum, which is located in the harbour and provides deeper insight into an industry which until very recently was Stavanger’s main source of income.
How to visit Stavanger: We have a summer holiday that takes you to several other stunning cities on this list before enjoying a coastal cruise to finish up your trip in Stavanger.
Everyone who visits Røros will say how special this town feels. It has retained much of its original character and is often described as an open-air museum of Norwegian traditions. The street pattern and farming properties in the centre of town are the same as were originally constructed in the 1600’s. Due to its authentic wooden buildings (some complete with turf-roofs!) and unique character of an early mining town, Røros was added to the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1980.
Norway’s 3rd largest city has a vibrant café culture, and the best way to enjoy it is by parking up at Bakklandet, Trondheim’s colourful old quarter that lies on the eastern side of the Nidelva River. The streets are packed with history, which is what you would expect from a city that used to be the former ancient capital city of Norway. No visit to Trondheim is complete without taking a look inside the imposing Nidaros Cathedral, the northernmost medieval cathedral in the world.
How to visit Trondheim: Begin your summer holiday by spending 2-nights in Trondheim before departing on an epic train journey to the Arctic where you will explore the stunning Lofoten Islands and more.
The town of Henningsvær located on the Lofoten Islands is full of character and charm with old wharf buildings, brightly painted and battered by the harsh elements. With the addition of a few craft shops, galleries and more unusual architecture, there’s a touch of bohemia about the place – and an olde-worlde feeling. The drive to get into town is one of the best drives on the island (hopefully the weather is clear) as the road swoops low beside the sea. When we began exploring it seemed like we were the only tourists here; in fact, the whole town appeared deserted which gave it a strange, Twin Peaks vibe.
How to visit Henningsvær: You will have all the time you need to explore Henningsvær on this spectacular 7-night holiday to the Lofoten Islands.
Either walk along the harbour and take in the vividly bright wharf buildings or hop on the cable car up to the top of Mount Storsteinen for breathtaking panoramic views overlooking Tromsø at 420 meters (1,380 ft) above sea level. At this lofty height you’ll realise just how vibrant the city is as the buildings form a landscape of multicoloured dots.
How to visit Tromsø: The largest city north of Norway’s Arctic Circle is great anytime of year, but our Northern Lights holiday always proves popular with our clients!