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The real Norwegian towns that inspired Frozen

After watching Frozen and the Frozen 2, every child (and a lot of adults for that matter) will desperately wish they could visit the enchanting world of the Disney film. Even though you can’t simply just stumble into Arendelle and join Anna and Elsa on their daring adventures, but you can get pretty close when you book a tour to Norway.
Håkonshallen in Bergen - Bergen, Norway
Most of the places depicted in Frozen are based on actual Norwegian destinations. These towns contain all the magic of a fairytale, so when you visit them, you’ll feel like you’re entering the world of your favorite ice queen.
Arendelle is inspired by the beautiful city of Bergen


Thanks to Bergen’s UNESCO Heritage Site status, it is widely considered one of the most beautiful towns in the world. Fittingly, it was the main inspiration behind the magical kingdom of Arendelle in Frozen.
Although the name of the kingdom is derived from a different Norwegian town, Arendal, the architecture and landscape of the kingdom are taken from Bergen, with a few other elements added from other Norwegian towns.
Specifically, the wharf of Bryggen includes a series of incredible shops and restaurants that are extremely colorful and provide a modern take on the historical roots of Norwegian architecture. Their influence can be seen throughout the kingdom of Arendelle, before it was frozen over, of course.
Read more about Bergen here.


Although the majority of the kingdom of Arendelle was inspired by Bergen, there are a couple structures throughout the kingdom that are reminiscent of locations in other parts of Norway. For example, the castle where Elsa and Anna grew up is inspired by the Akershus Fortress in Oslo.
This half a century-old castle has a distinct style and design (such as the recognizable patterns of wood and brick on the outside of the castle) that are readily visible in the Frozen movies. The likeness is so uncanny, you may find yourself forgetting that Anna and Elsa don’t actually live there.
Norsk Folkemuseum, located in Oslo, also served as the inspiration for some elements in the Frozen movies. The actual building of the Norsk Folkemuseum is not included in the movie. Rather, the replicas of traditional garments that are displayed inside are worn by various characters throughout the movies.
Read more about Oslo here.


While the exterior of the Arendelle castle was mostly inspired by the Akershus Fortress, in order to see the place that influenced the inside of the castle, you have to travel to the city of Trondheim. Here, you’ll come across the royal residence of Stiftsgården.
This impressive 18th-century building is one of the largest wooden structures in Scandinavia. You will almost definitely feel the incredible urge to break into song as soon as you step through the ornate front doors.
Read more about Trondheim here.
Flåm, Nærøyfjorden - Norway


Part of what makes Arendelle so gorgeous is that it is located at the base of a fjord. However, it is not just any fjord. The fjord that frames Arendelle was, in fact, inspired by Nærøyfjord. This is one of the branches of Norway's longest fjord, Sognefjord. It contains a flowing river that twists through a valley surrounded by gorgeous towering mountains. In fact, the fjord is so beautiful that it was also declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Some specific similarities can be spotted in wide shots of the Arendelle kingdom throughout the Frozen movies. The scene where it is most prominently featured, is when Sven and Kristoff attempt to cross the frozen fjord and Sven saves Kristoff from falling through the ice.
Read more about the Nærøyfjord here.
Winter in Røros - Røros, Norway


When it comes to Norwegian locations that influenced the Frozen movies, the town of Røros is unique because Disney adapted some of its elements for the movies, but there is no specific town or location in the films that significantly resembles Røros.
This is because the town was the main inspiration for the crystals and magic powers possessed by Elsa. Due to the intense but gorgeous winter weather of this Norwegian town, it allowed the creators of Frozen to envision a magical ability that harnessed its brutal natural force.
Read more about Røros here.

The Norwegian Inspiration Behind Frozen 2

The Disney movie Frozen quickly became a smash hit with kids around the world when it was released in 2013. As it was one of the most popular animated films ever, it’s no surprise that the much-anticipated sequel that came out in 2019 gave children across the globe Frozen fever once again.
Heavily influenced by Norwegian nature, culture and traditions, the hit Disney movies have become instant classics that have captured the hearts and imaginations of children everywhere. Let’s have a look at some of the Norwegian places and traditions that inspired Disney’s Frozen franchise!
St Olaf´s church in the beautiful Balestrand, N0rway

St Olaf’s Church

In the first Frozen movie, the chapel where Elsa’s coronation takes place is rumored to be based on the historic St Olaf’s Church in Balestrand. This beautiful church is set within a picturesque location by the idyllic (broken link: missing reference) Sognefjord and was built with the familiar design of Norway’s historic stave churches.
The Viking-style architecture of stace churches have actually inspired more than just the Arendelle chapel – in fact, much of the architecture in the Frozen movies is based upon the elaborately carved wooden churches like the famous Borgund Church, which is one of Norway’s most well-known and best-preserved examples of the stave church tradition. A visit to a stave church is a must when in Norway, and though there are only 28 remaining stave churches in the country, opportunities for seeing them are plentiful.
The Norwegian Inspiration Behind Frozen 2  - Stiftsgården in Trondheim, Norway

Aurora borealis

One of the most fascinating natural phenomena in the world is the northern lights, so it’s no wonder that the fairytale world of Frozen drew inspiration from this magical sight. Frozen’s Grand Pabbie, also known as the Troll King, has the power to summon colorful lights in the sky at will. Luckily, nature offers us the chance to see this magical spectacle with our own eyes, and Norway is one of the best places in the world to see the polar lights.
The winter months are a fantastic time to see the aurora borealis, and anywhere in Northern Norway with minimal light pollution is a great spot for catching nature’s own spectacular light show – travelers usually find that Tromsø is a great bet for chasing the northern lights. Going on a tour is the best way to experience the lights, with a local guide showing you the way to the spellbinding lights and maybe even giving you some tips on capturing great photos of this natural phenomenon.
Activities in Tromsø - Aurora Safari Camp in Tromsø - Norway

The indigenous Sami people

The Frozen movies drew inspiration from the customs and traditions of the indigenous Sami people of Northern Europe. Norway’s reindeer herding Sami population has ancient traditions and a strong heritage which Disney wanted to pay homage to. Many aspects of Sami culture can be seen in both Frozen films – in fact, both movies feature songs that draw on the traditional Sami musical style of “joik”.
The Northuldra people Anna and Elsa meet in the enchanted forest in Frozen II were heavily inspired by the Sami people in terms of clothing and customs. If you’d like to find out more about the real-life inspiration behind Frozen, learning about Sami culture and traditions is key – and there are plenty of opportunities for getting to know the Sami way of life in Northern Norway.
These are just a few of the many Norwegian places where you can see the real-life inspiration behind the hit Disney movies with your own eyes. Why not take on your own Frozen-inspired adventure in Norway? Become one with these fairytale surroundings, see the real life inspiration behind the movies, and relive the magic of Frozen with a trip to Norway!
Sami national suit - Norway

Experience the magic of Frozen2 with these 4 norse mythologies

Although Disney’s Frozen movies are fictitious, a lot of their characters, stories, and landscapes are inspired by very real people, places, and folklore in Norway. That means there’s no better place than a Norwegian tour to behold the magical nation that inspired Frozen!
Here are four elements of Norwegian mythology that are direct or indirect inspirations for your favorite moments in Frozen 2.

The Vegvisir

One of the first pieces of imagery that we received for Frozen 2 was a cryptic poster of a plain black background with a single snowflake in the middle. However, fans were quick to point out that this was no ordinary snowflake considering its unusual four-point design. This is because it does not represent a snowflake but rather an item from Norse mythology.
The Vegvisir is something that is briefly mentioned in this mythology as a symbol that would prevent the individuals who possessed it from getting lost in bad weather. This is incredibly relevant to the storyline of Frozen and Frozen 2 since Elsa is, in fact, the cause of the majority of the bad weather that the characters are forced to deal with. Sven and Kristoff are frequently having to use their navigation skills in order to help Anna get to her destination. This was the first indication that the sequel would once again be diving headfirst into its Norse mythology roots.


Unfortunately, the trolls of Norse mythology are far less adorable than the ones depicted in Frozen. Although Pabbie, Bulda, and Gothi are extremely helpful to Anna, Kristoff, and Sven, the mythological creatures they are based on, are known for being far less friendly to humans. In fact, trolls were generally seen as a dangerous group of creatures that humans should avoid at all costs!
One similarity between Norway’s mythological trolls and the trolls from Frozen is their affinity for rocks. Just like in the movie, the trolls from Norse mythology were often said to live in the mountains and caves that looked a lot like the Valley of the Living Rock. Luckily, there are tons of places across Norway where you can hear the enchanting stories of these mythical beings.


Although we've only seen a few glimpses of a glorious water horse spirit (thanks to various trailers), we know the inspiration for this creature is taken directly from German and Norwegian folklore. The horse spirit, that will appear in Frozen II, gone by many names throughout history. However, in Norway, it is generally regarded as an nøkk. These ethereal beings were male water spirits that played magical songs to lure women and children to watery deaths.
Although slightly less cynical, the water horse in Frozen 2 plays a very similar role. According to the director, the spirit is there to help individuals cross the body of water. However, it only does so if it senses that the individual is good at heart and has lived an honest life. Otherwise, the spirit will drown them. There are plenty of opportunities throughout Norway to see where the folklore of these mythological creatures originated from.


Towards the end of the Frozen 2 trailers, we see Elsa frantically trying to hide from a huge silhouetted monster walking in the background. Based on the fact that this creature stands over twice as tall as any of the trees, we can assume that it is, in fact, a giant. However, it is likely no ordinary giant but rather a direct inspiration of the jötunns, which are a group of giants present in Norse mythology.
These giants resided in one of the nine Norse worlds, which was known as Jotunheim. This world was largely made up of thick forests and large rocky terrain, which is exactly what we see in this scene. Not only were jötunns extremely large, but they were also enemies of the Gods and would frequently cause trouble for them. Therefore, based on the size of the creature and the look of the surrounding environment, we can comfortably assume that this creature terrorizing Elsa is actually a jötunn.
Jotunheimen - Norway
Watching Frozen 2 on the big screen is one thing, but being able to experience the place that inspired it, will help you understand the magic of the Frozen universe in its entirety. Book a Norway tour for your next holiday and be sure to make these four Norwegian Norse Mythologies a part of your trip.

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