Interested in visiting Scandinavia but don't know where to start? This month, I'm introducing you to my personal must visit lists that, I hope, will provide ideas for couples, families, singles and group travel. Norway is next on our list. My favorite time to visit is around Easter when I can enjoy the spring weather but also take part in Norwegian ski culture (unfortunately I don't ski). Hope this list helps you plan your journey!
Vigeland Sculptures in Frogner Park
This large park has 192 granite and bronze sculpture groupings - 600 unique figures total - all sans clothes and very unique. The park is open and free to visit and can be visited day or night. Visit the famous Sinnataggen - a very upset little boy, the 300 foot long bridge with unique lizard art, sculptures showing life and death and the monolith tying the circle of life together with 121 figures carved out of a single block of stone (180 tons, 50 feet tall, took 3 stone carvers 14 years to build).
If you enjoy the park, you may want to visit the nearby museum as well.
You cannot visit Scandinavia without checking out Viking Ships. While touring the Viking Ship museum, you will see two well-preserved ships from the 9th and 10th centuries and the remains of the Vikings buried with the ships. Don't miss the hall filled with jewelry and personal items discovered with the ships. There are many Viking items as well as items brought back from raids of other lands. The museum costs about 80 Kr per person .
This is the building where the Nobel Prize is awarded. Built mostly in the 1930s, the Radhuset exterior is covered with artwork depicting scenes from Norwegian mythology with English explanations, the statues celebrating the working class. There are free tours of the interior offered daily which includes beautiful murals throughout recognizes the history of the country and represents numerous Norwegian artists.
The Oslo to Bergen Train (& Back Again)
The time of year you visit dictates what you will see on this trip. I truly enjoyed this trip around spring break when the beautiful spring flowers were coming up but the skiers were still using the train to reach the slopes. Along the way you will pass through tunnels and see woods, lakes, heaths and glaciers. This is a train ride not to be missed. This 7 hour trip is 300 miles long, passes over 300 bridges, peaks at 4,266 feet and passes through 200 tunnels. If you want to take the Flam-Gudvangen Fjord cruise (next on the list), you should leave the train at Myrdal and return at Voss. I highly recommend the detour!
For the return trip, consider taking an overnight train and be lulled to sleep by the motion of the train.
Flam-Gudvangen Fjord Cruise
Take the Oslo-Bergen train mentioned above to Myrdal. Take the 50 minute train ride to Flam. This 12 mile ride passes through 20 tunnels and stops to take a photo at the waterfall. The track is so steep the train has 5 braking systems to keep you safe.
Take the Flam-Gudvangen Fjord cruise through Naeroyfjord and Aurlandsfjord passing waterfalls, goats and awesome cliffs. This is one place where a warmer season trip may be more comfortable. If you go during early spring, make sure to bundle up or you will be watching the views from inside the boat. Leave the boat at Gudvangen and catch a 1 hour bus ride to Voss where you catch the remainder of your Oslo-Bergen train ride.
A beautiful little Norwegian fishing village, Bergen is worth the trip! The town is walkable making it a fun day trip worth its weight in photo opportunities. Visit the harbor, the Torget square and fish market and take a historical walking tour - 90 minutes through 900 years of history. The tour includes visits to the Hanseatic town including the Bryggens Museum and the and the medieval Hanseatic Assembly Rooms. If the museum time during the tour is too short, you can visit again after the tour using the same ticket. Meet a the Bryggens Museum. 120 Kr June - August. I also recommend eating in Bergen at a great seafood restaurant. Travel companions from my first visit talk about their dinner years later!
Bergen has some fun little shops that are not to be missed for bringing home Norwegian memories. Check out Ting (Thing in Norwegian) - a unique gift shop that isn't full of trolls filled with quirky gifts and household items and Husfliden - for quality Norwegian sweaters and other handmade goods. The town also has a 6 story mall with sporting goods, groceries and more. Enjoy Shopping!
Norwegian Museum of Cultural History
Visit Norway's largest museum of Norwegian cultural history including the oldest open air museum in the world. You can tour buildings from apartment buildings and homes to farm houses and a stave church. You can also visit indoor exhibits of Norwegian clothing, folk art and a glimpse into the life of the Sami culture. Worth a visit.
There are several things to see in this Olympic town. The Olympic park, luge track and Olympic museum are near the top of the list for those interested in Olympic history. The open air museum, Maihaugen, is a reconstruction of Norwegian history from medieval times to recent history. Keep an eye out for festival dates when it may be busier but there will be more craft and cultural activities to enjoy.
The hairpin turns on the drive to Trollsteigen are not for those afraid of heights. But the views are amazing for those who venture the drive up Norwegian County Road 63. Recommendation is to go in summer when the facilities are open and to select a nice clear day to enjoy the views. The hike to the top is not easy nor is it short but many will complete in a few hours. The views are not to be missed via the pathways!
I hope you found this list helpful in dreaming or planning your Norwegian adventure. If Enjoy Vacationing can help you plan your journey, please do not hesitate to ask!