What Is Norway Known For

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Famous for its majestic fjords, Northern Lights and cultured capital city, Norway is a fascinating country with spectacular landscapes. One of the world’s epic travel destinations, Norway is best known as the land of Vikings, however, there’s more to this Scandinavian nation than fearsome conquerors from northern Europe. Oslo, the country’s capital and most populous city offers a blend of tradition showcased behind the facades of contemporary architecture, with a host of world-class museums and attractions to explore in the Norwegian capital. Venture further north into the heart of Norway and you’ll discover striking mountain ranges, dramatic craggy cliffs, long and narrow fjords, and cool Arctic cities, including the delightful coastal city of Bergen, which was declared a UNESCO World Heritage City in 1979. Here’s what Norway is famous for.

What Is Norway Known For

1- Long and Narrow Fjords

Fjord In Norway, Nature And Travel
Fjords are what Norway is most known for.

Idyllic Scandinavian villages surrounded by the tall peaks of long and narrow fjords are the very first image that pops into mind when imagining Norway.

The stunning fjords of Norway’s western shores are home to some of the most dramatic landscapes in the world.

Famous for their breathtaking beauty and mysterious aura, Norway’s fjords are major tourist attractions attracting dozens of cruise ships and thousands of awe-struck visitors every year.

Among Norway’s most popular fjords are those within the Norwegian Fjords World Heritage Site, which includes Geirangerfjord and Naeroyfjord, two of the longest and deepest fjords in the world.

2- The Northern Lights

Northern Lights Aurora At Seaside Color And Beams Norway
The Northern Lights is what Norway is known for.

If Norway’s western fjords didn’t spring to mind when picturing this dramatic Scandinavian nation, chances are the Northern Lights did the trick with their captivating colours dancing across the night sky during certain months of the year.


The Northern Lights, or Aurora Borealis as it’s formally known, is a unique natural phenomenon only observable in territories near the Arctic Circle such as Canada, Finland, Russia, Greenland, Alaska.

Norway is one of the most popular spots to see these elusive light spectacles.

The best time to see the Northern Lights in Norway is between September and November, when the brightly coloured lights illuminate Norway’s night sky and stunning mountain peaks to create one of the most memorable sights in the world.

3- Vikings

Norwegian Viking
Vikings are what Norway is best known for.

Infamous Norse Vikings such as Erik the Red, Leif Erikson and Rollo of Normandy conquered lands as far away as France, Iceland, Greenland and, according to legend.

Renowned for their expert shipbuilding skills and feared for their brutal conquests, Vikings are an integral part of Norway’s history and culture, first appearing on the shores of Norway at the dawn of the Viking Age.

The Vikings and their sagas remain a part of modern-day Norway’s culture and people, which you can learn more about at the many museums, villages and monuments throughout Norway dedicated to the Viking raiders of millennia past.

4- The Winter Olympics

A dominant force at every Winter Olympic Games since the showpiece event’s first instalment in 1924, Norway has won more gold medals and more medals overall at the Winter Olympics than any other country.

With 405 medals in the bag, 148 of which are gold, Norway’s Winter Olympics team is miles ahead of second-placed United States at 330 medals.

This makes Norway one of only three countries in the world with more medals won at the Winter Olympics than during the Summer Olympics.

Norway is especially successful in cross-country skiing and speed skating events, with the two Olympic disciplines responsible for more than half of Norway’s medal haul.

Channel your inner Olympian by getting a downhill skiing day pass for the SNO Ski Dome.

5- Pulpit Rock

View Of The Pulpit Rock
Pulpit Rock is what Norway is known for around the world.

One of Norway’s most dramatic natural features is the famous Pulpit Rock, a 604-meter-tall (1,982 ft) near-vertical cliff perched along the shores of Lysefjorden.

With an almost completely flat surface, Pulpit Rock, or ‘Preikestolen’ as it’s called in Norwegian, is one of the most popular hiking destinations in the country, with an 8-kilometre (5 mi) trail leading hikers right to the top of this famous Norwegian landmark.

Not for the faint-hearted, Pulpit Rock attracts more than 300,000 hikers each year and treats visitors to truly epic views of Norway’s iconic fjords and mountains stretching as far as the eye can see.

6- One of the Wealthiest Nations in the World

The National Flag Of Norway Waving In The Wind
Being one of the world’s richest nations is what Norway is known for.

With a GDP per capita of well over $100,000 and one of the largest sovereign wealth funds in the world, Norway ranks among the wealthiest nations in the world, with income fairly evenly distributed among all Norwegians.

Despite featuring a population of just 5.4 million people and a capital city with fewer than 700,000 inhabitants, Norway managed to accumulate a wealth fund of more than $1.3 trillion in large part thanks to the country’s vast oil and gas reserves.

Norway is an outlier even when compared to its well-off Scandinavian neighbours, with the nation’s vast resources used to fund everything from infrastructure projects to the generous social policies of the Norwegian Welfare State.

7- Oslo

Oslo Waterfront Downtown City Skyline
Oslo is the city Norway is best known for.

Nestled along the southern shores of Norway is the beautiful Norwegian capital city of Oslo, a world-class destination that’s internationally renowned for its museums and green spaces.

The city is the official seat of governance in Norway and shares a history dating back to the Viking Age, with Oslo a regular fixture on lists of the most liveable cities in the world.

Great to visit if you’re a fan of contemporary architecture or just looking to soak up the stunning fjord views from the famous Oslo Opera House or take a guided Oslofjord cruise.

Norway’s vibrant capital city teems with life and excitement, with tons of cultural attractions and historic landmarks to explore.

8- Svalbard

Glacier Ice,14 Of July Glacier, Arctic, Svalbard
Svalbard is what Norway is known for.

Formerly known as Spitzbergen, the large archipelago of Svalbard is halfway between mainland Norway and the North Pole.

It’s one of the northernmost parts of the world inhabited by people year-round.

Svalbard is an epic land of tundra and roaming polar bears that’s been part of Norway since the declaration of the Svalbard Treaty of 1920.

It played a significant role during World War II, which saw several operations carried out by German, Soviet and Allied troops across Svalbard.

Famous for its spectacular Northern Lights displays during winter and Midnight Sun summers, Svalbard is a captivating and often forgotten part of Norway that’s unlike anywhere else on Earth.

9- Salmon

Air Drying Of Salmon Fish
Salmon is what Norway is known for producing.

Norway’s long, icy cold and fjord-dotted western coastline serves as the perfect habitat and breeding ground for salmon, a popular seafood option used in a wide variety of dishes around the world.

Norwegian salmon is famous for its flavour and quality, with Norway’s ideal salmon-farming conditions allowing the Scandinavian nation to produce incredibly high-quality salmon and trout all year round.

Whether you’re tucking into a sizzling fried salmon steak or a portion of salmon nigiri, this popular Norwegian export is delicious and healthy.

10- Bergen

Hanseatic Museum, Bergen, Norway
What is Bergen, Norway, known for?

The second-largest city in Norway, Bergen is a popular Norwegian tourist destination thanks to its charming waterfront district, beautiful surrounding landscapes and dramatic fjords.

Bergen sits along the shores of Norway’s famous Sognefjord, the longest and deepest in all of Norway, and was declared a UNESCO World Heritage City in 1979 due to its importance as a port city and trading hub during the Middle Ages.

Today, Bergen is among the most visited destinations in Scandinavia due to its proximity to some of Norway’s best fjords and its enchanting historic city centre dating back to 1070.

11- Incredible Train Journeys

The Flam To Myrdal Train
Incredible train journeys are another thing Norway is known for.

One of the best ways of taking in all the incredible sights of this stunning Scandinavian nation is aboard a train, with several scenic train journeys to choose from when planning on travelling long distances across Norway.

Norway has some of the most scenic and memorable train trips in the world, with the famous Flåm, Bergen and Rauma lines being some of the most popular train journeys in northern Europe.

Passing by jaw-dropping Norwegian scenery such as fjords, snow-covered mountains, thick forests and lush valleys, Norwegian train journeys are truly bucket-list worthy and well-worth experiencing regardless of the time of year.

12- World-Class Museums

City Of Oslo Munch Museum Stunting Architecture
World-class museums are what Norway is known for.

Norway and its cities teem with culture and history, which is best experienced and learned more about at any of the country’s many world-class museums covering a broad range of subjects important to Norway’s national identity.

From Viking Longships at the Viking Ship Museum to the one-of-a-kind Munch, where art lovers can explore the works of Norwegian artist Edvard Munch, there’s an excellent museum or cultural centre in Norway for every mood or interest.

Not limited to the larger cities of southern Norway, you can find top-notch museums to discover in every corner of Norway, with Oslo and its dozen or so world-class cultural venues a great place to begin a Norwegian museum exploration.

13- Lofoten

Beautiful Nature Lanscape Of Lofoten In Norway
Lofoten is what Norway best known for.

Few places in Norway can match the utter natural splendour and captivating aura of Lofoten, an archipelago in Norway’s northern region that’s a popular destination for viewing the Northern Lights or experiencing the Midnight Sun.

Lofoten is surrounded by the tall peaks of Himmeltindan Mountain and the famous Svolværgeita pinnacle, with idyllic fishing villages and the Lofotr Viking Museum to provide a healthy dose of Norwegian culture in between gawking at the region’s unmatched surroundings.

With a slower pace of life compared to Oslo and Bergen, Lofoton’s long list of activities includes horseback riding at Hov Gård, hopping aboard a Norwegian fishing boat and trying your hand at rowing a Viking ship.

14- Heart-Shaped Waffles

Shaped Waffles On A Plate
Heart-Shaped Waffles what food is Norway known for.

Heart-shaped waffles, or ‘Hjertevafler’ as Norwegians like to call it, are a tasty sweet or savoury delicacy enjoyed throughout Scandinavia, with each country or cultural group adding their unique twist to the way they prepare and enjoy their Hjertevafler.

While Swedes prefer them crispy, Norwegian heart-shaped waffles are softer and fluffier than their Swedish counterparts and involve baking waffle batter in a heart-shaped waffle iron before topping it off with your choice of berries, jams, whipped cream, chocolate or even sour cream.

Easy to make and perfect for an afternoon snack or breakfast option, Norwegian heart-shaped waffles are as delicious as they look and the ultimate comfort food to get through those cold Norwegian winter days.

15- Tromsø

Tromso Cityscape
What is Tromso, Norway is known for?

While perhaps not as famous as Oslo or Bergen, Tromsø is an important Norwegian city renowned for providing front-row seats to some of the best Midnight Sun, Polar Night and Northern Lights displays in Norway.

Located off the Norwegian mainland on the island of Tromsøya, the city lies roughly 350 kilometres (217 mi) north of the Arctic Circle and is one of the most populated cities in northern Norway.

Steeped in both Norse and Sámi culture, Tromsø has been inhabited since the end of the last Ice Age and is home to several unique and quirky attractions, including the Arctic Cathedral, the Polar Museum and the Polaria aquarium.

World Map With Magnified Norway

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Jane Williams
Jane Williams is a writer living in Mexico. Originally from Louisville, Kentucky, she has visited over 30 countries and lived in Japan for two years. Passionate about culture and history, her fascination for ancient civilisations has led to her to explore the world's iconic sites, such as Chichen Itza, Machu Picchu and Angkor Wat. Even though she loves uncovering the secrets of the past, she feels equally at home exploring contemporary culture. A mother of two with a degree in anthropology, she enjoys sharing her travel adventures with others.