12 Must-Do Experiences in Norway

Cruise the country’s famous fjords. Hike death-defying mountains. Visit the far-north city of Tromsø in summer or winter. And try the lutefisk... you might just be surprised! The flavors here are unforgettable, the landscapes rugged and stunning, the road trips filled with breathtaking panoramas, warmhearted locals, and perhaps an odd troll sighting or two.

Fv64 10, 6530 Averøy, Norway
Declared “the world’s best road trip” by the Guardian, a drive along western Norway‘s 5.2 mile Atlantic Ocean Road is certainly bound to be inspiring. The road connects the mainland with several small islands of an archipelago, winding across the ocean, passing by lighthouses, rugged landscape and some of the most beautiful ocean terrain in the country. In some places the road actually resembles a roller coaster track, and is particularly dramatic when wind and tide send waves crashing up and over the road itself.
1610 Fylkesveg 491
One of Norway’s most iconic images is of a traveler dangling his legs over a cliff, a glistening fjord below his boots. Preikestolen, known in English as Pulpit Rock, is that cliff, and it can be reached only by a two-hour hike from the nearest car park. That doesn’t stop thousands of people from undertaking the journey from April to October, however. If you decide to join them, bring sturdy shoes, plenty of snacks and water, and warm clothing no matter what the weather. For a less strenuous day, take a ferry from Lysefjord to Stavanger—you’ll get to see the cliff from below and taste the water from the Hengjande waterfall.
Hotels
Karl Johans gate 31, 0159 Oslo, Norway
From the royal ambience of the lobby (bedecked with Murano glass chandeliers and a grand piano) to the classical elegance of the rooms, the Grand Hotel Oslo pulls out all the stops in making guests feel like visiting dignitaries—which should come as no surprise since the hotel has played host to countless actual visiting dignitaries. Nobel Peace Prize winners including the Dalai Lama and Nelson Mandela give interviews and greet crowds from the balcony of the eponymous Nobel Suite, but junior suites offer the best views overlooking buzzing Karl Johans Gate. Be sure to make time for a visit to the hotel’s Artesia Spa, where birch tree trunks separate the chromatherapy pool from a rooftop sun terrace.
Sjøgata 21, 9008 Tromsø, Norway
But bring a change of underwear (or two), as “the night” in Tromsø lasts from November 21 until January 21, with the short dawn bringing stunning light conditions. Despite the dark, the town is alive with festivals and cultural events, with an even livelier nightlife than during the rest of the year. After the sun returns, you’ll have a few hours of daylight to enjoy downhill skiing, cross-country skiing, and snowboarding. A high latitude means there’ll be snow until May. Tromsø is also considered the best place on the planet to view the northern lights, which tend to come between 6 pm and 1 am from November to March.
Sollivegen 12, 9020 Tromsdalen, Norway
The Fjellheisen cablecar in Tromsø, which takes you up Mount Floya, operates 24 hours in the summer, when the Arctic sunshine stays with you all night. Whether you’re planning to hike or merely to stand and gaze at the view of the mountains, it’s a lovely experience. We went up around midnight, just after a blood-red sun had ‘set’ behind the peaks. By the time the cable car had reached the top, the sun was visible again. Little patches of dirty snow sat in hollows around us, the town of Tromsø spread out below, and the mountain range disappeared invitingly behind (we didn’t accept the invitation, but that wasn’t the point...).
Karl Johans gate
Stretching from Oslo Central Station in the East to the Royal Palace in the West, Karl Johans Gate is named after King Karl III Johan, who ruled Norway and Sweden in the 19th century. Along the street you’ll find many famous highlights, like the National Theatre, the Parliament, the Royal Palace (the pond of which serves as a skating rink in the winter) Central Station, The Grand Hotel - and of course, plenty of shops. The Bazaar Market (Basarene ved Oslo domkirke) is a particularly colorful place to spend your money. Popular with locals, travelers & gypsies of all sorts, no “must visit” list in Norway would be complete without at least a mention of the venerable Karl Johans Gate plaza.
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