Norway is famous for its mountainous landscapes housing wide plateaus that plunge directly into the sea. It is home of the scenic fjords and long majestic beaches stretching from the southern to the northern coastline of the country. Cruising in Norway is the best way to view this natural splendor.
Table of contents
Beautiful Scenery and Exciting Attractions While Cruising in Norway
The following ports of the cities’ and towns’ are the ones that are mostly visited by major cruise lines‘ ships. However, you should remember that they are by no means all the ports that you can visit when you opt to go cruising in Norway; there are many more, each with unique features. Along the cruise itinerary you can stop and explore the cities’ highlights or take shore excursions to discover the nearby attractions. Get the most out of your visit to the following wonderful cities!
This is Norway’s largest port of call and the busiest in the west coast region. Its main economic activities are aquaculture, petroleum, shipping, sub-marine technology, education, finance and tourism. On your cruise vacation, you can stop over this great town and take a hike on the Kanadaskagen Forests or the Mountains of Ulrikan. There is Lake Tennebekktjorna on Nipedalen Valley and the fjord of Byfjorden located in the famous seven mountains (though the name does not describe the real number).
For a different adventure, you can explore the cityscape of Bergen, strolling through the old part of the town that once burned to the ground but underwent renovation centuries after. The previous houses comprised of log and tar settlements but after the fire, brick houses replaced them. One old attraction to look out for in this area is the Church of St Mary’s, which has existed since the 12th century.
Popular Things to Do in Bergen: Seafood Experience at the Fish Market
Bergen is one of the Norwegian cruise ports that will give you the ultimate seafood experience. Apart from experiencing the exquisite history and culture of the region, Bergen also serves fresh, local seafood. After filling your seafood craving, you can take a guided walking tour.
You will go along cobblestone streets and through the city center with an escort guiding and explaining every sighting. The historic St. Mary’s Church is a notable structure in the city, which is situated along the Hanseatic Bryggen wharf. Cruising in Norway can’t be complete if you don’t visit Bergen Fish Market to enjoy smoked fish and other local delicacies.
2. Kristiansand (Kristiansund)
This is a town located to the southern part of Norway and is famous for brewing most of the beer and soft drinks sold in the country. They even have their own spring water supply, Christian IV’s Spring, which forms a good raw material for processing the drinks. Besides manufacture of drinks, Kristiansand has fully developed industrial and processing plants including a nickel plant, Glenare Nikkelverk established in 1910, and an ice cream production factory, Hennig Oslen.
In terms of tourist attraction, Kristiansand houses a major zoo and amusement park that is habitat to carnivores like wolves, lions, tigers and lynxes. The Wilden Performing Arts Center is the largest arena for orchestra shows in the area and Sorlandets Arts Museum is a good place to indulge in Norwegian creative arts.
Popular Things to Do in Kristiansand: Scenic Drive to Hoellen and Vest Agder Open Air Museum
Hoellen (Høllen) has a rich history, which you can explore through a walking tour and a half-day drive from Kristiansand. The area is home to a museum, fishing village, and historic high street. The Vest-Agder Folk Museum is an open-air venue that displays up to 40 historic farmsteads from the Setesdal Valley.
The city sites include the historic old high street and a civic center. Cruising in Norway, especially around this part, will be complete when you visit the fishing village. It hosts impressive wooden houses and a scenic harbor.
This port of call is located to the extreme north of the country. It is located near the Mageroya Island that is ideal to stopover for an excavation tour of its features while on a cruise tour. Honningsvag is ideally located for cruise ships to come and dock, especially during the summer when the tourist influx is high. The Barents Sea is a perfect place for sport fishing.
Popular Things to Do in Honningsvag: Walking Tour and Ice Bar Experience
Honningsvag is among the best Norwegian cruise ports that let you immerse yourself in Norway’s expansive history and culture. You can take a guided walking tour through Norway’s northernmost town while viewing the historic local church and the region’s distinguished fishing industry.
Cruising in Norway means you’ll see the North Cape Museum, home to a wide range of exhibits displaying the day-to-day life in Finnmark County. The most fascinating thing is Honningsvag’s Artico Ice Bar. It serves complimentary non-alcoholic beverages, which come in ice shot glasses. The bar is also fully decorated with pure ice.
Oslo is the capital of Norway and one of the most populated towns in the entire region. The main port opens the city to maritime industries and trade with the rest of Europe. Oslo is renowned globally for the beauty of its attractions that attract thousands of tourists every summer.
One of the special highlights is the Fjord cruise which is under the care of the Norway’s sailing ambassador, Christian Radich. Tourist attractions to expect include the Akershus Castle built in 1299, the Akershus Fortress right near the city’s Fjord, the Doga Design and Architecture center as well as the Ekebergparken where the city’s best sculpture works are on display. Oslo is also home to Vigeland Sculpture Park, an outdoor gallery with over 200 sculptures crafted by Gustav Vigeland.
Popular Things to Do in Oslo: Discover Drobak
On a guided tour from Oslo, you learn about Drobak, which entails a narrated walk around the town. Here, you get to discover the town’s unique architecture, wartime history, and picturesque artist colony. The guide will take you through Sentrum city center and Husvik harbor, which has plenty of boats.
Julehus is a year-round Christmas gift shop that lets you select a variety of holiday souvenirs. You can also enjoy excellent Norwegian cuisines in the area, especially during lunch.
This port of call is located right at the mouth of River Oldeelva. The town is a fusion of both urban settlement and old villages. The town is mainly an attraction center credited with housing over 61-cruise line in the 21st century. Some notable attractions to enjoy in the town include the glacier Briksdalsbreen where tourist hiking is ideal and the Olden churches which date way back to the 17th and 19th century.
Popular Things to Do in Olden: Hike Along Briksdal Glacier
Cruising in Norway presents you with one of the most scenic, natural experiences. You can enjoy an excellent drive with views of the emerald-green meltwater lake and Olden’s river. Afterward, you can hike along the famous Briksdal Glacier.
The hike entails following the river past scenic mountains and waterfalls, which lead to a small lake below glacier ice. After the hike, you can rest at Briksdal Mountain Lodge. The lodge has breathtaking valley views and serves homemade cakes, tea, and coffee. You can also do some souvenir shopping.
The town’s main economic activities are agriculture and the oil industry. Stavanger is a great port of call to visit in summer when cruise ships are most active. Cruise ships come from as far as the Mediterranean north to dock here. There is so much that goes on around the port to watch and possibly photograph. Deeper into the city, you will find an amusement park for families, historical center such as Gamle and the Svarthola cave among many other attractions.
Popular Things to Do in Stavanger: Coastal Landscapes by Train and Bus
Stavanger is also among Norwegian cruise ports that have exquisite landscapes. You get to enjoy the scenic coast through a cozy train ride. You can also take a walk through Egersund, where you can enjoy the views and the city’s iconic Viking history. The good harbor in the area allowed the Vikings to leave their boats here.
Afterward, you can board a bus to enjoy an inland journey along the city’s North Sea Road. The region is also home to Froyland Lake and the Gandsfjord.
This port of call opens one of the tiniest villages in Norway to the outside world. Flam has a population of approximately 350 people. The village however is a major tourist attraction with thousands of visitors coming to enjoy the 20km Flam railway to Myrdal, which is one of the steepest tracks in the world. The flam harbor receives about 160 cruise ships annually and within the town is a museum dedicated to the history of Flam railway line.
Popular Things to Do in Flam: Aurland Village & Osterbo Mountain Lodge
If you love being around mountains, Flam has the best to offer. Aurland Valley features mystical beauty, filled with flowery meadows, lush greenery, waterfalls, and old farmhouses. You can also reside at Orsebo Mountain Lodge.
The chalet is situated at a high point on the mountain, giving you a breathtaking view of the valley. It also serves some delicious Norwegian waffles. You can also visit Aurland village. The village has scenic views, and it is quite historic. It features 19th-century home designs, as well as newer traditional wooden houses. It also hosts a medieval church.
Tromso is a perfect place to dock as you approach the Tromsoya Island. It is located just 350 kilometers from the Arctic Circle, meaning a perfect chance to catch the Northern Lights. Possible attractions to find here include the Kvaloya Island, Tromso Bridge, Tromsoysund tunnel and the Sandnessund Bridge.
Popular Things to Do in Tromso: Sea Kayaking at Kvaloya Island
While cruising, kayaking is an intriguing activity, and Tromso gives you the experience to die for. Here, you can go kayaking along the city’s beautiful coastline. While paddling, you can also enjoy the scenic background that mainly comprises rugged mountains.
The area is also home to wildlife. So, as you kayak along the coastline, you can see a wide range of marine life and other wildlife, including birds. If you’re kayaking for the first time, you can get an instructor to guide you through the basics.
Alesund port and town is a constituent of Sunnmore district. The town serves mainly as a seaport and tourists flock here to view the town’s Art Nouveau architecture. Possible tourist activities in Alesund include visiting the Jugendstilsenteret center that gives a detailed history of the Art Nouveau designs and Norwegian Food Festival held annually in the town.
Popular Things to Do in Alesund: The Path of the Trolls
If you enjoy mountain journeys during your cruise, you’ll like Alesund’s natural beauty and impressive mountains. You can sit in a coach as it weaves through the 11 hairpin turns heading to the 1,500-foot-high troll Wall. It’s commonly referred to as the Path of the Trolls to Troll Wall.
Along the way, you’ll see plenty of villages. One of the most outstanding features here is the 12th-century Stodal Church, which has frescoes and rose paintings. Additionally, the Gudbrandsjuvet stands at 2,500 feet above sea level, from where you can see the river flowing through the gorge. The area also has a restaurant that serves sumptuous Norwegian cuisines.
This port of call is a gateway to another tiny tourist village going by the same name. Geiranger is the town to arrive to after Alesund and houses some of the most spectacular sceneries in the world. Some of the prized attractions include the farms of Knivsfia & Skagefla, the breathtaking Lake Djupvatnet and the Mountain Dalsnibba.
Popular Things to Do in Geiranger: Fjord Center and Scenic Views
Mountains are the highlight in Norway, and Geiranger serves some of the most scenic points. It features incredible mountains and summit vistas. One of the most notable ones is Mount Dalsnibbs. It stands at an altitude of over 4,500 feet and features clear lakes and waterfalls.
The area has a winding mountain road, from where you can see the scenic snow-capped mountains. The area is also home to Geirangerfjord Center. Here, you get to see slideshows and exhibits that display the living conditions and experiences of people residing along the fjord.
Some Advantages of Cruising in Norway
One of the major reasons why you should consider cruising in Norway is the fact that cruises in Northern Europe tend to provide everything one might need. To begin with, it is generally attainable for anyone to go for cruising in Norway since there are many cruise lines that visit the Norwegian ports of call. All these cruises have something unique to offer, and the fact that they are all operational on more or less the same route means that the chance of missing a cruise is very low.
Moreover, most of the cruise lines have top notch facilities. For instance, you can book one of the many premium staterooms which usually come with amenities such as a lot of space, high end equipment and even room service. Simply put, you will get a five star treatment as you do the cruising in Norway. Another reason why many people prefer cruising in Norway is the fact that there is a lot to see and do; Norway is endowed with beautiful public parks, beaches forests, botanical gardens, hiking trails, sports facilities, galleries, and vibrant cultural centers among others.
Norwegian cruise ports receives hundreds of ships annually ferrying in tourists from all over the world. Some of the the biggest and best-known cruise lines that stop at these ports include the Norwegian Cruise Line, Princess Cruises, MSC Cruises, Royal Caribbean, Holland America Line, Celebrity Cruises among many others.