When it comes to visiting Norway you will find fantastic and breathtaking landscapes along with beautiful small towns. With deep blue Norwegian fjords, majestic mountain cliffs, and thick forests it’s a nature’s paradise. It’s another jewel of the Scandinavia peninsula. And for every well-known popular destination like Tromso, Flam, and Bergen there are smaller places you may not know about but equally just as beautiful. They may not get as much recognition, but these are some of the better unknown places for sightseeing and should stop by on your travels through Norway. They are just as rich in culture and history and being here will make it seem like you are a native and not just a tourist. Skold!
This town has the pleasure of being located at the head of the Geirangerfjord, one of Norway’s most visited sites and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The Norwegian fjord is why thousands of visitors come every year but for some reason only a few hundred reside here. This is where you can view the scenic landscapes, impressive waterfalls, and multiple farms scattered along each side of the fjord. The Seven Sisters and Suitor waterfalls are the extra highlights of the fjord.
Taking a short fjord cruise through the Geirangerfjord from Geiranger to Hellesylt and back is a great way to see as much as possible if you have limited time. We suggest if possible you spend the weekend in Hellesylt. If you’re able to stay for the day or even overnight you can partially drive and hike up to several vantage points for spectacular views of the natural beauty of the town and fjord. The most recommended are the Flydalsjuvet and Geiranger Skywalk.
Or if you rather stay in town you can stop at the Norsk Fjordsenter and learn about the forming of the fjords and how they have affected Norwegian society. Afterward, just relax at several souvenir shops and restaurants and just people watch as cruise ships and other tourists flock in.
This small village has the benefit of having a prime location along a branch of the Sognefjord, the deepest and longest fjord in Norway and another UNESCO World Heritage site. But this village is also famously known for its love of books and is considered a book town. With such a small population you may be surprised to find so many bookstores and just numerous bookshelves stacked almost in every place you go. It’s a place to slow down, enjoy the fjord views and curl up with some quality reading.
If you are looking for more activity you can find kayaking is available during the warmer seasons. Other activities include hiking, skiing, biking, and even some fishing depending on the season.
But the highlight here aside from the Sognefjord is the Jostedal Glacier. Its popularity is due to it being the largest glacier in continental Europe. You have the Norwegian Glacier Museum located here and the attraction has pretty much shaped the entire area around it and the town itself. Cruise ships visit throughout the summer and bus tours make stops here along their route. You can spend a single day here or much longer to enjoy the beauty and atmosphere. This well-rounded village is welcoming and will make you want to put down some roots here.
With small-town life, nothing seems to be better when you are in the center of town. A place with one main road leading in and out of the village. And great scenic views in the distance while you enjoy your time. Where everyone comes to congregate for important events and holidays. That’s what you will find here in Fossebergom in Western Norway. Located in the municipality of Lom as its administrative center, I spent part of my time here during Norway’s Constitution Day which provided a parade and locals coming from all over the region. It may be relatively small but everything you can need is right here.
You can take a nice walk over to the Lom Stave Church which is a highlight here and located in the center of town. Across the river is the Norsk Mountain Center, a tiny museum that helps showcase Norwegian outdoors and provides information on the national parks and tours you can take while spending your time in Fossebergom. The Jotunheimen National Park just outskirts of Lom is perfect for hiking and fishing. you will see plenty of wildlife as well. Another place to visit is the Lom Bygdamuseum open-air museum just outside of town where you can see some of the older structures that inhabited the region between the 16th to 19th centuries.
A tiny village in which little tourist traffic can be found and is perfect for avid campers and outdoor backpackers looking to just get away into the wild. Buy some local supplies in the village before you head off. It is mostly farmland here in the region with some wooden houses so just stick with the basics. Nearby is Torevannet Lake where you can spend your time. With the benefit of being surrounded by dense forest areas, some rivers, and few people it’s a nature paradise of Norwegian beauty. You can have the opportunity for wild camping.
With Norway’s right to roam law in effect, anyone has the right to access public land. This means you can find your spot and just camp for the night. Just be respectful of nature. be mindful of private property areas, and leave the area as you found it. This is a spectacular way to save some costs that you can use towards your time in the more populated towns and cities.
A truly authentic experience in Norway’s life and culture can be found here. It may not be known to many who prefer to find their way to the more lively cities, but that is what makes this place even more remarkable. Another village located along the Sognerfjord, it’s considered a “heritage village” as there are multiple wooden buildings in the original city center between the 17th to 18th centuries. It has been well preserved and you can come here to purchase other crafts, souvenirs, and antiques from the area.
One of the little-known highlights is the Laerdalstunnelen (Laerdal Tunnel), the longest road tunnel in the world. It is essential as the connection between Oslo and Bergen does not require a ferry and also with traveling through the mountain areas. You are driving underground through the mountains for over 15 miles (24 kilometers). With the blue lighting along with yellow hazard lights for traffic, it almost feels like a whole other place.
Just outside of Laerdalsoyri, you can take the Vindhellavegen hiking route which twists and turns through the hills and valley which is just fantastic and provides more beautiful spots. You can also stop first at the Borgund Stave Church which is where the hiking trail starts and another separate trail at the end that takes you through the forest instead back to the church.
This town located in the center of Norway may still be unknown to most but it is a prime destination for winter sports yet still enjoyable during the summer season. It’s no wonder when you arrive and see the picturesque landscape that they became an Olympic town by hosting the Winter Olympics in 1994. It’s flourished because of this international fame with an increase in tourism and a one to two-day destination on most tours through Norway. It’s even a few hours away from Oslo so you can take a nice day trip here by yourself. Most recently it was used as the setting for the Netflix series Lilyhammer, which we highly recommend to watch.
Downtown Lillehammer is great with multiple restaurants and boutique shops on Storgata Street. It consists of only a few blocks so it’s easy to walk around exploring. You will find a lot of the locals like to spend their time here at night and the area can get pretty lively so definitely make sure to stop by one of the bars while you are here.
Most of the attractions here are also an easy walk just outside of town. The Lillehammer Olympic Park has the Lysgardsbakken ski jump which is the main landmark. You can walk around the venue and climb up the steps for panoramic views of the town and Lake Mjosa. With numerous jumps in the winter and summer, you may be able to catch one during your time here. and A particular highlight is Hunderfossen Fairytale Park which is perfect for families and shows a lot of Norwegian culture and traditions in its activities.
Any one of these places can make your time in Norway even more memorable. Make sure when you are planning your itinerary to see if you are passing close by any of these towns and villages or even others not on this list. The benefit of being in Norway is that there are many places just like this scattered throughout the country and you should take the opportunity to visit. Just stopping by here even for a few hours will be worth it.