Start \ Regions and countries \ Europe \

Norway

Main attractions

Preikestolen, Norway
Preikestolen - 604 m tall cliff / Wikimedia Commons, user Ritchyblack, 2007. CC BY-SA 3.0

The highlights of Norwegian natural and cultural heritage are the beautiful fiords with extremely tall waterfalls and cliffs as well as the unique medieval architecture.

Natural landmarks

The nature of Norway offers some of the most magnificent landscapes in the world. Especially beautiful are the numerous fjords and other glacier shaped valleys. Here have formed some of the most impressive waterfalls in the world, extreme cliffs, beautiful observation spots.

Cliffs, fjords and canyons

  • Hornelen - Sogn og Fjordane. 860 m tall sea cliff, the highest in Europe.
  • Jutulhogget - Hedmark. Unusual formation - 2.4 km long, 100 - 240 m deep canyon formed by a stream, which formed when a large proglacial lake ruptured.
  • Kjerag - Rogaland. 984 m tall vertical cliff rising over Lysefjorden and offering one of the most impressive observation spots. Contains also Kjeragbolten - large boulder perched between two rocks, with fjord seen in the background far below.
  • Nærøyfjord - Sogn og Fjordane. One of the most dramatic and impressive fjords in Norway, arm of Sognefjord. 18 km long, very narrow (at places only 250 m), with up to 1400 m tall cliffs.
  • Preikestolen - Rogaland. Impressive cliff rising 604 m above Lysefjorden. Top of the cliff contains flat surface, adding unusual accent to the beautiful scenery.
  • Sautso - Finnmark. 10 km long and 300 - 420 m deep canyon, largest in Northern Europe. River Altaelva flows through it.
  • Trolltunga - Hordaland. Unusual formation - tongue of rock hanging some 350 m above the ground with Skjeggedal in the background.
  • Troll Wall - Møre og Romsdal. Tallest vertical rock face in Europe, up to 1,100 m tall. The summit is not just vertical: it overhangs its base by some 50 m.
Langfossen, Norway
Langfossen - 612 m tall waterfall / , Flickr / CC BY-SA 2.0

Waterfalls

Norway has some of the most impressive waterfalls in the world - many of them falling along oblique, nearly vertical walls in numerous cascades but often forming also giant drops. Most of these waterfalls have not been exactly measured, leaving some room for discussion about the highest falls in Norway. Unfortunately major part of falls have been harnessed for power production and thus - greatly reduced.

Below is given just a selection of some impressive falls, there are numerous others of similar size and beauty.

  • Friarfossen - Møre og Romsdal. Very impressive, approximately 275 m tall waterfall, the highest single drop is some 125 m tall.
  • Kjelfossen - Sogn og Fjordane. One of the tallest and most beautiful waterfalls in Norway, with several plunges. Estimates of total height fluctuate between 755 and 840 m.
  • Kjosfossen - Sogn og Fjordane. One of the most impressive falls in Norway, 225 m tall. Tradition of the dance of huldra - seductive forest creature - performed by students of ballet school.
  • Langfossen - Hordaland. A powerful, large river that cascades down a nearly vertical cliff with a height of 612 metres.
  • Mardalsfossen - Møre og Romsdal. 657 - 705 m tall falls with two large drops, the highest is 358 m tall.
  • Sotefossen - Hordaland. A waterfall of unusual beauty, with two steeply sliding tiers and a total height of 246 metres.
  • Vettisfossen - Sogn og Fjordane. Powerful falls with 275 m tall single drop.
  • Vinnufossen - Møre og Romsdal. 860 m tall waterfall with multiple drops, where the highest is 420 m tall.
Torghatten, Norway
Torghatten - mountain with a hole through it / Wikimedia Commons, Werner Hölzl, 2007. CC BY-SA 3.0

Other natural landmarks

  • Leksvik Thulite Quarry - Nord-Trøndelag. The largest find of pink decorative stone - thulite. Thulite belongs to the group of zoisite minerals, it is colored with manganese and serves well as beautiful material for jewellery.
  • Moskenstraumen - Lofoten, Nordland. Powerful maelstrom between two Lofoten islands - tidal forces here form powerful whirlpools and todal eddies. Legendary site.
  • Raggejavreraige - Nordland. Deepest known cave north of Arctic Circle, 580 m deep. Approximately 2 km long cave, includes 152 m deep shaft - Storstupet.
  • Saltstraumen - Nordland. Sound with the most powerful tidal currents in the world, where 400 million m³ of water are forced through 150 m wide strait every six hours, speed of water reaches 40 km/h. In process are formed up to 5 m deep funnels of whirlpools.
  • Tjoarvekrajgge - Nordland. Longest known cave in Norway and Scandinavia, explored to 22,535 m length, 500 m depth. Formed in oblique layer of marble.
  • Torghatten - Nordland. Enormous cliff monolith - mountain with well visible hole through it. This natural tunnel is 160 m long, 35 m wide and 20 m tall.
  • Utne oak - Hardanger, Hordaland. Largest oak and largest tree in Norway, circumference at 1.3 m height - 10.08 m.
  • Vedøy bird cliffs, also Storfjellet, Trenyken and Hærnyken bird cliffs - Lofoten, Nordland. One of the largest birdcliffs colonies in Northern Europe with some 2.5 million adult birds.
  • Værøy bird cliffs - Lofoten, Nordland. In the high cliff facing to the ocean there are nesting numerous birds, including puffins.

Man made landmarks

Stoplesteinan, Norway
Stoplesteinan - stone circle / Wikimedia Commons, Jon Magne Bøe, 2006, public domain.

Archaeological monuments

  • Jiepmaluokta rock carvings - Finnmark. In several locations around Alta are found more than 5000 carvings. The largest find is Jiepmaluokta with some 3000 carvings. The oldest carvings are from around 4200 BC, the youngest from 500 BC. Carvings show herds of reindeer, moose, birds, bears, hunting, fishing, different rituals.
  • Leirfall rock carvings - Nord-Trøndelag. Site is rich with Bronze Age carvings in cliffs, possibly a ritual place. More than 1000 carvings have made here in several periods from 1500 BC to the first centuries AD.
  • Stoplesteinan - Rogaland. Stone circle of 16 stones set in approximately 21 m wide ring. Possibly located over a burial site.

Urban planning monuments

  • Ålesund - Møre og Romsdal. Town is located in beautiful setting - on islands, surrounded by the sea and mountains. The town burned down entirely in 1904 and was rebuilt entirely in Jugenstil. Now it together with the surrounding landscape forms highly unusual and magnificent cityscape.
  • Bryggen and Old Bergen - Bergen, Hordaland. The old wharf of Bergen - Bryggen - consists of unique ensemble of wooden buildings (some 62 structures), always renovated following old patterns and methods since the 14th - 16th century. The beautiful old city of Bergen has several parts, developed since the 12th century.
  • Old Lærdalsøyri - Sogn og Fjordane. Old, traditional town consisting of 161 valuable wooden buildings from the 18th - 19th century and located in beautiful mountainous setting.
  • Røros - Sør-Trøndelag. Copper mining town, developed since the 17th century. Town contains some 2000 authentic wooden buildings.
Borgund stave church, Norway
Borgund stave church, built in 1180 - 1250 / orse, / CC BY-SA 2.0

Stave churches

Unique monuments of Norwegian medieval architecture are stave churches - wooden buildings with a post and beam construction. Earllier such buildings were built in other areas of Northern Europe as well, but only in Norway some 30 have surprisingly survived up to this day and bear testimony to this fusion of Viking and Celtic and Roman construction methods. Below are listed some selected stave churches:

  • Borgund stave church - Sogn og Fjordane. The best preserved Norse stave church, built in between 1180 - 1250 AD, contains runic inscriptions. Representative of the unique Norse wooden architecture, uniting Viking, Celtic and Roman elements.
  • Heddal stave church - Telemark. Largest stave church in Norway, built in the early 13th century.
  • Hopperstad stave church - Sogn og Fjordane. Could be built in 1130 and still located in its original location, one of the oldest and best preserved stave churches with beautiful ornamentation.
  • Kaupanger stave church - Sogn og Fjordane. Large church with 22 staves, built sometimes around 1150 and in continuous use since then.
  • Lom stave church - Oppland. Beautiful stave church with original dragon head on the crest. Built in the end of the 12th century, relocated in medieval times.
  • Nore stave church - Buskerud. Built after 1167 AD, with unique planning for its time, adorned with paintings.
  • Urnes Stave Church - Sogn og Fjordane. Built around 1130, still in original location and possibly the oldest of its kind. Contains beautiful, unique woodcarvings.
Inside the Laerdal tunnel, Norway
Inside the Laerdal tunnel / , Flickr / CC BY 2.0

Industrial architecture

Rapid development of industry in the late 19th - early 20th century brought Norway in the forefront of technological progress. The infrastructure for mining, industrial production, power generation and transport highlights the high organisational capabilities and innovative genius of Norwegians. Below are listed just selected examples to this:

  • Flåm Line - Sogn og Fjordane. Impressive railway line in mountains, built in 1923 - 1947, with multiple tunnels, U turns and impressive sights.
  • Lærdal tunnel - Sogn og Fjordane. Longest road tunnel in the world (24.5 km), built in 2000.
  • SF Ammonia - Telemark. The only working steam-powered railway ferry in the world, built in 1929. Ferry can bring 17 railway cars.
  • Tysso I - Hordaland. Water power plant, built in 1906 - 1918. Many machines of the original equipment still preserved.
  • Vemork - Øst-Telemark. Historical power plants and chemical production factory, most powerful power plant in the world at the time of construction in 1911. This was also the only place at the time where was produced heavy water (deuterium) what Germans tried to obtain during the World War II for production of nuclear bomb.
Nidaros Cathedral, Norway
Nidaros Cathdral, west facade / Wikimedia Commons, Erik A. Drabløs. CC BY-SA 3.0

Other monuments of architecture

  • Damsgård Manor - Bergen, Hordaland. Beautiful rococo style wooden palace, built in time period from roughly 1720 - after 1769.
  • Kon-Tiki Museum - Oslo. Exposition of the work of world explorer Thor Heyerdahl, includes materials of his expeditions to different areas of the world.
  • Nidaros Cathedral - Trondheim, Sør-Trøndelag. Outstanding monument of Romanic and Gothic architecture, built in 1070 - 1300. Important medieval centre of pilgrimage in Northern Europe. Especially impressive is the Gothic West Front, built in 1248 - 1328 and after the fire rebuilt again, last time in 1901 - 1983.
  • Stiftsgården - Trondheim, Sør-Trøndelag. Unusual, enormous Baroque wooden palace, built in 1774. Contains 140 rooms, since 1800 used as a royal residence.
  • Vigeland Sculpture Park - Oslo. Impressive park with 212 sculptures created by Gustav Vigeland in 1924 - 1943. Includes the famous Monolitten - 14.12 m tall sculpture formed of 121 human figures rising towards the sky.

List of described attractions by counties

Norway is divided into 19 counties (fylker).

Akershus
Aust-Agder
Buskerud
Finnmark
Hedmark
Hordaland
Møre og Romsdal
Nord-Trøndelag
Nordland
Oppland
Oslo
Rogaland
Sogn og Fjordane
ArrowHessdalen lightsMeteorological phenomena
Sør-Trøndelag
ArrowBorgund stave churchChurches
Telemark
Troms
Vest-Agder
Vestfold
Østfold

Overseas territories and dependancies

These territories have separate pages in Wondermondo, here they are not described.

Jan Mayen
Svalbard
Bouvet Island

Norwegian Antarctic Territory includes not only Bouvet Island but also Queen Maud Land and Peter I Island, both reviewed as a part of Antarctica.

Map of Norway

Your thoughts?