Norway in Pictures: 15 Beautiful Places to Photograph
Norway is a country of incomparable natural beauty – fjords, polar rivers, ice-capped green mountains, and the stunning midnight sun are just the beginning of what's to see here. Norway's cosmopolitan cities are just as fascinating as the little fishing islands that dot the Norwegian Arctic sea.
If you're planning a trip to Scandinavia or just in the early steps of daydreaming about it, here are some of the most stunning places to photograph in Norway.
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The narrow Geiranger Fjord, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is surrounded by steep cliffs and roaring waterfalls that plunge straight into the clear blue waters below. A few abandoned sheep farms are the only reminder that the shoreline was once inhabited – some of these farms, like medieval Skageflå, can be visited after a tricky, hazardous hike up the steep peaks. This is one of Norway's top tourist attractions.
Trolltunga's name, which translates to "troll tongue," is a piece of rock that extends off the mountain and looks similar to somebody sticking his tongue out from the rocky cliffs. Located 1,100 meters above sea level, Trolltunga can be reached with a 27-kilometer round-trip steep hike that takes about 12 hours to complete. Lake Ringedalsvatnet below and the Folgefonna glacier in the background make this a perfect spot for picture taking.
The spectacular Geiranger Skywalk offers views right above the Dalsnibba mountain. Often covered by snow even in summer, the mountain is a popular hiking destination and the setting of the yearly Geiranger: From Fjord to Summit event, where people run a half marathon that starts at sea level and ends 1,500 meters above, at the top of the mountain.
The Bryggen historic harbor district and wharf is a UNESCO World Heritage Site famous for the colorful Hanseatic merchant trading buildings lining up the shoreline. Although many of the buildings have been rebuilt or restored after fires, they were redone following 14th-century plans and methods, maintaining the historical structure of the area.
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The only permanently inhabited island in Svalbard, Spitsbergen is home to polar nights, polar bears, and a large population of wild Svalbard reindeer – it's a great place to truly experience the Arctic wilderness. With everything from sea kayaking to ice hiking to wildlife watching available, the island has much to offer regardless of the season.
Trolls' Path or Trollstigen is a steep and narrow 87-kilometer-long road with eleven tight hairpin bends and some of the most stunning mountain views you'll find in Norway. Only open between May and October because of dangerous icy and snowy conditions during the colder months, the serpentine road offers several carparks and viewing balconies along the way – including sweeping views over alpine summits and the Reinheimen National Park.
Located within the Arctic Circle, the sheltered harbor of Tromso city is one of the best places to catch the northern lights in Norway. Tromso is surrounded by fjords, and experiences polar night (when the sun doesn't rise at all) from the end of November till mid-January – a total of 48 days of permanent night where snowshoeing, dog-sledding, and other outdoor activities are just as popular as walks around the center and its magical painted timber houses.
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Towering 600 meters over the Lysefjord, this steep cliff offers stunning views of the misty mountains and clear blue waters below. Reached after a three-hour steep but picturesque hike, the natural viewing platform at Preikestolen is a popular destination for BASE jumpers.
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9. Folgefonna National Park
Glacier Lake Bondhusvatnet is a famous hiking destination and a stunning spot inside the Folgefonna National Park. Green, forested hills and mossy meadows, waterfalls, raging rivers, and Norway's third-largest ice field make for some of the most dramatic scenery in Norway. The park offers many picture-perfect kilometers of hiking trails, opportunities to see pre-historic petroglyphs, and a varied birdlife keeping you company through all seasons.
Considered one of the most beautiful train journeys in the world, the Flamsbana connects the villages of Myrdal and Flam on a 20-kilometer trip of steep green valleys and foaming waterfalls alongside the Flåmselvi river. The one-hour-long journey is equally stunning during the colder months, as snow and ice cover the cliffy mountainsides, transforming the valley into a fairy-tale winter wonderland.
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Rorbu cabins, originally built as homes for the Lofoten fishermen, dot the shoreline here. The fishing villages, Viking-era towns, and arctic fjords of the Lofoten islands offer untamed beauty and a chance to catch the midnight sun. Home to the largest deepwater coral reef in the world and some of the best climbing and mountaineering areas within the Arctic Circle, Lofoten is also an unexpectedly popular destination for surfing.
The highest mountain in Scandinavia, Galdhopiggen is a relatively easy three-hour climb (which includes some hiking over the Styggebreen glacier) from mountain station Juvasshytta. The misty top of Galdhopiggen offers stunning views of the surrounding mountains – and for tired hikers, there's even a small cabin selling chocolate and postcards for a quick break before heading down.
Kjerag mountain sits right over the Lysefjorden shores and it's famous for three things: the Kjeragfossen waterfall (one of the tallest waterfalls in the world) plunging right into the bluest fjord waters below, the ideal conditions for BASE jumping, and the Kjeragbolten. The Kjeragbolten is a glacier boulder wedged between two cliffs, directly over an almost 1,000-meter-deep abyss – it is accessible directly from the mountains around and a popular photo spot.
14. Vøringsfossen Waterfall
With a total drop of 182 meters, Voringsfossen waterfall is nowhere near the highest in Norway, but it's still one of the most famous – partly because of the idyllic surroundings. Trails allow you to see the waterfall both from the bottom of the lush green canyon and the top of the cliffs overlooking Måbødalen valley.
15. Skagsanden Beach
Skagsanden Beach is just as breathtaking in summer as it is in winter – a mix of black and golden sands that appear to always be moving, thanks to small streams that run from inland, over the beach, and into the sea. In winter, the ice-covered beach offers some of the best spots to watch the northern lights.