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Expat Exchange - Best Places to See While on a Look-See Trip to Norway (Plus, Itineraries) 2024
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Aker Brygge in Oslo, Norway

Best Places to See While on a Look-See Trip to Norway (Plus, Itineraries)

By Joshua Wood, LPC

SJB Global
SJB Global

Summary: If you're considering moving to Norway and don't have a favorite city or town picked out, going on a look-see or exploratory trip to visit a number of popular expat destinations is really informative. Here are some recommendations for where to visit when exploring Norway.

Embarking on a Look-See trip to Norway is a crucial step for anyone considering relocation. This exploratory journey offers a firsthand experience of the Norwegian lifestyle, culture, and environment, allowing potential expats, retirees, and digital nomads to assess whether the country aligns with their personal and professional aspirations. By visiting various cities and towns, one can gauge the local job market, housing options, community vibe, and essential amenities, ensuring a well-informed decision about where to settle down.

Recommended Itineraries

For a comprehensive Look-See trip in Norway, it's important to tailor your itinerary based on the length of your stay. A 10-day trip could focus on the major cities and nearby towns, while a 20-day journey allows for a deeper exploration of the country's diverse regions. For the shorter trip, consider starting in Oslo, then visiting Bergen, Stavanger, and Trondheim. If you have 20 days, add Ålesund, Tromsø, and the Lofoten Islands to your itinerary, along with smaller towns like Fredrikstad, Drammen, and Kristiansand to experience a blend of urban and rural living.


Oslo, the capital city of Norway, is a vibrant hub with a population of over 600,000. It offers a blend of modern amenities and green spaces, with a thriving job market, particularly in technology and maritime industries. Expats and digital nomads appreciate the city's cultural diversity, efficient public transport, and proximity to nature. The cost of living is on the higher side, but so is the quality of life.

Travel Tip: While in Oslo, don't miss the chance to visit the iconic Oslo Opera House, a stunning piece of contemporary architecture with panoramic views of the city and fjord.


Bergen, known as the gateway to the fjords, is Norway's second-largest city with a population of around 280,000. It's renowned for its beautiful natural surroundings, maritime history, and cultural scene. Expats often favor Bergen for its smaller-city feel compared to Oslo, with a lower cost of living yet ample opportunities, especially in industries like seafood, shipping, and tourism.

Travel Tip: Take a stroll around Bryggen, the old wharf of Bergen, a UNESCO World Heritage site, and enjoy the historic wooden buildings that line the waterfront.


Stavanger is a coastal city in the Rogaland county with a population of about 130,000. It's the oil and energy capital of Norway, offering numerous job opportunities in these sectors. The city boasts a charming old town, vibrant cultural life, and is close to stunning natural attractions like the Lysefjord and Preikestolen. The cost of living is high but balanced by high salaries in the energy sector.

Travel Tip: Food enthusiasts should visit the Stavanger Fish Market for fresh seafood and local delicacies in a lively atmosphere.


Trondheim, with its approximate 200,000 inhabitants, is a city steeped in history and education, home to the largest university in Norway. It's an ideal location for expats interested in research, education, and technology. The city offers a high quality of life, a strong sense of community, and relatively affordable housing compared to Oslo and Bergen.

Travel Tip: Explore the Nidaros Cathedral, the national sanctuary of Norway, which dates back to the 11th century and is a testament to the city's rich history.


Ålesund is a picturesque town on the west coast, known for its Art Nouveau architecture. With a population of around 47,000, it offers a quieter lifestyle and is popular among expats who prefer a smaller community. The town is surrounded by fjords and the Sunnmøre Alps, making it perfect for outdoor enthusiasts. The cost of living is moderate, and the town has a growing tourism industry.

Travel Tip: Visit the Ålesund Aquarium to discover the diverse marine life of the Norwegian coast and enjoy the beautiful views of the town from the nearby Aksla Viewpoint.


Tromsø, located above the Arctic Circle, is known as the "Gateway to the Arctic." It has a population of about 75,000 and is a cultural and scientific hub. The city is ideal for those seeking a unique living experience with its midnight sun, northern lights, and proximity to arctic wilderness. The cost of living is relatively high, but the city offers a vibrant nightlife and a tight-knit community.

Travel Tip: Visit the Arctic Cathedral, an architectural marvel, and take a cable car ride to Mount Storsteinen for breathtaking views of Tromsø and its surroundings.

Lofoten Islands

The Lofoten Islands are an archipelago known for their dramatic scenery, fishing heritage, and outdoor activities. While not a city, the region includes several small towns like Svolvær, Leknes, and Reine, which are worth exploring for those considering a more remote and nature-oriented lifestyle. The cost of living is lower than in the cities, but the area is becoming increasingly popular with tourists and remote workers.

Travel Tip: Visit the picturesque fishing village of Henningsvær and enjoy the local art galleries and seafood restaurants nestled among the stunning backdrop of the Lofoten peaks.

About the Author

Joshua Wood Joshua Wood, LPC joined Expat Exchange in 2000 and serves as one of its Co-Presidents. He is also one of the Founders of Digital Nomad Exchange. Prior to Expat Exchange, Joshua worked for NBC Cable (MSNBC and CNBC Primetime). Joshua has a BA from Syracuse and a Master's in Clinical and Counseling Psychology from Fairleigh Dickinson University. Mr. Wood is also a licensed counselor and psychotherapist.

Some of Joshua's articles include Pros and Cons of Living in Portugal, 10 Best Places to Live in Ireland and Pros and Cons of Living in Uruguay. Connect with Joshua on LinkedIn.

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SJB Global

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Aker Brygge in Oslo, Norway

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