Where is frozen based? The places in Norway that inspired Frozen 2. The main characters in Disney’s Frozen 2 looking at a fjord
The much-anticipated Frozen 2 is finally here! Go on a round trip in the footsteps of Elsa and Anna and create your own fairytale adventure surrounded by deep fjords and snowclad mountains, stunning autumn colours and northern lights in the magic kingdom of Norway.
In 2013, Frozen became the highest-grossing animated film of all time. An instant Disney classic, this movie scooped two Oscars – for best animated feature and best original song (“Let it go”).
Heavily influenced by Norwegian nature, culture and traditions, Frozen introduced us to unforgettable characters like Queen Elsa and her sister Anna, the ice harvester Kristoff and his reindeer Sven, Olaf the snowman and a bunch of cheeky trolls.
In Frozen 2, we are invited on an epic journey to find answers: Where did Elsa get her special powers from? The quest for the truth takes us from the fabulous fjord valley of Arendelle into the unknown.
Below you will find 10 tips to help you create your own enchanted adventure in Norway.
If you want to explore different Frozen-themed sights and activities, it’s worth considering an organised tour. Up Norway offers two trips to discover the places that inspired Frozen in Norway: Let it Go! and A Frozen Fairytale. With Fjord Tours you can sign up for the Norway Frozen Experience
Autumn in enchanted forests
As the days get shorter, the landscape lightens up. A big part of the action in Frozen 2 takes place during autumn – a good time to go for a stroll in Norwegian woods.
With refreshingly cool temperatures, mysteriously long shadows and an explosion of colours that range from pale yellow to burning red, it is easy to be enchanted by the deep forests of Norway.
Get lots of tips on what to do on an autumn holiday in Norway, and remember that visiting Norway after the summer months also means shorter queues to the main attractions and lower prices.
Forces of nature: the northern lights
To call nature one of the main characters in Frozen 2 is hardly an exaggeration. The forces of earth, air, fire and not the least water and ice steer the action from the start. Watching natural phenomena like the northern lights on the screen can be captivating enough, but to really feel the sheer force, nothing compares to a real-life experience. Pure magic!
Northern Norway is one of the most beautiful and convenient places on earth to experience the northern lights. There are excellent transport connections, comfy hotels and plenty of fun winter experiences like dog sledding waiting for you.
Knowledgable guides can introduce you to new winter sports and show you the way to the spellbinding lights.
Mythical creatures and elemental spirits
Enchanted forests are full of mythical creatures, of course. Trolls in particular are so common in Norwegian folklore that they have left a mark in every part of society – from place names like Trolltunga, Trollstigen and Trollfjorden to troll souvenirs in every tourist shop.
And you don’t need a wild imagination to see trolls around every bend on an evening walk through a Norwegian forest.
In Frozen 2, you can also expect a wide selection of other fairy-tale creatures, like the formidable Nøkk, which was inspired by the Norwegian water spirit the Nøkken.
If you follow in the footsteps of the Frozen heroines and head north of Fjord Norway, the region that most resembles Arendelle, you end up in Northern Norway eventually.
This is the land of the Sami, Norway’s reindeer herding indigenous population. The filmmakers of Frozen 2 collaborated with the Sami on elements in the film that draw on their culture, including details for the Northuldra characters who Anna and Elsa meet in the enchanted forest. Frozen 2 is also the first time in history that an international Disney movie will get a Sami language version.
As you can imagine, there are plenty of options to experience the unique Sami culture in Northern Norway. There are actually more than 200,000 reindeer in Norway and yes, there is such a thing as reindeer sledding! Apart from being dragged through the thick snow by your own personal Sven, you can stay in a cosy lavvo tent, try traditional Sami food and visit a Sami festival or museum.
Joik is traditional Sami music – a tradition that is very much alive today. Fans of Frozen were introduced to joik already in 2013, as the opening song of the soundtrack was composed by Sami musician Frode Fjellheim.
There is so much more to discover in the world of joik, however. Get a quick introduction to the past, present and future of Sami music.
Say hello to the snow!
In Norway, winter without snow is like Frozen 2 without Olaf the snowman. Snow is what makes the winter season so special. It brightens up the shorter days and provides the foundation for a never-ending supply of winter activities – downhill and cross-country skiing of course, but also lots of fun things to do without skis, like tobogganing, ice skating, snowshoe hiking, ice fishing and sleigh riding.
If you have never built your own snowman like Olaf before, this is your chance.
The fjords: Fairytale surroundings
Frozen 2 may not have the same focus on the fjord landscape of Arendelle as the first film, but it is still the starting point of the adventure.
In many ways, Arendelle looks like a quintessential fairy-tale setting, complete with a grand castle in lush surroundings. Much of it is inspired by Bergen, Norway´s second largest city, one of numerous places in Fjord Norway where you can experience a little bit of fairy-tale magic in real life.
With more than 1,000 fjords and even more fjord villages around the country, the most difficult thing to decide is where to start. If you are a fjord novice, take our crash course on the Norwegian fjords.
Arendelle castle would definitely have looked completely different if it wasn’t for the Akershus Fortress in Oslo. Located right in the centre of the Norwegian capital, the building goes back to 1299, when king Håkon V started its construction. It was modernised and converted into a royal residence in the 16th century.
Today, you can join a guided walking tour to learn more about the medieval castle.
Medieval stave churches
Another example of how deeply Norway has influenced the Frozen films is the Arendelle chapel, where Elsa’s coronation takes place in the first movie. The Disney artists who created the chapel were heavily inspired by Norway’s stave churches.
During the Middle Ages, these elaborately carved wooden churches were a common sight in many parts of northwest Europe. Today, only around 30 stave churches remain, most of which are located in Norway.
Norwegian culture and folklore
Another must-go for Frozen fans, is the region of Trøndelag, where the Nidaros Cathedral in Trondheim and the reindeers in cosy Røros also is featured in the magical Frozen universe.
With De Historiske you can experience the most inspiring sites in Trøndelag and enjoy local delicacies by going on a roadtrip in the area.
If you want to dive deeper into the Norwegian folklore that inspired the Frozen films, some of the best places to visit are the many folk museums around the country. Revel in everything from handicraft and folk costumes to art exhibitions.
Many folk museums are open-air museums which are just as interesting for architecture buffs as they are for Disney fans. Walk around historical Norwegian buildings including the typical wooden cottages with turf roofs.
At some folk museums, like the Norwegian Museum of Cultural History in Oslo and the Maihaugen Museum in Lillehammer, you can also experience medieval stave churches.
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