My recent visit to Norway confirmed what I already knew to be true: this is one of the most picturesque countries in the world, full of jaw-dropping scenery and postcard-perfect towns. Whilst travelling along the Norwegian coasts, I came to realise that there was much to be discovered by way of charming little towns and sizeable cities, so here are the prettiest coastal cities and towns in Norway you have to visit!
The best cities and towns in Norway
Let’s start with an obvious choice and a much-loved city by all who travel to Norway: Bergen. Despite being full of small-town charm, Bergen is in fact the second-largest city in Norway. The beauty of this city centres around Bryggen, a UNESCO World Heritage site. This focuses on a historic harbour lined with quintessential seaside buildings in quirky colours. Be sure to wander behind the buildings for a free history lesson! It is here you will find great art studios and galleries. There is a strong sense of supporting locals artisans, which is prominent in Scandinavian culture.
As my all-time favourite town in Norway, I fell completely and utterly in love with Ålesund. This seaside town was all but completely destroyed in a fire at the beginning of the 20th Century. It was then completely rebuilt in Art Nouveau style after the fire. The most enjoyable aspect of this town is just wandering the city streets. There are many great antique stores and local artisans. Be sure to climb the 418 steps to the public viewing platform for the most incredible view over the city! It is best to do this in the afternoon and capture the golden hues.
As the fourth largest city in Norway, Stavanger brings a whole lot of small-town charm. The old town is a must-visit, complete with traditional wooden houses and their charming miniature gardens on display. Over in the city centre itself, you will still find oodles of charm in the many winding streets and alleyways that make up the shopping district. A half-day visit is plenty of time to soak up all the charm in this town, combined with a hike in the nearby fjords to complete your stay!
Commonly regarded as Norway’s most scenic fjord and one of the most incredible landscapes in the world, a visit to Geiranger (village) and Geirangerfjord should be on any and all traveller’s visit list whilst in Norway. The landscapes are best viewed as you wind your way up the narrow road that connects Geiranger with the rest of the region, open only a few months of the year during summer. Then in late September the road closes to make way for the heavy snowfall.
This list would not be complete without mention of the small fishing village known as Flåm (pronounced: Flaum). This is of course where you can take the hour long Flåm Railway, commonly regarded as one of the most scenic railways in Europe. Be sure to take the time to wander around the water’s edge and see the village from afar – a photograph just waiting to happen!
Image via Flickr / Mashhour Halawani
Over on Norway’s southern coast lies Oslo, the capital of Norway and largest city with more than 600,000 Norwegians calling this city home! If you’re after more of a city escape or are arriving in Norway by plane, you absolutely must stop by Oslo to see the hustle and bustle. No other city in Norway feels as busy or happening as Oslo, with a wide range of concerts and events year-round to make your visit extra special!
Image via Wikicommons
Back on the west coast of Norway is a small and unassuming little town known as Haugesund. This is a great base for more adventurous travellers planning to hike the Lysefjorden region, which is regarded as one of the best regions to explore many of Norway’s most spectacular mountains.