What to See and Do on Your First Visit to Norway

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Are you visiting Norway for the first time? Not sure where to go or what to do? We have you covered. First off, try to arrange your flights so you arrive in Oslo and leave from Bergen or Stavanger because our tips will involve this tour route (plus flights out of Bergen and Stavanger are cheap). Let’s look at how you’ll spend your first few days in Oslo before going to the fjords of Western Norway. 

Oslo

Oslo has the most significant population in Norway, has great attractions, and is the nation’s capital. We recommend spending your first few days here because there’s a lot to see. First, grab a ticket on an old sailing ship that sails around the Oslo harbor. Many of these ships stop at the Opera House, City Hall, and the Bygdøy Peninsula. Take at least half a day to explore the Bygdøy Peninsula because of its nature walks, beautiful beaches, and museums. 

 

Ship Museums

At Bygdøy, you’ll come across the Kon-Tiki Museum, which showcases many ships and rafts used to sail the world or war. Some examples you’ll see are the sturdy polar ships (one called Fram, which was used in arctic exploration). Fridtjof Nansen, humanitarian and Nobel Peace Prize winner, rode one of these to explore the Antarctic and won a race to the South Pole with it!

 

Norway is world-famous for its Viking history, so you’ll learn about how these ancient people built ships – fascinating stuff! This Viking Ship Museum has a mobile extension and free WiFi. If you happen to wait in line before getting into these famous museums, you can play on your phone at Casumo casino. As another positive, both museums are free!

Opera House/Frogener Park

Rivaling Sydney Opera House in beauty and scope, you can take a stroll on the roof is you so choose. You can also watch shows there, some of which are done in English. Afterward, go to Frogner Park to view Gustav Vigeland’s 212 life-sized nudes. It shows the multiple stages of life and death – plus, the park is beautiful, and many of the locals are friendly.

All Aboard: Bergen Line

The beautiful Bergen line takes approximately 6-7 hours, but it’s way worth the wait. If you have a few extra days to see the landscape of Norway – do it. The sprawling hills, mountains, and lakes are a sight to behold. You’re in Norway, so you might as well take in the scenery! Spend a night in Flåm if you can, because you can see Aurlandsfjord (a group of mountains) clearly from any hotel you stay in. If you can’t, get off at Bergen and stay there. 

Bergen

A group of mountains surrounds the second biggest city. There are many museums and attractions, but you’ll want to visit the Bryggen harbor (its lake is almost crystal clear). Many popular attractions are hunting with a bow and arrow (seriously!), dog sledding, and kayaking. The Hansa architecture and old age Nordic way to build homes is completely intact despite most homes being built around the 13th – 17th century. 

 

Now that you’re in Bergen, you can travel to the fjord. You don’t need to rent a car, but it’s a more flexible option. The Hurtigruten stops at Geiranger between April to September and takes cars on-board. If you’re traveling outside of that time, it could be challenging to access the fjords due to the weather. However, try your best – it’s more than worth it.

On the Way

Before you get to the fjords, you can hike in Jotunheimen National Park, see Jostedalsbreen (Europe’s biggest glacier), or ski at Stryn Summer Ski Centre. On a warm day, you can see people skiing in bikinis. There are many churches, hiking spots, and mountains from here to the fjords. If you have the time, stop at Stavanger because it’s very close to the Norwegian Fjords and Urnes Staves Churches.

Stavanger

Staying a little longer? Go to Stavanger. The oil capital of Norway has the famous Kjeragbolten Rock (a rock between two mountains that suspend the air 1000 meters above the ocean. The Preikestolen is nearby, which is another large rock that faces a vast ocean. Both are accessible through bus or car, and both hikes take approximately 4 hours. Be fit before you go there, or you might be out of breath in a few minutes!

 

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