Journey to Norway: vivid and memorable cities

Cozy cities and the world’s most beautiful fjords: Norway guide

See the very fjords, climb the “Troll’s Tongue”, go skiing, catch the northern lights, watch whales and even surf – Forbes Life tells what a traveler can do in Norway, which has lifted most of the restrictions on tourists

Norway has lifted almost all coronavirus restrictions and opened its doors to tourists, including those from Russia. Neither a PCR test nor a certificate of vaccination is needed anymore for entry. Against the backdrop of positive news, the growth in hotel reservations by Russian tourists increased 3.7 times. Why fly to Norway and what is worth seeing in this northern country?

What you need to know before a trip to Norway

Norway is an expensive country with a high standard of living. The average salary of the Norwegian is 51,000 NOK (about 433,500 rubles at the Central Bank exchange rate) per month. Therefore, tourists from Russia will find prices here high.

Oslo has a great choice of hotels and apartments. A night in a 3* hotel starts at 6,000 rubles per night. For 5* you will need to pay around 20,000 rubles. Hotels can be found in other major cities such as Bergen and Olesund. But the closer to nature, the easier the facilities will be. For example, in such a popular location as the rock “Troll’s Tongue,” will have to settle for a mest-house or campsite (from 5000 rubles per night) with a minimum set of amenities. Very often the price does not include even bedding – this point is better to specify when booking.

Food and Alcohol

You will not get a cheap snack in Norway. Even the dinner at McDonald’s will exceed 1000 rubles. A dinner for two at a restaurant will cost about NOK 850 (7300 rubles) excluding alcohol. In the big cities there are a lot of good restaurants, awarded with international awards. In the villages will have to make do with a simple meal like fish and chips. Separately, it is worth saying about alcohol: you can not buy it in a regular supermarket, there are specialized stores for this. Usually they are open until 18:00, but some close earlier.

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In Norway – one of the most beautiful countries in the world – is not worth going for the gastronomic delights, and for nature. Forbes Life tells about the most beautiful places and picturesque cities of this northern country.

Oslo region

Most tourists begin their acquaintance with Norway from the country’s capital, Oslo. Despite the fact that Oslo is the third largest city in Scandinavia, it is very cozy and quiet: there is no bustle of the metropolis, but it has its own charm. In 2019, Oslo was recognized as the Green Capital of Europe. Once in this city, it is worth a walk along its main street – Karl-Johans-Gate – from the train station to the Royal Palace: at 13:30 near it you can see the change of the guard of honor.

History buffs will love the Kon Tiki Museum, the exposition of which tells about the adventures of seafarer Thor Heyerdahl, who crossed the Pacific Ocean on a wooden raft. The museum is located on the Bugdoi Peninsula, where you can also explore the Viking Ship Museum, the Fram Museum, the Norwegian Folk Museum and the Norwegian Maritime Museum.

Good weather is an excuse to explore the bizarre figures in Frogner Park. Its grounds feature installations created by Norwegian sculptor Gustav Vigeland. On the southern border of the park stands a beautiful neoclassical mansion that houses the Vigeland Museum.

Close to the city. For those who dream of seeing the fjords, but don’t plan to go too far, you can take a tour of Oslo-fjord Bay: scenic views and beautiful photos are guaranteed. An hour’s drive from Oslo, Hadeland is home to the Kistefos Museum with its spectacular exhibition space The Twist. The Oslomarck forest offers 2,600km of cross-country ski trails, as well as cozy cafes serving fresh rolls and hot chocolate.

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Bergen

Bergen’s most photogenic neighborhood is called Bryggen: its calling card – wooden colorful houses that stand on the very beach. Around the city are seven peaks: any of them offer a breathtaking panorama. A cable car takes you directly to the top of the 425 meter high Fløyen mountain, only 150 meters away from Bruggen.

Once you’ve admired the views, it’s time for the cultural program. It is worth a visit to Trollhaven, the house of Edvard Grieg, where he spent the last 20 years of his life. Today there is a chamber and very cozy museum of the composer. Four museums, united by the common name of KODE, have an impressive collection of art – from classics to modern works.

Close to the city. Bergen is an ideal starting point for exploring the fjords. It takes about two hours to reach Hardanger Fjord, the second largest in the country. In its vicinity is the famous Trolltung (“Troll’s Tongue”) plateau. This rocky outcrop is a broken-off piece of rock, frozen horizontally on its edge.

Lillehammer

Lillehammer owes its international fame to the Winter Olympics held here in 1994. Today tourists are attracted here by its ski infrastructure: the area of skiing stretches for 1300 km. Season starts in November and lasts at least half a year: even if natural snow cover starts to decrease, it is maintained by modern cannons. There is no wild nightlife at the resort, but it is ideal for family holidays. In Lillehammer is one of Norway’s best art museums: its exposition includes works of prominent local artists. Lillehammer’s pride and joy is its wooden architecture. You can appreciate it in all its glory on Storgata Street, where the houses of the late XVIII century are still standing.

Near the city. The mountains, rivers and Norway’s largest lake make Lillehammer and its surroundings a paradise for lovers of outdoor activities. Those who do not ski can learn cross-country skiing: the tracks are laid in the woods, between the snow-covered fir trees. Travelers with children will be interested in visiting the adventure park Hunderfossen, the entrance to which is guarded by a giant troll.

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Olesund

Olesund is a beautiful Art Nouveau city located in western Norway. It occupies seven islands: the center is on the islands of Asprey and Nerei. Thanks to the proximity of the Gulf Stream, winters are mild but windy: temperatures rarely drop below freezing, making Olesund comfortable for walking at any time of year. To see the city from above, you can climb the 418 steps up to the Fjelstua Lookout. It is this panorama is printed on postcards and magnets. Three kilometers west of Ålesund is the Atlantic Park, one of the largest aquariums in Scandinavia. Olesund has its own ski resort – Sunnmorsalpane. It welcomes guests from December to April.

Near the city. Olesund is located between two fjords: Herund and Geiranger. They are both listed as UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Herund Fjord is a classic of the Norwegian landscape with majestic cliffs against the blue sea. It is especially beautiful here in the fall. Geiranger Fjord is famous for its waterfalls, the most famous of which are “Seven Sisters”, “The Bride’s veil” and “The Bridegroom”. Along the banks are steep cliffs up to 1400 meters high and glaciers.

Tromsø

Tromsø is the capital of the Arctic. Go to the north of Norway is worth it for those who dream to watch the whales and see the northern lights. There is no need to be afraid of the cold: in winter the temperature rarely drops below minus 3C in the city and its surroundings. The central street of Tromsø is called Storgata: restaurants, cafes, stores and souvenir shops are concentrated here. You can admire the view of the harbor from Storget square.

One of the most interesting buildings in Tromsø is the Arctic Cathedral, which resembles an iceberg. You can learn about life in the northern regions at the Polaria Museum, after which it makes sense to go on a tour to the local brewery, the closest to the Arctic Circle. Troms is also home to the world’s northernmost zoo. You can see the city from above by taking the funicular up Mount Stursteinen.

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Near the city. The area around Tromsø is suitable for observing the northern lights: it is desirable to go at least 30-50 km away from the city in order not to be disturbed by the light pollution. Popular activities include boat cruises to see whales in their natural habitat and dog sledding.

Stavanger

A visit to Stavanger allows you to combine Michelin restaurants, historical monuments and trendy street art all in one trip. Stavanger has many wooden buildings whose facades are painted yellow or white. They have been pleasing locals and tourists for centuries. In Stavanger is the oldest cathedral in Norway: it was built by the Crusaders in 1100. Every year, the city hosts the NuArt festival of street art, so you can see many unusual and very impressive works on the walls of buildings. Stavanger’s restaurants deserve a special mention: lovers of haute cuisine should check out RE-NAA and Sabi Omakase. Here they cook from local products according to author’s recipes.

Near the city. Stavanger is the largest city in the southwestern part of the country and a great starting point for those who want to see the famous natural monuments: Lyse-fjord and Prekestulen (“Preacher’s pulpit”). Luce Fjord is popular not only with hiking fans, but also with basejumpers. Prekestulen is a giant cliff 604 m high. Its top is square and almost flat. From here you can enjoy a fantastic view of the surrounding area.

Lofoten Islands

Lofoten is one of the most beautiful places in all of Norway. Here travelers will find everything at once: fjords, mountain peaks, northern lights, fishing villages and postcard views. Come to the islands is better in low season, such as in March and April: it will avoid the accumulation of tourists. Outdoor enthusiasts can learn to surf here, and wildlife aficionados can watch whales and other wildlife on a boat cruise.

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The most intrepid will be offered to climb Mount Swolvergate or hike one of the hiking trails in the region. Connoisseurs of modern art can visit the KaviarFactory, a museum of Norway’s most progressive artists.

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