Norwegians take great pride in all things Norway. This is made particularly obvious on May 17, when everyone dons their traditional bunads, although it is apparent in their everyday lives as well. There are certain places that hold a special significance to them, as they represent a part of Norwegian history, heritage, or just the magnificence of Norwegian nature. We’ve gathered some of these places below for you to hop on the Norway appreciation wagon.
Founded in the 17th century, this mining town in central Norway is one of the oldest ones with wooden buildings in Europe. Røros is a sustainable destination (a.k.a. a place “that works actively to reduce the environmental impact of tourism”) and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. According to the locals, it’s also the real-life place that inspired Disney’s Frozen.
Norway’s best-preserved sailing ship town, located at the southernmost tip of Karmøy island. Skudeneshavn flourished during the 16th-19th century – and has been practically unchanged since then. The coastal town comprises 130 original timber homes, businesses and seafront wharves that are being maintained by the locals. The presence of the Empire European architecture style (which was popular back in the day) has given the city its nickname, The White Lady of the Empire. If you’re there in the summer, don’t miss Skudefestivalen; the largest boat gathering in Western Norway.
This small town, located next to Norway’s largest lake, has many reasons to be proud. For one, it is home to Hadeland glassworks, the country’s oldest handicraft business. The city actually grew because of the success of the glass factory in the mid-1800s. It’s also home to Scandinavia’s only intact pulp mill (which you can visit at Kistefos museum) as well as the world’s oldest preserved paddle steamer still in service, Skibladner. And that’s not all – thanks to its proximity with Lillehammer, the city that hosted the Winter Olympics of 1994, at Gjovik you’ll find the world’s largest spectators hall inside a mountain. It’s called Fjellhallen and it was built to to accommodate the ice hockey matches of the Olympics – and it’s still in use today.
To clarify: Norwegians are proud of every single one of their 1,000 fjords. But Nærøyfjord, Sognefjord’s second arm in Western Norway, is especially beautiful. Very long, very narrow and surrounded by majestic mountains and cascading waterfalls, this fjord has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site – for good reason.
Once again, Karmøy island is proving to be a source of Norwegian pride. The village of Visnes, although small today, was once Norway’s largest workplace thanks to its booming copper industry back in the mid-1800s. In fact, Visnes Copper Mine was considered to be the largest and most modern in Northern Europe at the time. So much so that it provided the copper for Statue of Liberty – yes, the one that graces New York. To honor this, a miniature version of Lady Liberty can be found in the village.
Founded during the Viking Period, Tønsberg is Norway’s oldest city – so it’s not hard to imagine there are a lot of historical gems awaiting you here. For one, there’s Mount Slottsfjell. The “castle hill” is actually Scandinavia’s largest ruin site, comprising what remains of Castrum Tunsbergis. Tønsberg is also home to the Oseberg ship, the famous Viking ship that can be admired at the Viking Ships Museum in Oslo. You can find a full-scale replica at the city’s harbour.
This iconic monument in Hafrsfjord, outside Stavanger, is definitely a source of Norwegian pride. Although it was only unveiled as recently as 1983, the three gigantic swords are symbols of a historical event of great significance that took place here in medieval times. Because here, in 872 CE, Harald Fairhair gathered all Norwegians under one kingdom – and the three swords represent peace, unity and freedom.
Norway’s stave churches, once very popular throughout northwestern Europe but now unique in the country, are truly unmissable. In their elaborate wooden carvings, you can see a mix between Christian and Viking traditions – and Urnes Stave Church is the oldest and most impressive of them. Located on one of the arms of Sognefjord, the church that was built around 1130 CE is now considered a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Volcanic Iceland Epic Trip
meet our Local Insider
HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN A GUIDE?
WHAT DO YOU LOVE ABOUT YOUR JOB?
It's the personal contact, the personal experiences. I love meeting people from all over the world... I really like getting to know everyone and feeling like I'm traveling with a group of friends.
WHAT DESTINATION IS ON YOUR TRAVEL BUCKET-LIST?
I have so many places on my list, but I would really lobe to go to Africa. I consider myself an “adventure girl” and Africa feels like the ULTIMATE adventure!
Every CULTURE TRIP Small-group adventure is led by a Local Insider just like Hanna.
KEEN TO EXPLORE THE WORLD?
Connect with like-minded people on our premium trips curated by local insiders and with care for the world
Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.
Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.
Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.
Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.
We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.