12 Best Places to Live in Norway for the Highest Quality of Life

by Jem
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Norway is much more than a country; it’s a way of life. From its dramatic fjords to its vibrant cities and peaceful towns, Norway offers a tapestry of experiences and landscapes. Yet, with its diverse regions, finding the ideal place to call home can be a journey in itself. To assist in your decision-making, I’ve curated this guide on the best places to live in Norway.

Having traveled extensively across Norway, I can vouch for its breathtaking beauty and variety. From the Northern Lights in Tromsø to the quaint streets of Bergen, and from the bustling energy of Oslo to the serene beauty of the Lofoten Islands, Norway’s diversity is unparalleled. Whether you’re captivated by the allure of Arctic adventures, the charm of historic towns, or the dynamic atmosphere of cities like Stavanger and Trondheim, there’s a piece of Norway that feels tailor-made for you.

But where to begin? The perfect location varies for each person. Some may seek proximity to nature, others prioritize excellent education or healthcare, and for many, a balanced lifestyle is key.

Join me as I navigate through the best places to live in Norway, tailored to what matters most to you. Drawing from my extensive travels, research, and conversations with locals, I’ve put together a list that caters to a variety of preferences and budgets. Let’s embark on this journey!

The top places to live in Norway for all

The Best Places to Live in Norway

Are you eager to discover the most picturesque places to reside in Norway? Nestled in Northern Europe, Norway offers an array of stunning locales for everyone. Read on to uncover the top living destinations in this beautiful country.

Searching for the ideal home in Norway? Whether it’s scenic beauty, vibrant cities, or peaceful communities you’re after, Norway, located in the heart of Scandinavia, has it all.

  • Best for Art Nouveau architecture: Ålesund
  • Best for coastal charm: Arendal
  • Best for suburban living: Bærum
  • Best for historical heritage: Bergen
  • Best for riverfront living: Drammen
  • Best for affordable living: Fredrikstad
  • Best for coastal activities: Kristiansand
  • Best for winter sports: Lillehammer
  • Best for urban culture: Oslo
  • Best for energy industry professionals: Stavanger
  • Best for Arctic adventures: Tromsø
  • Best for student life: Trondheim

Here are all the best spots in Norway you need to know about:

1. Ålesund

Cradled by the majestic Sunnmøre Alps and the azure waters of the Norwegian Sea, Ålesund isn’t just a feast for the eyes. It’s widely recognized as one of the best places to live in Norway. This charming city, renowned for its Art Nouveau architecture, offers a blend of natural beauty and urban convenience that’s hard to beat.

Stroll through the city’s streets, and you’re treated to a visual storybook of ornate buildings, each telling tales of a rich maritime history. Life in Ålesund is like living in a postcard, with the added bonus of modern amenities and a close-knit community feel. It’s a city where outdoor adventures await at your doorstep – from hiking in the summer to skiing in the winter.

For those drawn to the sea, Ålesund’s vibrant harbor is a hub of activity. It’s a place where local culture thrives, evident in its bustling seafood markets and lively festivals. The city’s quality of life is enhanced by excellent schools, healthcare facilities, and a thriving job market. This makes it the best city to live in Norway for families and singles alike.

In Ålesund, every day brings a new discovery, a testament to the city’s dynamic spirit. It’s more than a city; it’s a lifestyle that harmonizes the allure of nature with the comforts of modern living.

Not only is Ålesund a visual treat, but it's also regarded as one of the best places to live in Norway.
Not only is Ålesund a visual treat, but it’s also regarded as one of the best places to live in Norway.

2. Arendal

Imagine a place where the sea whispers tales of maritime lore and the sunsets paint the sky in mesmerizing hues. Arendal, a gem in Norway’s crown, offers just that. Its status as one of the coolest places to live in Norway isn’t just about the scenic beauty. It’s about a lifestyle that’s as vibrant as its coastal panorama.

In Arendal, the summers are a symphony of sailing boats and music festivals. The streets come alive with the buzz of cafes and the warmth of friendly locals. It’s a city that encourages an active outdoor lifestyle, with beaches that beckon and forests that invite exploration.

Here, history is alive in well-preserved wooden houses that line the old town, each a window to a storied past. Arendal isn’t merely a place to live; it’s a place to thrive, with cultural richness and an entrepreneurial spirit. The city’s education and healthcare systems are top-notch, making it one of Norway’s best cities to live for families and young professionals.

Living in Arendal means embracing a life where nature’s beauty and a thriving urban scene are in perfect harmony. It’s a city that doesn’t just welcome you; it captivates you.

Arendal is a gem in the crown of Norway and among the hippest places to call home.
Arendal is a gem in the crown of Norway and among the hippest places to call home.

3. Bærum

Nestled just outside Oslo, Bærum is a blend of urban sophistication and natural splendor. This town, draped in greenery and dotted with picturesque lakes, stands out as one of the best places in Norway to live. It’s where nature’s tranquility meets the perks of city life.

Bærum’s streets are a mosaic of modern art and historical landmarks, creating a unique cultural tapestry. The town is a haven for art enthusiasts and nature lovers alike. Here, hiking trails wind through lush forests, leading to breathtaking views. In winter, these same paths transform into skiing paradises.

The community in Bærum is as diverse as its landscape. It’s a melting pot of ideas and creativity, fostering a vibrant social scene. With top-tier schools and a robust economy, Bærum is not just a nice city to live in Norway’s capital region. It’s a place where dreams take flight.

Every day in Bærum presents a chance to harmonize the rhythm of life with the tranquility of nature. This town goes beyond providing a home. It invites you on a journey to a lifestyle where everything exists in perfect balance.

Baerum, tucked just a bit outside of Oslo, combines urban sophistication with breathtaking natural beauty.
Baerum, tucked just a bit outside of Oslo, combines urban sophistication with breathtaking natural beauty.

4. Bergen

Surrounded by seven hills and seven fjords, Bergen is a city where every view is a postcard. Known as the gateway to the fjords, this picturesque city combines historical charm with a vibrant urban life. This makes it the best place to live in Norway for those seeking a blend of nature and culture.

Strolling through Bergen’s famous Bryggen area, the colorful wooden houses tell stories of a rich maritime heritage. The city’s bustling fish market and thriving arts scene reflect a deep connection with its past and present. Bergen’s cultural calendar is filled with festivals and events, celebrating everything from food to music.

Life in Bergen is an adventure in itself because you’ll never run out of things to do. The surrounding mountains offer endless hiking and skiing opportunities, while the city’s urban heart pulses with cafes, shops, and museums. This diversity makes Bergen an ideal choice for where to live in Norway, appealing to a wide range of tastes and lifestyles.

In Bergen, each season brings its own charm, from the cozy winter lights to the endless summer days. It’s a city that invites you to become part of its story, a place where life is lived to its fullest amidst the beauty of nature.

Bergen is a city where every view is as picturesque as a postcard, encircled by seven hills and seven fjords.
Bergen is a city where every view is as picturesque as a postcard, encircled by seven hills and seven fjords.

5. Drammen

Drammen, a city where the river meets the fjords, is a hidden gem. This city, once known for its industry, has transformed into a vibrant urban center with a rich cultural life, ranking among the good places to live in Norway for its unique blend of nature and modernity.

The city’s heart beats along the banks of the Drammenselva River, a hotspot for outdoor enthusiasts. Here, kayaking and fishing blend seamlessly with riverside cafes and walking trails. Drammen’s cultural scene is equally lively, with theaters, museums, and galleries that showcase its artistic spirit.

Urban renewal has brought new life to Drammen, evident in its modern architecture and public spaces. The city’s commitment to sustainable living and community well-being makes it one of the best Norway cities for those seeking a greener lifestyle. Education and healthcare facilities in Drammen are top-notch, adding to its appeal as a family-friendly destination.

Drammen’s transformation from an industrial past to a bright future is a story of resilience and innovation. It’s a city that combines the tranquility of nature with the pulse of city life, offering a balanced lifestyle for its residents.

Among the best places to live in Norway is the city of Drammen, which is situated where a river meets a fjord.
Among the best places to live in Norway is the city of Drammen, which is situated where a river meets a fjord.

6. Fredrikstad

Fredrikstad, with its fusion of ancient fortifications and contemporary charm, stands out as a city that has masterfully blended its history with modernity. This city, encircled by one of Scandinavia’s best-preserved fortress towns, is known as one of the best areas to live in Norway for its rich cultural tapestry and quality of life.

Here, life flows as smoothly as the Glomma River. The Old Town, Gamlebyen, is a living museum, where cobblestone streets and historic buildings transport you back in time. Yet, Fredrikstad is not just about its past. The city’s vibrant arts scene, with galleries and festivals, reflects a community deeply rooted in creativity and innovation.

Fredrikstad’s commitment to sustainability and community makes it one of the nice parts of Norway to call home. With excellent schools, green spaces, and a strong emphasis on environmental initiatives, it’s a city that looks to the future while honoring its heritage.

Embracing a lifestyle in Fredrikstad involves a harmonious blend of history, nature, and progress. This city provides a serene yet vibrant setting, ideal for those looking for a balance between peaceful living and urban energy.

Fredrikstad is one of the best places to live in Norway due to the combination of old defenses and urban appeal.
Fredrikstad is one of the best places to live in Norway due to the combination of old defenses and urban appeal.

7. Kristiansand

Greeted by the gentle waves of the North Sea and the warm smiles of friendly locals, Kristiansand emerges as a coastal paradise. This city, with its sandy beaches and idyllic archipelago, is not only a summer haven but also a great place to live in Norway year-round.

Kristiansand’s appeal lies in its perfect balance of nature and urban life. The city’s parks are green oases, offering peaceful retreats amidst the urban hustle. Its cultural scene is vibrant, with music festivals like Palmesus adding a rhythmic pulse to the city’s atmosphere.

The question of where is the best place to live in Norway often leads to Kristiansand, especially for families. The city boasts excellent educational institutions, a robust healthcare system, and a strong sense of community. Its compact size means everything is conveniently accessible, enhancing the quality of daily life.

In Kristiansand, every season brings its unique joy – from basking in the summer sun at Bystranda Beach to cozy winter evenings in the city’s quaint cafes. It’s a city that promises a harmonious lifestyle, where the beauty of nature and the perks of city living are intertwined.

Kristiansand presents itself as a coastal paradise, hailed by the soft North Sea waves and the kind smiles of the welcoming residents.
Kristiansand presents itself as a coastal paradise, hailed by the soft North Sea waves and the kind smiles of the welcoming residents.

8. Lillehammer

Enveloped in the tranquility of Norway’s lush landscapes, Lillehammer stands as a testament to the serene yet vibrant Norwegian lifestyle. Known globally for hosting the 1994 Winter Olympics, this town is recognized as one of Norway’s best places to live, offering a blend of sporting legacy and cultural richness.

Lillehammer’s charm lies in its peaceful streets, historic wooden houses, and the backdrop of snow-capped mountains. It’s a haven for winter sports enthusiasts, with world-class facilities for skiing, skating, and sledding. Yet, Lillehammer’s appeal extends beyond its winter wonderland status.

Cultural events like the Lillehammer Literature Festival highlight the town’s intellectual and artistic vibrancy. Its museums, including the open-air Maihaugen, offer a journey through Norwegian history and culture. This makes it one of the most livable cities in Norway for those who cherish a slower pace of life combined with cultural depth.

Living in Lillehammer means embracing a lifestyle where community, nature, and culture intertwine seamlessly. It’s a place where you can find peace in the rhythm of daily life, set against a backdrop of natural beauty and cultural heritage.

One of the best cities to live in Norway is Lillehammer, which is surrounded by the peace of its beautiful scenery.
One of the best cities to live in Norway is Lillehammer, which is surrounded by the peace of its beautiful scenery.

9. Oslo

At the heart of Norway lies Oslo, a city where modern architecture blends with expansive green spaces, creating a harmonious urban landscape. This dynamic capital is not only the political and economic heart of the country but also one of the best cities to live in Norway, celebrated for its quality of life and cultural vibrancy.

Oslo’s charm unfolds in its diverse neighborhoods. From the trendy Grünerløkka to the elegant Frogner, each area offers a unique slice of city life. The city is a haven for art lovers, boasting an array of galleries and the iconic Oslo Opera House, an architectural marvel.

When pondering what are the best places to live in Europe, Oslo frequently tops the list. Its commitment to sustainability is evident in its eco-friendly public transport and numerous parks. The city is a blend of history and innovation, where ancient castles stand alongside cutting-edge buildings.

In Oslo, the rhythm of city life is balanced with the tranquility of nature. Just a short trip from the city center, forests, and fjords await, offering endless opportunities for hiking, skiing, and sailing. It’s a city that epitomizes the best of Norway – modern, green, and full of life.

Oslo is a city where vast green areas and contemporary buildings coexist to create a pleasing urban environment.
Oslo is a city where vast green areas and contemporary buildings coexist to create a pleasing urban environment.

10. Stavanger

Nestled on Norway’s southwestern coast, Stavanger is a fusion of natural wonders and urban sophistication. This city, with its proximity to stunning fjords and rugged coastlines, stands out as one of the best Norway towns to live for those who seek adventure intertwined with city comforts.

Stavanger’s appeal is multifaceted. The city’s old town, with its white wooden houses, provides a picturesque stroll into history. Meanwhile, the contemporary art scene is vibrant, showcased in numerous galleries and the internationally renowned street art festival, Nuart.

For those considering places to move in Norway, Stavanger offers a compelling mix. It’s a hub for the energy industry, providing robust job opportunities. Moreover, its outdoor lifestyle, characterized by hiking in Lysefjord or surfing at Jæren, is unparalleled.

Embracing life in Stavanger means becoming part of a community where innovation intertwines with tradition, and the allure of nature is always within reach. Here, one experiences the full spectrum of Norwegian life, from its cultural richness to its natural magnificence.

Among the best cities in Norway to live in is Stavanger, a blend of urban elegance and natural marvels.
Among the best cities in Norway to live in is Stavanger, a blend of urban elegance and natural marvels.

11. Tromsø

Perched above the Arctic Circle, Tromsø, known as the ‘Gateway to the Arctic’, offers a blend of vibrant city life and unparalleled polar beauty. This city is not just a base for polar expeditions. It’s also one of the best towns to live in Norway, renowned for its lively cultural scene and breathtaking natural surroundings.

In Tromsø, the midnight sun in summer and the northern lights in winter create a magical backdrop for city life. The city’s cultural heart beats in its array of festivals, from the famous Tromsø International Film Festival to the Northern Lights Festival, showcasing a blend of music, cinema, and art.

Tromsø is a hub for Arctic research, attracting academics and scientists from around the world, adding to its diverse and dynamic community. With its world-class educational institutions and thriving economy, Tromsø offers a unique living experience where urban amenities meet the grandeur of nature.

A blend of urban sophistication and exhilarating outdoor adventures, including skiing, dog sledding, and whale watching, sets the stage for an extraordinary lifestyle. This city, a unique gateway to Arctic wonders, transforms into a remarkable place to call home.

Tromsø, perched above the Arctic Circle, offers a unique combination of energetic city life and breathtaking arctic landscapes.
Tromsø, perched above the Arctic Circle, offers a unique combination of energetic city life and breathtaking arctic landscapes.

12. Trondheim

In the heart of Norway lies Trondheim, a city where history and innovation converge. Renowned for its majestic Nidaros Cathedral and vibrant student population, Trondheim stands as one of the top cities in Norway to live in. It’s a city that embraces its rich past while looking firmly towards the future.

Trondheim’s streets are a tapestry of colorful wooden houses, historic landmarks, and cutting-edge technology hubs. The city, home to Norway’s largest university, buzzes with the energy of a young and diverse population, fostering a lively and inclusive community spirit.

As one of the best Norway cities for families and young professionals, Trondheim offers a high quality of life. The city is surrounded by forests and fjords, providing a natural playground for outdoor enthusiasts. The culinary scene in Trondheim is a delight, with an emphasis on local, sustainable produce.

Life in Trondheim is about balancing the charm of a small town with the opportunities of a big city. It’s a place where history is celebrated, innovation is embraced, and the beauty of nature is just a short walk away. Trondheim isn’t just a city to live in; it’s a city to fall in love with.

Trondheim is a city in central Norway where innovation and tradition meet.
Trondheim is a city in central Norway where innovation and tradition meet.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) About the Best Places to Live in Norway

Interested in learning more about Norway’s prime living locations? Let’s explore some frequently asked questions about the finest places to reside in Norway.

What is the best part of Norway to live in?

Choosing the best part of Norway to live in depends on your lifestyle and preferences. For those who love vibrant city life, Oslo, as one of the most livable cities in Norway, offers a blend of urban culture, green spaces, and a strong job market. If you’re drawn to coastal living, towns like Arendal and Kristiansand are excellent choices, known for their maritime heritage and relaxed lifestyle.

For nature enthusiasts and winter sports aficionados, towns like Lillehammer and Tromsø, surrounded by stunning landscapes and offering numerous outdoor activities, are ideal. Ultimately, the best part of Norway to live in is where you find a perfect harmony between your lifestyle needs and the unique characteristics of the region.

Where is the safest place to live in Norway?

Norway, known for its high safety standards, offers several safe cities to live in. Bergen is known for its low crime rate and friendly atmosphere, making it one of the safest cities. Smaller towns like Bærum and Arendal are also safe, great for families and expats.

Stavanger offers a balance of city life and a close community, adding to its safety. In Norway, safety means more than just low crime. It includes public health, road safety, and being prepared for emergencies. All these are well-handled nationwide. The safest place is where you feel a strong community and trust, and Norway has plenty of both.

Where is the best place for a family to live in Norway?

For families, Bærum stands out as an excellent choice. Known as one of Norway’s best places to live, it offers top-tier schools, ample green spaces, and a family-friendly environment. Additionally, Stavanger, with its strong community vibe and diverse cultural activities, is great for families. It provides a balance of outdoor adventures and urban amenities.

Tromsø is another good option, known for its excellent education system and vibrant town. It’s ideal for nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts. These towns are among Norway’s best for families, offering safety, quality schools, and plenty of family activities.

Norway is a country with breathtaking scenery and vibrant cities, offering both tranquil natural surroundings and a busy metropolitan lifestyle.
Norway is a country with amazing scenery and vibrant cities, offering both tranquil greenery and a busy urban lifestyle.

Where is the cheapest place to live in Norway?

Finding affordable living in Norway can be challenging due to its generally high cost of living. However, some areas offer more budget-friendly options. Cities like Drammen and Fredrikstad are known for having lower living costs compared to major cities like Oslo and Bergen. These cities offer a balance of reasonable housing prices and living expenses without compromising on quality of life.

Additionally, smaller towns and rural areas tend to be more economical, though this might mean access to fewer amenities and services compared to urban centers. It’s important to consider that while these places might be cheaper, they still offer the high standard of living Norway is known for.

How much salary is enough to live in Norway?

The salary needed to live comfortably in Norway varies depending on location and lifestyle. In major cities like Oslo, a higher salary is needed due to more expensive housing and living costs. A monthly salary of around 40,000 to 50,000 NOK (approximately 4,000 to 5,000 USD) is considered sufficient for a comfortable lifestyle in these areas.

In smaller cities or towns, such as Fredrikstad or Kristiansand, you might manage comfortably on less, around 30,000 to 40,000 NOK per month. It’s important to factor in costs like housing, utilities, food, transportation, and leisure activities. Norway’s high standard of living also means that even at these salary levels, you can enjoy a good quality of life.

Is it worth it to move to Norway?

Deciding to move to Norway can be a rewarding choice, considering its high quality of life, stunning natural landscapes, and strong social welfare systems. Norway offers excellent healthcare, education, and public services. The country’s emphasis on work-life balance and outdoor lifestyle is also a significant draw for many.

However, keep in mind the high cost of living, cold and dark winters in some areas, and the challenge of fitting into a new culture. If you appreciate a safe, healthy, and balanced life, with a strong respect for nature and equality, moving to Norway could be a great choice.

Final Thoughts on the Best Places to Live in Norway

Norway is a land of stunning landscapes and lively cities, where you can find a peaceful natural setting or a bustling urban life. Oslo and Bergen are rich in culture, while Lillehammer and Tromsø are known for their peaceful beauty. Norway offers various living options for different tastes.

For those looking for affordability, towns like Fredrikstad and Drammen are great choices. They offer a good life at a lower cost compared to big cities. On the other hand, if you want a lively city life, Stavanger and Trondheim are perfect with their job opportunities and cultural offerings.

In Norwegian cities like Kristiansand and Arendal, life is about happiness and community. These places have a great mix of outdoor activities and city conveniences, making life enjoyable and satisfying.

So, where is the best place to live in Norway? The answer varies as much as the country’s landscapes and cityscapes. Ultimately, it depends on what you value most in your living environment. There’s no doubt that Norway is more than just a place to live—it’s a unique and enriching way of life. The best towns to live in Norway for job opportunities, natural beauty, and cultural life are all great examples of this.

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