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Discover Molde, a charming city in Norway known among locals as “the town of roses.” On a cruise to Molde, you’ll find yourself surrounded by spectacular landscapes, blooming gardens, and the sound of jazz music, as Molde is home to a popular international jazz festival every summer.
Located by the Romsdalsfjord, Molde boasts some of the most dramatic views in Norway—and that’s saying a lot. Hike up to the Varden Viewpoint and take in the magnificent scenery of the Molde Panorama, where 222 snow-capped mountains and the sparkling fjord in the distance are sure to take your breath away. Explore some of the nearby islands and natural wonders, such as the ridge of Romsdalseggen and the winding road of Trollstigen. Molde makes for a breathtaking stop on a Norway cruise.
Marvel at the scenic mountain ridge of Romsdalen, a spectacular landscape made up of over 87 alps. Spot the towering Romsdalshorn, which stands 5,000 feet above water, and Troll Wall, Europe’s tallest vertical mountain wall. If you’re an experienced hiker, you can trek up the Romsdalseggen trail, one of the most picturesque hikes in Norway, where you’ll be rewarded with unbeatable views of the surrounding mountains, the city of Molde, and Romsdalsfjord in the distance.
If you prefer to see the Romsdalen ridge from afar, head to the popular Varden Viewpoint, where you’ll witness the breathtaking vista of the Molde Panorama and its 222 snowy peaks and the surrounding fjord. The Varden Viewpoint sits on a 1,325-foot high hill and can be easily accessed by car or on foot. The gentle nature hike takes around an hour, and once you reach the top, you can cool off and grab a bite at the clifftop restaurant.
Head to Trollstigen, an impressive roadway that is part of the Norwegian Scenic Route. Experience the eleven thrilling hairpin turns of this engineering feat while in a car as you climb up the Stigrora Mountain. Or admire this peculiar road from one of the several viewpoints and walkways at the top of Trollstigen, where you can take in lovely views of the neighboring mountains and countryside.
Descend into the caves of Trollkirka, a.k.a Troll Church, a stunning natural wonder where you’ll find hidden waterfalls and rivers. During a walk through these limestone grottos, you’ll pass through underground trails and towering waterfalls that cascade into serene white marble pools. Make sure to wear waterproof clothes and shoes as you’re bound to get hit by misty gusts of water along the way.
Take a trip back in time at the Romsdal Museum, an open-air folk museum that dates back to 1912. The museum features over 50 buildings from the past, including old clothing factories, farms, and storefronts. Don’t miss strolling down Bygata Street, where dozens of pre-war houses give you a sense of what life in Molde was like during the early 20th century.
Every summer in July, Molde hosts an annual jazz festival that attracts thousands of visitors from around Europe. Thankfully, the Moldejazz organization also hosts a number of jazz concerts around the city throughout the year. If you’re looking to catch a live show, your best bet is to head to the Plassen Cultural Center, a striking architectural building with outdoor seating, an exhibition space, and a state-of-the-art concert hall.
Due to its waterfront location, Molde, like much of Norway, is known for its fresh seafood. Look for local specialties that feature salmon and arctic cod. If you’re craving meat, Norwegian lamb is a must, served as mutton chops, lamb stew, and racks of lamb. Brave foodies can try either moose or reindeer meat, both of which are considered specialties in Norway. Also, don’t miss trying some brunost (brown cheese), a sweet delicacy that tastes a little like dulce de leche.
The city of Molde’s name comes from the phrase “Storgarden Molde,” which means “good soil.” Molde was established back in 1742, and throughout the centuries, it grew into the hub of Norway’s textile industry. In the early 20th century, tourism to the area increased, leading to the development of luxury hotels and intricate gardens that earned the city its nickname as the “the town of roses.” In 1940, Molde temporarily became the capital of Norway after King Haakon of Norway escaped from Oslo and settled in the city in an effort to hide from the German occupation. Today, Molde’s economic activity is centered around fish exports, garment mills, and furniture production. Molde is also known for its international jazz festival, which takes place every summer.
Storkaia, the Molde cruise port, is located right by the center of the city. Just a five-minute walk away is the city’s main square, where you’ll find ATMs, bike rentals, car rentals, and public bus services. From the cruise port, you can walk to landmarks like the Molde Cathedral and the Romsdal Museum, or hike up to the Varden viewpoint.
At the cruise port, you’ll be able to hail a taxi or board the public Molde bus service. The city’s center is easily walkable, and the surrounding hills all have hiking trails that range from easy to more advanced. You can also rent a bicycle and navigate the city on two wheels.
Most of the shopping you’ll find in Molde consists of small stores selling local goods. Search for gifts and souvenirs in these cozy boutiques and bring back a few regional products like goods made from pewter or enamel, along with handmade souvenirs.
The local currency in Molde is the Norwegian krone. Credit cards are widely accepted in most stores and restaurants, although Norway requires a valid ID when using a credit card. Tipping is not typical, but if you experience great service and would like to leave something, rounding up the bill is always a nice gesture.