Discover The Scenic Small Towns In Coastal Norway
When we visited the scenic small towns in coastal Norway we found that each had unique attractions. But there were definitely some common themes.
Previous stops on our cruise in the Norway fjords with Oceania Cruises filled us with wonder and excitement. We saw stunning waterfalls when we explored the Akrafjorden fjord and later went inland on the Flam railway. Our overland journey from Hellsylt to Geiranger Fjord gave us a panoramic aerial perspective. These next four scenic small towns in coastal Norway provided us another glimpse into life as we headed north.
Stops in Alesund, Kristiansund, Bodo and Harstad showed us colourful and artistic architecture. The streets were outdoor art galleries filled with statues and street art murals. Harbours offered a view of life on the water. And when we went high to the viewpoints, we got the most amazing panoramic vistas.
Visits Started With Great Harbours
The cruise into the scenic small towns in coastal Norway always took us up on deck. As we went further north, we watched the scenery as it became a little more rugged with mountain views.
In Bodo, we saw the fort on a small island outside the harbour. It was a great spot to visit and learn more of the naval history of this area.
The Port Towns Offered Much To See On The Water
Each port town was just a little different. There was always a fascinating display of boats to admire. We often saw ferries docked in town or as they streamed into the harbour. Many people used the ferries to visit the Norway fjords. Leisure craft sat moored next to working fishing vessels.
In Kristiansund we walked along the pier and found the local ferry that took us around the harbour. We paid for a round trip ticket. But we could have paid a bit more for a hop-on-hop-off ticket and got off to explore the small islands around Kristiansund.
It Was Wonderful When We Docked In Town
It was great that we docked right in town in the scenic small towns in coastal Norway. We chose not to do excursions when we visited Alesund, Kristiansund, Bodo and Harstad. Instead we just wandered around town and discovered the local spots.
In many of the towns there were even hop-on-hop-off buses right at the dock. This was another way for a quick tour and to find the places to explore more.
In Harstad there were helicopter tours offered to see the area. There was even a rate to take the helicopter for your whole group!
There were many other tours offered by local tour companies and through the ship. Several went into the mountains and even travelled the Troll’s Path. Great ocean roads went through small seaside fishing villages. In Bodo we considered visiting the Svartisen Glacier in the pristine national park. For the more active, there were hikes to Mt. Keiservarden from Bodo. Or to Mt. Kjeipen from Harstad.
We were happy we wandered in the small coastal towns of Alesund, Kristiansund, Bodo and Harstad. But we learned there was so much more to do on a return visit.
Colourful And Fanciful Buildings
An overriding impression of colour stayed with us after we visited the scenic small towns in coastal Norway. We were always amused by the vivid hues used in the house paint. In Alesund the stunning view was reflected back by the canal waters. When we took a ferry around the islands of Kristiansund, we found a colourful palette of houses. And in Harstad the colourful houses were nestled under the mountain scenery.
If we found the houses colourful, we also found them to be fanciful in design. Many looked like we stepped inside fairy tales!
Unique Design For Churches
In the scenic small towns in coastal Norway, we found many smaller, simple churches. The insides were often as stark and simple as the outside lines.
However, we also found some fascinating churches that we were glad we did not miss. As we cruised into the harbour in Krisitansund we got the first view of the Kirkelandet Kirke (“kirke” meant church). The interesting outside angles of the church were visible even from a distance. But the design was even more fascinating when we went close.
The inside of the church had a massive colourful stained glass wall behind the altar. The organ was large but simple. And we saw the boat sculptures in many of the the churches in the Norway fjords. We found this homage to fishermen again when we visited churches in the Faroe Islands.
In Bodo we saw the tall steeple at the Bodo Fredskatedralen Peace Cathedral high above the town as we cruised in. When we wandered in town we learned that this steeple was one of the first churches in Norway with a detached steeple. On the outside we found an interesting walrus statue. But we never figured out the meaning of the walrus!
The inside of this church was a bit more ornate that many we found in Norway. Large stained glass pieces drew us from window to window.
When we visited the scenic small towns in coastal Norway, we were glad we took the time and visited some of the unique churches.
Outdoor Statue Gardens
We started our cruise through the Norway fjords with a stay in Oslo. It was a great treat as we wandered in the massive outdoor statue garden at Vigeland. Later in the cruise when we visited Reykjavik, we strolled and enjoyed the outdoor Einar Jónsson Sculpture Garden.
So we were happy when we wandered in the scenic small towns in coastal Norway and found outdoor art. In Alesund we found statues that memorialized local people. And others that were fun for us and the birds.
When we wandered around Kristiansund, we sought the green parkland in the centre of town. There we found an interesting display of statues and memorials.
Street Art Murals Displayed An Amazing Variety Of Topics
If we found a lot of variety in the statues in the small towns, there was an equal variety in the street art murals we found. In Alesund and Kristiansund we saw pictures that showed local life, added a bit of modern art or just made us smile.
In Bodo there was even a map that showed where the street art was located around town. We wandered on our own and saw many of the interesting pieces.
On our visit to Harstad, there was more variety in the art we found. Colourful murals welcomed us to town. And the clock tower drew us in to see the murals up the tower. David and the statue marvelled at the views.
We loved to wander and found street art wherever we travelled. It was wonderful to find such a colourful variety of street art when we visited the scenic small towns in coastal Norway.
Stunning Vistas From The High Viewpoints
There was so much to see when we wandered in Alesund, Kristiansund, Bodo and Harstad. But often there were opportunities to see the towns from a different perspective. From the ship, we saw a high viewpoint over the city with switchback stairs up the rock face. Early in the morning, David set off and climbed to the top. Later in the day when we walked around the town we saw the viewpoint high above us.
There were 408 steps up. On the lower levels the stairs were formed concrete. But as he hit the top, there were much rougher rock stairs before the path levelled out at the summit. It took David 39 minutes to go up. But only 7 minutes for the trip back down. But the climb was definitely worth the effort. He got an amazing view out over the town. And he saw our cruise ship in harbour. Even if he missed me as I waved to him.
When we walked around Kristiansund, we found a high view point over the harbour. It was easy to see that this spot was once used as a defence point.
The high viewpoints gave us a different perspective on the small towns we visited along the Norway fjords. We headed high again at our next stop in Bergen.
Scenic Small Towns In Coastal Norway – Alesund, Kristiansund, Bodo and Harstad
We were so glad we visited the scenic small towns in coastal Norway. On our stops in Alesund, Kristiansund, Bodo and Harstad we wandered and discovered local life. The harbours and ports were always scenic. Local architecture was colourful and fanciful. The street art and statues we found delighted us.
The next stop on our tour around the Nordic fjords was the larger city Bergen. We found this bigger city had many of the same wonderful elements we found in the scenic small towns in coastal Norway. And when we headed further north on our cruise of the Nordic countries, it was interesting to see these elements repeated.
Did you discover the scenic small towns in coastal Norway? Did you visit Alesund, Kristiansund, Bodo or Harstad? Was there another small town gem we missed?
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