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On location: following the trail of Frozen locations across Norway

With Frozen II coming to Disney+ this July, we look to Norway — one location that inspired the film — for some family-friendly wintry getaways.

By Josephine Price
Published 19 Nov 2019, 13:00 GMT
Bryggen, Bergen
Bryggen, Bergen's colourful UNESCO World Heritage Site-listed harbour, served as the inspiration for the kingdom of Arendelle in Frozen.
Photograph by Getty Images

The long-awaited sequel Frozen II comes to Disney+ on July 3rd. And for families looking to have their own ice-bound adventures, look no further than Norway, one of the key locations to have inspired the Disney blockbuster. 

The best jumping-off point for a Norwegian adventure is the western city of Bergen. Weave through the timbered alleyways of Bryggen, the city’s UNESCO World Heritage Site-listed harbour. Fans of the film might recognise this colourful corner of the city — its picture-perfect houses served as the inspiration for the kingdom of Arendelle. A scenic four-hour drive will take you to the village of Balestrand, where you’ll find St Olaf’s Church, whose interior was replicated for Elsa’s coronation. 

And for the full Frozen experience, head to the northern wilderness of Saltfjellet–Svartisen National Park in the Arctic Circle, where the Oskal family invite guests into their homestead to learn about the Sami way of life. Animal-lovers can also join the reindeer herders for the chance to meet a real-life reindeer like those you'll see in the enchanted forest in the sequel. 

A reindeer in the Arctic Circle. Norwegians believe kissing a moose brings happiness and good luck.
Photograph by Josephine Price

Frozen & beyond

Piste perfect
Trysil, Norway’s largest ski resort, is ideal for anyone looking to build up confidence on the slopes. With 45 miles of pistes and excellent ski schools, it’s a firm family favourite.

Wild whirlpools
Just 30 minutes from the city of Bodø, the Saltstraumen Maelstrom — the strongest tidal current in the world — is bound to impress. Boat trips speed over mighty whirlpools and guides explain the natural phenomenon amid jaw-dropping mountainous scenery.

Winter Wonderland 
Don’t miss the Norwegian capital, Oslo, where you’ll find a classic winter wonderland, complete with ice skating rink, Ferris wheel, Christmas markets and rows of stalls touting festive fare.

Arctic action 
For a real Arctic adventure, head north to the remote archipelago of Svalbard. Highlights include a family-friendly dog sledding experience, featuring specially designed sleds for young children.

Moose meetings
Did you know that Norwegians believe kissing a moose brings happiness and good luck? At Svartisen, you can get up close and personal with Europe’s largest land-living animal in the shadow of the Svartisen Glacier.

Start streaming Frozen II from 3rd July on Disney+

Published in the December 2019 issue of National Geographic Traveller (UK)

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