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Norwegians are pretty open people, once you get to know us. But we have a confession to make: We’ve been saving some of our favorite sights and spots for ourselves … until now. We’re ready to come clean and share so here you go; our best-kept secrets are out!

1. Hang 10

Think surfing and think Hawaii or Australia. The beach? Caribbean or the Mediterranean, right? Well, think Fjord Norway now, too. Thanks to the Gulf Steam, surfing and sunning spots from Hoddevika in the north to Karmoy island farther south are warmer than you’d think — year-round. Water temps can hit 20°C/68°F, so dive right in! Head for our white-sand beaches and cozy coves to soak up some sun and fun. Want to hit the waves? Jæren, Norway’s original surfing magnet, and scenic Ervika boast some serious swells. Beginner? Sheltered from wind by surrounding mountains, Hoddevika offers calmer waters. No wonder it’s home to three surf lodges and a surfing school. Who knew?

2. Get lit

Shine a light on Fjord Norway’s maritime past with a stop — or overnight stay — at a historic lighthouse, or as we call it, “fyr.” Perched above key points along the rugged, rocky coast, these beacons kept local shipping, and sailors, safe. Now, many also harbour visitors for a day — or the night. There are lighthouse accommodations to fit every budget, ranging from barebones self-catering to upscale pampering. For a little illumination on what our myriad lighthouses offer, browse the gallery below.

3. Say “cheese”!

In Norwegian, that’d be “ost!” And we’ve got a lot to smile about. Crafted on 700-year-old farmstead, Tingvollost’s “Kraftkar” blue cheese won gold at the 2016 World Cheese Awards in Spain. And Soleglad, a cheese from Skarbø — reviving cheesemaking traditions near Alesund — took bronze in 2018. Both farm shops let visitors savor their creamy cow-milk wares. Prefer a chevre? In tiny Undredal, nestled in the Aurlandsfjord, goats outnumber people 5 to 1 … and churn out “geitost,” Norway’s iconic brown cheese.

4. Berry inviting

When it comes to berries, we mean business … and summer is peak — and picking — season. Thanks to our cooler, longer summer days, berries thrive in Fjord Norway, and we forage and harvest June through October. Join in! Valldal, a day trip from Ålesund, is Strawberry Central. Pull over at a roadside stand or pop into Valldal Safteri for a berry-laden snack. Or join our annual effort to hold onto the world record for longest raspberries-and-vanilla-sauce dessert at the Norwegian Raspberry Festival in Vik. What could be better than fresh berries? How about fermented ones? Indulge in a tasting tour of fruit and berry ciders, wines and spirits at artisanal distilleries like Gardsbrenneriet in Nordfjord.

5. Viking vibes

Unleash your inner Viking with immersive experiences at Fjord Norway’s legion museums, sites and attractions devoted to those iconic sailors, warriors and tradespeople of the distant past. At Sagastad, marvel at a newly rebuilt Viking longship — the 30-meter-long, seaworthy Myklebustskipet, displayed in a state-of-the-art interpretation center. You know the Vikings were expert seamen. But are you also aware they were pioneers of democracy, law and justice? Visit the Gulating — western Norway’s cradle of democracy, which served as parliament and court for 400 years. And be sure to tour the Nordvegen History Center and Viking Farm at Avaldsnes, “Homeland to the Viking Kings.” Norway’s oldest royal seat, it was home to Harold Fairhair, first Viking king. 

6. Small town charm

We’ve got the antidote to your big-city blues: Fjord Norway’s fishing ports, fjord villages and mountain hamlets. These are treasure troves of history, culture and small-town charm. Trawl the boutiques, cafes and boathouses of historical Bud for seaside fun. In tiny Solvorn, on the Lustrafjord, you’ll find a cafe, gallery, convenience store and Norway’s oldest hotel. Stop by Sand, where clusters of charming white homes gleam in the Sandsfjord, to soak in historic character — like its 168-year-old wooden church and cemetery — and linger in inviting shops, galleries and cafes.

7. Island idylls

Scores of rocky islands, islets and skerries dot our breathtaking coast and make for exciting day trips, enticing dining excursions and exotic overnight getaways. Hop aboard the postal boat in Solund and go island-hopping with the locals between Norway's westernmost islands. From Fosnavåg south of Ålesund, cruise to dinner at Kami Skotholmen, serving up fare crafted from the freshest local seafood and seasonal produce in a 19th century island warehouse. On Selja, embark on a guided tour of millennium-old monastery ruins, among Norway’s oldest. Can’t tear yourself away and head ashore? Head for “havstuer,” or sea cottages, on Smøla or Håholmen for a taste of historical fishing village living. Feel the ocean spray from your seaside accommodations or set sail on a fishing expedition or a sea eagle safari.

8. Stiller waters run deep

Millions of cruise passengers may have sailed the fjords — but most have only skimmed the surface. Dive deeper into Fjord Norway by exploring the myriad — and much quieter — arms and branches of our better-known waterways.

Take to the stunning and less known UNESCO-proteced Tafjord for solitary kayaking or mountain hikes in calmer climes. Summertime reveals stunning views of isolated mountain lake Eikesdalsvatnet, inaccessible much of the year due to heavy snow. Board a fjord sailing on the tranquil Lusterfjord, whose fruit-tree-lined shores have inspired generations of artists. And stroll among the wooden houses of Nauste, historic heart of Eresfjord village, like the wealthy 19th century English “salmon lords” of yesteryear, credited as Norway’s first true tourists.

9. Top rocks

Any hiker, casual or dedicated, worth their salt has our famous rock formations on their bucket list. The evocative names — Pulpit Rock (Preikestolen), Troll’s Tongue (Trolltunga) — easy access and legendary views beckon thousands each year. But why wait at crowded outcroppings, when Fjord Norway’s packed with iconic peaks and cliffs? Just west of Haugesund, try Himakånå, perched 357 meters above sparkling Lysevatnet lake with a panoramic view of Nedstrandsfjorden. For an adrenaline rush, scale the isolated point of 1,338-meter Eggenipa. Up for another challenge? The 1,072-meter hike up Mount Saksa on the Hjørundfjord, some of it up stairs hewn from stone by Nepalese sherpas, rewards climbers with stunning views as far as the art nouveau buildings of Ålesund. Or scale Europe’s highest sea cliff at Hornelen, shooting up 860 meters straight from the sea!

10. Ends of the Earth

Norwegians say there’s no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothes. So be sure to button up before heading to Vestkapp, a seaside plateau noted for plunging cliffs, temperamental weather and, on good days, stunning panoramic views. Some 58 shipwrecks lie in the churning currents below. Indulge in Nordic specialties crafted from local ingredients at Vestkapp Restaurant, open no matter the month or forecast. Craving more splendid isolation? On Runde, island home to just 150 people, you’ll be pretty much alone — apart from the half-million sea birds that flock there each nesting season.

Fjord secrets

The secret’s out, Fjord Norway is more than you expected. Yes, we’re home to mind-blowing fjord landscapes. But we’re so much more! You are welcome to explore farther and further. Delve deeper across Fjord Norway to unearth countless hidden gems — attractions and experiences that amaze and delight in sight and sound, taste and touch.

Find out more

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