Hamar is located on the banks of the largest lake in the country, Mjosa, making it a unique destination for what locals call the “art of slow travel” on the world’s oldest paddle steamer. Outdoor activities are best done in the city, with its many natural sights and spots. The city is full of history also, so come and see the city the best way you can, with our 10 best things to do in Hamar, Norway.
1. Soak in some history at the Hedmark Museum
The Hedmark Museum is a regional museum for the region of Hedmark which includes Stange, Hamar (including Vang), Løten, and Ringsaker. The museum not has one building but is, in fact, an open-air museum consisting of several buildings, some dating as far back as the 16th century. One site of the museum is an active archaeological dig of a medieval town, which visitors can visit and see. One part of the museum showcases the history of the Hedmark region, especially how people lived during early times. A major attraction of the museum during the summer is its guided tours, which include medieval tours, herb garden tours, and tours with musical guides who sing.
Address: Strandvegen 100, 2315 Hamar, Norway
Contact Details: +47 62 54 27 00
Opening Hours: June 19 to August 13, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily; August 14 to September 3, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Tuesdays to Sundays
Admission Fees: Adults - about 13.71 USD; Students/seniors - about 9.9 USD; Children 6-15 - about 6.23 USD
Website: Hedmark Museum
2. Soak in some history at the Cathedral ruins of Hamar
The Cathedral ruins of Hamar is a part of Hedmark Museum, but this cathedral is of historical importance to the region. Said to be established during the medieval times in 1150, it has weathered through several power changes in the region, including that of the Church. When the Swedish attacked Norway in the Seven Years’ War, they left the cathedral in ruins. Now, what is left of the cathedral is protected by a glass and metal protective structure. Because the church remains under the Roman Catholic Church, church services including weddings can still be done here with the permission of the local diocese.
Cathedral ruins of Hamar
Address: Strandvegen 100, 2315 Hamar
Website: Cathedral ruins of Hamar
3. Enjoy a day in the sun at the Koigen leisure area
The city established this public area on the banks of Lake Mjøsa in 2005 and it has been a popular area for both locals and visitors to go to during the hot summer months. It has a beach area with a small artificial islet, which is good for a dip or swim. Sports facilities include basketball courts, a beach volleyball area, and a skating park. Families and visitors can have barbecues with their picnics, while their children can play on the playground. If you want to venture some more, there is also a nearby hiking trail.
Koigen leisure area
Address: Brygga, Hamar 2316, Norway
4. Take a dip at the Ankerskogen swimming pool
You can swim indoors at the modern Ankerskogen swimming pool, which not only offers swimming facilities but also fitness facilities. Water facilities include a 25-meter (82-foot) pool, a 50-meter (164-foot) pool with a diving board. There is also a big water slide. For those with children, there is a section which has children’s pools, slides and water cannons for some family fun.
Ankerskogen swimming pool
Address: Ankerskogvegen 7, 2319 Hamar, Norway
Contact Details: +47 62 56 18 60
5. Enjoy the art of slow travel and ride around the lake on the Skibladner
The Skiblander, also known as the white swan of Lake Mjøsa, is the world’s oldest paddle steamer that is still in regular operation. While its main route starts at the train station and to the towns around the lake, including Hamar, it now operates scenic cruises and tours around the lake during the summer months. The Skibladner is a purveyor of the art of slow travel, which lets tourists take their sweet time and enjoy a slow day on the boat. The lake cruise starts in the morning and lasts until late afternoon.The restaurant on board is considered to be one of the best in the region, serving up breakfast, lunch, and snacks for its guests. It sails from the town of Gjovik at 9:30 a.m.
Address: Jernbanetorvet 3, 2821 Gjøvik, Norway
Contact Details: +47 611 44 080
6. Catch a show or skating competition at Viking Ship
The Hamar Olympic Hall is also known as the Viking Ship or Vikingskipet in Norwegian. It was constructed during the hosting of the 1994 Winter Olympics, but since then has been a venue for several events and tournaments of different sports events. Now it is also being used as an event and concert venue, as it can accommodate up to 20,000 concert goers. Sports events can accommodate up to 10,000 spectators. During the fall months, it is utilized as a venue for huge indoor events such as trade fairs and concerts.
Hamar Olympic Hall - Viking Ship
Address: Åkersvikvegen 1, N-2321 Hamar
Contact Details: +47 62 51 75 00
Website: Hamar Olympic Hall (in Norwegian)
7. Learn about the history of trains in Norway at the Norwegian Railway Museum
This museum is one of the oldest railway museums in the world, holding the history of railways not just in Hamar but for the whole country. It includes the oldest station building in the Norway, trains, and carriages that date back to the start of the railway system in the country. The best time to visit the museum are the summer months so that you can view the open-air museum. The museum also includes photos, illustrations, objects and train models, as well multimedia displays showing the history of rails in the country.
Norwegian Railway Museum
Address: Strandveien 161, 2316 Hamar, Norway
Contact Details: +47 62 51 31 60
8. Marvel at the ancient mammoths
Utstillingen viser rekonstruksjon av to av de beste mammut funn fra Sibir.Posted by Jotunheimen Adventure on Thursday, 21 July 2011
Mammuthus holds models of two wooly mammoths, said to have inhabited this area of the country in the ancient times. The building is a unique looking one, and with the guide’s expertise in geology, you will surely have a fascinating time in this small museum. Aside from learning about the ancient history of this part of Norway, the package also includes dinner which you can take while admiring the view around the region and the lake.
Address: Gaasbuvegen 890, 2323 Hamar, Norway
Contact Details: +47 97 72 15 71
Website: Mammuthus (in Norwegian)
9. Opera at its best at the Kirsten Flagstad Museum
This museum pays tribute to the life and work of Kirsten Flagstad (1895 to 1962). Called “the voice of the century,” she was also known as “the world’s greatest Wagnerian soprano.” She performed and became well known in the US and Norway.
She was later named as the first director of the Norwegian Opera. On display in the museum are memorabilia, photos and some of Flagstad’s opera costumes, as well as its own music room. The museum is situated in the oldest building in the city. It is best to check their website for opening hours.
Kirsten Flagstad Museum
Address: Kirkegata 11, 2317 Hamar, Norway
Contact Details: +47 62 54 27 00
Website: Kirsten Flagstad Museum
10. Appreciate Norwegian art at the Hedmark Artists' Center
The Hedmark Artists Center is also known as Kunstbanken or art bank in Norwegian. It houses Norwegian and international art in both permanent and temporary exhibits. The building where the artists’ center is located used to be the office of the Norges Bank, thus the name art bank.
Aside from the exhibits in its eight galleries, the center also hosts a Performance Year every two years, in autumn. There is an in-house art shop where guests can purchase one-of-a-kind products made by local artists. The museum cafe is also a popular restaurant for lunch.
Hedmark Artists' Center
Address: Parkgt. 21, 2317 Hamar, Norway
Contact Details: +47 62 54 22 60
Slow travel at its best in Hamar
With these 10 best things to do in Hamar, master the art of slow travel as you take your time and enjoy what the city has to offer you, in history, culture, and art.
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