Norway attracts attention with beautiful natural landscapes and original architecture. Here you can see picturesque fjords surrounded by rocky shores, waterfalls, mountains and forests.
Who travels to Norway and why
Norway is the birthplace of the ancient Vikings, who terrified neighboring countries with regular raids. They preferred to build settlements of wood, so many houses have not survived to this day.
The first stone buildings appeared after the Christianization of the country about a thousand years ago. Tourists go to see Romanesque temples, Gothic cathedrals, defensive fortresses. Of increased interest are wooden churches built on pillars dug into the ground — stave churches.
Wildlife lovers flock to Norway to admire its pristine forests and lakes. The mountainous terrain and valleys here are covered with lush vegetation. Tourists can go fishing, rafting, conquer high cliffs, go hiking. In winter, the country is covered with snow, which opens up opportunities for skiing, snowmobiling, reindeer sledding, and snowboarding.
Norway is famous for interesting festivals:
- In June, Kopervik invites tourists to the Viking Festival. Guests can see the reconstructed settlement, clothes, weapons, household items, listen to sagas about great battles, and taste meat roasted over a fire.
- The Summer Festival in Oslo, which continues throughout June, is popular. At this time, jazz and folk music concerts, theatrical performances, and fairs are held daily in the city.
There are many interesting places for family holidays in Norway. Tourists can visit several excellent water parks, an aquarium, a zoological park, and entertainment centers. Adults and children enjoy the exhibitions about the culture and traditions of Norway, and the ski museum in Holmenkollen.
Hanseatic embankment in Bergen
The main attraction of Bergen is the Hanseatic Bryggen embankment in the historic center of the city. In the 11th century, the first wooden houses were built here and a settlement was founded. In 1702, many buildings were destroyed by fire. Local residents restored the embankment, preserving the ancient appearance of the city.
Half a century ago, there was another fire — then the Bryggen Museum was erected on the site of the burnt buildings. People come to see the three-story multi-colored houses, admire the wooden sculptures of angels and animals that adorn the facades. Souvenir shops, cafes, restaurants, art galleries and exhibitions are open in medieval buildings.
Royal Palace in Oslo
On the central street of Oslo, it is easy to find the Royal Palace, erected at the beginning of the 19th century. A strict three-story house in a classical style is surrounded by a park, in the depths of which there is a beautiful lake, benches, marble sculptures.
In front of the entrance to the palace there is a monument to King Karl Johan XIV. The mansion is the official residence of the reigning monarch. In the absence of the royal family, tours are held there so that the general public can appreciate the magnificence of the interior.
The first mention of the fortress was found in the documents of 1300. The medieval castle was intended to protect Oslo from the Swedes. The fortress was rebuilt several times. In the 17th century, new Renaissance-style rooms appeared, used for lavish receptions.
In the castle chapel are the tombs of the rulers Olaf V and Haakon VII. There are several museums on the territory of the complex. Military documents, old cannons, underground newspapers from the Second World War are stored there.
Rosencrantz Tower and Haakons Hall Castle
Haakons Hall Castle was built in the 13th century in Bergen as the residence of King Haakonsson. The construction of large gray stones attracts attention with its strict lines and spacious halls, where royal feasts, solemn rituals and holidays were once held.
Not far from the castle rises the Rosencrantz tower, which in ancient times performed a defensive function. There is an observation deck on its roof.
Stave Church in Urnes
The wooden frame church is considered to be the oldest of the stave churches in Norway. The construction was erected at the beginning of the XII century from powerful logs. Its outer walls are covered with a wave-like ornament. In the original drawings, the influence of Scandinavian mythology is clearly visible.
Inside are wooden statues of the Virgin Mary, Jesus Christ. The altar is decorated with an ancient candlestick in the shape of a Viking ship. Not far from the church there is a museum dedicated to woodcarving.
The Lutheran Cathedral, erected in the 17th century, attracts guests of the capital with a high bell tower, which resembles a medieval fortress, stained-glass windows, painted ceilings and walls. Inside is an altarpiece by Michael Raschu depicting the Crucifixion of Christ and the Last Supper.
The cathedral is used by the royal family for identical events. It regularly hosts organ music concerts.
A church was founded on the burial site of King Olaf II of Norway in 1070, the construction of which lasted almost 300 years. The cathedral in Nidaros, made in the Romanesque and Gothic style, is one of the main architectural attractions of the country.
Its facade is decorated with lancet windows, arches, statues of saints. Inside there are magnificent stained-glass windows and two organs. And the holy relics of Eystein Erlendsson are stored in the crypt.
The oldest Norwegian cathedral, founded by Sigurd the Crusader in 1100, rises in the city of Stavanger. It has the form of a three-nave Romanesque basilica, made in the strict Norman style. A distinctive feature of the building are massive columns, narrow arched windows and Gothic towers. The main relic of the temple is the relics of St. Swithin.
Cultural attractions and museums in Norway
Historical Museum in Oslo
In a huge mansion in the center of Oslo, the richest collection of exhibits from different parts of the globe is collected.
The expositions on the ground floor are devoted to Norway. There you can study the artifacts of the Iron Age, the Bronze Age, admire the archaeological relics of the Viking Age. In a separate room there is a collection of ancient coins and jewelry.
On the second floor there are sarcophagi with Egyptian mummies and a collection of ethnographic exhibits from Africa, Asia and America.
In the house of Edvard Grieg in Bergen, there is a whole museum complex. It includes a manor, a hut intended for work, and the composer’s family vault in the rock. Grieg took an active part in the construction of this house.
The Victorian-style villa has a high tower, an extensive veranda, and large windows. Tourists can see the memorial room, living room, dining room, concert hall, personal belongings of the composer. Near the house stands a monument to Grieg himself.
Oslo National Gallery
The National Gallery has a large-scale collection of fine arts, including paintings, pencil sketches, graphics. Art connoisseurs come to see the paintings of El Greco, Pablo Picasso, Van Gogh, Renoir, Monet. The pearl of the Norwegian exhibition is Edvard Munch’s painting «The Scream».
Viking Museum Lofotr
In Northern Norway, in the Lofoten archipelago, a reconstructed Viking village rises among the picturesque hills. The main attraction is the house of the tribal leader, inside which the atmosphere of that time is recreated.
Guests can see carved wooden walls, a fireplace, household items, taste honey and broth brewed according to an ancient recipe. For those who wish, a daily boat trip is carried out on a Viking ship.
The Interactive Glacier Museum is located in Sogndal within the Jostedalsbreen National Park. He talks fascinatingly about the climate and glaciers. Children and adults will be able to find out why global warming is happening, how rocks are formed and how the landscape of the fjords is shaped.
Botanical Garden and Museum of Nature
In Vest-Agder, in the Gimle manor, the Norwegian Museum of Natural History has been opened. The main exhibition tells how flora and fauna have changed since the ice age to the present day. Tourists are shown minerals, stones, a collection of cacti.
Gimle Manor is surrounded by a botanical garden, which grows different varieties of roses, rare conifers, medicinal herbs and even carnivorous plants. The park has a playground and benches for rest.
Folk Museum Oslo
In the vicinity of Oslo there is an unusual ethnographic museum. This is a well-kept park and 140 buildings relocated from different parts of Norway. There are dwelling houses of the 17th century, old barns, log churches, forges.
Museum visitors can go to the village shop, learn pottery from local craftsmen, ride horses, watch sheep, cows, goats. At the main entrance there is an exhibition of folk art. Among the exhibits are national costumes, wooden toys and souvenirs.
Viking Ship Museum
Another museum dedicated to the Vikings is located in Oslo. Three boats of the 9th century, raised from the seabed, are kept there. The restored boats attract attention with original carvings, tall masts and luxurious tombs found inside.
People can see ancient combs, clothes, shoes, jewelry, weapons, animal heads carved in wood. The museum shop sells books, gifts and souvenirs.
Oslo has an interesting museum that celebrates the fortitude and courage of Thor Heyerdahl, who crossed the Pacific Ocean with his team on a log raft. Navigation charts, diaries, personal belongings of travelers, and a restored raft are stored in the central hall. Museum visitors will be able to learn many interesting facts about this expedition and see a stuffed animal of a huge whale shark.
A small fjord in Sunnmøre is 15 km long and is surrounded by high cliffs. A popular tourist attraction is famous for its beautiful waterfalls. The most famous of these are the Seven Sisters, the Groom and the Bridal Veil.
Fans of rafting, fishing, kayaking come here. And in the settlement of Geiranger, not far from the fjord, there is a natural history museum that tells about the flora and fauna of the region.
The giant cliff rising above the Lysefjord has a flat square top. It offers a great view of the surroundings. Tourists climb up the path that runs through the mountain landscapes. The path is difficult and takes about 2 hours, but this does not stop travelers who want to admire the green hills and the fjord.
In the western part of Norway, in the Vestland region, a road has been laid, which is an example of engineering art. Built in a mountainous area, it makes 11 sharp turns during the ascent. In the middle of the route there is a bridge over a waterfall.
At the top of the ascent there is an observation deck. It offers a bewitching panorama of a winding road. Nearby there is a parking lot, several souvenir shops and cafes.
In the vicinity of Nurheimsund, you can admire a beautiful waterfall falling from a cliff into the Hardanger Fjord. The height of the stream is about 20 meters. In the space between the waterfall and the mountain there is a narrow bridge. Tourists can walk on it and watch the wall of water in close proximity.
Not far from the fjord, a village was built, surrounded by orchards. Those who wish can find good places for fishing or have a picnic here.
For outdoor walks in Oslo, a well-groomed park is open, the pride of which are the statues of the famous Norwegian sculptor Gustav Vigeland. There are collected more than 200 works of the master, made of bronze, wrought iron, granite.
The central place of the park is the Monolith Plateau, carved from a huge granite block in the form of figures of people woven together.
Hunderfossen Family Park
The adventure park in Lillehammer is visited annually by over 275,000 people. A rich program awaits adults and children here: a train ride, swimming in a pool with slides, family rafting, riding in radio-controlled cars.
Coming here, people find themselves in the kingdom of trolls, where they have to solve riddles, overcome obstacles, participate in theatrical performances and quizzes.
Fløibanen funicular in Bremen
The funicular started operating in 1918. The line is 844 meters long and takes 7 minutes to travel. The lower terminus of the rolling stock is located a stone’s throw from the Hanseatic embankment. The upper one is located on Mount Floyen — there is an observation deck, a cafe and a restaurant.
Springboard in Holmenkollen
Oslo has a popular ski resort, Holmenkollen, which attracts tourists all year round. On its territory there is a 115-meter ski jump intended for experienced skiers with a license. Beginners and amateurs can ride along the tracks laid on the slopes of the mountains.
Cottages, restaurants, a ski school have been built in Holmenkollen. In summer, people come here to go cycling, roller skiing, and have a picnic in nature.