Exploring Western Norway
Western Norway is located along the Atlantic Coast of the country. The entire region has a population of approximately 1.4 million people, and is known for its amazing landscapes, cascading waterfalls, stunningly deep fjords, good food and friendly people.
It is truly a nature-lover’s paradise, with plenty to do and see. To make the most of your trip, here are a few must-see places to explore when you visit this part of the world!
Bergen & Bryggen
On the southwest coast of Western Norway lies the unofficial capital of Western Norway – Bergen. This town is vibrant, full of life and known as “the heart of the fjords”. It’s home to one of Norway’s largest outdoor markets, so don’t forget to stop by and grab some fresh fish and produce! If you’re a foodie, Bergen is known as a UNESCO city of gastronomy. Here, you can try local cuisine like Bergen fish soup, fish cakes and persetorsk which is a traditional Bergen steamed codfish.
Bergen is also home to the UNESCO World Heritage Site, Bryggen, also known as “The Hanseatic Wharf”. It’s a picturesque harbour district with multiple old, wooden and brightly coloured buildings. Bryggen serves as a reminder of a bygone time when Norway used to be a busy trading hub with the rest of Europe under the Hanseatic League trading empire from the 14th to 16th centuries.
Bryggen has been destroyed by fire many times, but has always been rebuilt to maintain the appearance of the original structure. It has outlived its years of being one of Europe’s main trade hubs, but people can still visit attractions in the area such as St. Mary’s church, which is the oldest building in the area, and Bellgården, a charming old passageway, museums and much more. The brightly coloured buildings also make for an Instagram-worthy photo op, so be sure to bring your camera!
Geiranger & Geirangerfjord
Geiranger is a small town that’s well-known for its tourist activity and is a certified sustainable travel destination. Geiranger is home to some of the best scenery you’ill ever find in the world. For nature lovers, this town has quite a bit to satisfy your palate for breathtaking scenery. You can experience waterfalls such as De Syv Søstre (7 Sisters) which is 7 different waterfalls cascading at once, and Frieren (the Suitor) which directly faces the 7 sisters. Legend has it that the 7 Sisters danced playfully down the mountain while the Suitor flirted from the other side, and that he unsuccessfully tried to propose to the 7 Sisters.
In Geiranger, you’ll also find the UNESCO World Heritage site of Geirangerfjord. The fjord is surrounded by mountains with snowy peaks, lush vegetation and cascading waterfalls. It is considered to be one of the most beautiful fjords in the world. Take a boat tour and allow yourself to be surrounded by the unmatched beauty the fjord has to offer. The fjord also features deserted fjord farms that tell a part of Norwegian history. You can visit some of the farms, such as Matvik and Skageflå. You can also camp out in the mountains or visit the outdoor restaurants to sample local food while enjoying the view of the fjord below
Norangsdalen or “The Queen’s Route” is one of the narrowest and most enchanting valleys in Norway. It’s rich in both scenery and culture, boasting crystal clear lakes, steep snow-clad mountains, and serpentine roads. The valley is a masterpiece made from different forces of nature adding and subtracting to the landscape.
Lake Lygnstøylvatnet was formed in the valley from a rockfall from Keipen that flooded an entire village in 1908. Today, you can still see the remains of the village under the water in the lake. In 1993, there was a “silver cruise” through the valley to commemorate the silver wedding of the king and queen of Norway, hence the name “The Queen’s Route”.
Flor & Fjære
Flor og Fjære is a tropical garden on the island of Sør-Hidle which is located outside of Stavanger. The blossoming park is full of vibrant colours, exotic plants, palm trees, beaches and cascading waterfalls. It’s family owned, and guided tours can be arranged to provide insight about the passion of the three generations to create beautiful gardens in the world.
There’s also a restaurant on site where you are served a 2-course meal after the tour, followed by ice cream and coffee in the gardens. This may be your most colourful experience in Western Norway!
Trolltunga (Troll’s Tongue) is one of the most awe-spiring rock formations in Norway. It got its name from the unique protruding feature that it has, similar to a troll sticking out its tongue. It is one of Norways most popular hikes, and for good reason – it’s long and demanding, but at the end, you are rewarded with spectacular views and an enviable photo-op. If you’re up for the challenge, you can start out at Skjeggedal car park and make your way up – and if you’d like to enjoy a safe, guided tour, there are plenty of options available. There are also areas nearby suitable for campers who want to get an extra early start.
From colourful towns and gardens, to nature trails, to great food experiences, Western Norway is a must visit for any traveller looking for a good time and spectacular views. Our Norway in a nutshell® tour is a fantastic option for those hoping to see the best of what Western Norway has to offer. This region is jam-packed with places to see and things to do – so we hope you enjoy your trip!