Experience Norway this summer

Nothing beats Norwegian summer. Discover a new place - whether you enjoy urban summers or beautiful nature experiences, here we have tips for cozy places you can explore this summer.

Experience summer in Norway, here is a list of the country's most popular places that will give you a memorable summer vacation.

1. Lofoten – the world’s most beautiful archipelago?

If you come to Norway for the sake of nature, Lofoten should definitely be on the list. The archipelago, which protrudes like a kind of tongue out into the sea on the Nordland coast is spectacularly beautiful. So beautiful that Lofoten has actually been nominated the world’s best archipelago in several major tourism awards, including National Geographic and Condé Nast.

And here you get almost all of Norway in a nutshell: distinctive, unspoilt nature with majestic mountains and peaks, which meet endless seas and expansive beaches. All combined with an idyllic atmosphere and a genuine, local fishing village atmosphere.

You will also find one of Europe’s most beautiful beaches in Lofoten, according to Lonely Planet. In 2021, they put Hauklandstranda at the top of their list. If, on the other hand, you think the temperature of the water is a little low, you can combine a dip from the pier outside Thon Hotel Svolvær with a visit to the new sauna in the same location.

When hunger strikes, you can taste a genuine local cultural treasure – dried fish – which has over 1,000 years of history in the area. Dried fish from Lofoten has also been given the same status by the EU (PGI) as balsamic vinegar from Modena and gouda cheese from the Netherlands.

Lofoten is also perfect for the activity enthusiasts – whether you prefer hiking, kayaking, fishing, surfing, climbing or riding in a RIB boat. In other words, everything you need for a summer holiday full of fun!

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If you google pictures of Lofoten, the view from Reinebringen is guaranteed to come up – this is the most iconic and photographed view of all of Lofoten! To reach the top at 448 m above sea level, you can follow a beautiful sherpa stairway up the mountain, the hike takes about 1–2 hours in total.

TIP! If you check in at Thon Hotel Svolvær, you can try your hand at Lofoten fishing and join us on an authentic fishing boat on the Lofoten Sea. After the trip, the fish is hoisted ashore to the hotel’s own “fish farm” before the hotel’s chefs prepare the catch for dinner.

2. Bergen – the city between the 7 mountains

If you weren't convinced enough to go here before, you probably will be now: the tourist magnet Bergen offers everything you could wish for on a summer holiday – from the beautiful scenery of fjords and mountains to urban delights and a bustling city centre full of history.

A natural place to start exploring the capital of Western Norway is the historic Bryggen – one of the city’s biggest tourist attractions. The area has become a symbol of Bergen, and the unique wooden building, which served as a trading centre for the Hanseatics in the 14th century, has been on the UNESCO World Heritage List since 1979. Today you will find several museums, niche shops and cosy restaurants in the old houses – or you can go back in time in the narrow alleyways and take in the unique atmosphere.

You can also head to one of Norway’s largest aquariums and say hello to crocodiles, penguins and sea lions, or go on an artistic journey of discovery looking for street art around the city. And don't forget to stop by Fisketorget, bustling with life in the summer and offers great opportunities to taste local delicacies.

And if you have extra time, check out the Bergen archipelago by boat, or lace up your hiking boots and explore the surrounding mountains. A well-known, but quite long hike, is called the 7-mountain hike and takes you across all of Bergen’s city mountains. Or you can settle for one of the most famous peaks, such as Fløyfjellet or Ulriken

But remember: Since Bergen is located between the coast and mountains, a few drops of rain can quickly fall here, so an umbrella or raincoat is a good idea to have in your luggage. But then it’s just to say like a true inhabitant of Bergen: There’s no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothes. And suddenly you will see that the summer sun is peeking out again just as quickly.

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In addition to perhaps the city’s most famous attraction, Bryggen, you should also put a ride on the equally famous and historic Fløibanen on the list. The raailway takes you to the top of the city mountain Fløyen, where views of the city, a cosy cafe and nice hiking trails into the mountains await. You can also set off on foot and walk up – it takes about an hour.

3. Ålesund – the charming art nouveau city

You will find beautiful Ålesund out on the seaside in the west of the country: A town known for its unique architecture and proximity to nature, and – according to National Geographic – one of the world’s most beautiful port cities.

The characteristic Art Nouveau style that distinguishes the city is a sight in itself, with pointed towers, spires and ornaments, created during the reconstruction after the town fire in 1904.

But there are also lots of other fun things to do: If you want to go on a mountain hike or brave the Via Ferrata, you can head towards the town mountain Aksla, while those who love water can rent a kayak and paddle through the canal – and the heart of the city – Brosundet.

Or how about visiting Northern Europe’s largest saltwater aquarium in the Atlanterhavsparken, or going on an excursion to Alnes Lighthouse right out on the seaside? On the bird island of Runde, about two hours boat ride from Ålesund city centre, you can also spot the beautiful puffin from April to August, when thousands of birds come here to nest.

Ålesund is also a great starting point for an epic round trip to two of Norway’s most famous attractions – the spectacular Geirangerfjord and the legendary Trollstigen.

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Do as the locals do and enjoy fresh prawns by the waterfront at the lively Brosundet. The fishing boats are lined up here, where you can buy fresh fish, prawns and crabs all summer long.

4. Stavanger – oil history, street art and Vikings

Stavanger is perhaps first and foremost known as the “oil city”, as it was here that Norway’s oil adventure started in the early 70s, but the city has existed much longer than that! This is where Norway’s first King Harald Hårfagre united Norway into one kingdom during the Battle of Hafrsfjord in the year 872, and at the Archaeological Museum you can learn more about the Vikings who settled in the area in the following years.

Since then, Stavanger has been both a herring town and a sailing city, before the canning industry and shipbuilding dominated in the early 20th century. Today, however, there are many exciting things to experience if you spend your summer vacation here, such as going on a street art safari, heading up to the world-famous Preikestolen (Pulpit Rock) or exploring the long Jærstrendene, which offers some of Norway’s best surfing conditions.

You should also come to Stavanger hungry. It is full of culinary experiences, from the RE-NAA restaurant, which has two stars in the Michelin Guide, to trendy cafes, a bustling fish market and Norway’s largest food festival that takes place every summer.

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Would you like to learn more about the Vikings with a modern twist? At Viking House, the area’s Viking history is conveyed through VR technology, while at the same time you can meet “real” Vikings in traditional clothing. Also check out the monument “Sverd i fjell” in Hafrsfjord, commemorating the battle that took place there in 872.

5. Tromsø – the Paris of the North

There are many reasons to go to Tromsø in the summer: Here you’ll find a wealth of beautiful mountain hikes, a vibrant and tasty food scene and long, white beaches that offer a refreshing swim.

But perhaps the biggest draw of them all – here you can experience the midnight sun! From about the middle of May to the end of July, it’s bright around the clock and a magical light falls across the city. Here you can go hiking or kayaking at night – or just enjoy the long and beautiful summer night.

Around an hour’s drive from Tromsø city centre, you will also find a real summer paradise! Idyllic Sommarøy offers beautiful beaches, excellent climbing opportunities and a lively and idyllic fishing village, to name a few.

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"Byfjellet" Fløya is one of Tromsø’s most popular hiking destinations and tourist attractions, and offers spectacular views of the city – which is particularly beautiful in the midnight sun. You can either climb the approximately 1,200 steps to the top, or take the Fjellheisen cable car up.

6. Bodø – Get up close to sea eagles

If you are looking for beautiful beaches and are not too fussy when it comes to the water temperature, Bodø is a good choice for summer in Norway. Here you will find plenty of long beaches worthy of both an Instagram picture and a real beach lover. One of the best-known is called Hovdsundet, which is often called Bodø’s answer to Bora Bora. Located between the island of Litlhovden and the mainland, the beach has crystal blue seas on both sides. A real paradise!

If you are looking for urban pleasures, Bodø is also not a bad choice. It offers a mix of exciting history and modern city life, with sky bars, museums and excellent restaurants. The capital of Nordland is also the perfect starting point for hunting the majestic sea eagle with binoculars and a camera. It is said that the world’s largest population can be found here, and there are several opportunities to join a guided tour to see Northern Europe’s largest bird of prey up close.

If you are in Bodø for the first time, a good tip is to explore more of the beautiful Nordland coast, and the way down the Helgeland coast. The latter is known for its more than 14,000 islands and islets, with good opportunities for island hopping by bike, ferry, speedboat and car. Also remember to take a detour to Torghatten – the mountain with a hole through it.

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Just half an hour’s drive from Bodø centre you can experience the spectacular Saltstraumen, a world-famous natural phenomenon known for its fierce and beautiful maelstroms. There are several ways to experience Saltstraumen, for example on a RIB trip with Explore Salten, which combines the natural phenomenon with a sea eagle safari.

7. Trondheim – the heart of Trøndelag

First and foremost, you can travel to Trondheim for the food. With a strong focus on local ingredients from the mountains, land and sea, this is an excellent starting point for getting a taste of Norway – in the county that has been nicknamed Norway’s food bowl and was awarded European Region of Gastronomy in 2022.

Norway’s third largest city also has a lot to offer for nature lovers, just a short distance from Trondheimsfjorden and idyllic Bymarka. If the summer sun shines a little extra, you can find your way to one of the city’s many parks, such as the Gåsaparken or Ilaparken, or get your swimwear and head to Sjøbadet or Munkholmen.

The centre itself is perfect for exploring on foot or by bike, where Bakklandet, with its colourful wooden houses and cosy cafes and shops, is a must-see. If you choose a bike, you should also check out the Trampe bicycle lift, one of the city’s most popular tourist attractions, which annually takes tens of thousands of cyclists up Brubakken in Bakklandet. You can also explore the city on water with a kayak – and glide along the Nidelva river, which divides the city in two.

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Paris has the Eiffel Tower, New York has the Statue of Liberty and Trondheim has the Nidaros Cathedral. The world’s northernmost Gothic cathedral is not only the city’s biggest attraction, but also one of Europe’s most important historical pilgrimage destinations. The cathedral was completed around the year 1300 and was built on the burial site of Olav the Holy.

8. Oslo – summer idyll in the capital city

Norway’s capital was long forgotten among the other Scandinavian capitals, but recently Oslo has gained momentum in both popularity and development. Development and growth is in full swing – and the city is extra nice to explore in the summertime!

Check out sights such as Holmenkollen, the Royal Palace, Vigeland Park and the Norwegian Folk Museum, or take a seat in one of the city’s many green oases. Smell the flowers in the Botanical Garden, jump into the sea by Sørenga or at the new Operastranda beach, check out the city’s many art museums or explore the Grünerløkka district – Oslo’s answer to Shoreditch and Williamsburg.

If you want to make the most of the Oslo summer, you can jump on one of the city ferries that takes you from Aker Brygge out to several of the Oslofjord’s islands, where beaches and real summer idyll await.

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A trip to Oslo’s Opera House is a must for anyone visiting Oslo, whether you want to hear opera or watch a ballet performance, or just walk on the famous marble roof that slopes up from the water. Once you’re in the area, you can also check out the new Munch Museum, which is right door, and the rest of the new Oslobukta district in Bjørvika.

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