Anyone visiting Norway’s second largest city should definitely visit the Hanseatic district of Brygge with its colorful wooden houses (Internet: www.visitbergen.com ). The Marienkirche, built in the 12th century, is also located here. A museum is dedicated to the famous composer Edvard Grieg (Internet: www.troldhaugen.com ). From the city center you can take a cable car ride to Fløyfjell, which offers fantastic views of the Sognefjord to the north and the Hardangerfjord to the south.
The capital Oslo is also Norway’s leading industrial, commercial and shipping metropolis. Only 12% of the city area is built up, the rest consists of forest paths, islands and lakes where you can swim or fish. The medieval Akershus Castle is one of the most important buildings in the city (Internet: www.mil.no/felles/ak ). The Kongelige Slott (Royal Castle) is open to visitors from mid-June to August (website: www.kongehuset.no ). Boat trips through the fjord are also attractive.
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The port city of Stavanger, which was European Capital of Culture in 2008, has a pretty old town ( Gamle Stavanger ) with white-painted wooden houses, a cathedral church and a city museum. It is worth visiting the Norsk Oljemuseum, which is dedicated to oil production in the North Sea (Internet: www.norskolje.museum.no ). The archaeological open -air museum Jernaldergården på Ullandhaug (Iron Age Farm Ullandhaug) shows an Iron Age farm (Internet: www.jernaldergarden.no ). Near the town is the 92 m high Månafossen, one of Norway’s most beautiful waterfalls.
There are numerous waterfalls in Norway, some of which are used to generate energy. Near the main road Riksvei 7, which connects Oslo and Bergen, there is an incredible view of the 183 m high Vøringsfossen, Norway’s most famous waterfall. Mardalsfossen in Romsdal province and Langfossen Hordaland province are among the highest waterfalls in the world with a total height of over 600 m.
At the Lysefjord Center in Oanes (website: www.lysefjordsenteret.no ) you can find out all sorts of interesting facts about the 40 km long Lysefjord with its very steep cliffs. One of the special sights is the 600 m high rock plateau Preikestolen, which offers a fantastic view of the Lysefjord. Also of interest is the Kjeragbolten, a rock wedged between two rock faces at over 1,000m. At the end of the fjord lies the village of Lysebotn, which can only be reached in the summer months via one of the country’s most spectacular serpentine routes.
Oslo and its museums
There are some very interesting museums in Oslo, including the Munch Museum, the Viking Ship Center, the Fram Museum, the Norwegian Maritime Museum and the Kon-Tiki Museum, which houses Norwegian explorer Thor Heyerdahl’s expedition boats. The Henie Onstad art collection includes works by Picasso and Matisse. Anyone interested in Norwegian culture should visit the Norwegian Folklore Museum.
Tromsø is a very lively city with street music, numerous cultural events and the highest number of bars and clubs per capita in Europe. The city owes its nickname »Gateway to the Arctic Sea« to its proximity to the North Pole. The polar explorers Amundsen and Nansen started their expeditions to the Arctic from here. Spitsbergen can be reached by plane and ship. The polar world is documented in museums and adventure centers such as Polaria, where you can hike through the polar night in artificial snow flurries and meet arctic sea creatures in a Plexiglas tunnel (website: www.polaria.no ). Also worth seeing are the Tromsø Museum (website: uit.no/tmu ) and the Polar Museum (website: www.polarmuseum.no ).
Kristiansand and the Dyrepark
Probably the biggest attraction in Kristiansand, next to the Christiansholm Fortress, the cathedral and the beach promenade, is the animal and adventure park Kristiansand Dyrepark (Internet: www.dyreparken.no ). In addition to some exotic animals, the park is home to numerous native animals such as wolves, wolverines, lynxes and mooses. In the world of Captain Sabertooth, visitors are offered a musical entertainment program, and in Kardemomme by, which is named and designed after Thorbjørn Egner’s children’s books, you can sometimes meet “real robbers”. Since 2010, the Badlandet bathing area has also been one of the park’s attractions.
After the old wooden houses in the city of Ålesund were destroyed in a fire in the early 20th century, some very beautiful Art Nouveau houses were built (Internet: www.visitalesund-geiranger.com ). It is worth visiting the Sunnmøre Open Air Museum, where you can learn a lot about the culture of the Sunnmøre region (website: sunnmoremuseum.no ). In Atlanterhavsparken, one of the largest saltwater aquariums in Europe, you can see native fish species such as cod, wolffish, conger eel and halibut off the Norwegian coast (website: www.atlanterhavsparken.no ).
Norway is a paradise for anglers. Over 180 species of fish can be caught in over 30,000 lakes and numerous rivers, including perch, trout, pike and salmon. Herring, mackerel, flounder and monkfish frolic off the coast. Permits are available for a small fee at petrol stations, in supermarkets or at mailboxes in the immediate vicinity of the respective body of water. Fishing is permitted along the coast, in the fjords and on some lakes without a permit.