It’s like that airport scene in Love, Actually: no matter where you look in Norway, beauty, actually, is all around you. You really needn’t go far to rest your eyes upon something spectacular—from the country’s endless forests, fjords and mountains to the picturesque cities and the Northern Lights above you. Here are the best places in Norway where you can get the most spectacular views of this breath-taking country.
Let’s address the elephant in the room first. Or rather, the troll in the fjord: Trolltunga means “troll’s tongue” and is one of the most famous and scenic cliffs in the country, hovering 700 meters (2296 feet) above lake Ringedalsvatnet. It’s a challenging 10-12 hour hike that starts in Skjeggedal and goes through the high mountains, so you need to be mindful of your limits, as well as the weather—it’s not actually recommended to go there from mid-October to March. If you make it, the view will more than make up for it.
Just in case you wanted to look at some fjords: at 1500 meters (4900 feet) above sea level, Dalsnibba is one of the country’s finest viewpoints. Overlooking Geiranger town and the Geiranger Fjord, it will be a challenging drive up, and you will have to pay for your right to Instagram, but once you reach the top you’ll realize these are all just minor details…
It hasn’t been touted “the world’s most beautiful train journey” for no reason. This train literally takes you on a ride through the very best aspects of Western Norway’s scenery: it runs from the end of Aurlandsfjord up to the high mountains at Myrdal Station, taking you from sea level (at the Sognefjord in Flåm) to 867 meters (2844 feet) above sea level within an hour. You can book your tickets through the NSB website. Your Instagram followers will thank you.
Are you going to be one of the brave 30,000 who make the trip up to Gaustatoppen’s summit every year? It’s not the easiest task, at 1883 meters (6177 feet) high, but you can see all the way south to the coast and east to Sweden from the top—basically, you can see one sixth of Norway. And because you deserve to have #braggingrights after this, you can collect a rock from the mountaintop and get it stamped at the Tourist Association’s cabin there, to prove you made it.
Trying to find a spot with a nice view in the Lofoten Islands is like trying to find a nice bakery in Paris: you can blindfold yourself, turn in any direction, point, and probably still find a place that exceeds your expectations. Yet even in this ragged and beautiful terrain, there are certain vantage points that cannot be missed—and the Hamnøy bridge is one of them. Go there for photos of the iconic red Rorbu cabins and the Festhelltinden mountain in the morning, and stay until nightfall as you may get an aurora borealis viewing as well.
Welcome to the Home of the Giants (that’s literally what Jotunheimen means). Jotunheimen National Park is like an endless playground for hiking enthusiasts: with over 250 mountains of almost 2000 meters (656 feet) high and 60 glaciers, here you can ski, hike, bike, climb, listen to waterfalls, spend the night in one of the park’s wooden huts and cabins and, of course, taking amazing photos.
Svalbard is another one of those places where, no matter where you go, you’ll find something to gawk at—whether that something is jagged cliffs, icebergs, polar bears, or simply the Northern Lights at night—so be sure to have a fully charged phone or camera with you.
Also called “Pulpit Rock,” this mountain plateau is one of Rogaland county’s most visited attractions. It towers 604 meters (1981 feet) above the Lysefjord and was probably created by the expansion of ice about 10,000 years ago. Just don’t go too near the edge!
A fjord so beautiful (okay, technically it’s just an arm of the Sognefjord) it’s on the UNESCO World Heritage Site list. Nærøyfjord juxtaposes the snow-topped mountains and waterfalls with the idyllic farms on the mountainside, and makes for overall breath-taking photography. There’s a passenger boat throughout the year, so this should definitely be on your list.
Who says only the rural and wild areas of Norway have fantastic views? The zipline from Holmenkollen Jump Tower in the heart of Oslo will get your adrenaline pumping—it’s 361 meters (1184 feet) long and a 107-meter (350-foot) drop. It will also give you unforgettable views of Oslo, especially at night when the city lights will be majestic.