Tuesday, 4 August 2015

Norway's Top Ten Cities

1. Oslo

Oslo is the capital and the largest Norwegian city with a thousand-year's history. It never fails to surprise you with diversity: Michelin-starred restaurants, urban art, theaters, and opera combined with skiing, hiking and cycling just within the city! 

Norway's Top Ten Cities

Oslo is located at the northernmost end of picturesque Oslofjord. Forty islands of the 100 km fjord are a wonderful place for leisure and travel, and are easily reachable by ferry. 

The city offers many things to do and to see, starting from the amazing Vigeland sculpture park, the Viking Ship Museum, Munch Museum, the Holmenkollen Ski Jump, and finishing with the Nobel Peace Center and the Holocaust Center.

2. Tromsø

Tromsø, Paris of the North, the city of contrasts. On the one hand, you will be enchanted by lovely fishing villages, fragrant botanic gardens, and crystal-clear waterfalls, and on the other – enthralled by outstanding music festivals. If you are a fan of techno or electronic music, the Insomnia festival in Tromsø is a must! 

Tromsø is located north of the Arctic Circle. In summer, you will be able to observe midnight sun, in winter – Northern lights.

3. Kirkenes

Situated in a northwestern peninsula of Norway, Kirkenes, a tiny mining settlement, is especially popular in winter. It is an amazing freezing fairy-tale with snow hotels, ice fishing and breathtaking Aurora Borealis. Meet Santa's helpers in the Reindeer Safari park, go on an exclusive dog sledding trip and try delicious fresh king crabs!

Panoramic view of Kirkenes

 4. Bergen

This scenic Norwegian city is known as the gates into the world of splendid fjords. Go to Bryggen, listed in UNESCO World Cultural Heritage sites, and take photos of Hanseatic commercial buildings, resembling the setting of a costume picture. Do not forget to attend the lively Fish Market in Bergen, one of Norway's most visited outdoors markets!

5. Longyearbyen

Longyearbyen is the largest settlement of Spitsbergen. Utmost North, sparse population, and wild nature beckon real adventurers. Next to Longyearbyen, Svalbard Airport is located, the world's most Northern airport with regular flights. The town is also famous for its University Centre in Svalbard and the Svalbard Global Seed Vault.

Wild nature of Longyearbyen

6. Trondheim 

Technological capital of Norway, the university town of Trondheim is a heaven for engineers and a dream for historians. Nidaros Cathedral of the XI century is a national shrine, and the Royal Residence is the greatest wooden palace in Scandinavia. Moreover, Trondheim hosts SINTEF, the largest Scandinavian independent research organization. 

7. Ålesund 

A city of fantastic beauty, Ålesund is situated in the domain of fjords, and is settled upon several islands extending towards the Atlantic Ocean. From here, you can admire a stunning view to majestic mountains of Sunnmøre. 

Natural beauty of Ålesund is amplified with the exquisite architecture: after the fire that destroyed the majority of the town in the beginning of the XX century, Ålesund was rebuilt in the brilliance of the art nouveau style. 

Give yourself a treat and attend one of the world's largest oceanaria – Atlanterhavsparken

8. Lillehammer 

Lillehammer became world famous after it hosted Winter Olympic Games in 1994. It is undoubtedly a great place for skiing and other winter sports. If you are a sport fan, try Lysgårdsbakken ski jumping hill. If you prefer less adrenalin-producing pastime, attend Maihaugen, the open-air ethnographic museum, or go on an excursion to the Fåberg village to see ancient rock paintings.

Skiing in Lillehammer

9. Bodø 

Picturesque Bodø will meet you with midnight sun of a polar day in summer, and garlands of Northern lights in winter. About 10 km southeast of the town of Bodø, you will find Saltstraumen, a small strait with the strongest tidal current in the world. When the current is at its strongest, it forms whirlpools up to 10 m in diameter and 5 m in depth. Do not forget to feast your eyes upon local churches and herbal gardens, and visit the magnificent Aviation Museum. 

10. Stavanger 

Stavanger is the fourth-largest city in Norway. It combines old and modern in paradoxical harmony. The city history is routed back to the Middle Ages. Once Stavanger was a quiet market town on the seacoast, in time it turned into an important fishing port. Its destiny, landscape and pace radically changed when in 1969 oil reserve was discovered off the Norwegian coast.

Stavanger, fishing nets

When in the city, visit Old Stavanger (the historical part), the unique Norwegian Canning Museum, and Stavanger Cathedral built in the XII century.

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