Norway: Where to go and what to see for families
Northern Norway has everything from spectacular scenery to an enviable outdoor lifestyle. Junior writer Rebecca Hay took a whistle-stop tour of four of the most beautiful regions which boast a host of activities for all the family.
Northern Norway is mostly known for the diverse and spectacular nature and this is what makes the Arctic region a popular travel destination during both winter and summertime. Here is our guide to four of the most beautiful regions and where to go, what to see, and what to eat with the kids...
Widerøe, the country’s major airline has daily flights from London and twice daily from Aberdeen (once on Saturdays), to its hub in Bergen and frequent onward connections across the country, especially the North, making it the fastest way to reach places like the Paris of the North - Tromsø.
Bergen itself is the capital of Fjord Norway and a simply stunning place to visit. Not only does it boast UNESCO World Heritage status for its colourful wooden buildings, which date back to when it was at the centre of the Hanseatic League, but it has just gained status as a UNESCO Gastronomy City, for its sustainability in using local produce in its restaurants. With two Michelin Star restaurants, you are spoilt for choice, with delicacies such as fish cakes, plukkfish and pressed cod, among the favourites.
It’s a an easily walkable city and great for families, with a mixture of outdoor fun via the Fløibanen funicular, for access to hiking and spectacular views and a cable car which takes you up to Mount Ulriken for more fantastic scenery and fine dining at the Skyskraperan Restaurant.
Culturally, there is the chance to check out the wooden buildings and history of the city at Bryggen, see a plethora of fish at Bergen Aquarium, enjoy the interactive Vilvite Science Centre, admire the paintings of Norwegian painter Edvard Munch at the Kode Art Museum or check out the indoor and outdoor pools at Vannkanten Waterworld. The Bergen Card will help cut down on entrance and transport costs.
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A culinary tour is a great way to taste the local food, from waffles stuffed with Norwegian brown cheese to a hot apple toddy served at cosy Det Lille Kaffekompaniet. For cultural night-time drinks, the Frescohallen, a former stock exchange beautifully renovated with pictorial ceilings, is a must. For the more adventurous, there is the Magic Ice Bar, where you can enjoy drinks served in ice goblets at sub zero temperatures and admire some specially carved ice art.
Accommodation wise, the well placed Scandic Torget Hotel, opposite the fish market, with panoramic views of the harbour, is a great choice.
Fun Fact: If you fancy a Nordic dip, then a trip to the Nordnes Sjøbad, an outdoor swimming complex sees you brave the freezing sea, before warming up in the heated pool and sauna.
FOR MORE INFORMATION >> Visit Bergen
The Paris of the North will have you falling in love within minutes of arriving. A picture postcard harbour with an iconic bridge, majestic mountains and rising hills of houses, all particularly impressive at night, when the lights twinkle. A ride up Mount Storstein by cable car is a must.
Surrounded by water, early morning visits to the floating sauna, cooling yourself down in the icy waters, is an attractive proposition.
At the centre of Tromsø, is the Arctic Church, much photographed as its modern white architecture blends in with the winter climate. Close by there are museums dedicated to art, polar adventurer Roald Amundsen and other explorers and martime.
It's also the perfect place to go Northern Lights chasing , with eager watchers prepared to be teased in the hope of seeing the dancing creations.
Or you can sample the beauty of the fjords with Northern Yachting, taking a trip right into the mouth of the watery expanse.
About 40 minutes out of the city and deep in the forest, Sami culture is alive and thriving and visitors can join a family for a night of culture, petting and feeding reindeers and enjoying traditional food and songs. Sami Week is held in February and is rounded off with a reindeer race, which sees jockeys pulled along on skis by the enthusiastic animals, with a 2,000 NOK prize up for grabs.
Fun fact: The Troll Museum is the only one in Norway and brings the fairytale creature alive with life sized models and technology.
FOR MORE INFORMATION >> Visit Tromso
A 30 minute Widerøe flight from Bergen transports you from the city to the beautiful wilds of Norway and to Fjærland.
At the hub of this tiny community is the Fjordstove Hotel, which must have some of the most spectacular views in the world.
Perched on the edge of The Sogne Fjord, the longest and deepest in Norway and with the impressive Jostedalsbreen Glacier, at its mouth, this is place is heaven. The hotel run by Inna Jorddal is stuff of your childhood, with a slow pace of life, good food and attention to detail hospitality.
The outdoors are the lure, with opportunities to join the larger than life Captain Thor from Balestrand Fjordangling to catch the dish of the day, cooked up later for dinner at Inna’s and Jarle from Fjærland Guiding for some serious hiking or a shot on his floating sauna. The nearby Norwegian glacier museum & Ulltveit-Moe climate centre is a great place for a rainy day and to find out all the important facts.
Fun Fact: Modelled on festivals in Hay on Wyre and Wigtown, the village hosts its own book festival annually and around the village there are books a plenty waiting to be read and the Fjordstove Hotell also has a special book room you can stay in.
FOR MORE INFORMATION VISIT >> Fjord Norway
At the heart of picturesque Flåm with a backdrop of fjords and mountains, is the famous mountain railway.
Here you can catch an old style train and enjoy a romantic trip through stunning scenery from the end of the Aurlandsfjord to Myrdal mountain station, situated 867 metres above sea level.
Yards away from the station is the Fretheim Hotel, dating back to 1870, with wonderful historical rooms and meals using local produce created using old recipes with a modern twist. Handily as in most Norwegian hotels, you can opt for a package to ensure your pocket is not hit too much when it comes to food and drink.
An outdoor option in the winter is shoe-snow hiking in the nearby forests and for the more adventurous, a chance to admire the views on the UNSECO Aurlandsfjord and Nærøyfjords, aboard a fast moving RIB .
Fun Fact: The longest zip line in Scandinavia at 1381 metres is a great way to enjoy the views at high speed!
FOR MORE INFORMATION ON ACTIVITIES VISIT >> Fjord Safari
For information on Northern Norway please visit >> https://nordnorge.com/en
For flights visit >> https://www.wideroe.no/en