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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These coastal towns in Norway and so beautiful and stunning! I love how in Alesund the houses and buildings skirt the shoreline and seem to be a floating metropolis. So beautiful and definitely a Norwegian city I dream to visit someday! The churches in these cities are also very stunning! I love their modern lines paired with their ornate glass windows, so beautiful. Definitely towns I’ll spot on my Norwegian road trip in the future!
Martha, We were delighted with the small towns we saw as we moved north along the Norway coast. I hope you get to visit one day. Linda
Wow, I love Norway but I didn’t know about Bodo. The city is absolutely stunning with color houses, bearthtaking ocean sceneries and I would love to visit the church. You have many great pictures from your trip.
We too loved all the little towns. Good to add one to your list for a return visit. Linda
When I saw this post of Norway I immediately headed to your About/Info section to see if you were actually Norwegians living in Norway. I’m curious about how people in Canada come to think of traveling to Norway, I didn’t know it was a popular destination with people from the Americas. I love the northern parts of Norway, it is excellent if you like to hike, see wildlife, or go whale watching. Although I know a bit about Norway, I definitely learned more after having read this post. Especially all about the small towns and villages, that I was unaware of. I love port towns so much, they are always so picturesque and cozy in a way, just as your photos show.
Ann, The northern coast of Norway was part of a great cruise we did through the Norway fjords. They were on our list for years to visit. We will definitely head back to explore more on our own one day. Loved the charming towns in the north. Linda
I visited Oslo three years ago and felt in love with Norway. I still want to visit this beautiful coastal towns. I really love your pics and the street art in this post.
Pilar, We loved the variety we found in all the scenic towns on the Norway coast. So much to see when we wandered. Linda
No doubt these small towns are beautiful, but the brain behind presenting the towns like these to attract tourists is a genius! Just look how they colored the buildings, put street arts strategically – both the wall arts and statues – and how they developed the towns. The churches look amazing, too. I wish you found out the story behind the walrus. 🙂
Umiko, We were amazed at how great these small towns were to wander in. Glad we got to explore on our visit. Linda
Although we have been to Norway once, it was just Oslo and Bergen. Therefore every new post that I see of yours on Norway makes me want to go back again to really explore more. The coastal towns Alesund, Kristiansund, Bodo and Harstad would certainly feature in our next trip whenever it happens. Your pictures are outstanding and give such a great insight into what to expect.
Roy, I am glad that I have broadened your view of places to visit in Norway. We loved these small towns to explore. Hope you get to visit one day. Linda
Norway is such an amazing place. The costal towns of Norway look splendid. Alesund with it colorful bright houses looks just like a postcard. Loved the stained glass and ornately designed churches. Though the walrus statue seems like a misfit.
Pooja, We loved the interesting variety in the small coastal towns in Norway. But also loved the themes were found over and over again. We too really wondered at the walrus but I am sure there is a story if we found the right person. Linda
Oh, this looks like a wonderful trip! One of these days I hope to get to Norway. I have Scandinavian blood in my ancestry. Thanks for sharing all the cool street art too!
Nancy, I am glad this post showed you a different view of your roots. We loved these smaller towns. Great for wandering and seeing the local spots. Linda
Love the street art. What a great combo–beautiful views of the coast and street art. Only been to Norway in the winter–I must go back in the summer.
Sue, We were definitely surprised with the variety of lovely sights we found in the small towns along the Norway coast. I hope you get to go back in summer. Linda
Lovely post – what a great journey through these beautiful little towns. Looking forward to visiting them someday. Thanks for sharing!
We sure did love our visit to the Norway fjords! Hope you get to visit. Linda
Wow! These towns look so pretty! I love the street murals and the churches. The architecture and design of the buildings are quite unusual.
Nish, They were the most charming towns to just wander in when we visited the Norway coast! Linda
I now want to go to Norway even more after reading your post and seeing the amazing photos. Thank you so much. Hopefully one day I will get to go x
Bree, I hope you do get to visit Norway one day. These small towns were just so scenic. Each was a new discovery. Linda
Wow the churches and outdoor art is amazing. Great photos. I want to get back to Norway, only visited once on a cruise and it wasn’t enough time! Thanks for the great ideas.
Each port on our cruise was so hard to pick something to do. We certainly came back wanting to return to Norway. One day! Linda
Norway is a mystery to me… Those colourful buildings and funky churches are quite unique though! I am a huge fan of street art so that’s a definite attraction I would look for!
Delphine, We were amazed at the variety we found when we explored the small towns on the Norway coast. A little bit for everyone. Linda
I am a big fan of Nordic countries. After my visit to Finland, I have been waiting to visit other nordic countries. Your article is like a virtual tour. I absolutely love those scenic small towns in coastal Areas. The colorful houses look like a postcard. And, those murals, Churches and street arts. There is so much to explore. Loved reading about this.
Parnashree, I am glad to provide you with a virtual tour of the great scenic small towns in coastal Norway! Linda
The walrus at the church seems quite welcoming. We took a road trip through Norway a few years ago and fell in love with this country. A cruise seems like a great way to get to see the best parts of it!
Our cruise was definitely a great taste test for Norway. And going by water certainly gets you to some places that are harder to see by land. Linda
What lovely towns. I love the colourful buildings, and the whole setting of the Norwegian Fjords is magnificent. it must have been a wonderful time for you.
Alison and Don, We loved our trip through the Norway fjords. So much variety and beauty. A great memory! Linda
Beautiful pictures! Norway is one of my favorite countries. We have done a 10-day driving through the southern part of this long country. Wow, your blog tells me I have so much more to explore here! I am bookmarking your post for my future visits, especially to the north! 🙂
Jan, We were amazed with every place we stopped. And we did not see it all. Great reasons to go back. Hope you do get to re-visit. Linda
Great post that’s uniquely written.. you did it by what’s the best thing about coastal towns and not by town!
Carol, Thanks. We wanted to highlight some of the common themes we saw yet highlight the towns too. A great trip. Linda
I absolutely love Scandinavia architecture, design and landscape, and so visiting here is high on my list! It looks so picturesque with the colourful buildings against the backdrop of the pretty water. I would love to explore some of these coastal towns.
Renee, We were so glad we got to see so many of the small towns in Norway. And on this trip, we did not go as far north as we want to go one day. So many charming spots. Linda
My husband spent many summers in Norway as a young adult escaping Paris. He talks about it all the time and we hope to get to Norway in the next year or two, it looks absolutely gorgeous!
Andi, I do hope you get to visit Norway. This trip had so many gems in the small coastal towns. Linda
These towns all look so charming and beautiful! I love all the colours along the coastline and this makes me so excited to visit Norway one day! I love all your photos and it looks like you must have has such a great trip 🙂
Kelly, We did have a great trip. Glad the photos took you on a trip with us through the scenic small towns in coastal Norway. Linda
Gosh this looks like such a stunning place to visit! I love the brightness of the colours and particularly liked the way you’ve highlighted the amazing cathedral in Boro.
Coralie, It was fascinating to see the variety in the churches in coastal Norway. Many so simple yet others to so interesting in design. Linda
A coastal Norway cruise sounds fantastic! I’ve only stopped in Oslo on a Baltic cruise, but your post is making me want to go back and do just Norway 😀 These small towns look so charming! I’d probably do the same as you – skip the excursions and just wander and explore.
Carrie Ann, We too had been to Oslo on other cruises. So we were glad to get this very different experience as we cruised up through the coastal small towns. Some of the towns did not have excursions. But we were so glad we just chose to wander. Linda
I have not been to Norway yet. My mother and I were going to take a trip as our ancestors come from Norway (well some of them), but we are waiting for healthier times to travel. I will slip Bord into the places we need to visit though.
Larch, I hope that Norway gets back on the planning board for you and your mother some day soon. It was a lovely trip. Linda
These costal towns look just lovely! I love that you skipped the excursions and just explored the towns locally. It is always such a difficult choice for me because both have a lot to offer, but sometimes exploring like a local is the best option (most of the time!). A helicopter tour sounds like a lot of fun and a great way to see the towns. The street art looks amazing! Hunting down street art is one of my favorite things to do while traveling. I can’t imagine how much time and focus must go in to creating the artwork.
Melissa, We were on our cruise for 40 days so we needed some days where we were not rushed from spot to spot. We were so happy we chose those down days to be in the scenic coastal towns of Norway. So much to see as we wandered in town. But next time we are definitely planning ahead for a helicopter tour! Linda
What beautiful photos and what an incredible place! I always love a harbor town. How cool you got to see all of these on a cruise!
Cate, We were happy with all of the stops along the Norway coast. Lovely small towns and much to see if you just wander in town. Linda
Norway is a beautiful country. I have been there once but that is not enough. One plus point with Norway is that almost everyone speaks English. I love those colorful houses, stunning scenery, fjords and salmon, of course. Bookmarking your blog. 🙂
Jan, It was great to cruise along the coast. So many lovely and scenic small towns in coastal Norway. Linda
Having only visited Norway’s capital Oslo, I’m inspired to visit some of these pretty picturesque coastal towns and appreciate the stunning scenery and some very interesting street art.
Marilyn, We loved Oslo but were glad we got up along the northern coast to see the fjords and the lovely small towns too. Linda
Coastal Norway is really scenic. As Norway is famous for beautiful fjords, it would be great to see these port towns. Kristiansund really looks beautiful and it would be good to take a local round trip here. Thanks for all suggestions and some glimpse of offbeat places in your post.
Yukti, We are always glad to provide a glimpse into such scenic towns on our travels. Always nice to just wander and discover the local sights. Linda
I’ve really enjoyed reading your Norway posts & particularly seeing your photos as I have never been to Norway & you paint it in a really stunning light. I love the idea of exploring these small, colourful coastal towns, especially with such spectacular back drops. Thank you for highlighting the area – Norway is edging it’s way up my list!
Sue, I am glad that my posts have highlighted some of the gems of travelling in Norway. We are certainly happy we have those memories of the great small scenic towns. Hope you get to visit one day. Linda
Norway looks so gorgeous. We should have gone last month but well, you know 2020 has ruined a lot of plans. Maybe next year!
Sarah, I am sorry you did not get to visit Norway this year. It is certainly a trip we highly recommend. Linda
I absolutely love the little coastal towns in Norway. When I did the Fjord cruise, we went past several small ones and the colorful houses were an absolute delight to see. I think you did the right thing when you choose walking around the towns over taking excursions from the cruise stopover. I always love exploring the ports by myself when on a cruise rather than an organized trip.
Medha, We too loved the small scenic towns along coastal Norway. There was lots to do on a day wandering. But I am sure the tours were also great. Definitely will want to return. Linda
Although I’m not a big fan of cruises, Norway was actually the only place I’ve travelled to on a ship. Since our stay in and around Oslo was only very short, I’ve been planning forever to return for a longer stay. As I booked for easter 2020, my trip got canceled, obviously. Will say, Norway is still on my bucket list – and after reading this post, I’ll definitely extend my trip to those small picturesque places – they are just so adorable!
I hope you do get to see the great towns along the Norway Fjords. The cruise was great to get a taste test. We would like to go back and explore by train and car one day.