Looking to build a bucket list of things to see in Norway? These are the most famous historical landmarks in Norway.
The Vikings ruled in Norway for several centuries before they were converted to Christianity around the year 1030.
The Viking age is traditionally considered to have lasted from 793 to 1066 CE, and the Viking expansions ceased when Harald Hardrada and his army lost the Battle of Stamford Bridge in September 1066 CE to the Anglo-Saxon King Harold Godwinson.
Strangely enough, Harold Godwinson would be killed at the Battle of Hastings less than a month later, ceding the English crown to William of Normandy – the Normans (or North Men) of course being descended from Vikings!
Norway has a number of spectacular historical landmarks that are significant in Norwegian culture and history. For example, the Viking Ship Museum is located in Oslo and describes Norway’s Viking seafaring heritage from ancient times.
The Tjuvholmen Sculpture Park in Oslo famously features 12 large sculptures donated by the Norwegian Sculpture Society in 1987.
Vøringsfossen Falls is the 83rd highest waterfall in Norway on the basis of total fall. The Vøringsfossen falls is located in Måbødalen, which is about 10 kilometers (6 mi) north of Eidfjord, and it is only accessible on foot.
See? Plenty of famous landmarks to plan a trip around!
Table of Contents
- Most Famous Historical Landmarks in Norway to Visit
- 1. Akershus Fortress
- 2. Bryggen
- 3. FlåmsbanaA-Feltvegen
- 4. Frogner Park
- 5. Hardangervidda National Park
- 6. Jotunheimen National Park
- 7. Lofotr Viking Museum
- 8. Lom Stavkyrkje
- 9. Maihaugen
- 10. North Cape
- 11. Klippfiskkjerringa – Sculpture of the Town’s Symbol
- 12. Soviet Liberation Monument
- 13. The Fram Museum
- 14. The Norwegian Museum of Cultural History
- 15. The Royal Palace
- 16. The Vigeland Park
- 17. Tjuvholmen Sculpture Park
- 18. Viking Ship Museum
Most Famous Historical Landmarks in Norway to Visit
1. Akershus Fortress
Location: 0150 Oslo, Norway
Akershus Fortress has a long, rich history. Originally built in the late 13th Century in the Norwegian capital, Oslo, Akershus Fortress is an imposing landmark that has seen many uses over the years, including use as a garrison, prison, and residence of Kings and Prime Ministers.
The Akershus Castle is the namesake and center of the main fief, which was one of four original Norwegian regions.
Much of Akershus Fortress history can be traced to 1399 when King Håkon V ordered its fortification, though archaeological evidence shows that the site was in use long before then.
In 1567, Akershus Castle was one of four fortresses that successfully defended Southern Norway against an attack fleet sent by England’s King Henry VIII.
It is among Norway’s most popular tourist attractions today and welcomes more than 1 million visitors annually.
The fortress also contains several museums, a chapel, and banquet halls.
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Location: Bryggen, 5003 Bergen, Norway
Bryggen (the dock), also known as Tyskebryggen (Norwegian: [ˈtʏ̀skəˌbrʏɡːn̩], the German dock), is a series of Hanseatic heritage commercial buildings lining up the eastern side of the Vågen harbor in the city of Bergen, Norway.
Bryggen has been on the UNESCO list for World Cultural Heritage sites since 1979 and is a classic Norway landmark. The city of Bergen was founded around 1070 within the boundaries of Tyskebryggen.
Around 1350 CE, a Kontor of the Hanseatic League was established there, and Tyskebryggen became the center of the Hanseatic commercial activities in Norway. Today, Bryggen houses museums, shops, restaurants, and pubs.
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Location: 11, 5743 Flåm, Norway
The Flåm Line is a 20.2-kilometer (12.6 mi) long railway line connecting the mainline with Sognefjord at Myrdal Station in Vestland county and runs through the valley of Flåmsdalen.
The line’s elevation change is 866 meters (2,831 ft), making it the steepest standard gauge railway line in continental Europe, and one of the steepest in the world.
The Flåm Line was inaugurated on June 20, 1936, as a single track named A-line (A for Flåm). The opening had been delayed several years because of financial difficulties that were caused by the Wall Street Crash.
The second track was completed in 1942 under the eye of the occupying Germans, and a third line was added in 1945. A fourth line is currently under construction.
The line was originally designed as a connection between Bergen and Voss, but at the opening, it had no direct passenger services between those cities – the closest they came to each other before 1969 was Myrdal.
It’s worth noting that since its opening, four generations of the same family have operated trains on this line: August Kristian Løvlid (1867-1940), his son Finn Løvlid (1902-1999), his grandson Olav Løvlid (b. 1928) and his great-grandson Oddvar Løvlid (b. 1963).
The Flåm Line is part of the Norwegian Railway System but has its own directorate and budget in the public transport authority of Sogn og Fjordane county.
The Flåm company operates a year-round scheduled service running combined steam and diesel trains from Oslo to Flåm and back.
There are also several slower tourist services operated through the line which are focused on sightseeing rather than timely transportation, including Flåmsbana and Lavprisekspressen (the latter not running in winter).
The original Flåm Line was built by NSB’s department Rjukanbanen between 1917 and 1936, although construction of the tunnel section started as early as 1912.
The final section between Flåm and Myrdal was built by Norsk Transport, opening in 1936. The line carried freight from the outset but did not open for passengers until 20 June 1936.
The Norwegian national government originally owned all the stock of NSB, including Rjukanbanen. A great place to book a trip.
To separate the two companies, it was agreed that NSB would take over the operation of the Flåm Line, and convey Rjukanbanen’s stock in compensation.
This decision proved to be a bad one for Rjukanbanen, which lost much income because of the line’s low capacity and poor operating conditions.
In 1938, Rjukanbanen started the construction of the Tinnoset Line to allow faster passenger trains and more freight trains.
The train to Gudvangen was connected with a ferry service from Flåm until 1991. Freight services were terminated in 1992, and the line nearly closed because of low ticket prices and high operating costs.
In 1998, it became owned by Bane NOR and Vy started selling tickets.
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4. Frogner Park
Location: Kirkeveien, 0268 Oslo, Norway
International travel can be challenging with children as part of the equation. Parents can find it especially difficult to visit an overseas location without them because the places of interest that attract tourists often exude an aura of mystique and exclusivity.
However, there are many tourist destinations in Europe where it is possible to have a family vacation without the children feeling left out or under-stimulated. Frogner Park is a beautiful public park in the West End of Oslo, packed lots of trees and open spaces for frolicking, making it perfect for those with young kids.
The park derives its name from Frogner Manor and houses Oslo Museum. It is also home to the Vigelandsanlegget (or Vigeland Installation), a statue ground in the center of the park. The sculpture installation is the world’s largest sculpture park made by a single artist. Tourists frequently (erroneously) call this place Vigeland Park. The Vigeland Installation is also protected and it is the first park that was labeled a protected site in Norway.
The park of Frogner Manor used to be smaller and was centered on the manor house. It was landscaped as a baroque park in the 18th century but later became a romantic park in the 19th century.
In the 19th century, a lot of land from the estate was sold so that the city could grow. The remaining parts were then bought by Christiania municipality in 1896 and made into a public park.
Then it became the site of an Exhibition in 1914. In addition, there is also a bathhouse and stadium nearby.
The Frogner Pond is in the middle of the park. Frogner Park is the biggest park in Oslo and it covers 45 hectares.
Frogner Park has thousands of visitors daily.
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5. Hardangervidda National Park
Location: Hardanger, Norway
Hardangervidda National Park is Norway’s largest national park. It covers 3,422 square kilometers (1,321 square miles).
It goes from Numedal and Uvdal in the east to Røvelseggi and Ullensvang in the west across the Hardanger mountain plateau (Hardangervidda). The Bergen Line and the main Highway 7 cross this plateau. The National Park is part of the International Dark Sky Association.
This is a popular place to visit. Visitors can hike, fish, and ski there. The National Park is also part of the International Dark Sky Association.
The park lies in the southern Nordic region of Norway. It has certain animal and plant species that are only found south of the Arctic Circle, such as reindeer herds that are among the largest in the world.
A lot of stone age settlements have been found in the area. Most seem to follow the patterns related to reindeer migration, as early man tracked and hunted deer for food, furs, and leather.
Ancient trails still in use can be walked here that link western and eastern Norway. One example is Nordmannsslepa that links Eidfjord and Veggli in Numedal valley with Hol and Uvdal.
The name Hardangervidda is a compound of the name of the valley and vidda. It is derived from hardr which means ‘high plateau’.
On one side, visitors will find breathtaking scenery and on the other, they’ll discover the remnants of ancient Norwegian historical culture. Many people come away with memories they won’t soon forget and it’s easy to spend several days here exploring.
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6. Jotunheimen National Park
Jotunheimen National Park is part of Jotunheimen. It is a park that covers 1,151 square kilometers (444 sq mi). The national park is one of Norway’s best places to hike and fish.
Jotunheimen National Park is a beautiful mountain region with lots of tall, spellbinding mountains.
It has more than 250 peaks that are over 1,900 meters (6,200 feet). That includes the two tallest in Northern Europe: Galdhøpiggen and Glittertind. The park covers most of the mountainous region of Jotunheimen.
This is a massive mountain plateau that was formed as glaciers receded at the end of the last Ice Age.
The underlying rock is primarily granite and gneiss, which are eroded into dramatic peaks and valleys. The park runs along Norway’s longest fjord, the Sognefjord.
The Jotunheimen is in Innlandet and Vestland. It has Precambrian rock that glaciers have carved. There are many valleys and peaks, and it is home to deer, elk, wolverines, lynx, reindeer, and in the lakes trout and Viking longboats!
The northern lights are often visible in the sky from Jotunheimen National Park during winter.
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7. Lofotr Viking Museum
The Lofotr Viking Museum is a historical museum based on archeological and reconstruction findings of a stone-age village in the region. It’s located in the Lofoten Islands archipelago.
The museum is located in Borg, a small village near Bøstad in the municipality of Vestvågøy. The institution includes members of the Museum Nord consortium.
The Lofotr Viking Museum is open on weekdays and is a unique place to visit if you’re in the area. There is a lot that you can learn about Viking life, culture, religion, architecture, shipbuilding, and raiding.
How much does the Lofotr Viking Museum cost? Well, admission is 100 Norwegian kroner, which isn’t a lot of money to learn all about Norway’s Vikings and see how they lived in the old days.
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8. Lom Stavkyrkje
Location: Bergomsvegen 1, 2686 Lom, Norway
Lom Stave Church (Norwegian: Lom Stavkyrkje) is a stave church located in the Norwegian district of Gudbrandsdal and is one of the oldest churches in Norway.
The church has never been altered and only maintained since the Middle Ages and it’s an incredible example of how a stave church is constructed.
The medieval frescos are well preserved and illustrate biblical themes as well as everyday life in 11th-century Norway. Today, Lom Stave Church is still used for worship.
The Lom Stave Church was built about 1147 in the Romanesque style, making it Norway’s oldest preserved stave church.
It is located at Lom Farm (Låm), 6 kilometers (3.7 mi) from Otta, and belongs to the Etnedal deanery of the Diocese of Agder og Telemark of the Church of Norway.
Little information exists about the original interior decoration, but it is likely that brightly colored wall paintings were used, with blues, purples, and gold leaf.
The two oldest original artifacts in the church are a wooden crucifix with Christ’s figure flanked by other figures (possibly the Virgin Mary and John the Baptist) on one side and an image of the Last Judgment on the reverse and a fragmentary figurine of a seated female angel from around 1200.
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Location: Maihaugvegen 1, 2609 Lillehammer, Norway
Maihaugen (De Sandvigske Samlinger på Maihaugen, Lillehammer) is one of the most visited tourist attractions in Lillehammer, Norway.
Maihaugen, with close to 200 buildings, is one of Northern Europe’s largest open-air museums and is one of the largest cultural facilities in Norway.
The museum is a foundation, employing 100 people and was established in 1878 by writer and historian Hans Aall (1851-1930), who lived on the property with his family.
The largest contributor to the collection at Maihaugen is industrialist and art collector Marcus Sandvig, whose private collection formed the basis of what has become a unique open-air museum.
Maihaugen is owned by the municipality of Lillehammer and functions as a historical outdoor park and museum for education, entertainment, and research.
The old farm at Maihaugen is located on the north side of Lake Mjøsa in central parts of Norway. At Maihaugen they build, preserve and display traditional buildings from Gudbrandsdalen, the most important agricultural region in Norway.
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10. North Cape
Location: 9764 Nordkapp, Norway
The North Cape is a 9764 sq km peninsula in Northern Norway. To the west, it is bordered by Finland, to the south by the Norwegian Sea, and to the east by Russia. The cape’s central feature is an extinct volcano known as Lofoten.
This cape was first seen in 1607 by Willem Barentsz and named “Nord Kaap” which means “North Cape”.
In 1817, King Charles John gave this cape a new name and called it “Nordkapp” which means “Northern Cape”.
The 69th parallel north passes through this site. It is one of the most important geographical landmarks in Norway. It also offers views of the midnight sun on clear days. As a result, it’s quite a famous landmark.
The best time to visit North Cape is from April to August when the weather is nice and sunny.
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11. Klippfiskkjerringa – Sculpture of the Town’s Symbol
Location: Kaibakken 16509 Kristiansund, Norway
This rugged-looking sculpture is a woman made of steel, with long hair wrapped in a bonnet. The figure is located at the top of the Kaibakken hill in Kristiansund. It’s said that this woman is the Klippfiskkjerringa (Bachelor-fishwife), which traditionally was an old woman who sold fish.
She has been a part of Kristiansund’s culture for over 150 years, and her home was among the artists’ homes along Kaibakken, where she had a marked place in society – although judging by her appearance she may not have been particularly liked!
The Klippfiskkjerringa – Sculpture of the Town’s Symbol is located at Kaibakken 16509 Kristiansund, Norway.
It is 120 miles to drive from Oslo to Kristiansund. To visit the Klippfiskkjerringa – Sculpture of the Town’s Symbol, take the ferry from Hirtshals in Denmark to Kristiansund in Norway.
Fun fact; There are over 300 departures in a year at Hirtshals to Kristianstad.
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12. Soviet Liberation Monument
Location: Roald Amundsens gate, 9900 Kirkenes, Norway
The Soviet Liberation Monument is a monument located in Roald Amundsens gate, 9900 Kirkenes, Norway. The monument was erected to commemorate the Soviet troops who liberated Kirkenes from Nazi occupation in 1944.
The Czechoslovakian sculptor David Václav Myslbek created the design for the monument which consists of a Soviet soldier holding a PPSh-41 submachine gun overlooking the Arctic Ocean, bearing a dedication to the Soviet troops that liberated the town.
The monument is a popular tourist attraction in the city of Kirkenes and is very often mistaken for Ivan Susanin (Sainamoinen), a national hero from Finland.
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13. The Fram Museum
Location: Bygdøynesveien 39, 0286 Oslo, Norway
The Fram Museum is located on the peninsula of Bygdøy and tells the story of Norwegian polar exploration. It was established in 1993.
Fram Museum is just one of the many museums near Siljustølveien. Among them are Kon-Tiki Museum, Norwegian Historical Museum, Viking Ship Museum, and Norwegian Maritime Museums.
Bygdøy Royal Estate, the official summer residence of the King of Norway, and historic Oscarshall are also located nearby. The Fram Museum was inaugurated on 20 May 1936.
It honors Norwegian polar exploration in general and three great Norwegian polar explorers in particular – Fridtjof Nansen, Otto Sverdrup and Roald Amundsen.
The museum also exhibits images of the fauna of the polar regions, such as polar bears and penguins.
The Fram Museum is primarily centered on Colin Archer’s ship The Fram (Forward). This museum consists of a replica of the original interior containing rooms that are intact and can be entered where visitors can view Archer’s workmanship.
The commissioning, design, and constructions undertaken by this Scots-Norwegian shipbuilder were designed following specifications that were proposed by Norwegian Arctic explorer Fridtjof Nansen.
The original plans of the ship, restored by Archer himself, are on permanent display as well.
The Fram remains central in Norwegian cultural history and the interior matches remain unchanged from her 1936 maiden voyage. The ship was intended to act as a lifeboat, with planks designed to keep it afloat for exploration near Arctic or Antarctic ice formations.
In May of 2009, the Norwegian Maritime Museum and the Fram Museum signed an agreement for the museum to take on an exhibition of the ship Gjøa.
This sloop was the first vessel to traverse through Northwest Passage in 1906, with a crew of six led by Roald Amundsen.
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14. The Norwegian Museum of Cultural History
Location: Museumsveien 10, 0287 Oslo, Norway
The Norwegian Museum of Cultural History in Oslo is situated on the Bygdøy peninsula in close proximity to dozens of other fantastic museums, making it a great starting point for day trips.
The Norwegian Museum of Cultural History was established in 1881. Exhibits on, the Nazi battleship Blücher, and The Kon-Tiki raft are on display as examples of Norway’s seafaring history, including a wide range of exhibits from Viking Age arms and armor to modern sculpture, paintings, and other artifacts highlighting cultural history.
It is a fascinating site for a family or a group of friends to explore, particularly for anyone interested in all things maritime and Viking.
The museum also houses the Hovden archaeological site which dates back to the 7th century AD and is one of Norway’s most controversial Viking gravesites.
The Norwegian Museum of Cultural History exhibits objects from prehistoric times to 1814, spanning all social groups, eras, and geographic regions.
Among its more than 10,000 artifacts are Birkebeinerbunaden, the Gokstad ship, medieval religious pieces of art, and a fully preserved Viking longboat. The Museum is also responsible for the archaeological museum at Sperillen in Lillehammer.
The Norwegian Museum of Cultural History is open from late May to early September.
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15. The Royal Palace
Location: Slottsplassen 1, 0010 Oslo, Norway
The Royal Palace in Oslo, Norway is situated on the Slottsplassen.
The Royal Palace is open to visitors and free of charge. It holds an incredible collection of paintings, sculptures, and other artwork by Norwegian artists including Adolph Tidemand and Hans Gude.
One floor is dedicated to Crown Prince Harald’s personal art collection which includes works by Anthony van Dyck, Pablo Picasso, Auguste Rodin, and Monet among others.
The palace is open during the summer season from May through September and on most weekdays during the winter. Today, it is still used for official ceremonies and representative purposes.
The Royal Palace is currently undergoing a major renovation to extend its historic buildings into modern structures of innovation and technology, including new museum wings and better visitor facilities.
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16. The Vigeland Park
Location: Nobels gate 32, 0268 Oslo, Norway
Mentioned earlier as part of Frogner Park, the Vigeland Installation in Oslo Norway displays the most extensive collection of sculptures by Gustav Vigeland. It is an ideal destination to have a wonderful travel experience.
The park spreads out over more than 100 acres on the outskirts of Oslo and is open to visitors from 10 am until sunset.
The park contains 212 bronze plaques and granite reliefs, 202 cast iron gates, 163 low-relief stone figures, 84 large statues, 32 decorative fountains, 8 bridges, and a number of other smaller sculptures – all made by Vigeland.
The nearby Oslo Museum also includes many art galleries that display Gustav Vigeland’s work in paintings and drawings.
The park was inaugurated in 1947 after 20 years of construction. It is one of Norway’s largest tourist attractions with more than 350,000 visitors annually.
Vigeland Park is open from late May to early August.
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17. Tjuvholmen Sculpture Park
Location: Strandpromenaden 2, 0252 Oslo, Norway
Tjuvholmen Sculpture Park in Oslo is a branch of the sculpture park in Frogner and Aker Brygge neighborhoods.
The park is at the end of Bygdøy peninsula. It features 12 large sculptures donated by the Norwegian Sculpture Society in 1987 – the only ones not made by Gustav Vigeland.
The park, which was opened in 1993, also includes a restaurant and café along with some other attractions such as a decorated playground for children, so everyone can enjoy a day out!
The Tjuvholmen Sculpture Park in Oslo is open from late May to early August. It is also completely free to the general public.
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18. Viking Ship Museum
Location: Huk Aveny 35, 0287 Oslo, Norway
The Viking Ship Museum is located in Oslo, Norway. The museum is dedicated to the archaeological finds in Oslofjord from the Viking age (7th to 11th centuries).
It contains two ships that have been reconstructed and three original longboats that were excavated. Additionally, there are displays of Viking artifacts such as weapons and jewelry.
The museum also houses a number of other exhibits which include an indoor exhibit called “Vikings at home” that provides an introduction to Viking culture. It is open to visitors from 10 am until 6 pm from late May to late September.
The Viking Ship Museum is free to visit and a fantastic day out.
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Location: 5785 Eidfjord, Norway
Vøringsfossen is the 83rd highest waterfall in Norway on the basis of total fall. This might not be the greatest brag, but you have to see it for yourself!
This beautiful and serene natural wonder is also one of many landmarks near Norwegian National Road 7, which connects Oslo with Bergen.
It has a total drop of 182 meters (597 ft), and a major drop of 163 meters (535 ft). It is perhaps the most famous waterfall in Norway, with tourists coming from all over to see it.
Falling to one’s death is about the only way you can fall here risky – the hazards are many, so be careful walking close to the waterfall. In the spring of 2015, more measures were implemented with the intention of preventing falls like these.
The result was a stairway bridge that opened in 2020.
The Vøringsfossen waterfall is located in Måbødalen, about 10 kilometers (6 mi) north of Eidfjord, and it is only accessible on foot.
The walking path to the waterfall leads from the village of Eidfjord, before continuing up (or 600 meters after that).
The route is accessible year-round, but crossing the river Vøring in the winter can be challenging for anyone without proper equipment.
This waterfall is such a beautiful place that it has inspired many poets and painters over time, such as the famous writer Knut Hamsun.
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