Little Norway

Visit Poulsbo "Little Norway" in Washington State

There aren’t many small towns in America that look and feel like Europe, but Washington State sure seems to have a few! Lesser known among them is Poulsbo, an easy drive north from Bainbridge Island on the Kitsap Peninsula. Dubbed “Little Norway” (Poulsbo was founded by a Norwegian named Jorgen Eliason), this hamlet on the waterfront of Liberty Bay is charmed with Scandinavian influence.

Stroll the waterside boardwalk and watch the boats bobbing in the marina or quietly coasting across the water—a particularly sublime scene at sunrise and sunset. Surrounded by the Olympic Mountains to the west and the Cascades to the east, it’s an eye-max of outdoor scenery.

Wander Poulsbo’s historic downtown and stop in at bookstores, artisanal shops, galleries, and more. Sluys' Poulsbo Bakery is a staple of tasty tradition, featuring handcrafted delicacies like the famous handmade donuts; try the Choc Viking or Maple Doughboy, or dare to attempt the massive King Olaf!

For a quick afternoon extra stretch of the legs (that’s also dog-friendly) head to Fish Park just north of downtown (map). It’s got a varied network of trails through its 40 acres, so you can choose from a woodsy walk or something closer to the Liberty Bay estuary. Picnic tables, benches, and viewing platforms let you relax and take in the birdsong (there’s a meadow of birdhouses). Fish sculptures add ecological artistry to the surroundings. The parking area’s kiosk has a map of the park.

Eat + Drink: Craft brews pair with nice views at Valholl Brewing (map). Overlooking historic downtown and the Liberty Bay Marina, Valholl pours on the charm with tasty creations and a dog-friendly patio. Try the Norseman Hazy IPA or Thunderbolt Stout; or go for the crisp and classic Bavarian beer, Maibock.

For an up-close seat by the bay and the “Best Wings in North Kitsap” (three years in a row!), the Brass Kraken Pub is a good stop with plenty of drafts and a creative cocktail menu.

Dinner with a waterfront view is delightful at The Loft, where drunken prawns and halibut tacos are a few of the fresh and flavorful menu choices. Pair your dish with a Washington State wine like the Pacific Rim Riesling from the Columbia Valley.

Tip: On Saturdays from March 30 to December 14, check out the Poulsbo Farmers Market.

Stay: With its premier location in historic Poulsbo, Hotel Scandi is unique, boutique, quiet, and elegant. It’s also Poulsbo’s first hotel. Around since 1892, Scandi has undergone some glow-ups over the years.

The remodeled nine-room gem has a beautifully appointed main area and rooms integrating vintage architecture with modern features and furnishings. The artwork is carefully curated, the beds are amazingly comfortable, and rooms are generously spacious with beautiful windows looking out to big vistas of Liberty Bay.

Visit Kitsap

Visit Poulsbo

Visit Washington State

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