Norway has always been a scarcely populated area on the edges of the continent. Nevertheless, the country has had a rich and occasionally turbulent history that dates back to the Stone Age. Luckily the few former inhabitants of our country have left us some marvellous traces of their existence. These seven sites have all been listed on UNESCO’s World Heritage List, and express each of them the culture of times long past.
The seven Norwegian UNESCO sites are scattered throughout the whole of the country, and are essential witnesses of the culture and geography of Norway. For travellers wanting to unravel the true roots of our country, experience history and get overwhelmed by spectacular nature ate the same time, these are the best places to go!
The picturesque town of Røros, located in the eastern forests of Trøndelag, was originally a mining town. Dating back to the seventeenth century, the town is made up of more than 2000 wooden houses and an eye-catching white church. The proud inhabitants have preserved the beautiful centre through the ages, making it a beloved place for travellers both in summer and in winter, when the snow makes it look like a winter wonderland.
The old industry of Rjukan
In the beginning of the last century, the region of Rjukan was the first industrialised region in Norway, using rivers and waterfalls for power. These facturies played an important role in the Second World War, but have since then closed down. Nowadays, you’ll find here old factories, hydroelectric plants, railway tracks and workers’ houses – their Dickens-style architecture contrasting with the spectacular Telemark landscape. Industrial heritage and beautiful nature: The combination makes Rjukan a true hidden gem! Stay at our wonderful Gaustatoppen Hostel, just across the corner of the Vemork Power Plant:
Rock carvings at Alta
In the far north of the country, where you least expect it, there must have lived an exceptionally artistic tribe for some 6000 years ago. The area around the village of Alta, in the northernmost province of mainland Norway, is spread with rock carvings from the Stone Age. (Photo above.)
Urnes stave church
The beautiful Urnes stave church, located on the shore of the magnificent Lustrafjorden in Western Norway, has been in use since 1140. It’s one of the oldest and best preserved of the 28 stave churches in the country. Looking a bit grim from the outside, you should wait until you see the beautifully decorated interior before you make your judgement! We have two hostels in the neighbourhood, at Skjolden and Sogndal.
The Vega Islands
Located just below the Polar Circle, the archipelago of Vega contains over 6500 small islands. It has been inhabited since the Stone Age and is an important bird area, lying on many birds’ routes from north to south.
The Geiranger Fjord and Nærøy Fjord
The two fjords of Geiranger and Nærøy are the most spectacular of all the famous Norwegian fjords, and are also the most visited. With mountains towering 1400 meter above the ice cold waters of the fjords, mystic waterfalls and spectacular rock formations, it is an unforgettable experience for every traveller finding his/her way to this wonderful area. When travelling to Geiranger, stay at our hostel in Hellesylt. If you’re going to Nærøy, our hosts in Flåm will wish you welcome!
We end with a classic! The beautiful old docks at the harbour of Bergen have been spellbounding travellers for many a year. A magnificent witness of Bergen’s Hanseatic period, Bryggen is a labyrinth of wooden streets. Stay at our Bergen Montana Hostel, located on the top of a hill just outside the city centre. Once the location of a huge Nazi air defence gun, the hostel has an amazing view over the whole of the city. We wish you welcome!
written by Robin Van de Walle