Norwegian Museum of Travel and Tourism

Guided Tours

The museum offers multiple tours, inside the museum and in Balestrand. For prices and booking, see the bottom of the page.

«Norwegian Tourism»

The history of Norwegian travel and tourism

Duration: 30 minutes

Photo: Edward Backhouse Mounsey. From "Nereid cruise i 1869

The tour offers a comprehensive overview of the museum’s main exhibition. It highlights the striking contrasts in living standards between the first, mostly wealthy, visitors from abroad and the local farmers who lived here in the 1800s. The introduction of tourism led to considerable efforts around the country in terms of road and rail construction, and the establishment of lodging and dining places. People became quite creative as they sought to figure out ways of earning some extra income.

Why did we attract such sophisticated tourists and what could we offer them?

«The Quay Side Walk»

A stroll along the jetty

Duration: 45 minutes

Foto: Franziska Kraus

The tour starts at the old museum buildings by the steamboat dock. You will learn how regular scheduled steamboat routes to Bergen helped change and modernise smaller coastal communities. While taking a short walk, you will discover what things were like back when the fjord was the main thoroughfare, and how local communities adapted to new travel and tourism trends, for example through hotels. The tour ends with a stroll through the museum.

A short walk in the museum area. Dress according to the weather. It is possible to participate with a wheel-chair.

«Seeking the Nordic Light»

An introduction to the artists’ colony of Balestrand

Duration: 30 minutes

Photo: Nasjonalgalleriet. Beles burial mound, Balestrand

Norway’s fjords and mountain landscapes were ideal motifs for national romanticist painters. Artists based at the Düsseldorf academy started wandering across the mountains from east to west in the early 1800s. Many of them had summer residences built in Balestrand. The exhibition is located in one of the many dragon style houses from that era, all belonging to the artists’ colony.  

«The First Climbs to the Top»

European mountaineers exploring Norwegian peaks 

Duration: 30 minutes

Photo: George Percival Baker. Climbing Storen, 1900

Towards the late 1800s, foreign mountaineers with experience from the Alps started exploring the wild Norwegian mountains. According to the locals, they put their lives on the line by scaling the tallest and most treacherous peaks. Along with the early British fly fishers, these were among the first to “discover” Norway as a tourist destination.

William Cecil Slingsby, “the Father of Norwegian peak climbing”, is known for being the first to scale several peaks after having made a dozen trips to the Alps. He published his book “The Northern Playground” in 1904. A number of Norwegians followed in his footsteps.

Therese Bertheau became the first woman to climb Store Skagastølstind in the western part of Jotunheimen in 1886. It wasn’t considered acceptable for women to wear trousers when climbing before 1910.

This tour will take you back to the first travelogues; how foreigners experienced Norwegian food and traditions, and how they were met by the locals. We also look at how women struggled to be accepted as equals both as mountaineers and when seeking representation in various organisations, like the Norwegian Trekking Association. 

«The Grand Tour» 

A cultural walk through Balestrand

Duration: 90 minutes

St. Olafs' Church. Photo: Mary Ann Menes.

You may also combine your museum visit with a walking tour through the picturesque Balestrand village and learn how its cultural history helped pave the way for its emergence as a tourist destination.

The tour begins at the old steamboat dock, and takes you past dragon style houses and ancient burial mounds, before taking a short break at the St. Olafs Church, a small church with its own interesting story.

This walk is 2 km long. Dress according to the weather conditions. The tour requires extra measures for wheelchair users. Please contact us in advance to be well prepared.

Villa Normann and villa Balderslund. Photo: Bjørn Skanke Sande.


Please contact us to order a tour:

Phone number: +47 474 53 053