A city break in Norway is a fantastic way to experience the stunning scenery, vibrant culture and renowned hospitality of this corner of Scandinavia. Whether you want to soak up the cosmopolitan buzz of Oslo or head out into the wilderness from your base in Stavanger, a short break or long weekend in Norway is full of possibilities.
Oslo balances urban life with easy access to the great outdoors, making it perfect for a comfortable yet potentially adventurous city break.
Norway’s capital is situated spectacularly at the top of Oslofjord, bordered on one side by serene blue waters and on the other by a lush expanse of forest, Oslomarka, which provides an accessible outdoor playground for locals to escape to.
The city also hums with cultural attractions, ranging from the National Gallery which houses Edvard Munch’s famous painting The Scream, to institutions relating to Norway’s history and heritage, including the world’s best preserved Viking Ship, the Fram Museum and the stunning harbour-side Opera House.
The city is relatively compact so is best explored on foot, whilst its lively nightlife and varied restaurants ensure plenty of entertainment to choose from after sunset.
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- Read about 5 must see museums in Oslo
- Read our city guide to Oslo
The coastal city of Bergen is in many ways the ideal getaway location. Norway’s second largest city is truly charming, with a small town feel enhanced by the seven picturesque mountains that act as its natural enclosure.
There are also several breathtaking fjords that are only a short drive away. The city’s waterfront is decorated with houses of every colour, and the fishing heritage of the area dominates its modern day attractions.
Among the most popular sights are the four buildings which make up the KODE Museums, as well as one of the finest fish markets in Europe. Bryggen is also a must see attraction, with its iconic architecture.
A few days here is highly recommended, leaving you with enough time to discover everything Bergen has to offer, whilst ensuring you make the most of what is a gateway to some of the world’s most unspoiled wilderness.
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- Read our city guide to Bergen
Norway's capital of technology is a beautiful, historical town fuelled by a lively student population. A short break here offers the chance to explore several historic buildings, including the famous Nidaros Cathedral, a magnificent piece of architecture which dates back to the 11th century.
You may also wish to see the Archbishop's Palace and the popular Ringve Museum, Norway’s national museum of music and instruments. The musical theme continues further into the city with Rockheim, another museum dedicated to showcasing the best of Norwegian rock and pop.
If you fancy something a little more adventurous, consider catching a boat to the historical island of Munkholmen for a great view of Trondheim from the sea. In terms of other outdoor activities, keen fishermen will love the Nidelven River, which is one of Norway's best locations for salmon and trout.
If getting about on two wheels is more your thing, the entire city is incredibly well set up for cyclists.
Stavanger is one of Norway’s cultural hubs. The charming portside city is taken over at various times of the year by several vibrant festivals, varying from those focused on food and all things medieval to jazz.
As well as enjoying your time in a city thriving with culture, restaurants and shopping opportunities, Stavanger also acts as the perfect base for lovers of the great outdoors.
As far as city breaks go, Norway’s Tromsø is as close to a winter wonderland as it gets. Surrounded by mighty, white-topped peaks, the city lies amongst a cluster of islands scattered off of Norway’s northern coast around 400km into the Arctic Circle.
Tromsø is known for its spirited inhabitants, a world class university, its alcohol and a summertime humming with culture and activities. The city is a perfect location for anyone aiming to hunt down Northern Lights or go whale watching.
Visitors can expect a more than friendly welcome in a city with more pubs per capita than any other in Norway as well as the revered Mack Brewery, whilst the nearby mountains offer scenic delights, exceptional hiking opportunities in summer alongside skiing and dog-sledding in winter.
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- Read our city guide to Tromø
- See also: What to do During Winter in Trondheim
What is your favorite Norwegian city for a city break. Let us know in the comment section below.