Interrail in Norway: the ultimate country guide 🇳🇴
Table of contents 🇳🇴
When it comes to natural beauty, there’s nothing quite like Norway. From its breathtaking fjords to its rich Viking history, Norway makes for an unforgettable getaway whether you’re going for a weekend or longer. Sharing a peninsula with Finland and Sweden, it has spectacular wildlife; from humpback whales to puffins and elk.
A Scandinavian country in northern Europe, it’s the perfect interrail destination for those wanting to escape the hustle and bustle and enjoy some time exploring nature. Not only does it have its notorious fjords, but it also has lush forests, valleys, countless waterfalls and glaciers. Serving as a magnificent backdrop to quaint villages, towns and cities, the nature of Norway really is unlike anywhere else in Europe.
However, the picturesque scenery isn’t the only reason why you should visit Norway. It also has a vibrant cultural life. From the award-winning cuisine to the dozens of incredible attractions and the multitude of festivals throughout the year, there really is something for all ages and tastes.
In terms of attractions, there is the likes of the Oslo Viking Ship Museum, the colourful wooden houses of Bryggen and the Arctic cathedral in Tromso – to name but a few! But what are the best places to visit in Norway? We’ve created an essential guide for those travelling to this extraordinary country so that you’ll know the top cities and attractions to explore. Starting with Norway’s capital – Oslo.
The top 5 cities to visit in Norway
Situated on the southern coast of Norway, Oslo is known for its beautiful scenery, delicious seafood and museums. Surrounded by the Norwegian sea and 290 mountains, this vibrant city makes for the ultimate weekend break.
However, Oslo’s natural beauty isn’t the only reason why over 5 million tourists visit each year. A growing urban metropolis, the city has numerous, incredible landmarks. For example, the Royal Palace. Built in the early 19th century, it was once the residence of King Charles III – the king of Norway and Sweden. Surrounded by gardens, tourists can take guided tours around the palace throughout the summer.
Alternatively, there is modern architecture that you can explore. Bjorvika is a neighbourhood that’s situated between Akershus and Gamlebyen in the Sentrum borough of the city. Within this contemporary area lies the Norwegian National Opera and Ballet. A spectacular display of current design, this charming building was designed by the renowned Norwegian architects Snohetta.
However, if you’re looking for an attraction that’s a bit different, the Folk Museum of Norway is well worth a visit. An open-air museum, it has 160 different buildings including a church and farmhouse. Covering over 500 years of Norwegian culture, it takes you back to a simpler time with hands-on craft activities and costumed performers.
Oslo is also a popular place to visit due to its exhilarating nightlife. One neighbourhood, in particular, that’s known for this reason is Møllegata. With dozens of late-night hot spots, from its wine bars to local DJs, this area is perfect for those looking to let their hair down during their trip.
As previously mentioned, Oslo is also renowned for its mouth-watering food. Known as the culinary capital due to its decadent food scene, there are plenty of restaurants and eateries throughout the city to choose from. It even has a three-Michelin-starred restaurant (Maaemo), that’s the most northern one of its type in the world.
One of the most beloved places to eat is the Mathallen (food hall). An indoor food market, there are 23 different eateries and 7 bars run by Norwegian producers. Offering both traditional Norwegian food and international cuisine, the fusion of culinary delights has rapidly become popular in Oslo.
Alongside the indoor market, another fabulous place to eat in the city is Restaurant Einer. A Scandinavian restaurant, it’s cosy and stylish. The perfect place to have a bite to eat after exploring the city, it offers warming cuisine such as potato tart with smoked haddock, monkfish with bone marrow and seasonal soup.
Next on our list is the indescribably beautiful Bergen. Located on the southwestern coast of Norway, Bergen is one of the most stunning cities in the country. Known for its colourful facade on the old wharf (Bryggen which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site), surrounding mountains and fjords, it has the ideal combination of nature and culture.
With most people visiting Bergen between May and September due to the picturesque greenery (including blossoming cherry trees in May), this European City of Culture is the second largest in the country. Alongside colourful buildings, the wharf itself is home to a museum, restaurants, cafes and shops.
As well as the scenic wharf, Bergen has several popular attractions, including the Museum of History at the University of Bergen. Within the museum, there are several exhibits, ranging from zoology to archaeology and art.
You can also take a fjord tour, as the city itself is set within one. A great starting point, there are a handful of operators offering tours and cruises from Bergen. For example, Rodne offers a 3 hour cruise to Osterfjord. Throughout the tour, you will see the picturesque Mostraumen, mighty waterfalls and steep mountainsides.
And finally, there is the Bergenhus Fortress, which is located at the entrance of Bergen harbour. One of the best preserved and oldest fortifications in Norway, it was built in the 13th century. With several different buildings, including Haakon’s Hall, it’s an interesting place to explore when staying in Bergen.
Bergen is also known for its fabulous cuisine. A member of the UNESCO City of Gastronomy network, there are dozens of great restaurants to choose from. For instance, there is Pingvinen which offers traditional Norwegian food (including reindeer) for a budget-friendly price. Another great option is Colonialen Kranen, which has a fantastic view out towards the fjord and a delightful 2-course lunch.
Up next is Tromso. Located in northern Norway (and only 217 miles from the Arctic Circle), Tromso has a bustling city centre that’s surrounded by gorgeous scenery. A fascinating place to visit year-round, it’s popular with those wanting a city break that’s different to the usual European destinations. It’s also a port of call for Hurtigrutan’s Norwegian Coastal Voyage.
If you visit Tromso in the summer, you can expect long days when the sun never sets. Or in the winter, you can head outside (wrapped up in warm clothes of course!) and take in the enchanting sight of the aurora borealis. Often referred to as the ‘gateway to the Arctic’, it’s been a popular destination since the 18th century when visitors marvelled at its rich culture and captivating history.
Situated on the edge of Tromsoya island and linked to the mainland by a bridge, there’s plenty to keep you busy here, from gazing at the Northern Lights to taking a reindeer of husky sledge ride. The latter is one of the most incredible and exhilarating ways of seeing Tromso. It also gives you an opportunity to learn about the indigenous Sami people and their traditions. There are plenty of operators providing both types of sledge rides, varying in price and duration.
Another activity that should be on your to-do list during your interrail trip is to visit or watch a concert in the Arctic Cathedral. A magnificent building, it’s one of Tromso’s most recognisable landmarks and offers concerts year-round. Opened in 1965, it fits into the landscape effortlessly.
When it comes to food it won’t disappoint. There are many great options available that vary in price and style; meaning you can find something that will appeal no matter the occasion. One great option is Storhus. At this chic restaurant, you’ll find delicious pizzas, ranging from spicy pepper pizza to the more conventional parma ham. Alternatively, there is Walter and Leonard. Located in the centre of Tromso, this restaurant has been overlooking Tromso Cathedral since 1910.
When you think of Norway, the image that will naturally come to mind will be one of the sweeping mountains and breathtaking fjords. Well, this is Flam down to a tee. A village in southwestern Norway, it has a dramatic landscape that will give you plenty of photo opportunities.
However, Flam doesn’t only have stunning scenery. It also has several other attractions for you to explore throughout your trip. From the remarkable Flam church that lies within a valley to the Flam Railway that grants waterfall views, Flam isn’t just a place to sit and admire the natural beauty. It’s also within easy reach of both Oslo and Bergen, making it convenient if you want to travel between the different cities.
One of the most scenic routes you can take on the Flam railway is from Flam to Myrdal. Throughout the 2-hour round trip, you’ll venture through some of the most picturesque scenery in the world. You’ll also ascend 2,841 ft and see countless waterfalls – including the Kjosfossen waterfall.
Another beloved attraction is the Viking valley in Gudvangen. Even though this is a 30-minute drive (or train) from Flam, it’s well worth a trip to it whilst in the area. An authentic Viking village, it gives you the chance to meet ‘real’ Vikings, and learn about their culture, the type of food they ate and their history.
It’s no surprise that Flam has plenty of top-notch restaurants and eateries. Two in particular that stand out are the Aegir microbrewery within the Flamsbrygga hotel and the Vangsgaarden Gastropub. Firstly, the microbrewery offers not only a great selection of beer, but also burgers and other hearty delights. The gastropub also offers scrumptious food from fish and chips to bruschetta.
Last but not least is Trondheim. A city that’s in central Norway (on the Trondheim Fjord), it’s one of the oldest Norwegian cities dating back over 1,000 years. Frequently called the ‘home of Nordic flavours’ and known as the European Region of Gastronomy in 2022, it’s the ultimate foodie paradise.
When you arrive in Trondheim you’ll be in awe. With beautiful colourful houses, cobbled streets and a relaxed atmosphere, it’s rapidly becoming a tourist hotspot – and for good reason.
There are lots to keep you busy throughout your time here; whether you spend it exploring the Trondelag Folk Museum that has over 80 buildings that date back to the 12th century, taking in the sights of the city from the Tyholttarnet radio tour (measuring 124 metres) or renting a bike and discovering what’s around, you’ll create unforgettable memories. There’s also the opportunity to take a kayak trip down the Nidelva river – offered by several different operators.
In terms of food, there is lots of different options available. For example, you have the traditional Troll Restaurant that offers traditional Norwegian fare with a modern twist. Krambua Trondheim is another good option, that’s well-known for serving both Norwegian and Scandinavian cuisine. It also has a fabulous selection of beer, whiskey and wine.
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Which Interrail pass do I need to travel around Norway?
Interrail Global Pass
Interrail Norway Pass
Do I need to make train seat reservations in Norway?
Most trains in Norway require reservations. Trains in Norway get fully booked very quickly, especially long-distance trains in high-season, so get your reservations early.
How can I make reservations for trains in Norway?
At a train station: Ticket desks from Entur AS
By phone: Contact the Entur customer centre. You can call them on +47 61 27 90 88.
Where to stay in Norway
K7 Hostel - Oslo
HI Bergen Hostel Montana
Tromsø Activities Hostel
Flåm Camping & Hostel
Events in Norway
Norwegian Wood Festival - Oslo
Midnight Sun Marathon - Tromso
Norwegian Cider Festival - Bergen
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