Norway is a larger-than-life destination and the core of its appeal to backpackers and travelers is amazingly simple: it’s one of the most beautiful places on Earth. From watching the sun rise on a 5000-year old glacier to enjoying the stunning views of Fjordland as you get up in the morning, Norway will steal your hearts.
But there’s only so much you can do and explore in a single journey. So if you’re heading to Norway for a week or two, here’s a list of 7 must-see attractions and sites.
Svalbard’s sub-polar archipelago is a true gem for backpackers. Incredibly remote and yet conveniently accessible, the place is an evocative piece of the polar north (one of the best in Europe) as well as one of the biggest wilderness locations in the continent. Expect to come across large ice-fields, unique peaks, and stunning fjords that serve as the backdrop for a wide range of Arctic habitat, including the polar bears, who surprisingly outnumber human life. Also, there are several winter and summer activities to keep you engaged despite the ice’s ringing silence.
The biggest city in the north of the country, Tromso is famous for its 18th-century wooden residencies as well as natural surroundings. The majority of the city is based on Tromsoya, an island where travelers can stroll via exotic birch tree forests along with cherishing the various fine art museums. The Fjellheisen Cable Car, which takes you up to the Storsteinen Mountain, offer people stunning views of Tromso’s nearby mountains and the fjords. The Polar Museum and the aquarium Polaria are other notable attractions in Tromso located almost 210 miles of the Arctic Circle. The city is one of the best areas to be in for viewing the Northern Lights.
3. Preikestolen (Pulpit Rock)
An attraction that’s ideal for backpackers because of the arduous route they’ve to go through to get there. Thanks to Pulpit Rock, Preikenstolen is one of the most popular areas in Norway. Reaching the destination not only requires a bus and ferry journey, but the two-hour hike to reach the flat-topped cliff, which is looking over Lysefjord (600 meters above sea level). Those making a journey in the area of Stavanger will also want to stop by at the Norwegian Canning Museum, which is managed similarly to the cannery as it was during the Second World War. Another top Norway attraction in this area is the Stavanger Cathedral; its 12th-century structure boasts various elements, including a Gothic font, a Baroque pulpit, and a Romanesque basilica.
4. Bergen’s Bryggen Hanseatic Wharf
If you’re visiting the Bergen in Norway, you don’t want to miss out on the Bryggen Hanseatic Wharf. Once brimming with trade, the vibrantly colored area is now home to the Hanseatic merchants. Travelers will come across several old buildings which indicate how life used to be in the Middle Ages, as well as the Bryggen Museum, restaurants, and boutiques. In fact, there’s, even more, to learn and explore at the Hanseatic Museum, whose doors are open since the 18th century, and a 1704 home in Finnegard which was a property of one of the merchants. Travelers are also recommended to visit the Open Air Market, as well as the workspace and ex-home of popular composer Grieg Edvard: Troldhaugen.
5. Sami culture in Karasjok
Sleds have been ousted by snowmobiles and today just a few Sami are visible from their coastal fishing or reindeer herds. However, the Sami culture (transcending from Finland, Sweden, and Norwegian frontiers) continue living on strong. The Sami Parliament has the responsibility for overseeing the Norwegian Sami affairs; mellow wood was used in the masterpiece design of this building. Also, the unique dialects and language has secured the authenticity of the Sami identity, along with traditions such as droned rhythmic poems (joik), and silversmithing (handicrafts)
6. St. Olav Ways
Sharing a striking similarity with Santiago de Compostela in Spain, the St. Olavsleden (St. Olav Ways) from Norway is a 350-mile route of paths that begins in Sweden and continues till the 11th-century Cathedral based on Trondheim. The route is popular for the journey made by KindOlav II Haraldsson (Norway’s patron saint). However, backpackers don’t have to go hiking the entire route. Several travelers take a week and manage to finish just the 85-mile route between Trondheim and Striklestad. The path, at a point, also traverses through a deep valley boasting ancient cravings of rocks and continues through small farming villages, before ending in Trondheium. Those who manage to cover 62 miles of the route can get a certificate from the Nidaros Catherdral to boast about their achievement. It’s the place where Kind Olav’s remains are presently stored.
Rent a mid-tier or cheap car and drive along the impressive National Tourist Route in Trollstigen. It’s 66 miles long and goes through the landscape between Romsdal and Stynefjell. It’s not for the faint-hearted because there are waterfalls, steep rangers, and harrowing cliff faces along the way. Founded in 1936, the Troll’s Path is surrounded by several mountains and has 10+ adrenaline-powered bends along with one of the sharpest inclines of 9 percent. Along the path, there are six resting areas where travelers can stop for panoramic views and image opportunities. Among these, the most popular one is the Flydalsjuvet. It’s basically a viewing platform that faces the Geirangerfjord, the imposing UNESCO-protected site. Going farther down the route is going to land you into the steepest stretch called the Eagle bend, which has a rise of 2,034 feet (above sea level). You’ll also experience hairpin curves along the journey. The rewards for making this journey include 360-degree eye-view of the Seven Sisters Waterfall and Geirangerfjord.
Norway is amazing and renowned for these attractions. But beyond its panoramic beauty and amazing cultures, backpackers can also enjoy soft activities like biking and kayaking around the craggy mountainous peaks – which are a testament to the country’s unmatched beauty. You can also check the Famous Finnish Spitz dog breed that hails from Finland.