5 Best City Breaks in Norway for a Unique Holiday

city breaks in Norway

Updated On: April 15, 2024 by   Asmaa AlhashimyAsmaa Alhashimy

Norway is a country in the Scandinavian peninsula in northern Europe. With magnificent mountains, magical natural phenomena, stunning towns, and plenty of things to do, Norway is an ideal destination for an unmatched holiday. 

This article lists five of the best city breaks in Norway, each offering unique attractions to visit and adventurous activities to enjoy. Let’s dive into them!

1. Oslo

city breaks in Norway
Typical Norwegian wooden white house Oslo, Norway

Norway’s capital, Oslo, is located on its southern coast and is renowned for its green spaces and cultural attractions. It is a destination with plenty of entertainment options even after dusk falls, thanks to its vibrant nightlife and diverse dining options.

Oslo strikes the ideal balance between city life and connection with nature, making it ideal for a relaxing yet possibly adventurous city holiday. It is an excellent starting point for a getaway into the Norwegian countryside.

Oslo also makes a great starting place for a self-drive journey, and many well-liked train excursions begin there. Due to its small size, the city is best explored on foot.

Besides, Oslo is a city that boasts many cultural attractions. The majestic harbour-side Opera House stands out among all. It overviews the freezing sea waves from an angle, with banked white granite and marble windows. 

Many other historical attractions manifest Norway’s heritage and rich culture. The outstanding National Gallery, the 19th-century Royal Palace, the Fram Museum, and the world’s best-preserved Viking Ship are just a few of them. 

2. Bergen

city breaks in Norway
Historic buildings on the street in Bergen

Bergen is the second-largest Norwegian city situated on Norway’s west coast. It is often called the heart of the fjords because it serves as the entry point to some of the most well-known fjords in the entire world. 

Bergen is the perfect fusion of nature, culture, and vibrant urban life all year round. It combines a small-town atmosphere with a big-city vibe. No wonder it has been classified as a European City of Culture and a UNESCO World Heritage City.

What gives Bergen its little-town atmosphere is the seven magnificent mountains encircling it. Each of these offers fantastic hiking opportunities and a fantastic city view. 

If you want to have incredible panoramic views and take unrivalled shots, we recommend taking the funicular up to Floyen. This breathtaking scenery will last in your memory for a lifetime. 

One of the top attractions that stands out in Bergen is the Bryggen wharf, listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The lovely row of colourful wooden houses facing the harbour is a sight to behold. Including the scenery, these stunning houses and the narrow alleys between them host plenty of restaurants, cafes, bars, and gift shops. 

3. Stavanger

city breaks in Norway
Hiking trail to Preikestolen Mountain top near Stavanger Norway

Stavanger is a lovely harbour city and a cultural centre in Norway, famous for its breathtaking natural charm and rich history. It is one of the best city breaks in Norway, especially for outdoors fans. 

Stavanger offers all kinds of adventure activities, including sailing, surfing, and hiking. Above all comes one of Norway’s most famous mountain treks, Preikestolen. It is a thrilling adventure to hike this internationally renowned cliff, towering 604 metres above the Lysefjord, where you can enjoy the panoramic view from above.

For sightseeing, take a tour of the Old Town and the Cathedral. We recommend taking a street art tour to see some fantastic artwork while exploring the city. If you are a music fan, go to the Stavanger Concert Hall and have some quality time. 

To complete your trip with a rewarding meal, you will find some of the city’s top restaurants along your way. You can choose between international and local cuisine options and enjoy a mouthwatering taste. 

Adding to its beautiful attractions, Stavanger boasts some exciting hikes, stunning lakes, hidden caves, and gorgeous beaches.

4. Tromso

city breaks in norway
Incredible Northern lights Aurora Borealis activity above the town of Tromso in Northern Norway

One of the best city breaks in Norway is Tromso, a vibrant city located amid a group of islands spread 400 kilometres into the Arctic Circle off the northern coast of Norway. If you would love to see the northern lights or go whale watching, then Tromso is your ideal Norwegian destination.

Tromso promises its visitors a great experience of witnessing some incredible natural phenomena. First, you can catch the sight of the polar night, where the nighttime lasts for over 24 hours. This phenomenon can be seen between November and January. 

Another magical phenomenon to witness in Tromso is the northern lights. The city offers the most beautiful view of the swirling northern lights between September and April. It is a scene to be kept in memory for a lifetime. 

In Tromso, another spectacular natural phenomenon occurs from 18 May to 25 July, which is the midnight sun. The city witnesses continuous daylight during this event, and the sun does not set for around two months.

Besides these unique experiences, there are lots of fun activities to enjoy in Tromso all year round. You can enjoy superb skiing in the winter and exciting hiking in the summer. One of the most fantastic activities to do in Tromso is going on a husky or reindeer sledging adventure. We guarantee that it will be one of the most memorable trips you will have.

5. Trondheim 

city breaks in norway
Old houses by Nidelva river in Trondheim, Nidarosdomen Cathedral in back

Trondheim is a stunning port city located in central Norway on the Trondheim Fjord. It is often known as Norway’s capital of technology or knowledge, partly due to having the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU), the country’s largest university, making Trondheim a pioneer in innovation.

The “Old Bridge,” a stunning red bridge with a fantastic view over pretty buildings on the river bank, serves as the entrance to the adorable old town. It is a scenic spot for taking photos. 

The old town itself is a wonderful place with a genuinely delightful atmosphere. One thing you must do is lose yourself through the cobblestone streets and buy souvenirs from the lovely shops. Its wide roads also connect to excellent cafes, restaurants, and various outstanding museums.

You can take a tour to explore some of the ancient buildings, including the renowned Nidaros Cathedral, a remarkable work of architecture dating back to the 11th century and featuring enormous statues of Norwegian kings and biblical figures. If you’re a history buff, you will also love the Archbishop’s Palace, located south of the Nidaros Cathedral, which has several outstanding museums.

If you are fond of music, you will likely love to visit the well-known Ringve Museum, Norway’s national music and musical instruments museum. If your enthusiasm takes you further, check out Rockheim, another museum displaying Norwegian rock and pop music from the 1950s to the present.

Final Thoughts

This list is just the tip of the iceberg. Norway is a country that has much more to offer, and you will never get bored there.

Go on one of the best city breaks in Norway to enjoy this gorgeous country’s magnificent scenery, vibrant culture, and legendary hospitality. Choose the destination you love the most (or maybe all of them), book your trip, and enjoy the experience to the fullest!

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