What to do in Nora? This charming little wooden town by Lake Nora in Bergslagen offers everything from trains and wooden houses to ice cream and murder walks. We have collected our best tips for experiences and sights in Nora.
Nora - the wooden town in Bergslagen
Nora is a picturesque little wooden town, like something out of a storybook. Its history revolves around trains, iron ore and miners' farms, while today the town is a great place to go on holiday and visit a café.
The city has been awarded the coveted international 'Europa Nostra' award for good building and heritage management and is part of the 'Europa Nostra' network.Three Wooden Cities". By visiting all three you make a "Wooden Town Classic" and we went to Nora with our motorhome, after visiting the other two wooden towns. Eksjö and Hjo.
As Nora was the last town in the classic - and as we had collected stickers from each town - it was now also time to get our present from the Tourist Office. What was it? No, we won't tell you, but it was a nice little product that was uniquely designed and cannot be bought in a shop.
Nora is located at Norasjön in Bergslagen, about 3.5 kilometres northwest of Örebro, in the province of Västmanland.
What can you do in Nora?
So, what can you see and do in Nora? There is a lot to discover in and around this small town, especially in the summer months. Here are our top tips on what to see and do in Nora.
1. Stroll among the wooden houses in Nora
First of all, you will want to stroll around the charming wooden houses in the centre of Nora. Many of the houses are from the 18th and 19th centuries, and there are also nice old houses around the railway.
2. See trains at the Railway Museum and Veteran Railway.
The Nora Railway Museum is located in the old warehouse by the railway. There is an exhibition of fine carriages and steam locomotives, but also objects and photos from the past. If the knowledgeable staff have time to tell you about it, it becomes even more interesting! The museum is mainly open during the summer season and is free to visit.
It is also exciting to wander around outdoors among all the tracks, old trains and buildings. On certain days during the summer, you can even take a ride on the old steam locomotive.
3. Take a guided tour in the footsteps of Maria Lang
Author Maria Lang, or Dagmar Lange as her real name was, has turned Nora into a real detective town. Nora is the model for the fictional town of Skoga in the Queen of Crime's books.
Lang published "Mördaren ljuger inte ensam" in 1949 and went on to publish a total of 42 detective novels for adults, as well as a few books for young people, a collection of short stories and a biography. The author grew up in Nora and moved back here later in life, and her books feature detailed descriptions of streets and neighbourhoods.
Sometimes exciting murder walks are organised, but it is also possible to walk on your own following a map, which you can pick up at the tourist office.
4. Take a tour of the Göthlinska farm.
One of the most interesting things to do in Nora, in our opinion, is to take a tour of the Göthlinska gården, a well-preserved bourgeois home from the latter part of the 19th century. The Göthlin family once lived here, and since the home was donated to the town by the youngest daughter Ingrid, the home has been preserved almost intact. Walking in here is thus like walking into a time bubble.
There are plenty of rooms to wander around in which you can see everything from furniture and kitchenware to toys, jewellery, crafts and various collectibles. Ask at the tourist office for times for guided tours and drop-in times when you can browse on your own.
5. Have lunch at Nora Stadshotell
Nora stadshotell is a classic hotel from 1878, located in the centre of the town square. Here you can of course choose to stay if you want, but there is also a restaurant and a pub. We ate today's lunch here, which was very good in a nice environment.
6. Taste Nora Glass
Exactly 100 years ago, in 1923, Selma Gerdin started making and selling ice cream in Nora, or 'glace' as it was called at the time. The very first ice cream machines were hand-cranked and ice cream was cooled with ice saved from the winter.
Today, of course, much is different, but the ice cream is still fresh, just like in Selma's day, and you choose from the flavours of the day, which you can get in a cone or cup.
We bought the ice cream at Nora Glass in the city centre, but afterwards we discovered that you can also eat the ice cream at Strandstugan or at the waffle house Selma G, which may be even cosier. It is delicious no matter where you eat the ice cream!
7. Shopping for antiques and flea market finds
If you like antiques or flea markets, you'll find plenty to do in Nora. There are a lot of antique and flea market shops, and we checked out Diversehandeln, which is almost like walking around a museum.
Other shops include Gåvan, Blå Skåpet and Lenas Gyllene Ting. Hurry up and get your bargain!
8. Check out the Bryggeriet neighbourhood
When we visited Nora, several people told us not to miss the Bryggeriet neighbourhood. This is an industrial area from the 19th century that has been renovated and today welcomes tourists to studios, art exhibitions and workshops.
We were here at the wrong time for it to be open, but otherwise we would have liked to visit Bryggerikrogen, with its tasting menu and lots of other exciting dishes.
9. Take a boat trip to Alntorp Island
Alntorp Island is located in the centre of Lake Norasjön and is a popular place for locals and tourists alike. In the summer, the boat Plaskus takes you across easily, and on the other side there are beaches, kiosks, barbecue areas, fruit trees, walking trails, a magic path and more.
10. Walk along the riverside promenade.
Åpromenaden is a three kilometre long walk along the Hagbyån river, including past the Nora car park.
11. Discover Pershyttan's Bergsmansby cultural reserve
Pershyttan is one of Sweden's best-preserved mining villages, where ore was mined and iron produced from the Middle Ages until the 1960s. The site is now a cultural reserve, where you can learn how things were done when the smelters and mines were in use.
Perhaps the most interesting way to see the site is to join a guided tour, which takes place mainly during the summer months. You are also welcome to wander around the site yourself, and there are plenty of information signs.
12. Visit Siggebohyttan's mining farm
It is also interesting to visit the Siggebohyttan mountain man's farm. The farm is beautifully situated by Lake Usken and shows how a wealthy mountain man lived in the 19th century. The best time to visit is in the summer, when the farm is open and you can see the parlours, the vernacular style and the beautiful wall decorations.
More things to do in Nora for culture and history lovers
There is, of course, even more to see and do in Nora than our suggestions. Here are some more tips for those who like culture and history.
- Café Da Capo is a classic patisserie with "knasballs" - white chocolate balls with rainbow sprinkles (Rådstugugatan 19).
- Nora local history association organises various activities and exhibitions.
- Nora Ost & Delikatess is for everyone who loves delicacies (Prästgatan 7).
- Nora Tourist Office is nicely located in the old station house, and here you can get lots of tips. (Station house 1, Järnvägsgatan)
More to do in Nora with children and teenagers
Travelling with children or teenagers? Here are some more ideas on what to do in Nora and the surrounding area with your family.
- Cattus family walk is a guided family walk available in the 'Three Wooden Cities' app.
- Lake Nora offers swimming, for example at Alntorp Island or First Camp Nora - Bergslagen.
- Skärmarbodabergens nature reserve offers old forest with dramatic scenery and more than 180 caves.
Things to do in Nora - on film
Here you can also get some inspiration for things to see and do in Nora via a little film, which Peter has put together.
Where can you stay or park your motorhome?
There are of course plenty of hotels and other accommodation options in Nora. In the centre of the town are both The city hotel and the charming Small hotel. In addition, if you wish, you can stay in the specialised hostel. Nora Tåghem.
If you're travelling by motorhome, there are also a few different options. We stood on RV park Nora on Skojarbacken. There are all the services you need, including toilets, and it's a short walk into town. In Nora there are also First Camp Nora - Bergslagen, which is located right by Lake Nora and Gustavsberg naturist campsitewhich is Sweden's largest naturist campsite.
More to see and do near Nora
There is of course more to see and do in the neighbourhood of Nora. For example, it's not too far to Örebro, where you can discover the splendid castle and the fine Wadköping Open Air Museum. If you head south, you can discover charming Askersund, and if you head north, you can visit beautiful Kloten. Below you will find more tips on things to see and do in the province of Västmanland.
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Even more suggestions for things to see and do in Nora?
We had really nice days in Nora and can highly recommend a visit here. Have you been here? How was your experience? Do you have any more good tips on what to see and do in Nora?
Frequently asked questions about Nora
When does Nora celebrate her name day?
Nora Tourist Office and Nora Köpmannaförening think that everyone named Nora should have a name day. Therefore, all name day children are celebrated with coffee and presents on 17 May.
What is Nora known for?
Nora is one of Sweden's best preserved wooden towns, with buildings from the 18th and 19th centuries. In 1993, Nora, together with Pershyttan and Nora Bergslags Veteran Railway, received the Europa Nostra medal.
How old is Nora?
Nora was granted town privileges in 1643. People lived on the site long before that.
Facts about Nora
- Landscape: Västmanland
- County: Örebro County
- Municipality: Nora municipality
- Population: More than 10 000 (2023)
- Read more: You can find more information at tourist office website and by downloading the 'Three Wooden Cities' app.
History in Nora
- 1340: The oldest rock order from Nora is from this year.
- 1527: Nora kyrkebol had its right as a market place confirmed by Gustav Vasa.
- 1608: A fire destroyed the 44 permanent farms in Nora.
- 17th century: An attempt was made to force the inhabitants of Nora and Linde (Lindesberg) into the newly formed town of Järle, but this failed.
- 1642-1648: Nora was the administrative centre of Nora County, but then became part of Örebro County.
- 1643: At the same time as Lindesberg, the village was granted city rights.
- 1731: Almost the entire city burned down.
- 1746: Carl Linnaeus visited Nora and described it as 'a small town with two long and straight streets, three cross streets and a large green square. The one-storey wooden houses, though neat'.
- 1856: Nora got a railway connection when the Nora-Ervalla railway opened. It was Sweden's first train with mechanical operation, which officially ran on a Swedish railway.
- 1875: The Nora-Karlskoga railway was added.
- 1940s: Two military detachments and one company were transferred to Nora as part of the rearmament of the armed forces.