Are you looking at visiting Norway? From cruising the Norwegian Fjords to driving the Lofoten Islands, this is how to visit Norway for first-timers!
I’ve said it many times on here before, but Norway is such a magical country to visit.
It has jaw-dropping landscapes, the sparkling Northern Lights, an abundance of outdoor activities, and for those who like the finer things in life, some of the world’s best restaurants.
Getting to Norway is easy (and often very cheap I might add!), but getting around the country can be trickier.
A lot of people often just base themselves in Oslo, but just staying in the city would be a disservice to the beauty that can be discovered outside.
That’s why in this blog post I’m going to give you the top ways of exploring the country. From cruising the Norwegian Fjords to spotting the Northern Lights to driving around the Lofoten Islands, this blog post is ideal for first-timers looking for a little inspiration when planning a trip here. And you certainly won’t lack that in Norway.
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Cruise along the Norwegian Fjords
One of the best ways of visiting Norway and exploring the stunning countryside is by going on a cruise of the Norwegian Fjords.
This is actually one of the most cost-effective ways of travelling around Norway as you get to stop off at so many places along the way while seeing the mountains roll past in the comfort of your cabin.
Costa Cruises offer some amazing cruises around the world, and they’re one of the top operators in Norway.
You can check out their cruises of the Norwegian Fjords here, but they really do offer great value for money.
One of the reasons I’d recommend a cruise are the excursions and activities. You can go hiking or take a scenic train ride to explore the surrounding mountains and valleys. You might also visit charming coastal towns and villages, such as Bergen or Geiranger, to experience local culture and sample traditional Norwegian cuisine.
Also, if you choose a summer cruise, that means you get to see the midnight sun. You really can’t beat a late night cocktail at 10pm on the balcony of your room with the sun still shining in the sky!
Go on a Northern Lights adventure
Norway is one of the best places in the world to see the twinkling Northern Lights (Aurora Borealis).
The real key thing to seeing the Northern Lights is getting out of the cities. Even though you can see them in Oslo, you’ve got a much better chance if you get into the countryside. You want clear dark skies and not much light pollution (hence why cities are a no no).
If you head north to Bergen, Tromsø or the Lofoten Islands, then you’ve got the best opportunity of seeing the colourful dance of lights overhead. These places are known as being the best places to view the Northern Lights in Norway.
If you’re looking for an extra special experience, you can even go dog sledding, snowmobiling, or stay in a traditional Sami tent under the lights for a once-in-a-lifetime experience that you’ll never forget.
Honestly, I can’t tell you how amazing it is seeing the Northern Lights. This is one of those bucket list activities that you just have to do, and Norway is the perfect place to do it.
Sit back and enjoy the Flåm Railway
If you’re looking for one of the top tourist attractions in Norway then look no further than the Flåm Railway. This has actually been described as one of the most beautiful train journeys in the world – yes, it really is hyped up that much!
Departing from picturesque village of Flåm, the railway winds through steep mountains, cascading waterfalls, and picturesque valleys. The journey offers spectacular views of the Norwegian countryside and showcases why this is such a beautiful country to travel around.
The railway passes by several enchanting waterfalls, such as the famous Kjosfossen waterfall. The train often makes a short stop at this location, allowing passengers to step off and witness the magnificent cascade up close.
This is actually one of the most popular excursions offered on cruises like Costa Cruises. On their ship you can ride the Flåm Railway before cycling between waterfalls and through the forest. This sounds like such an amazing excursion to me!
Drive around the Lofoten Islands
Did you know you can drive around the Lofoten Islands? If you’ve never seen pictures of this, I would describe it as one of the most epic road trip adventures in the world.
The Lofoten Islands are a picturesque archipelago in Norway known for their dramatic landscapes, rugged mountains, pristine beaches, and charming fishing villages. Driving around the islands allows you to explore their beauty at your own pace.
To drive around the Lofoten Islands, you will need to rent a car. Several car rental agencies operate in Norway, including at major airports and cities. It’s advisable to book your car in advance, especially during the peak tourist season, to ensure availability.
One of the hardest things about driving around the Lofoten Islands is you’ll want to stop every 10 minutes to take another photo. Seriously, it really does slow down the road trip.
If you want to make things extra special though, I’d recommend hiring either a camper van or just camping. There are loads of camping spots dotted along the route and it’s one of the best ways of immersing yourself in the nature here.
Explore the capital Oslo
Oslo is situated on the shores of the Oslofjord and surrounded by breathtaking landscapes. The city seamlessly blends urban living with nature, offering numerous parks, forests, and lakes within easy reach.
There’s no doubt about it, Oslo is a damn cool city too. It’s also home to some of the world’s best restaurants and museums. Maaemo is often voted in the World’s Top 50 Restaurants, and for art lovers you can find The Scream by Edvard Munch at the Munch Museum.
Then you’ve got iconic landmarks like the Royal Palace and world-famous Oslo Opera House to explore. If you haven’t seen photos of the Oslo Opera House then you’re in for a treat, the architecture is just stunning.
In winter, the whole city turns into a winter wonderland – ice skating, sledding, even skiing. You have it all and more. But when the cold gets a bit too bracing, there’s plenty to do once you step inside too. You can check out my guide to Oslo in winter here!
I feel like Oslo is the perfect capital for Norway. It really is a stunning place to explore, but it really heightens your anticipation of what’s to come when exploring the rest of the country.
So there you have it, the top 5 ways of visiting Norway for first-timers. Are you planning a trip to Norway? You can let me know what you’re planning in the comments below!