Although there are many fascinating destinations, some of the best sightseeing in Norway is found in the capital city of Oslo. With the country’s long and colorful history, a visit to Norway takes you on a journey to the past where you can see ancient fortresses, castles, and churches, along opportunities to view modern sculptures and works of art, as well as take part in athletic activities.
Several Norway attractions in Oslo include outdoor excursions. At nearby Holmenkollen, the wooded trails through the forest are perfect for hiking enthusiasts. In the winter months, Holmenkollen is a favorite skiing area and is equipped with a giant manmade downhill ski jump. For photographers, an observation deck provides scenic views of the ridge and surrounding areas.
One of the popular Norway tourist attractions is the Vigeland Sculpture Park featuring 650 individual statues, fountains, and sculptures created by Gustav Vigeland. Situated along the Vigeland Bridge within the park, bronze works and sculptures of children are featured. The oldest work in the park is Vigeland's fountain montage explaining the human life cycle.
Popular Norway tourist attractions include several museums in Oslo, which exhibit artifacts, art, and ships. For instance, the Viking Ships Museum has on display three authentic ninth-century Viking ships excavated from nearby fjords. The Tune was discovered in 1867 the Gokstad in 1880 and the Oseberg was discovered in 1904.
Another Norway sightseeing exhibit of interest is the Kon Tiki Museum, which follows the journey of Norwegian anthropologist and adventurer Thor Heyerdahl. Along with five assistants, Heyerdahl set sail aboard a balsa wood raft from Callao in 1947 headed to Polynesia in the South Pacific to chart ancient migration. The raft, named the Kon Tiki, is on display along with a statue from Easter Island, prehistoric boats, and the 46-foot papyrus boat, Ra II, Heyerdahl used to sail across the Atlantic in 1970.
Other museums of interest that are popular Norway tourist attractions include the Norwegian Royal Palace, which was built between 1825 and 1848. The beautiful architecture of the palace is surrounded by gardens with statuary by Gustav Vigeland. Visitors may stroll through the public gardens and watch the ceremony of the changing of the guards.
Three additional Norway attractions to include in your sightseeing itinerary include the Norwegian National Gallery, Oslo Historical Museum, and the Norwegian Folk Museum. At the Norwegian National Gallery built in 1879, visitors will see an impressive collection of work created by past and current Norwegian painters, as well as works by Matisse, Degas, Manet, El Greco, Cezanne, Rembrandt, Gauguin, and Rubens.
The Oslo Historical Museum contains Nordic antiquities from the Viking period, dating from roughly 800 to 1050, making it an excellent place for Norway sightseeing for travelers interested in local history.
The Norwegian Folk Museum features several exhibition buildings with the main portion of the museum housing collections of coins, costumes, furniture, and hunting gear. The open-air museum has two ancient stave churches that were relocated to the museum site in the 1800s.
Norway sightseeing would not be complete without a tour of at least one ancient castle, such as Akershus. Akershus Castle was built in the thirteenth century during the reign of Christian IV as a medieval fortress. The castle, which now serves as a host to government functions, is open to the public allowing visitors to tour the great hall, chapel, and tomb of Hakon VII.
Another of the outstanding Norway attractions is at nearby Bygdoy, accessible by ferry from Oslo. Here vacationers can swim at Huk or Paradisbukta beach or enjoy fishing, canoeing, or kayaking in the fjord, meaning no matter what your interests are, there are plenty of attractions in Norway to keep you entertained on your vacation.
The mainland of Norway has more than 30 national parks where you can take advantage of numerous activities including hiking, backpacking, bird watching, camping, and guided tours.
In the southern region of the country, the Svalbard Islands located in the Arctic Ocean, have seven national parks providing outdoor adventurers opportunities for dogsledding, skiing, snowmobiling, or taking a boat tour of the arctic wilderness to see the ice-covered landscape and wildlife such as polar bears and walrus.
The scenic train ride through the famed fjord countryside is a must for any traveler to Norway. The longest is Sognefjord at 120 miles long and a mile deep. Visitors can take the train ride from Oslo that covers 300 miles of Norway's forests, lakes, glaciers, and heaths while traveling through 200 tunnels and over 300 bridges on its seven-hour journey with a stop at the Kjosfossen waterfall and ending at Flam on Sognefjord.
Through a series of rail, bus, and ferry connections, travelers can tour the fjord on a two-hour boat cruise or hike to nearby Aurland. Both options provide bus service back to the train station. Travelers can then return to Oslo or continue on to Bergen for more entertainment strolling through the wharf area or taking the funicular to the top of Mount Floyen for scenic views before returning on the overnight train to Oslo.