Molde, the second largest city in the county of Møre og Romsdal, lies along the shores of the Romsdalsfjord in Western Norway. This charming city has been nicknamed the “City of Roses” since 1913. It boasts incredibly scenic views and surroundings and is filled with beautiful parks and gardens, attracting visitors since the 1800s.
As you explore the city, you will see why it was given its nickname. In the city center you will find rose gardens, parks, statues, and murals all paying homage to the iconic flower. Even the town hall roof has a rose garden and is accessible to all! Decorative gardening has been popular in Molde for many generations and adds to the city’s beauty and charm.
We’ve gone ahead and outlined just a few of the many things to see and do in Molde and its surrounding areas.
The Romsdal Museum is one of the largest folk museums in Norway and located a short 10-minute walk from the city center. Established in 1912, the museum displays buildings and interiors from the region. The collection consists of about 35 houses, showcasing customs and the way of life from the 1600s to the 1900s.
You’re able to explore the museum on your own or get a guided tour. There is also a new museum building, “Krona” which houses several exhibitions, a café, museum shop, local history library, and a “bunad” (traditional Norwegian clothing) department where you can see bunads being made.
Varden, the Molde Panorama
A 10-minute drive from the city center, or a 1-hour walk, the Varden viewpoint offers breathtaking views of Molde, the fjord, and the famous Molde panorama with its 222 peaks. See if you can count them! The hike is family friendly for those wanting to climb to 407m above sea level.
If that sounds like too much for you, there are guided tours that include a stop here. At the viewpoint there is also a café, “Vardestua”, that is open during the summer where you can buy refreshments, coffee, and snacks.
Positioned on a picturesque hillside above the main street of Molde, the cathedral is worth a visit while in town. A gothic style church consecrated in 1957, it has a 50m high bell tower adorned with a visually striking copper pyramid. The interior of the church is richly decorated and houses some beautiful stained-glass windows.
Møre og Romsdal Art Center
Take in some art and culture at the Møre og Romsdal Art Center. Established in 1978 the center is located in the cultural building, “Plassen” in the center of Molde. The art center houses changing exhibitions with art and artists from Norway and abroad and also has a large selection of glass, ceramics, and prints for sale.
Ergan Coastal Fort (Bud)
The Ergan Coastal Fort serves as a WWII memorial and museum located in the village of Bud, a 40-minute drive from Molde. The location is home to a restored German war fortress from 1941-1945 that includes a vast bunker system with operating rooms, command center, and training rooms. The Ergan Coastal Fort was part of the Atlantic Wall, a comprehensive defense system that went from Norway to the Spanish coast.
The fort also offers great views over the Atlantic Ocean and the fishing village, Bud. This is a must-see for history buffs, as it is a great example of the Atlantic Wall in Norway. Tours leaving Molde make it an easy trip for those departing from the City of Roses.
Drive along Hustadvika
Located between the towns of Molde and Kristiansund is a 10-nautical-mile stretch of coastline called Hustadvika. Dubbed “The Bay of Shipwrecks”, this is considered the most dangerous stretch of the Norwegian coastline as this stretch of coast offers no protection from coastal islands to shelter the larger waves.
As a result, there have been many shipwrecks here. This is an interesting stretch of road tour groups follow on the way to the Atlantic Ocean Road, or you can rent a car and make the drive yourself.
Troll Church Caves
Not far from Molde (about a 40-minute drive), is a magically Norwegian spot known as the Troll Church. While not an actual church in the traditional sense, it is instead a cave of limestone and marble with underground rivers and waterfalls. This special place looks like something described in Norwegian fairy-tales.
The hike takes about an hour and a half to get to the caves and is ranked moderate. Waterproof shoes are encouraged, as it can be quite wet inside the cave, as well as good flashlights, as it can be quite dark as well. If you hike just past the entrance to the caves you can enjoy a swim in the beautiful Trollvatnet lake. A great summertime outing!
Atlantic Ocean Road
No visit to Molde is complete without a drive out to the famous Atlantic Ocean Road, a feat of modern engineering. The road connects the island of Averøy with the mainland via a series of islets. The journey along this spectacular road is perhaps best enjoyed with a tour group as the local guides provide you with interesting knowledge of the area as well as the best picture spots!
This is one visit where if you’re experiencing Norway’s inclement weather on a particularly stormy day, you’ll get even better photos as dramatic waves crash against the wild and winding, road jutting out from small islets.
We think Molde is a pretty special place here on the west coast of Norway. In fact, it was briefly the capital of Norway for one week during WWII when King Haakon, Crown Prince Olav, and members of the government and parliament arrived in the city after fleeing from Oslo. After the war, Molde experienced considerable growth and is now not only a beautiful rose filled city, but also the administrative center for the county, Møre og Romsdal.
It is a place with much to explore and experience. To make the most of your time in Molde, as always, we recommend a guided excursion with experienced and knowledgeable guides. For more information, please head to our page outlining our tour offers in Molde.