From fjord views on mountain hikes to camping under the Northern Lights, Norwegian nature dominates many travelers’ bucket lists heading to Scandinavia. Still, being a city with a majority Norwegian population, it’s filled with cultural highlights, a thriving restaurant scene and fascinating historic sites.
Choosing a Norwegian city break doesn’t mean you miss Norwegian nature. All the cities featured below have easy access to spectacular fjords, waterfront walks, forest trails, or secluded islands.
The Norwegian capital is a natural choice for many international travelers given the high number of international flights arriving there. But that’s not the only reason to choose Oslo for your next Scandinavian vacation.
The city offers a great mix of historic sites, modern attractions and outdoor experiences to showcase all that Norwegian cities have to offer.
The ever-changing waterfront is a perfect example. Start your day with a visit to the impressive architecture of the Opera House and the new Munch Museum, then explore the grounds of Akershus Castle and a small museum before visiting one of the many islands that dot the interior of the Oslo Fjord. on an all-electric passenger ferry.
With easy access to fjords, mountains and trails in the great outdoors, an urban break combination is a dream come true for many. If that’s you, Bergen would be the ideal city break. The option to reach the fjords by rail or fast ferry is well worth the money, and the city itself is rich in culture, history and many activities.
The legacy of composer Edvard Grieg is everywhere, but the city remains positive with a busy calendar of contemporary festivals and other events.
You don’t even have to leave the city to enjoy the wonderful Norwegian nature. Ride the city cable car to the top of Mount Floyen for numerous trailheads and stunning views of the city and ocean.Don’t miss the troll-themed sculpture park trolskogen Right behind the top station of the cable car.
From the old town of the Backlandet to the fortresses overlooking the city, from the wooden riverside quays to the narrow cobbled alleys, a walk through Trondheim is a pleasant journey.
Trondheim was Norway’s most important city during the late Viking Age, and the city’s Nidaros Cathedral is a destination for hundreds of long-distance pilgrims each summer.
Despite its historical importance, today Trondheim is forward-looking. The city’s universities and related institutions educate many of Norway’s problem solvers and give the city a youthful feel.
Like all cities along the long west coast, Stavanger owes its success to the sea. Over the centuries, Stavanger thrived on herring fishing successes, but its fortunes changed when Norway was hit by oil. The city’s petroleum museum is a surprisingly family-friendly destination where you can learn more about the story.
Despite the booming oil and gas industry, Stavanger has managed to retain its traditional feel thanks to the hundreds of beautiful white wooden houses in its old town.
In stark contrast to this district, Stavanger became one of the first Scandinavian cities to embrace street art, so colorful murals adorn buildings elsewhere in the city centre.
Like most coastal cities, famous fjords and hiking trails are within easy reach. Choose between a boat tour to the Lysefjord Waterfalls and Goats Cliffs, or a bus and hiking tour to the world-famous Pulpit Rock, a square cliff that rises above the fjord.
Kristiansand, on Norway’s southern coastline, is a good choice for those wanting to drive to Norway, as multiple ferry lines from Denmark and Holland arrive in Norway. Known for its pleasant summer weather, Kristiansand’s waterfront parks and downtown beaches come alive whenever the sun shines.
The suburban amusement park and zoo Daireparken is a must for families.Pirate docks, haunted houses & live shows with Norwegian kids’ favorite characters Captain Sabertin It’s a big draw for locals and you don’t have to hear about the show to enjoy it.The zoo has Norway’s largest collection of exotic animals, including tigers, lions, cheetahs and zebras.
The largest city in Arctic Norway, with a population of just 77,500, it’s known for its jam-packed cultural events and activities. Head up the cable car for stunning views of the island city surrounded by mountains.
Back in town, museums and galleries focus on Arctic themes and polar exploration. The Arctic Cathedral is one of Northern Norway’s most famous buildings and hosts the Midnight Sun concert on many summer nights.
As a major winter destination, the city is one of Scandinavia’s best locations from which to base your Northern Lights hunts. Even if Light doesn’t come to play, there’s still plenty to keep you busy and entertained.
In contrast to the wooden architecture of other coastal fishing villages, the center of Ålesund is full of fairy-tale Art Nouveau styles that enchant all who visit. Ålesund is a good alternative to Bergen for exploring the fjord region, with easy access to the Geirangerfjord and Hjornfjord.
The city and its surroundings seem delicately balanced into a collection of islands of all shapes and sizes, so you’re never far from the water. Especially the late summer sunsets are really spectacular.
For the best views, head to the top of Aksla, a city landmark and towering mountain landmark. You can choose to drive up or climb over 400 steps from the city park.