The Norway Travel Guide

September 22, 2023

Planning a trip to Norway? You’re going to love this guide – covering the best time to visit, must-see places, essential tips, and more.

It’s safe to say that Norway is a leading candidate for the most beautiful country in the world. The breathtaking scenery, stunning glaciers, and towering mountains all make for an incredible adventure. Not to mention the picturesque fishing villages, the Northern Lights that cast colors across the sky, and the wide variety of attractions to enjoy. It’s certainly not cheap, but there’s so much to see and do in this place, that it’s truly a once-in-a-lifetime trip.

Best time to travel to Norway

The Best Time to Travel to Norway

The most popular time to visit Norway is during the summer, between June and August. The days are longer during this warmer season, making it an ideal time for hiking, biking, and kayaking. On the downside, however, accommodation and transportation are especially crowded during this time, which means it can be difficult to secure reservations and tickets at short notice.

Spring and Fall are wonderful times to visit Norway, with May and September being specifically great months to enjoy the mild temperatures and smaller crowds than the summer months.

Although winter is traditionally considered the low season, due to the cold and harsh weather, it is not a terrible time to visit either. If you dress properly and come prepared for the cold, Norway is a real winter wonderland. In fact, the Aurora Borealis, one of the country’s biggest attractions, can be seen around the sky from September onwards and tends to be at its peak during the winter months between December and February. Whichever season you choose, rest assured there will be plenty to explore.

A Few Things to Make the Most of Your Stay in Norway

To ensure a perfect trip to Norway, there are a few things that should be taken care of beforehand. Here are some tips:

  • Use Skyscanner. Consistently finding the best flight deals, this app makes it easy to compare prices from a range of airlines. Another great feature is that you can search for a whole month to see when the cheapest dates are to fly to a certain city or country.
  • Consider travel passes. There are a variety of options when it comes to travel passes, like Travelpass Nordland, that offer day passes for different types of transportation, ensuring you’re all set to explore around the country. Plus, their app includes a useful trip planner with transportation information so you can quickly and easily plan ahead.
  • Download maps. Maps. Me is a useful app that allows you to download maps for easy viewing when you are not connected to the internet. Trust me, you’ll be thankful for it when you find yourself in an area without reception, especially if you’re planning to hike or do other outdoor activities.
  • Purchase an eSIM from eSIMple. Spending time out in nature is a must while in Norway, but you definitely will still want to stay connected. Whether you need to use important apps, make phone calls, or share amazing photos with your loved ones, having data while traveling is key. The problem, though, is that local SIM cards in Norway are very expensive, as are travel packages. Therefore, to save money, I highly recommend buying an eSIM from eSIMple, making it easy to stay connected no matter where you are in the world. The prices are accessible, and the bonus is that they offer service in a variety of different languages like Hebrew, Spanish, French, and more.

Accommodation in Norway

Hotels, and even hostels, are of a relatively high standard in Norway, but they can come with a high price tag. I recommend booking your accommodation in advance, either on Airbnb or to find the best deals.

Another option is to rent a cabin, which is a popular and iconic part of the Norwegian landscape. Known as hytter or rorbuer, there are plenty of beautiful wooden cabins to choose from in this country. They are often located near campsites and are a particularly popular choice in the Lofoten Islands.

Camping is another way to experience the beauty of Norway in a rustic and budget-friendly way. With hundreds of campsites to choose from, Norway offers basic tent sites to more luxurious glamping sites, equipped with indoor heating, beds, and electricity.

What to Pack for a Trip to Norway

Let’s be honest, no matter what time of year you decide to go, the most important item to pack will be a warm coat or a down jacket. Norway’s weather is very unpredictable and even in the summer, you may need to wear 4 layers to be prepared. The trick is to wear thin layers and one thick coat. Aside from the coat, here is a list of gear to pack for a trip to Norway by season:


  • Cool, comfortable clothes
  • A warm coat
  • A hat
  • Sunglasses
  • Sunscreen
  • A water bottle
  • Hiking boots or walking shoes


  • A waterproof jacket
  • Warm layers
  • Gloves
  • A hat
  • A scarf


  • A winter coat
  • Snow pants
  • Waterproof boots
  • Gloves
  • A hat
  • A scarf
  • A mask

The best way to pack for your trip is to think in layers. This way you will be prepared for any weather you encounter. If you plan to hike or do other outdoor activities, a rain jacket is a must, as well as a good pair of hiking boots or insulated walking shoes. Sunscreen is another must-pack item for Norway. Although the air is often so cold that you don’t feel like you’re burning, the sun is especially strong at all times of the year, meaning it’s a good idea to load up on the sunblock.

norway mining town

What to do in Norway

1. Explore the Oslo area

Oslo, the capital city of Norway, is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the country – and for good reason. Whether you’re looking for a taste of urban life or want to experience traditional Norwegian culture, Oslo has something to offer everyone. In addition to its rich culture and abundant attractions, Oslo has a small-town feel, with a stunning harbor and beautiful Scandinavian design. Here, you’ll find the perfect blend of modern and old world during your visit.

Here are a couple ideas to make the most of your time in Oslo:

  • Take a walking tour of the city center, visiting the most famous landmarks, while also getting a feel for everyday life here. 
  • Visit the harbor, and check out Aker Brygge and Akershus Fortress. 
  • Take a walk to the Royal Palace, which is home to the Norwegian monarch. 
  • Go to Oslo Cathedral, dating all the way back to 1694.
  •  Visit the Munch Museum for a dose of stunning art.
  • Learn more about Norway’s ancient history and see real Viking ships, by taking a short ferry ride to Bygdøy Peninsula.
  • Spend time at the Norwegian Museum of Cultural History and the Fram Museum for stunning exhibitions portraying the rich history of Norway.

2. Visit Pulpit Rock

Pulpit Rock, or “Preikestolen” in Norwegian, is another must-see attraction in Norway. Its name comes from its iconic shape – a steep cliff with a noticeably flat top. Offering stunning scenery and amazing views from above, Pulpit Rock has become one of the most popular tourist destinations in Norway. 

Located near Stavanger in southwest Norway, it is an ideal day hike if you are looking for adventure. The hike to the top takes about two hours on a steep trail of 3.8 kilometers and an elevation gain of about 334 meters. All that effort is truly worth it once you reach the top! The views of the fjords and mountains are out of this world.

3. Take an Adventure to Geirangerfjord and the Western Fjords

Many people who think of Norway immediately imagine long fjords, steep mountains, and stunning waterfalls. And it’s true, the scenery is even more amazing in person!

Geirangerfjord is considered one of the most beautiful fjords in the world. It’s a picture-perfect setting, with breathtaking mountains, calm waters, and plenty of natural beauty. Here, you’ll also find the Seven Sisters and the Bridal Veil waterfalls.

The Seven Sisters waterfall gets its name from its seven separate streams, the highest of which is 250 meters tall. According to local folklore, the “sisters” dance on the mountain while the suitor flirts with them across the fjord.

Another must-see fjord in Norway is Sognefjord. The longest and deepest fjord in Norway, it stretches for over 200 kilometers, making it an impressive sight to witness.

4. Wander Trendy Bergen

If you’re already on the west coast, visit Bergen to experience Norwegian culture, history, and scenery. Bergen is the second-largest city in Norway and is affectionately known as “the gateway to the fjords”.

Bergen is also home to another UNESCO World Heritage Site, Bryggen. In fact, this 900-year-old wharf is the oldest district of Bergen and is also one of the most popular attractions there. I highly recommend taking a meandering walk through the narrow streets. The colorful wooden buildings have been carefully restored to their original medieval features after a devastating fire that occurred in the 17th century, giving you a feel of what life was like back then.

Looking for stunning views of the town and coastline? Hike up one of the seven mountains that surround the city. Or, you can take the Fløibanen funicular railway up to Mount Fløyen. Mount Ulriken is another great choice and is accessible by cable car.

Trendy Bergen

5. Travel to the village of Plam

From Oslo, you can take a scenic train ride through the fjords via the Flåmsbana (Flåm Railway). From Myrdal Mountain Station, hop on this small green train for a 20-kilometer ride. Enjoy the views from the window as you descend 865 meters to the stunning Flåm Valley. Offering unbeatable scenery, this railway journey has been named one of the most beautiful in the world. 

Flåm Village is a great destination for nature lovers with its steep mountains, roaring waterfalls, and gorgeous valleys. From here, you can go hiking, kayaking, and take boat tours to take in the local flora and fauna.

6. Check Out Ålesund

Ålesund is a port city located along the western coast of Norway, about halfway between Bergen and Trondheim. Ålesund is nestled between several islands connected by bridges, and it offers a taste of fishing life. It is a great place to enjoy a boat trip and do some wildlife watching. If you are a bird lover, Ålesund will blow you away with its rich birdlife. 

The city of Ålesund is beloved for its unique architecture. After a fire destroyed most of the city in the early 20th century, it had to be almost completely rebuilt. While wandering through the colorful city center, stop to appreciate the new style of architecture they created.

7. Traipse Through Trondheim

The last city on our list is the ancient capital of Norway, Trondheim. It has a rich history dating back to its founding in the 10th century. It was once a Viking trading post before becoming an important Christian pilgrimage destination, ensuring that history buffs feel right at home here. You’ll get an inside look at all that has made Norway what it is today.

Similar to Ålesund, fires and wars have destroyed many of the old buildings here, but some have been left to explore. Be sure to stop by Nidaros Cathedral, one of Trondheim’s top attractions. You can also enjoy a stroll through the Bakklandet district, with its cobblestone streets and colorful wooden houses.

For panoramic views, head up to Kristiansten, a 17th-century fort that overlooks the city and the coast.

8. Tour the Lofoten Islands

Norway is a country with impressive geographical diversity. You can enjoy the fjords in the west and the cities in the south, but be sure to take a trip up north to experience the Arctic Circle, too.

The Lofoten Islands are an archipelago in northern Norway that is characterized by natural beauty, idyllic fishing villages, and more. Svolvær is the main settlement and port of the Lofoten Islands. It is home to art galleries, shops, and cafés.

Other villages you can visit in the archipelago include Reine and Henningsvær. Both are located along the sea, with mountains rising up all around you, creating a breathtaking view.

These islands are also very popular for wildlife viewing. The waters are rich in marine life, and you may have the chance to spot seals, sea lions, and whales.

Lofoten Islands

9. Watch the Northern Lights Dance

Many people travel to Norway just to see the Northern Lights. In Norse mythology, the Northern Lights were the reflections of the weapons and armor of the Valkyries.

Today, people from all over the world travel to Norway to catch a glimpse of these magical lights. If you see the Northern Lights, be prepared to be amazed as you watch them dance across the dark sky in shades of green, purple, and pink.

When can you see the Northern Lights?

To increase your chances of seeing the aurora borealis, be sure to visit Norway during the winter, between October and late March. During this time, Norway has fewer daylight hours and more hours of darkness compared to the summer. Longer nights mean that it is more likely that you will witness this magnificent light show.

Where to see the Northern Lights?

The best places to see the Northern Lights in Norway are in the north of the country:

  • Tromsø
  • Kirkenes
  • The Lofoten Islands
  • North Cape
  • Svalbard

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