Urnes Stave Church

Top choice

If you only have time on your itinerary to visit one stave church, the one at Urnes has to figure at the top of the list (along with Borgund). Dating from the 12th century, it's Norway's oldest place of worship and a Unesco World Heritage Site. Serenely placed on the shores of Lustrafjorden, backed by lofty mountains, and covered in elaborate wood carvings of intertwining vines and battling beasts, it looks like a forgotten set from Lord of the Rings.

The present church was mostly built around 1170 on the site of the original chapel, built around 100 years before.

Ticket prices include an interesting 45-minute tour in English.