9 Must-See Natural Wonders in Norway

Norway's natural landscapes have made it a top travel destination for nature lovers. With its towering mountains, picturesque fjords, and awe-inspiring natural wonders like the Midnight Sun and Northern Lights, Norway offers visitors a unique and unforgettable experience.

medium-Northern Lights in Vesterålen-Øystein Lunde Ingvaldsen – www.nordnorge.com
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Natacha Müller

Natacha has lived in Norway since 2019. She spends most of her free time traveling and exploring places throughout Scandinavia. Her tips on how to make the best of your time in the North will make your trip unforgettable.

Norwegians place a high value on being connected with nature and even have a special word for it - "Friluftsliv" - which reflects their love for the outdoors. If you're planning a trip to Norway, include these nine must-see nature attractions in your itinerary.

 

1. The Northern Lights: A Magical Display

The Northern Lights, the Aurora Borealis, is a breathtaking natural phenomenon on many travellers' bucket lists. Visitors can witness this magical display of lights during winter above the Arctic Circle. During cold and dry weather, the best time to see the Northern Lights is from late September to late March. The lights are caused by electrically charged particles from the sun colliding with the earth's atmosphere, producing colours like green, yellow, blue, pink, and even violet that dance across the dark sky. There are numerous places to view the Northern Lights in Northern Norway, including Tromsø, the Lofoten Islands, the North Cape, Alta, Kirkenes and Senja Island.

 

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Image by Visit Norway, Steffen Fossbakk

 

2. The Midnight Sun: Endless Daylight

In Northern Norway, the arrival of the summer months brings a natural phenomenon that turns day into night - or rather, night into day. The Midnight Sun casts its magical light, with the sun shining 24/7 and providing endless daylight. Norwegians take full advantage of this enchanting season, spending time outdoors, hiking and engaging in other activities to soak up the radiant light. The Midnight Sun occurs because the Earth is tilted towards the sun, causing it not to set in the Arctic Circle region during the summer months. Svalbard, in particular, experiences the Midnight Sun for the longest period, with the sun never setting from April 20 until August 22. On the North Pole, it doesn't set for six months! Don't miss out on this unique opportunity to experience the endless daylight - take a kayak or hiking tour, go on a whale safari, or even play a round of midnight golf. The possibilities are endless.

 

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Image by Visit Norway, Alexander Benjaminsen

 

3. The Fjords: A Sight to Behold

Fjord Norway is the most visited area of Norway, and it's easy to see why. The region boasts some of the most iconic fjords in the world, including the Geirangerfjord, Nærøyfjord, Sognefjord, Aurlandsfjord, and Hardangerfjord, with some of them even designated as UNESCO World Heritage sites. But did you know that Norway has over 1000 fjords along its coastline? Fjords are saltwater inlets connected to the sea, some of which reach up to 200 km into the country - the longest being the Sognefjord. Their towering cliffs offer stunning panoramic views for hikers, while kayaking, RIB Boat safaris, fjord saunas, and fishing in the fjords are also popular activities. Make sure to look at the magnificent waterfalls that cascade down the fjord walls, adding to the already breathtaking scenery.

 

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Image by Visit Norway, Oyvind Heen

 

4. The Mountains: Dramatic Sceneries

Explore Norway's magnificent landscape by immersing yourself in nature by hiking its mountains. The country offers countless hiking opportunities throughout its scenic regions, with popular destinations including the Lofoten Islands, Senja Island, and the stunning Fjord Norway. The renowned Besseggen Ridge, Trolltunga, Kjerag, and Preikestolen hikes are a must for any outdoor lover. Hiking is deeply rooted in Norwegian culture, and it's easy to see why. To learn more about hiking routes and accommodations, check out the website of the Norwegian Trekking Association DNT. Try hiking and discover your new favourite pastime in Norway's pristine wilderness.

 

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Image by Visit Norway, Fotoknoff

 

5. The Waterfalls: Impressive Natural Wonders

Get ready to be blown away by Norway's countless waterfalls' sheer force and beauty. With 10 of the 30 highest waterfalls in the world located in Norway, you'll be spoiled for choice. The best time to experience them in all their glory is during May and June when the meltwater from winter snow makes them truly spectacular. These cascading waterfalls are not just picturesque; they're also a significant source of local energy. Some of the most impressive waterfalls include Vettisfossen, Langfoss, The Seven Sisters, and Vøringsfossen, the tallest being Kjelfossen at almost 800 meters. Take a break from the hustle and bustle of city life and reconnect with nature by exploring these stunning waterfalls.

 

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Image by Visit Norway, Maverix Media

 

6. The National Parks: Pristine Landscapes

Norwegians take great pride in protecting and preserving their environment for future generations. This is evident in the 47 national parks located nationwide, including in remote Svalbard. These parks cover vast areas of land, from mountainous regions to coastal areas, and offer endless opportunities for outdoor activities such as hiking, kayaking, skiing, fishing, and hunting. Visitors can also stay in cabins provided by the parks for overnight stays. It's important to note that while exploring these parks, visitors should adhere to the principles of "Leave No Trace" and "Leave nature as you found it." This means not disturbing the natural surroundings, staying on designated trails, and properly disposing of waste. By respecting the environment and following these principles, visitors can help ensure that these parks remain pristine for generations to come. 

 

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Image by Visit Norway, FarOutFocus

 

7. The Glaciers: Ancient Natural Wonders

Norway is home to an impressive 2534 glaciers, making it one of the top destinations in the world for glacier enthusiasts. Among them is Europe's largest ice cap by area and the second largest by volume, the Austfonna glacier, located on the Svalbard Islands. One of the most well-known glaciers in Norway is the Jostedalsbreen, which boasts several branches, including Briksdalsbreen and Nigardsbreen. The Jostedalsbreen is also the largest glacier on the European mainland. Visitors can enjoy a range of glacier tours and guided activities, which offer an excellent opportunity to get up close to the ice and witness the sheer power of nature. However, it is essential to note that glacier hiking should never be undertaken alone and that the ice is in constant motion.

 

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Image by Visit Norway, Ph. Luca Bracali

 

8. The Lakes: Little Slices of Paradise

Norway's natural beauty isn't just limited to fjords and waterfalls but also its stunning lakes. From the Hornindalsvatnet, Europe's deepest lake with a depth of 514 meters, to the Oppstrynsvatnet, these lakes offer breathtaking views and are located all over the country. Many lakes near glaciers have a unique green hue due to the silt originating from the meltwater of glacier ice. Examples of such lakes include Lovatnet and Oldevatnet. Lake Femunden in the Femundsmarka National Park is a popular spot for fishing, while Mosvatnet is a peaceful retreat in Stavanger. With so many picturesque lakes to choose from, visitors to Norway are sure to find a favourite spot to relax and enjoy the stunning scenery.

 

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Image by Visit Norway, Alex Conu

 

9. Svalbard: A Remote Paradise 

Svalbard, located in the Arctic Ocean, is a must-see destination for adventure seekers. With Longyearbyen as its centre, visitors can explore the untouched Arctic nature and rich wildlife and experience extreme light variations. The archipelago is also known for its polar bears, making it a unique and exciting destination. Visitors can witness the stunning Northern Lights in the winter, while the summer brings endless days of Midnight Sun. Various activities and events are available year-round, including snowmobile and skiing excursions, dog sledding, and more. Svalbard is just a three-hour flight from Oslo, so it's an easy trip for an unforgettable Arctic adventure.

 

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Image by Visit Norway, Håkon Daae Brensholm

 

 

By Natacha Müller / May 31 2023

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