View of Brønnøysund from ship

Top sights of the Norwegian Coast in Spring

Norway is up there as one of the most beautiful countries I’ve ever been to.

I’ve been lucky enough to visit a few times before; twice to the North-West coast with work, and last September I took myself to Oslo for my birthday!

I’d never seen the country in spring but in May (umm, where has that time gone?!) I headed back to Land of the Fjords, Trolls and Vikings with some work colleagues to explore Norway in a little more sunlight!

We sailed southbound along the west coast from Tromsø to Bergen, before heading inland by train back to capital city Oslo.

Norwegian mountains from ship

I took about a billion photos (okay, 1200+) so it was tough to cut them down to one blog post’s worth. However, I did my best to narrow it down to the highlights of my trip!

Tromsø

We flew into Tromsø, which is Norway’s largest city above the Arctic Circle. I’ve only ever seen the city in the peak of winter so seeing it without a thick blanket of snow was was something new.

Birdseye view of Tromso from aeroplane window

We only had a few hours here so spent most of our time wandering through the city streets and along the harbour front.

Though Tromsø is a large city by Norway’s standards, it’s feels pretty small and quaint to us Londoners.

Tromso waterfront with colourful buildings

Vesterålen

Just north of The Arctic Circle is the Vesterålen archipelago. The area is best known for whale watching and though we were there at the wrong time of the year to see any of the gentle giants ourselves, it’s still a beautiful region to explore.

We took a bus tour (with a ferry crossing) of Vesterålen and Lofoten, travelling from Harstad to Sortland, where we explored towns, historic buildings, and beautiful beaches along the way.

Harstad

Harstad is known as the Gateway to Vesterålen and Lofoten. It’s home to Trondenes Church, the northernmost medieval church in Norway.

We visited the church and the nearby Historical Centre, which features a museum of the region. Though the church and history of the area was interesting, it was the stunning landscapes that really captured my interest.

Trondenes Church in Harstad, VesteralenTrondenes in Harstad, Vesteralen

Lofoten

Our bus then headed south to the Lofoten Islands. It seems that around every corner in Norway, there’s a new stunning fjord to marvel over.

Hinnøya Island

As we crossed the bridge over the Hinnøya Island, we stopped to take in the spectacular views of Kvæfjorden.

Kvæfjorden from Hinnoya Island
Hinnoya IslandHinnoya Island

Soon after, we were pulling over to marvel at Gullesfjorden.

So. Flippin’. Beautiful.

Views from Hinnoya IslandVesteralen 2 (1)

I don’t remember the exact location of this next little stop but we visited some village ruins with more views of Gullesfjorden as a backdrop.

Vesteralen 2 (7)Vesteralen 2 (2)Hinnoya Island

Svolvaer

In Svolvaer the plan was to go sea eagle watching but unfortunately the weather put a dampener on that idea.

The stormy weather also meant that we couldn’t sail down the magnificent Trollfjord and as disappointing as that was, the fjord still looked pretty spectacular from afar, under cover of rain and mist.

Fjords in the LofotenTrollfjord

Gimsøy 

Gimsøy is one of the Lofoten Islands known for its beautiful, white sandy beaches. It’s also famous for its Icelandic horses who take tourists on scenic rides around the island.

If I’m perfectly honest, I was really torn about this part of my trip. I’m still not 100% sure on my stance on horse riding from an animal rights point of view, however, I thought the best way to make up my mind may be to experience it for myself.

It drizzled the whole time we were riding but the scenery was still beautiful and the trail ride was peaceful. Because of the rain, I didn’t have my good camera with me so sadly my pics just cannot do the place justice. Imagine the below but 100 times more spectacular!

Beach on Lofoten Island of Gimsøy with mountains in background

Though the animals were well looked after, I think I’ve decided that this was my last horse ride.

The Arctic Circle

Crossing the Arctic Circle is an oddly exciting experience given that the only visible clue that you’re crossing the “line” is the small statue of a globe on teensy Vikingen Island.

Shots of cod liver oil (known as a magical “cure-all”) were available for those who wanted to mark the occasion. Naturally, I passed.

The Arctic Circle Monument

That evening provided some more amazing mountain views.

Mountains in Norway with small boat on water

Trondheim

The weather cleared by the time we reached Trondheim, Norway’s third-largest city.

View of Trondheim and water

We took a bus tour around the city and drove through gorgeous little streets with rows of coloured houses.

Trondheim (5)Trondheim colourful houses along river

Nidaros Cathedral

We then visited Nidaros Cathedral (Nidarosdomen), which is the world’s northernmost medieval cathedral and dates back to the 11th Century. Although there’s no photography allowed inside the building, I can attest to its beauty.

Trondheim (7)

The building of the cathedral began way back in 1070, with the oldest remaining parts from the middle of the twelfth century. Over time the cathedral has suffered through several fires and been rebuilt and restored many times so although it is mostly built in the Gothic style, you can also see evidence of Romanesque design and Gothic Revival.

Trondheim Nidaros CathedralTrondheim (3)

Munkholmen

Just off the coast of Trondheim is Munkholmen, an island that is home to a former prison but it now a popular tourist destination with a cafe and small beach. Kind of bizarre but cool!

Munkholmen - island featuring former prison, off the coast of Trondheim

Brønnøysund

Exactly half-way between the northern and southern-most points of Norway is the pretty little town of Brønnøysund. I spent around an hour wandering the town with a guide, visiting the town’s ski jump (it’s a small climb the top for great views!), the church and the harbour front.

Lake with birds in BronnysundView from top of ski jump in BronnysundOld school building in BronnysundBrønnøy Church in BronnysundHarbour in Bronnysund

Brønnøysund Bridge

Brønnøysund Bridge connects the mainland with the little island of Torget. We sailed through the harbour and past gorgeous little houses.

View of Brønnøysund Bridge from shipView of Brønnøysund from shipView of Brønnøy islands from shipView of Brønnøy islands from ship

Torghatten

Just after leaving the port of Brønnøysund, we sailed past Torghatten – a granite mountain with 20m by 30m hole right through the middle of it, formed during the last ice age. Local legend says that a jilted troll caused the hole by firing his arrow through it in anger.

Torghatten - granite mountain with hole through it, off the coast of Bronnoysund

Averøy

The following day, we took an 11-hour bus ride from Kristiansund to Molde.

Our first main stop was on the island of Averøy, where we visited Kvernes Stave Church. The church dates from around 1300 AD and features beautifully decorated ceilings, walls and pews, and an intricate altarpiece.

Kvernes Stave ChurchDecorations in Kvernes Stave ChurchPainted ceiling and carvings inside Kvernes Stave Church

About 20 steps away is the “new” Kvernes Church, built in 1893 after the local congregation outgrew the Stave Church.

It may not be quite as intricate or distinctive in design, yet still a lovely building.

Atlantic Road (3)

Even if churches aren’t your thing, it’s worth visiting just for the views of the Kvernesfjord.

Views of Kvernes Fjord from Kvernes Stave Church

I swear, the fjords in Norway never get old.

The Atlantic Road

One of the most amazing parts of my trip was the journey along The Atlantic Road (or Atlanterhavsveien). This is another place where I just don’t think photos quite capture how special it is.

The Atlantic Road connects the island of Averøy to the Norwegian mainland. The road is just over 8km long and crosses a series of little islands and islets, connected by eight bridges.

Storseisundet Bridge on The Atlantic Road

We got off the bus at Eldhusøya island where there is a raised walkway around the little island with crazy views. The evening sky was putting on a pretty decent show for us too.

Atlantic Road (11)The Atlantic Road in NorwayAtlantic Road (7)Atlantic Road (9)

Once the Atlantic Road ends, the rest of the drive south to the town of Molde is through beautiful countryside, making for a nice change of pace.

Countryside south of the Atlantic Road

Ålesund

Back on board, we arrived in Ålesund around 1am. Thankfully, Norway stays light almost all night at this time of year so we stayed up and still got to explore this pretty little Art Nouveau town.

I’d love to make it back some day to wander the streets in daylight.

Alesund waterfront at nightAlesund (4)Alesund (5)

Bergen

Unfortunately, we didn’t get to see much of Bergen as we basically went straight from our ship to the train station for our train to Oslo.

Hopefully I’ll make it back someday to see more than just the port…

View of Bergen from on board a shipBergen Port

The Bergen Railway (Bergen – Oslo)

The train journey from Bergen to Oslo is around seven hours. Gross. Thank goodness it’s a scenic journey and that I was accompanied by good friends, a pack of cards, and a few beverages.

Though the scenery was hard to capture through the windows of a speeding train, I managed to snap a few okay shots of the little villages and the snow fields along the way.

Hillside town in Norway, seen from Bergen Railway trainSnow fields from train between Bergen and OsloOslo Train (2)Oslo Train (3)

Oslo

We arrived in Oslo in the evening and had the following day to explore. As I previously visited the city in September, it was lovely to see it in the spring sunshine.

I retraced many of my steps from my first visit, guiding my friends to Oslo’s must-see sights including the Royal Palace, Aker Brygge, and Vigeland Park.

The Royal Palace

Oslo Royal Palace

Oslo Opera House

Oslo Opera House

Oslo Harbour and Aker Brygge

Oslo harbour in the sunshineOslo Harbour with pier and clockOslo's Aker Brygge area

Vigeland Park

Vigeland Park flowersVigeland Park viewVigeland Park monolithPink and purple flowers in Vigeland Park garden, OsloVigeland Park statueVigeland Park Crying babyVigeland Park fountain
Oslo - Vigeland Park (8)

Norway seriously blows me away with every visit. Though I’m a massive fan of snow and I like cold weather, it was amazing to see the country in full spring bloom, with daylight at almost 24 hours a day.

Until next time, Norway!

Sunset along Norway's Coastline

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16 thoughts on “Top sights of the Norwegian Coast in Spring

  1. Beautiful! Scandinavia is one part of the world I would really love to visit one day if we have a year or two without a dog, so your lovely photos have fired that wish even further! I suppose it is hard to find anything vegan away from the big cities, but those pictures of stunning scenery are probably more than worth going without for a few days. Thanks for sharing!

  2. I only recently learned how beautiful Norway could be because I met some exchange students from there when I was in college. Your pictures definitely make me want to bump it up on my travel bucket list! :)

  3. Norway has much to offer! I have never been there, but I would love to cross the Arctic circle, like you did, and witness the midnight sun. It would have to be summer when I do visit- being from Texas, I cannot handle low temps!

  4. Wow, the place looks so amazing, i particularly liked your pics from the island… Norway is really so beautiful.. its surely on my travel list

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